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Turning 40...suggestions for solo travel

Washington DC...
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Turning 40...suggestions for solo travel

I'm turning 40 this year and want to plan a solo travel trip --I'm considering 4 very different places. Vietnam/Laos; Tunisia, France or Brazil.

I'd like to have a mix of both relaxation on the beach, some place with good food, history and culture (love to dance and music), and that is safe for a single woman.

Any suggestions or thoughts?

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1. Re: Turning 40...suggestions for solo travel

I think France and Vietnam/Laos would require slightly less vigilance than Tunisia or Brazil but that doesn't mean you shouldn't go there.

I found in Egypt, Jordan and Syria that by dressing in loose linen trousers and loose linen tunics I was treated with great courtesy as a solo female visitor. I suspect Tunisia could be the same. You also need to learn enough Arabic to tell pestering salesmen to go away as well as learning the equally important greetings, please and thank you. (Insha'Alla is useful too, although that is as much a question of attitude as language)

Brazil is probably more a question of knowing where to go and where not to go. The timing of your birthday in respect of the World Cup might also affect your choice.

Edited: 04 April 2014, 16:55
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2. Re: Turning 40...suggestions for solo travel

Thanks---this is very helpful. Yes, I'm thinking that Brazil in July may be challenging...Interestingly enough, Tunisia was listed on a top ten solo trips list.

I'm leaning towards France and Vietnam/Laos.

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3. Re: Turning 40...suggestions for solo travel

I'm a little cautious of Tunisia dur to the problem with cougars Ie they expect single women to be available due to some people who go there.

But as Leagle says attitude and the way you dress goes a long way. I used to wear long trousers and a shirt over my teeshirt to stop me getting sunburn in Egypt but it went a long way to making me acceptable.

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4. Re: Turning 40...suggestions for solo travel

Two problems with Brazil this July.

Problem 1: The World Cup final is July 13 in Rio. You do not want to be in Rio de Janeiro then.

Problem 2: July is winter in most of Brazil. If you are in the northeast (Fortaleza, Natal, Recife, Salvador), it won't matter. Those places are close enough to the equator that there are no real seasonal variations. However, even Rio is far enough from the equator that seasons matter somewhat.

It sounds like you are leaning away from Brazil. Go to Brazil. Some day. But that day really shouldn't be July 2014. France and Vietnam are probably your best bets from the personal safety standpoint. It's just a question of whether you want to spend the only 40th birthday in a place that is different yet has the trappings of familiarity (France) or a place wholly outside your comfort zone (Vietnam).

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5. Re: Turning 40...suggestions for solo travel

Hi,

I can give you some advice on tunisia.

Every time I have been there I have met several solo travellers who happily return year after year, however most of which have become friends with locals and often this makes it easier for them. The people there are very friendly and are happy to help however they can. It is very popular for those travelling alone. However I think you need to have your guard up to some degree. I know there are scammers in every country of the world but bezness is rife in tunisia. As long as you're not naive and keep your eyes open tunisia is a good choice. There are some specific hotels where solo travellers frequent more than others. I've never been to one of these but you could research into these.

My friend has recently returned from Vietnam as a solo traveller and he had a lovely time and made lots of new friends and experienced so many things.

I've been to France lots and personally don't like it! And don't find the people particularly nice!

Edited: 05 April 2014, 11:12
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6. Re: Turning 40...suggestions for solo travel

Dear suebovington,

I had a similar problem when I went to Tunisia over 10 years ago. I was also spat at when I went to the beach (even fully dressed) as unless they are privately owned, beach are just for men. Then another traveller told me about the island of Kerkeneh, so I got a boat there and found lots of other women travellers there. It was easier than the rest of the country for women travellers and I met up with some other women and we gained confidence to go back to the mainland and visit El Djem at Carthage.

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7. Re: Turning 40...suggestions for solo travel

Brazil is great but as some other posts said it may not be the best time to go. Safety is an issue in the big cities. In the villages it's a lot safer. I loved the people, the music, and the nature is surprisingly diverse (after I had expected nothing much more than rainforests).

Laos offers most of what you're looking for although I wouldn't say it's known for its music and dancing. It's pretty mellow and low-key, in Luang Prabang all cafes close at 10pm. The scenery is stunning, the people friendly, the food delicious. Most of the tourists there seemed to be couples though. Sometimes I spent days on end hardly talking to other travelers, because most of them were in their own couple bubble, maybe even on honeymoon.

France has loads to offer in a relatively small space. From hyper modern cities (many of which with long history) to laid-back sleepy villages, beaches by the warm Mediterranean Sea and by the Atlantic ocean with huge waves, castles and lots of history, music of all styles, art, forests, mountains, lots of adventure sports. They pride themselves in their good food but I have to say I've eaten quite bad meals in France as well. Not every restaurant is good.

I recognize what Strawberryblush says about the French not being very nice. In the whole of Europe they are known as rude and unhelpful people in general. They see France as the center of the world and simply cannot understand why other people don't speak French (and fluently too, please). But it's improving, for example Paris is doing a major campaign for people working in the tourist industry, trying to urge them to be nicer to tourists, but the campaign is also aimed at the average Parisian. And of course not every single French person is horrible. I guess a lot of them also feel a bit ashamed or uncomfortable about not understanding/speaking English so well, but I have to say the last time in Paris some locals started helping me in English when they didn't know yet that I speak French.

And for example Bretagne / Brittany has very friendly people, they also hate the Parisians ;-) But only go to that corner if you don't mind a volatile and unpredictable climate (beautiful rough corner of France with great sea food and lovely towns).

I've been on numerous holidays there and lived in Bordeaux for a while. I have to admit that after my own experiences with typical rude behavior I avoided the country for many years but in recent years I ended up going there a few times again and have been pleasantly surprised by very nice people all around (even in Paris).

I love the Loire valley and all its castles, for example Saumur is a beautiful and pleasant city, and there are small villages alongside the Loire river with art galleries in caves...

Kayaking in Dordogne is also great, you can get a company to take part of your luggage to the end while you kayak for 4 days and camp out by the river at campsites.

Oh there are so many different things you can do and see there. And so many nice accommodations. ("Chambre d'hôtes" = bed & breakfast; and they also have "gites" which is a whole house or apartment for yourself or your family.) Hotels in Paris are very expensive and have very small rooms though, and often in need of refurbishing.

I have not been to Tunisia. It doesn't appeal to me that much because I often hear about bad behavior by the men towards women.

Personally I also adored the Andalucia region in Spain, but that might make it harder for you to choose... ;-) White villages draped over hills, moor influences, amazing food, cheap accommodation, cheap food, safe, easy to get around by train, bus or rental car, flamenco and other music and dancing. July may be too hot for some of the towns.

I'm curious what you will end up choosing.

Cecilia (just turned 40 ;-))

http://blog.travelpod.com/members/cecilia74

Edited: 12 September 2014, 22:58
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8. Re: Turning 40...suggestions for solo travel

The suggestions above for SE Asian destinations are worthy of researching further. This region of the world is particularly safe for single female travellers. I would add Singapore, Hong Kong (cities) as well as Malaysia, Thailand and Bali to a list of place to research for single females travellers potentially interested in seeing this part of the world.

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9. Re: Turning 40...suggestions for solo travel

Since the OP was planning on traveling in July of 2014 I assume she's already taken her trip. Perhaps she will report back on what she chose and how it went.

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10. Re: Turning 40...suggestions for solo travel

Very true but future readers of this thread will benefit from the continued suggestions. ;-)

Would also like to hear back from the OP if she has already taking her tour.

Edited: 13 September 2014, 03:24