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traveling alone

I want to go to Scotland on a family history journey. I'm wanting to see (or attend )church services where I know my grandparents before me lived and see cemetaries where they are buried . Some towns around Glasgow that are not necessarily tourist attractions. I'm a person in my 60's in excellent health and I would like to have someone who would be available to direct me and maybe go with me to some places. I will also do some traditional tours while I'm there but that is not my purpose for visiting Scotland. Some of you might know a different way I could feel safe without jumping on tours . Thank you ahead of time for any responses.

Posted by
6636 posts

Well, I just spent 3 weeks in Scotland (in May) and I am a 68 year old female who travels solo. I can tell you that Scotland is one of the safest places you can travel to. I never felt uncomfortable or unsafe, and met so many many friendly people during my travels.

There are day tours (or multi-day tours) that you could take. Rabbies is a tour group that comes highly recommended on this forum. When I was there, I rented a car for 17 days and drove through most of the places, but I know some people do not feel comfortable driving on the left, so there's that. There is public transportation - better in some areas than others.

It would help if we knew what places you want to visit, then we could give better recommendations.

Posted by
8180 posts

I tried to go to Scotland the end of May for 2 weeks, and it was difficult finding accommodations--at least for reasonable amount.

I just suggest you get reservations in plenty of time before you go.

We had to go to Plan B--Rome and a cruise of the Eastern Med.

Posted by
8741 posts

I’m in my 70’s, and have traveled solo for decades.

Curious why would you feel unsafe traveling solo? Allows such freedom. Each day a new adventure.

Hopefully other posters can more helpful as I’ve never been to Scotland.

Checkout Great travel resource

Posted by
8 posts

I saw your posting about traveling alone and I just want to make you feel better about doing this. Personally I feel it is better to travel with a tour when you are traveling alone. When I do I always end up making great friendships that have actually lasted beyond the trip. I am actually going to Morocco in November with a gal I met when I went solo to Egypt on a tour in November 2021. Tours do make me feel safer and I like the company of people. I have not found a better alternative. Rick Steves' Tours are great and providing a friendly group and the only other tour group I have found this with is Friendly Planet. Good luck and keep on traveling.

Posted by
2857 posts

Regarding the family history aspect of your trip: if you know where your grandparents emigrated from it might be worth contacting the vicar at the local church and requesting a meeting while you're in the village .. . having explained your situation before hand. Wouldn't surprise me if they made it a point to assist your roots quest as best they could and generally help point you in the right direction for further inquiries. Who knows, you might get lucky with someone especially helpful who would scour old church records and perhaps identify long lost cousins that you never knew you had.

Posted by
3167 posts

Do you know about this site?

If you are going all that way, be sure to spend a day or two in Edinburgh.
If you look through this website, you’ll see that you can book a whole day at their (beautiful) offices there .
You get access to every single record for Scotland, with use of a computer just for you for the day.
I did it a few years back and it was invaluable at searching for my family ancestry.
I also travel solo a lot.
Edinburgh is very safe.

Posted by
5 posts

I thank all of you for your responses. I have a best friend of 45 years that I travel with and we prefer making our own plans and have some of the best unexpected adventures. Her husband is good with us taking a friends trip once a year but I want to travel more than once a year. I did do a tour group this year, but much prefer more freedom with my time. My ancestry information goes back to 1600's starting in Glasgow , Ireland with numerous births, marriages and various information, My folks were in Paisley,Renfrew,and even Edinberg. The High Church, Church of Scotland and Paisley Chaple. Seems like most moved to Killuleagh , Ireland. I'm 67 and a bit scared to travel alone .If I knew I had someone on the other end that could help if I started having difficulty, I think I could do this. Thank you for the idea of contacting someone at the church. I'm trying to learn the safest way to do this so I can travel more. I may be forced to just go with groups if I can't get comfortable with traveling alone.

Posted by
38 posts

Planning is your best friend for solo travel. Read different guides and websites. Find out about your travel options to and from the places you want to go and the opening hours - get to know the details and be open to the unplanned and unexpected. People are kind and I'm sure for the most part more so when they know the reason for your travels. I've had many delightful conversations with other travelers and locals on my travels over the years.

My first time doing solo travel was in 2018 to Lisbon. Portugal is a "safe" country with low crime. I knew I wanted to stay in a central area and be able to walk to most places in the city - I picked a RS recommended hotel and was happy with it. There other countries I would like to see but probably won't do them as it would be not so safe for a solo female traveler thinking Mexico, not at a resort.

Be alert about your belongings and how and where you carry them and be alert to your surroundings. You have a firm plan of what you want to see and do so just plan around that. Based on what you have said you won't be in touristy areas for much of your trip. Have copies/ back up of important documents- plane ticket , travel insurance, passport, etc.

I'm excited about my second solo trip happening in a few months!