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3 month Europe tour for solo female traveler

Hi all!

I'm looking to take a few months and travel my way through Europe. Looking to see if anyone is doing the same and if you guys have any tips for me.

I'll be traveling solo for the most part. I'm looking to be gone for about 3 months, give or take.

Your suggestions are greatly appreciated!

I don't even know where to begin with booking hostels and I really hope I meet some traveling mates along the way.. But this something I'm going to take on regardless bc my soul is in a deficit for adventure :)

Thank you!

Posted by
4637 posts

Your question is way too open. Everybody can suggest something different and you won't be any closer to conclusion. We don't even know if it's your first trip to Europe. Which countries would you like to see?

Posted by
3 posts

Ideally I'd like to visit the UK, Hungary, Austria, Croatia, Switzerland, Iceland, Denmark, Holland, Italy, Greece, France.

I can take up to 4 months away so I have the time to spare.

Posted by
3 posts

I've been to England and Spain before, so not my first trip to Europe. But it will be my first country hop

Posted by
6570 posts

When anyone travels solo, it puts a little pressure on you--as you don't have anyone backing you up. Three months is a long time to be on the road.
My best suggestion is to split your trip up into segments. It's never possible to see every country and do everything.
Find central locations to work out of doing day trips. You can learn a culture better if you stay in one place 4-5 days instead of spending a day or two in one place and moving to another--losing a whole day every time you move.
And use budget European airlines to take you to completely different places--if possible.
Remember to fly open jaw--into the farthest place you want to visit and home from another country/city. Backtracking is expensive and time inefficient.

Posted by
3582 posts

If you have been before, then you are familiar with the Schengen rules, i.e. 90 days only in the Schengen countries in any 180 day period. On your list, I think Croatia and the UK are not Schengen countries. To verify that, take a look at this Schengen FAQ, but keep in mind that even the US Department of State has 3 months instead of 90 days!

There is good info there for passports, but be sure to click on the link to information for specific countries. There was a recent thread here on the Travel Forum about passport validity that indicated that not all countries you listed may have the same validity rules.

Also, if you do not have anyone to get your mail, the USPS will not hold it for longer than 30 days and you will have to make special arrangements for it.

If you are not from the US, ignore everything I just said!

Posted by
796 posts

I would add the Czech Republic and Germany to that list!! You'll miss out if you don't. Four months is a nice length of time. I would begin by buying a Eurail pass ( www.eurail.com ) to start because you can get the longest one which is what we do more than once a year. Don't worry about the Schengen situation. Croatia and the UK are not in the Schengen agreement and if you need to be in another country after the 3 month period, just get a visa for that country. Before we can offer suggestions for specific places to stay, you'll need to tell us the cities or areas you plan to stay in. I have been to over 100 countries in my work and our personal travels and can make recommendations anywhere. Also, we have lived in the UK (London), Vienna and Salzburg in Austria, Rome and Florence in Italy, Berlin in Germany, Paris in France, Prague in the Czech Republic, and Amsterdam in the Netherlands. We routinely travel to the rest of the countries in Europe (including Russia) so you can send me a personal message and I can send you personalized recommendations if you specify the cities and your budget. I am happy for you! Europe is a wonderful place to explore.

Posted by
14449 posts

I'd start with these:

  1. List your destinations by priority - and be specific about cities and regions, not just by country.
  2. Plot them on a map and see if you can "connect the dots" to plan a route that doesn't backtrack or zigzag too much.
  3. Use sites like rome2rio and the German train site to learn what transportation is available and how long it takes.
  4. There are sites like Hostel World where you can find a wealth of information about each hostel (descriptions, ratings). Hostels are a great idea because you'll meet lots of people doing similar things.

Can you start any time or is there a specific period you want/have to travel? Take that into account in your planning. In winter days are very short and very cold, in summer there are hordes of tourists and it can be very hot. Is budget a consideration? If you're traveling on a shoestring, you'll want places that less expensive and you'll want to go in low season. The more you change places, the more it costs (transportation can be a major cost). How spontaneous do you want to be? You mention booking hostels. If you plan ahead and prebook you'll save money, but you'll be locked into an itinerary (especially for flights and trains). If you stay in dorm rooms in hostels, you may not need to book in advance at all, depending on the time of year and the place. If you want single rooms, you will almost always have to book ahead. When you make room reservations be sure that you can cancel them and set reminders for the last cancellation dates.

Another thing to think about is how much luggage you're going to have. Packing light may be easy if you're going to warm places in summer, but if you need winter gear as well, how often will you want schlep it all when you travel to your next destination?

Once you have some kind of plan, come back and we'll help you refine it.

Posted by
16878 posts

As much advance planning as you can do will help you to be prepared and feel comfortable, even though you are leaving some decisions flexible. I would start with Rick's guidebooks, such as the travel skills book Europe Through the Back Door or articles excerpted from that at http://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips. Then, get into destination details with the single-country books for each region of your focus. This gives you a more compact, one-stop starting place than searching the entire internet. Hostels are easy to find through hostel search engines, as well as Rick's books will recommend those he finds most useful, as will other guidebook brands like Lonely Planet.

If you are looking for a travel partner, there is a forum page for that, but you should not hesitate to travel solo. In hostels, you very likely will meet people with whom you can team up for a day's sightseeing, a dinner, or the next train ride.

Rick's traditional advice has usually included cutting the furthest, outlying points from the early drafts of your itinerary, which has often meant cutting Greece. Of course, Greece is not made closer by flying, such as from Rome to Athens, instead of taking an overnight ferry from Ancona or Bari to Patras.