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Winter Break 2019

Hi guys!! My name is Emily and I want to plan a trip for winter Break this coming year (I know I’m early!! I want to get a price estimate to know how much to save and start researching things to do)!

I will be 18 (and female) and am planning on traveling either solo (most likely) or with a sibling/friend. Probably solo because of schedules and cost. I don’t know where to go and was wondering if you guys had suggestions?? I want to go somewhere safe for solo female travelers, somewhere I can get around easily as it will be my first solo trip and first time out of the country (from USA, I speak English). I also prefer somewhere warm as it will be winter but other suggestions are great as well!! It won’t be long of a trip, maybe a week or week and a half so I’ll probably stick to one destination (possibly more if near by). As I mentioned before, I have never been to Europe but I definitely plan on being back many times after this trip (this is just to get my feet wet a little bit)!

Anyone tips, advice and suggestions are welcome!! Thank you!!

Posted by
2997 posts

Nowhere in Europe is warm in winter - that’s why Europeans head to the Caribbean and the Southern Hemisphere for warmth! Generally, Southern Europe is warmer than the north, but say Greece can be much wetter than London.

Most places in Europe are safe. Pickpockets are an issue in some places such as Barcelona.

If you pick any capital city, it will be easy to get around and for day trips.

You don’t say what your interests are, but most people start with London or Paris or Rome or Amsterdam. These are the most popular and therefore some of the most expensive. Switzerland and Scandinavia are very expensive so best avoided on a tight budget.

You don’t say where you are flying from - pick a city that’s easy to get to. The airfare will be a significant portion of your budget.

Posted by
5102 posts

I have been in Spain since December 27. It has been as warm as 70 in the southern region of Andalusia (Seville, Cadiz, Cordoba, Granada) and as low as 32 at night. You should research the area to see if it strikes you. It is the perfect destination for a person use to the kind of cold winter weather that happens in Chicago. You can get by on 114 dollars (about 100 euros) a day including lodging. If you say where you flying from someone can give you an idea how much that would cost

Posted by
8894 posts

Since weather is unpredictable, the best you can do is check the averages for those places that interest you. Cordoba in December has an average high of 59F and a low of 41F. I would plan for the chance of at least 5F higher or lower than what is published.

Rather than fight the weather, why not spend your Christmas vacation where the cold weather and Christmas season is part of the culture? Germany and Central and Eastern Europe come to mind.

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks for the suggestions so far!! I will be flying out of Cincinnati, but can get a flight to somewhere else if it is cheaper!

Posted by
3931 posts

Emily, the best tip would be for you to read a good guidebook. That will bring up questions and issues that you dont even know you need to ask yet. Rick Steves Europe Through the Back Door is a good start, followed by whatever country guidebook that you decide to got to. I dont know what "winter break" means to you, but I am guessing around Christmas/New Years, in which case you need to realize a lot of other people will be traveling as well.

If it were me (actually it was, a long time ago), I'd go to London, and plan a few day trips. It won't be warm, but it will be Christmas-y, and easy to get around. Second choice - Paris.

And you'll need to do some research on airfares from Cincinnati. Its impossible to predict what airfares will be or when sales will occur. So its best to do start looking now, to get an idea of the range you're looking at.

Posted by
364 posts

Hi Emily,

Don't forget you have almost a year to learn a little of the language of whichever country you decide to visit. I've found that really enhances my trips.

Weather is of course unpredictable as far in advance as you will need to purchase airline tickets, but here's a way to get a general idea: https://www.wunderground.com/travelplanner/index.asp

To estimate the total cost of the trip you will need to do some research: sample airfare from Cincinnati, cost of a hotel for the number of nights, and of course meals and sightseeing and souvenirs. Figure your meals will be about the same cost as if you ate them in NYC. So if in Cincinnati you'd spend $15 on breakfast, $15 on lunch and $25 on dinner, guess about $70 in NYC then convert that to Euros. Multiply by the number of days. Cost-saving tips are here: https://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips/money

Hope this helps. Write back when you have more specific questions.

--Marty

Posted by
1637 posts

I agree with Stan about London and day trips. "When one is tired of London, one is tired of life"-I've been 7 times and still have places in London and day trips on my bucket list. It is very easy to get around and trains are easy for day trips. If you are going in Dec, London is very "Christmasy". And they speak English (as opposed to "American"). It won't be warm but probably will not be bitter cold either. And honestly, as long as you use good judgement, I think the touristy parts of Europe are much safer for solo female travelers than most of USA.

Posted by
21570 posts

Hi again, Emily

is this trip a sort of test trip so that when you do the summer trip with your sister you will have some experience?

Posted by
8894 posts

I love London, but the one Christmas I was there it was miserable. For a 18 year old I would look at Amsterdam and Prague for the youth culture. For winter culture, Vienna and Budapest.

In the spring or summer; London, Paris and Rome are 3 must sees on a first or second trip to Europe. Then you will have a great cultural cross section to base you next trip on.

Posted by
4150 posts

I want to plan a trip for winter Break this coming year

Mmmm....what's "this coming year" mean? In 2019? Or next winter (late 2019 and early 2020)?

Makes a big difference! If you mean this year, then it's NOT early at all!

Posted by
104 posts

I'd suggest Rome, Lisbon or Barcelona for nice European experience with a good chance of it not being frigid.