I'm a 40 year old male, and looking to travel throughout Europe in October. Safe for me to do so? Regards
I'm a 40 year old male, and looking to travel throughout Europe in October. Safe for me to do so? Regards
Sure, lots of people travel alone in Europe without any problems - male or female. Just prepare for your trip ahead of time (it sounds like you could benefit from Rick's books, so check them out in the library or on Amazon) and you'll have a great time.
Dave it was safe enough for me as woman alone, and alone with a child, can't see how a grown man would find it any more dangerous. .in fact it certainly feels alot safer to me then when I have visited a few larger cities in the States .. The only issue that you may encounter that we don't encounter quite as much in North America is pickpockets,, here they just shoot or stab you if they want your stuff, there ( western europe) they tend to be less violent and sneakier so just wear a moneybelt and keep bulk of money and passport in moneybelt or hotel safe..
Here's a NYT article on travelling solo - http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/09/yes-please-party-of-one/?ref=travel-issue&_r=1
Unless you plan on slumming through one red light district after another, you don't have much to worry about.
Dave, The short answer is "YES", it's safe to do so. When not with a RS tour, I travel solo all the time and so far haven't had any problems with that method. I always travel with a cell phone, so always let family know where I am. Of course, as Tom so aptly pointed out, it's probably not a good idea to visit the red light districts, seedy bars or similar places of "ill repute" or you could find yourself paying for a $900 bottle of wine under threat of physical harm from a 300 lb. Bouncer. Here's one example (if you don't have time to watch all of it, fast forward to the scenes in the Bar): www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8CLA4NxuO0&list=TL_rw1hJwDM6A Happy travels!
I am a female who has traveled solo in Europe and never felt concerned for my safety. I like to have my phone with me and stay in contact regularly. It's always a good practice to be aware of your surroundings and leave any area where you feel uncomfortable. In places I've been in Europe, even in larger cities, I usually feel very safe, even walking around after dark. My bigger concern when traveling solo is wishing for a dinner partner!
Without a doubt it is safe, just use common sense...I am now 70 (71 this week)...and I travel solo to London, France, and Spain each year and have for the last 6 or years...Never a problem. I feel safer on the streets of Madrid, Puerta del Sol at 2:30 in the morning than I do on the streets of Atlanta at 2:30 in the afternoon! Go, travel, and enjoy yourself...You will be in for a treat!!!
Hi, I went over solo around your age, I was 39 then. Traveling in West European cities, assuming these are on your intinerary, is alot safer than US cities, esp if you're going by public transportation. Lots of Europeans (women and men) travel solo over there. You'll see that in train stations. Which places are you going to?
Dave, as long as you use common sense you should be fine. If you wouldn't go down a dark alley at 2am here, don't do it over there. That being said there is a tendency on this forum to take the very naive attitude that Europe is "safe" and nothing bad will happen. This isn't true. Go on any European newssite and look at the news at a more local level and you'll learn what serious crime really does exist over there. We in the US just don't hear about it. That's not to scare you off, but to let you know that crime does exist over there and you should take precautions. Enjoy yourself!
consider staying at hostels so you can not only save money but also meet other people to travel together.
Kathleen says "We in the States just don't hear about it" meaning crime in Europe. Well, we in Canada hear about it, on the BBC and the CBC and in our newspapers, but what we hear about and read about are not crimes against tourists, which is what the OP would be concerned about I expect. No one is so naive, surely, as to think Europe is crime-free.
I just returned from 46 days alone with 4 kids. I would go again in a heartbeat by myself. I'm a 37 year old female. I would recommend staying in hostels. It really helps you connect with others and make new friends. We enjoyed our hostel stays much more than the nights in hotels or apartments. :)
Aside from the issue of cost, there are distinct advantages to staying at hostels over staying in hotels and apts. That also depends on which hostel and its location.
Actually Norma what I said was "We in the US" not "We in the States." I never call my country the States. It's a pet peeve of mine. How would the British like it if we called it "the Kingdom" instead of the UK? And I stand by what I said. Europe does have crime and the OP should be fine as long as he uses common sense. If that makes you uncomfortable, so be it.
I've been to some rough places. Between the ages of 18 and 22 I hitch-hiked everywhere. Once in France I had to jump out and run away when the car stopped at a red light, but the driver was just stoned and driving a bit too enthusiastically, not out to kill or rob me. It was midnight, raining, and we were in an industrial area somewhere outside the Paris periphique, so maybe I should have stayed put. At least the car was warm and dry. I've slept rough on the streets of Paris in winter, been accosted by heroin dealers in the back streets of Amsterdam, had hilarious conversations with touts for 'girly' bars in other Amsterdam streets, defended a girlfriend from an amorous concierge in a fleapit hotel (fortunately he was smaller than me) and refused to pay bribes to immigration officials in at least one developing country (they let me in anyway, which just goes to show). Guess what? All those things are amongst my very best and most vivid memories and I came to no harm. I assume you won't be going to the kind of places I did when I was young and foolish. Even if you do, just relax, take normal precautions against theft, don't sleep rough in the Bois de Boulogne and everything will be fine.
Dave, your experience in Europe won't be any different than your experience, at home, in St. Paul - use the same common sense over there, as you would at home.
Please, let's not raise any tension between the Free Citizens of These United States and the Right Honourable Subjects of Ye Olde Dominion/les Très Honorables Citoyens du Dominion.
I'm a 49 year old female and discovered the utter joy of travelling alone 2 years ago, spent a glorious week in London and Edinburgh. Went to Victoria, Canada last year and in 2 weeks I'm off to Estonia and Finland. I take care in choosing hotels and I'm not big on drinking in bars alone and don't find it disturbing to eat alone in restaurants. He who travels fastest travels alone is quite true; no waiting for someone else, dealing with their health issues or divergent choices in what to do or see--it's all about you, all day every day and that suits me just fine.
Why are we asking a Quebecer what the UK might think about being referred to as "The Kingdom"...was Quebec (or even Canada itself) somehow annexed over the weekend? Anyway... Dave: For tourists, it's at least as safe as traveling anywhere in the U.S. as others have already said (statistically safer, actually). Of course, you can't be a naïve bumpkin, because crime does exist. Just do some research and reference a decent guidebook or two. You could even check the State Department's Consular Sheets for the countries you'll be visiting...lots of good info there on safety, crime, and just about everything else a first-time tourist might be pondering. If you were planning on visiting someplace outside of the highly-developed world, I'm sure the advice from most here would be a bit different. Have a great trip!
@ Christa..."He who travels fastest travels alone is quite true." Yes, isn't it?
So very true on travel in Europe. My compliments on your great attitude!
yes it is. just dont wear you stupid hat all the time. keep your wits about you and use common sense. happy trails.
If I was a single 40 year old male I would certainly visit a few red light districts while traveling if it is legal. I wouldn't admit to it with the prudes on this board but why the heck wouldn't you? You can be smart about it and do your research like anything else.
Speaking of red light districts, I heard that the one in Amsterdam is among the safest areas in the city due to police presence. I think I saw that in one of Rick Steve's videos. Are they really that dangerous as Tom makes them see? Not that I'm planning to visit any. Just curious ;)
Oh and forget about eating in restaurants when traveling alone. It's very awkward and waiters will perceive you as weird.
Really, Sean? What restaurant in what city did you experience that?
I think Sean was joking. Yes?
Didn't sound like joking to me.
I mean the only downside of traveling along is having to eat alone at restaurants, which is not fun experience. You will get stared at. I've eaten alone at small bistros or pizzerias but wouldn't imagine doing that at "fine restaurants".
Come on, how often do you see people dining alone back at home?
If you have bad table manners when dining alone you may be noticed but not likely stared at.
Norma, I find it rude that you're insinuating I have bad table manners.
"No judgment is passed here. Unless you skip the major museums, like the British Museum in London, or the Louvre in Paris. Now that we'd get upset about." Agree but I think everyone should skip the Mona Lisa!
@ Sean, Speaking of red light districts, I heard that the one in Amsterdam is among the safest areas in the city due to police presence. I think I saw that in one of Rick Steve's videos. Are they really that dangerous as Tom makes them see? Not that I'm planning to visit any. Just curious ;)/quote] i can only speak for the one in AMS but i didnt have any issues. single guy here too. i will also say that didnt see one cop either on foot or horseback. there are cameras everywhere like london. i will also say i didnt go down any isolated dark alleys at night either. if you go, you will be surprised at how much of a disney atmosphere it is. if you do go there is a ex working lady that gives tours. if i remember correctly (iirc) @ 2000 every night. i also when there around 0800 on my way out of AMS to take some pics of the wall art and around the church. only a few soles around and no tourist to block your view. again, no problems but i would expect alot of people to be asleep too. happy trails.
@Sean, There can be risks when visiting areas such as red light districts, as those areas usually attract a rather "seedy" lot. That type of thing has been shown on Rick's (older) shows. You can see a clip here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDrJeBLWn3w (the pertinent part starts at the 20 second mark). One scenario that can occur is that a single traveller starts chatting with an attractive girl at a Bar and offers to buy a drink. When the bill comes, he learns to his dismay that the bottle of wine they've just consumed has a price tag of €800 or so, and there's a large "bruiser" on the door that won't let him leave until the bill is paid. A similar scenario was recently shown on an episode of Scam City, which was filming in Prague at the time. You can see the show at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8CLA4NxuO0 (Fast Forward to about the 22 minute mark for the pertinent section - it gets interesting at the 30 minute mark) I also vaguely remember from a fairly recent 60 Minutes or Dateline report that something similar recently surfaced in Florida, which was being operated by a crew from eastern Europe. Our group had a tour of the red light district in Amsterdam with one of the RS local Guides, and it didn't seem to have the same atmosphere of "risk". I should stress that I visited only with the tour, and haven't ventured there on my own. Cheers!
Traveling solo has its pluses and minuses as with everything else in life. Most of the time I travel solo. Eating alone in a restaurant when traveling in Europe is absolutely not one of these minuses. Besides, what are you supposed to do when you get into a town solo, check in, and soon it's dinner time?
First Sean,, not sure how often you have travelled alone,, sounds like either not often or you are a very nervous type person.. ( trust me every one is NOT looking at you ) but I have dined out many many times and never felt weird or stared at.. .. I think you must be paranoid? Secondly, the red light district in Amsterdam is indeed very safe, we walked through it last year and felt like we were in Disneyland... and I have walked through it alone too... there are tons of tourists strolling along with you. Its an actual tourist site really.
On the topic of "dining alone", I usually travel solo so that's something I do frequently both travelling in Europe and domestically. I often use small local restaurants, but will on occasion splurge at fancy places where the meals are priced at a grander level. I'm usually not frugal when it comes to meals during travel. I've never felt that I was being stared at or perceived as "weird" in restaurants. In any case, I don't give a Rat's a@$ what anyone thinks about me dining alone. Cheers!
You found my post rude, did you, Sean? Well, I am sorry! I wonder why you took my remark about bad table manners so personally.... your name wasn't mentioned.
I have traveled alone, and dined alone, and enjoyed it very much. It helps to always dress appropriately, especially when dining in an upscale restaurant. It also helps to have a book with you to read while waiting for your meal to arrive. Also works to be on the iPhone or iPad checking messages or whatever while waiting. No one stares; no, I don't feel like a freak. And I'm with Ken on this one; I don't care what anyone thinks about me dining alone. Basically, your life's over if you start worrying all the time about what people think about you doing this or that. As Rhett Butler said in Gone With The Wind, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."
If you eat alone you can talk to yourself. ............... Which is some of the most intelligent conversation/debate that you can have.
Wow, if I had to wait for a friend to eat out, I'd always be cooking! And, I'm not that good a cook! And I do room service, even in the US. Today, with an iPad you don't even have to worry about romantic lighting. : ) Pam
Ha! Ed...that's priceless!
Twelve years, 2 weeks a month on the road, unlimited expense account in a former life - I'm conditioned to eating alone. Higher end restaurants typically have a bar and I eat and drink at the bar - same menu as the dining area and better service. I don't do room service - not much fun in that. I don't miss all that business travel BUT I do miss that expense account.
with re to eating alone. yes it sucks, but its life. im doing the "dinner with the danes" in Copenhagen on my trip next week so that will cover 1 day. what i do when i do the sit down meal is that i bring my cameras and map. I will review my pictures and will start deleting/reveiwing them and also take notes of them while its fresh in my mind. if i have any extra time, i will plan/review for my next day or later that day. happy trails.
So are you guys trying to tell me that you don't feel the least out of place when eating alone at a restaurant filled with couples and families? Shall we name you the "travel titans"?
Travel Titans sounds okay. So does just regular people with a bit of self- confidence.
"So are you guys trying to tell me that you don't feel the least out of place when eating alone at a restaurant filled with couples and families?" Yup, that's what we're telling you. Unless the restuarant is billed as "couples and families" only, why would you feel out of place eating in a restaurant? Believe me, nobody else there notices or cares that you're eating alone. I must admit that a couple of times I've had the host/hostess ask if I'm dining alone and then tried to put me a tiny little table for one in a corner somewhere. I requested another table more to my liking and they gave me that table without pause. Most restaurants are pretty accomodating.
I'm 70-something female and have been traveling alone in Europe since 1969. I love being free to travel as I please, and I meet more people alone than I would if traveling with a partner. I almost never eat a meal after 3 pm when traveling. I eat a late lunch and it may be in a restaurant or picnic-style with deli or bakery goods. I don't feel odd eating alone; I always have a book with me. Also, there is always people-watching. Safety is not an issue with me. I have my valuables in a moneybelt or in the room safe. My person has been safe everywhere I've traveled. I don't go out at night much. I feel safer and more comfortable doing the running around in the daytime. Evenings I read or watch TV. I've had a few accidents tripping on curbs. To be safe, watch where you are putting your feet!
Take away food from a fine restaurant makes a good supper for someone traveling alone, also. I am like Swan; I like to be in the hotel room after dark if I am traveling alone. When in London, I sometimes place an order by phone at an Indian restaurant and take it back to the hotel. By the way, I find that the staff at London Indian restaurants are among the most courteous to a diner dining alone.
I'll bite - I'm fine with judging Richard for buying sex overseas because I sincerely doubt he has any idea of the person providing sex isn't a trafficked slave in the business against his or her will. While prostitution isn't legal in most places in the U.S. a responsible consumer can better ascertain in the U.S. whether the sex worker is engaging in the transaction willingly based on language and cultural cues. This technically possible in Europe, with a lot of advance research, but I don't think the majority of the Johns on vacation solo bother to do that research, either because they're ignorant to the horrors of sex trafficking or they just don't care if they're essentially raping someone and fueling a truly horrific industry. This isn't a matter of prudishness - I fully support people engaging with sex workers in legal, regulated spaces that ensure the safety and autonomy of the workers but in many red light districts in Europe it's estimated that 50-80% of the sex workers are trafficking victims from Eastern Europe, Africa, and Asia, trafficked here on false promises of good paying work only to find themselves trapped as illegal immigrants, beaten by pimps, forced to have sex with 10 clients a day or more, with no way of engaging the authorities, because they're not 'legal' and fear deportation back to desperate poverty or worse. Can you say for sure if the women you're buying - like chattel, by the way - are willing? Do you care? I guess I can go to naked spas and smoke pot but if I object to sexual slavery, I'm a prude. Oh well.
But for the record, I think dining alone is lovely. I don't understand why people find it so upsetting. Isn't that what a book is for?
Okay, this comment may be off-topic but, without agreeing or disagreeing with Sarah's points, I've gotta say it. It's not too many travel forums where you get sex-trafficking and dining alone covered in one response. I think this is why I love to read and post here and why I keep coming back, even when sometimes I get a little fed up with some of the responders. Thanks guys for broadening my world.
I always take my prostitutes to dinner so I don't have to feel weird dinning alone and so I can ascertain whether they are sex slaves or not. I see Rebecca has deleted her previous post claiming there are no prudes on this forum and changed her tune to a more puritanical point of view. I am surprised that Sarah even cares since she is obviously spending her time naked and stoned. But who am I to judge (except maybe on a scale of 1 to 10). Before criticizing someone, walk a mile in their shoes. Then when you do criticize them, you will be a mile away and have their shoes. -Jack Handey
Sarah, doesn't that also make every tourist who visits Amsterdam's Red Light District a condoner of human-trafficking? Most tourists treat it as a "tourist site" while in fact it's an enclave of women forced into prostitution.
This situation I encountered once or twice and felt briefly uncomfortable: in a small, crowded restaurant, I get seated right up next to a couple or group who are immediately self-conscious about continuing their conversation. I guess the Rick Steves solution to this is to quickly befriend the people, then come back in future years to visit and smoke pot with them.
yeah well the ladies who work in the Red Light District in Amsterdam are not sex slaves,, they are in fact fully licenced and the industry is fully regulated.. this does not apply to prostitution in most places, but if you are concerned about the Red Light District ladies in Amsterdam you are simply ignorant of the situation there.. As for dining alone , seriously can't believe people find it hard.. I have been choosing to do so since I was 16. I got a job that paid way more then my friends and had money to burn, so after a few months of constantly offering to treat friends I finally just would stop out for lunches on my own..I still enjoy stopping for lunch on my own when out shopping for the day etc.. and yes, would eat dinner out also if I had no plans or family to deal with.. I find people who find the idea of dining alone odd or threatening to be themselves odd and perhaps too nervous of a type person for me. . If I am hungry why in gods name would I not feel free to sit down and eat a meal.. and at a TABLE please, not the bar. Its not odd to eat alone is ONE IS ALONE,, its odd to worry about it. and to feel so ego centric as to imagine everyone is looking at you. Frankly if I really thought people were staring at me I would assume its because I am good looking and confident..
"yeah well the ladies who work in the Red Light District in Amsterdam are not sex slaves,, they are in fact fully licenced and the industry is fully regulated.. this does not apply to prostitution in most places, but if you are concerned about the Red Light District ladies in Amsterdam you are simply ignorant of the situation there.. " Not exactly. I still read about incidents of RLD-based human trafficking crime every few months on websites like De Telegraaf and De Volkskrant.
On the topic of "dining alone", Ray brought up a good point that I forgot to mention. I also find that meal time provides a good opportunity to go over touring details or photos, something that would be more difficult to do if I wasn't alone. I sometimes visit with people seated near me, unless it appears that they'd rather not chat.
Of course, I've gone solo into restaurants, some modest, some more pricey, in Europe regardless of the type of cuisine, Austrian, German, Chinese, Thai, French, Swedish, British, Polish sitting among other parties who were couples, pairs, or groups. Am I supposed to feel any differently at seeing other tourist families there with their kids or couples enjoying their dinner? Is it abnormal or normal for me feel weird? So what. Who cares? At one particular restaurant in Berlin-Charlottenburg,.. ein feines Lokal which I make it point to dine each time I'm back there, at least once, where I much prefer dining alone. Everyone else I've seen there is not eating solo.
Sean, just get yourself one of those glass evil eye trinkets from Greece/Turkey to ward off any evil eye from waiters. In all seriousness, everything feels uncomfortable the first time you do it - imagine eating alone in Italy (I was the only one eating alone when I spanned the room). At first it was a little odd, but you get used to it and then you really aren't even conscious of it anymore after a few times. You probably will get the slowest service ever, but just keep the carafes of wine coming and you won't care anymore. Wait..what happened to the OP? I forgot whose thread this was...
Maybe Sean isn't wrong? Maybe he is just weird looking or acting and people really are staring at him and he's not just insecure? Ever think of that? Sean, Take your Rick Steves' book with you and eat at recommended restaurants and put the book on the table. You will undoubtedly see several others with their books as well. It will be a good ice breaker to start a conversation and compare notes about what you have seen and done. They will be having the same experiences and you will feel like you are on the same tour. The best part is you are not stuck with them the entire trip!
Seriously Richard? You want me to stick out as a Rickster? That would be double awkward.
Dining alone has never been easier or less stigmatized. Feelings (of awkwardness, self consciousness, etc) are not facts. Like Cher said to Nicholas Cage in Moonstruck.."snap out of it!"
What I meant is that it might be slightly awkward to dine alone. If this doesn't hold some truth, there wouldn't be thousands of articles online about how to dine alone at a restaurant. I didn't say it's weird to do so. Anyway, Pat raises an important issue. She said that if she caught people staring at her, she'd assume its because she's good-looking. I had almost forgotten about my above-average looks and that could possibly be the explanation.
"You want me to stick out as a Rickster?" I also don't give a Rat's a@$ whether anyone thinks I'm a "Rickster". If I'm going to review touring over dinner, the Guidebook is a great resource to have along.
Agnes, I think the OP ran for the hills when his post jumped the tracks and went a little off-topic. Gotta admit though, this one has been fun reading.
Feeling uneasy or even weird in a social setting when dining alone as a traveler holds no truth at all. If one does feel awkward dining solo in Paris, London, Berlin, Salzburg, Wien, Budapest, etc., then go ahead and do it.
Yes of course it is safe. I did it as a 25 year old female for a month. I was fortunate to have some family and friends I spent part of the trip with but I still had to get to those places alone. It was fine.
Regarding dining alone, that is what people who go away on business do all the time, if not eating with clients or using room service. Don't really see why it's a big deal.
I'll note that I said "many red light districts in Europe" not specifically Amsterdam, which is far more regulated (and complicated) a situation than many of the smaller, non-touristy, lassiez-fare type districts that exist in most major cities in Germany, for instance, where trafficking is a huge problem. Because of the famous - or infamous - status of Amsterdam, my understanding is that it is a "safer" place to engage a sex worker if you're concerned about trafficking, but as Tom pointed out, the system there is not perfect or immune from the traffickig problem. Responsible "consumers" should educate themselves and if soliciting prostitutes is brought up in a positive way on travel forums, it's something I'm going to chime in about, even if it seems off topic.
Of course it's safe for you to travel alone! I am a single 25 year old female, and I took a 2 week trip last year through 4 major cities in Europe and I never once had any issues at all. I am looking forward to my next trip to Europe in less than 3 weeks (yay!!) and again I am going solo. Just be confident in yourself, and always try to look like you know exactly what you're doing. Don't stand on the street with a big map opened up wide, scratching your head in confusion. In fact, dining solo in a restaurant is the perfect time to peruse your map and have in mind your route to your next destination. It seems silly to me that some people feel awkward dining alone, but I find it quite enjoyable. It is the perfect time to write in my journal, look at my map, do some reading, look through my pictures, and simply relax. I've also found that waiters can be quite friendly to you when you are dining alone. I hope that you go and have a wonderful time!!! : )
Sean, Sean, I see people eating alone all the time in NYC. I used to see them in Madison as well. Thousands of people if not millions of people do business trips every day of the year and they are not entertaining every night. And room service is expensive for what you get. So, you head out. I go with iPad in hand these days and I don't even have to worry about low lighting. I've had wonderful meals alone in London, Paris, Salzburg, Berlin, Amsterdam, Brugges, Chamonix, Anency, Amboise, Edinburgh, York, Inverness... I particularly remember an awesome meal at Melrose where they treated me wonderfully. The desert was spectacular. Pam
I frequently travel alone and will eat in any restaurant I can afford.
I wii never see the other diners again!
@ Rachelle...my compliments on your grest attitude and self confidence.
OMG. I'm out and about right now; 10th night eating alone and I don't think anybody pays any attention at all. Everybody is only concerned with themselves. I have never , ever, felt that people are staring. I actually like the opportunity to look around at others, catch up on my journal, and eat at a leisurely pace.