I am new to this and am thinking about doing my first Rick Steves Tour in Ireland in 2008. I am a single female going solo, is this safe? I am kind of nervous about it but am choosing Ireland because I can read the language (and because it looks spectacular!). It also looks like a lot of time on the bus each day--is this so, and if so, is it worth it? Thanks for any advice!
Solo Travel is the best you meet a lot of new friend like myself.
If you're with a tour you're not solo. You'll meet a group of new friends. I haven't done a bus tour in Ireland, but it allows you to see a lot of places without worrying about doing the driving (on the wrong side of the road) yourself. I have been there several times -- good choice!
Paula, My daughter,mid-30's, went on a Rick Steve's tour solo and had a terrific time. She met two other people and they have become good friends and will be taking their third tour together this Oct. to Ireland. She says you should not hesitate or worry about going solo. Although a lot of people would disagree with me the idea of a tour is a good one if you are alone. Driving in Ireland can be a little tense at the best of times and if you have to constantly watch the road you miss a great deal of spectacular scenery.
As someone mentioned earlier you will not be alone,there will be almost 30 other people with you,so go for it.
Paula, BOOK YOUR TOUR! Don't worry in the least about travelling with a tour group, especially a Rick Steves group as you'll be well looked after.
I've booked a RS Ireland tour this fall, so will be able to provide you with some more knowledgeable comments later in the year.
Regarding time spent on the Bus each day, that's fairly precisely listed in the tour information. On some days the group is only on the Bus a few hours while on others the trip is six hours or more. Rick's tours also provide a good estimation of the amount of walking each day, which is nice to know.
One other benefit of the RS tours is that no "single supplement" is charged for solo travellers (although one might be asked to share a room - this isn't much different than staying in Hostels, so not a big deal).
I usually travel solo, so this will be my first tour. I'm looking forward to the experience.
Book the tour! I went solo on the Best of Europe 14 Day last year and had the best time! I was REALLY nervous to do it. But it was amazing and I think one of the best things I ever did for myself. The people on Rick Steves tours are wonderful too. There were five solo women and one solo man on my tour. But really the whole group became one big family. And a lot of us still keep in touch, which I'm finding out is pretty common with Rick Steves tours.
You can check out the tour member scrapbooks of their trips, too. I have one and so does another of my tour members that went solo. http://tours.ricksteves.com/tours08/testimony_past.cfm
Pat- Which Ireland tour is your daughter on in October? I'm booked on one too!
Paul-- If you're on a tour going solo, you'll be completely safe in Ireland. General common sense applies, but if you want to stay out late at a pub, drag one of your new 'friends' along from the tour group and you'll be sure to make more along the way!
I have to agree with other comments - the bus tour saves you worrying about the driving! And, if you're new to traveling, it's a good way to ease into it and see what you like most. If the travel bug bites on your group tour, you can branch out in the future - there's always 2009! :)
Go! Book it now! I've been on two RS tours as a solo female traveler and had a great time! You are not alone and will meet great people who will become your friends. I will be booking a third tour and it will be to Ireland. Happy travels!
Ditto! I took the 17-day best of Italy tour solo and it was the best trip of my life. Someone else taking care of transport/hotel/etc. was quite liberating and I had time to focus on having fun. I came back relaxed, a huge change from prior trips, and 100% full of great memories (and no "gee, I wish I hadn't got lost and wasted that whole day" memories). There was only one other solo traveler so we shared a room. A friend did the Ireland tour and 4 singles rotated sharing rooms. Keep an open mind, good attitude, and you'll be fine.
It is safe, since the guide and tourmates are on the lookout for you at the end of the day. Plus, they become part of your family - by the end everyone treated me as if I was their own kid. The bus time will be broken up by stops along the way - they are very considerate of rest stop needs and the like. I'm also planning Ireland in 2008 as a solo traveler, perhaps our paths will cross (I promise, I don't snore!).
I wanted to thank everyone for your advice and input out here! As it turns out, I found a friend who was interested in being my travel buddy after all and we changed our destination altogether and are doing the Rick Steves London/Paris 8-day tour (just booked it today!) and staying a few extra days in Paris. However, when I do have to go solo, I will not hesitate thanks to all of your input and great comments. I am so excited to go on my first Rick Steves tour next year!!!