Solo Travel to Europe

When I was planning my first trip to Europe, I had to keep it pending for quite some time, in fact a couple of years, because I did not have any one to travel along with me. I have known many people like me who have put off travel for a long time because they do not have anyone to accompany them on their travels.

I would encourage all of you to give wings to your travel dreams by being courageous to travel alone. Do not let the lack of a travel partner deter your travel aspirations. You would have the opportunity to meet lots of likeminded travelers on your trip and most of them will prove to be fun loving, travel hungry fellow travelers. Put your best foot forward and go on your solo trip with confidence.

The pros of solo travel far outweighs the cons. When you travel alone, you are the only one who is in charge. You decide where you go and how long you stay in a place. You get to travel at your own pace, do what interests you, eat when, where and what you prefer. There is no need to consider your traveling companions likes or dislikes.

Having said that, you might find cost of accommodation a slight problem when you are traveling solo. If a single room costs Euro 80, a double room costs just Euro 100. When you share the costs, it works to only Euro 50 per person. So you could have saved Euro 30 per night if you were traveling with a partner. Splitting costs makes sense for expenditures on groceries, guidebooks, taxis, or even storage lockers.

But when you are traveling with a person, it is only natural that you tend to focus on your partner. You might have to consider what your partner prefers when you order from a restaurant. You might want to spend some time in the museum, but your partner might want to go to the concert. Only when both of your choices of sights, sounds and activities are in perfect symphony, can you enjoy a fun-filled harmonious holiday.

You can be more in the present and open to your surroundings, when you travel solo. Traveling solo gives you many more opportunities to interact with the locals and you can experience their warmth and interacting with them will help shed your inhibitions. The result – a wonderful vacation with a rich experience that fills your memories for a very long time. Besides discovering Europe, your journey will help discover yourself, with all the challenges it throws at you, making your vacation vivid, fun and exhilarating. The thrill of being your own guide makes your trip a gift from you to you. This makes your solo travel intensely personal.

Being lonely may be your major concern when you travel solo. If you have none to talk to, even the most scenic place may seem cold and aloof. It would be even worse if you fall sick in a place where no one knows you. Fortunately, you would find the continent abuzz with travelers just like you and various wonderful places of interest, where you can meet them.

If you are traveling solo, it will be a good idea to plan your stays in hostels. Hostels are open to people of all ages and are a great way to meet and bond with likeminded travellers from around the world. Also, you will be able to book single beds and rooms in hostels and thus avoid the high costs of hotel rooms. Hostels provide a unique friendly vibe that ensures that you do not feel lonely at any point in time.

Hostel kitchens could tend to be the best place to make friends, sometimes for life. If you are staying in B&Bs or smaller accommodations, you might as well end up having pleasant and sometimes thought provoking discussions with your knowledgeable hosts who would be more than willing to give you travel advice and also to learn more about you and the place you have come from

If you are an introvert, break the shackles. Even your humble camera can help you break the ice. Stop taking selfies. Offer a fellow traveler to take his photo on his camera. Then request him to take a photo of yours with your camera. It is a sure shot ice breaker. Trust me.

Walk around the town you stay in. This way, you get to learn more about the town and meet other travelers too! The local tourist office can help you with relevant information on the happenings in the town. If you are at a hostel, its message board will have all the local information that you would require to plan your activities in the most efficient way. Some hostels offer walking tours and I would encourage you to take them because you will get a chance to be shown around town by the locals.

Bus or train travel give you more opportunities to meet locals. If you come across English speaking locals, make it a point to talk to them. Try to understand their thoughts and perspectives about anything. Just about anything. Soak it in. You will be surprised how similar your thoughts are irrespective of the difference in color, creed or religion.

Eating out

A self-service café, a local fast-food restaurant or any small eatery will give you an opportunity to interact with other solo travelers, than a formal diner. Plan a picnic in the square or a park. Walking along window shopping, munching on your pizza slice is fun. A quick eat at the members’ kitchen in your hostel will win you company.

The magic of the European cities are best enjoyed at night. The well-lit streets, busy shops, beautifully illuminated monuments – all offer a sight to behold. A leisurely walk in the night, enjoying the parade of the people, is a great experience. A wealth of evening entertainments await you. The concerts, movies, puppet shows, folk dances, and what not?! Paris by night on a river cruise, is a never-to-miss experience.

Choose a room with a balcony overlooking a square, for your night stays. Enjoy your solitude. A lively morning market will have fresh produce. Rise early to check it out. Spend time over a mug of hot coffee, with the locals.

Enjoy your solitude as you explore the enchanting Europe and make it your playground.

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