I am seriously considering traveling solo for the 1st time. I like the idea of doing a "My Way" tour simply because of the freedom and flexibility. I am not a big fan of organized tour groups. Any suggestions that might help me decide if this is best way to travel solo?
I think My Way is one good way to travel solo in that it takes the responsibility off you re locating and booking accommodation as well as transportation. I took the My Way Alpine tour solo a few years ago because I was (still am) working and had limited time available. I was looking for some community but not a lot. I went with my own agenda of to-dos, and started out following that agenda, when, surprise, about half-way through, this became the trip that turned into a vacation because 1) of the people I met on the tour, and 2) I let that agenda go and kicked back and just approached each day's possibilities openly. I found it to be a very enjoyable trip with collegial folks I could be with if I wanted and sight-seeing plans I could fall back on if needed. Turns out I had more fun not following those plans.
I have been seriously mulling over repeating that trip. For me, the My Way trip version met my needs well. Enjoy whatever you decide!
To echo what bogiesan mentions: I always pay the single supplement. My room, my down-time, is all mine,
Just search the folders and extend your research out to wider web. There are dozens of sites dedicated to solo travel for all types of individuals and destinations.. I happen to prefer the luxury and peaceof mind of organized tour packages, having my trip completely managed, but I like my privacy, too, so I always pay for single supplements and upgrades.
Do you have any interest in Switzerland? It is the perfect place for solo travel--safe and easy transportation. I just did my first solo trip in June. Feel free to read my trip report to see if it appeals to you.
Oh yeah. Do it. You won't regret it.
I began overseas-traveling in 2015 as a close-to-retirement single woman. My first experience was the RS Sicily tour. My second was a 2016 Italy My Way tour. It was a good way for me to jump into solo travel because I only had to plan my activities. I was also still working at the time, so it was good to save time by having no lodging or transportation arrangements to make. I only had to plan my activities.
These experiences helped me learn I like to travel on my own, in fact, I prefer it. Doing what you want, when you want, for as long as you want is a great way to travel. I found it easy to talk to strangers, disregarding years of parental training. As a solo traveler, when it comes to dining, if I feel like chatting with other travelers, I will sit at the bar to dine. I stay connected to family and friends by posting photos on Facebook regularly. Folks like following along on the trip.
Except for 2020 and 2021, I've been to Europe once or twice a year since 2017, with 2 trips on the books for 2022. Yay!
You’ll want to look at the My Way itineraries and decide whether the pace of them (how many nights per location) is in line with how you want to travel. Of course, you could spend extra time completely on your own at the beginning and/or end of the tour.
My question for you is, if you are interested in traveling solo, what is your reason for wanting to do it on a tour? Do you have a reason for not wanting to actually do the traveling on your own?
I ask because I have done two solo trips with JayWay Travel, and I'm about to do my third. They will work with you to put together a custom itinerary, choose lodging, make all your land travel arrangements, and plan tours and excursions. I highly recommend them if you want to do an independent trip.
Nothing wrong with joining a tour if that's your preference. I've done plenty, and I enjoy them. Just offering an alternative.
I think you would do great in an organized RS tour. There is so much bonding and commraderie. I’m an introvert. I feel like i want to melt through the floor when I have to go to events where I feel like I’m in no man’s land. I was so leery of group travel, I was thinking I made huge mistake on my way into the opening meeting. Then I told myself to chill, it’s only a week. It will be fine. After the first walking tour and dinner with the group, I’m like “ this is great!”
I dreaded organized travel but hearing Rick at a public speaking engagement inspired me to take the plunge. I’m married. Hubby and I did the tour together. But there were ladies on my tour traveling sans husbands, with friends, sisters, nieces, or solo. if I had to travel solo I would do it with a RS tour. There is no “cheese in the middle” mentality or pairing off like Noah’s ark. I couldn’t believe how much fun and interesting my fellow tour members were.
My take away from the my way tours, is your kind of left to your own devices. There doesn’t seem to be much team building opportunities but I may be wrong. My initial thought was to do a my way tour until I read the itineraries of the full service RS tours, and they were more compelling than trying to figure it out when we got there.
Bottom line, good for you to venture out no matter which path you choose.
I would suggest that My Way Tours are semi-solo. You are still beholden to the tour's itinerary. There isn't any flexibility in how much time you stay in a single location. However, it does take the transportation and lodging off your plate. Depends on how solo you want to be and how much you are comfortable planning everything yourself. Solo is a terrific way to travel. Go for it!
If you have enough vacation time, I would recommend adding 1-2 locations on your own after the My Way tour. That way you experience two types of solo travel. If you could share which My Way tour you are considering, the forum could help you with ideas for some locations in the same country as you end.
I’m taking my first RS organized tour next month and I’ve never done a “My Way” so this is just a comment from the peanut gallery. My late husband and I always traveled independently, using all of the Rick Steves tips and tricks. He loved doing all the organization and planning and I loved coming along for the ride. My husband passed away in January and I’m doing an organized tour because I love to travel but I’m just not up to all the planning AND I want to be with other people. I can’t see doing “My Way” because in my opinion it’s neither fish nor fowl. You do have all the lodging and transportation worked out for you but you still only have X-days in location A and x-days in location B and if you want to go to location C and the tour doesn’t go there, too bad for you. And that’s not my idea of the independent travel that I used to enjoy so much with my husband. As another person on this thread suggested, maybe the best option is to take the organized tour and then take a few extra days on your own.
When I finally realized my dream of going to London in December 2019, I chose a Rick Steves Tour because I'd have the opportunity to be with people some of the time, and the freedom to go off on my own during free time if I wanted. I live alone and work at home, so it was a real treat to have people to share experiences with. I ended up only eating alone once because I made friends for the week. I felt secure having so many details already taken care of. I could focus on the sights instead of the logistics.
For my most recent tour, Best of Munich, Salzburg & Vienna, I can't say I made great friends, but I had amiable company when I wanted it. There was ample free time to "do my own thing".
Whatever you decide, I hope you have a splendid time!
I have taken 6 Rick Steves' tours on my own. It's a great way for me to travel and I never feel lonely. I have met some wonderful people on my tours and had amazing experiences. I suggest getting a single supplement. It's worth the price.
Great post! I am also considering my first solo trip. Will be bookmarking this post!
I love traveling solo! I’ve considered doing a Rick Steves tour but I know myself and I know I would want to rebel against the idea of having to wake up at a certain time, eat at a certain time, etc. I wake up early a lot of days when traveling but I just wouldn’t want to be told to! Also while I would choose the single supplement, single rooms in European hotels can be grim so I would rather book hotels on my own. These days with cell phones, it’s very easy to get around Europe. I buy train tickets on my phone and am able to get around so well with Google maps that when I was in Italy for the first time, people asked me for directions multiple times and were shocked when I told them in English that I don’t speak Italian. While I agree that it’s probably best to choose an “easier” destination for your first solo trip, I personally consider all of Western Europe to be easy as long as you have a phone with a data plan! I say do your own thing and just make sure you have some sort of group activity planned every few days if you’re worried about being too isolated. I like food tours a lot! Also I’m not sure what your hobbies are but you may be able to find an event or store that caters to your hobby - always a fun thing to do and will allow interaction with people who share your hobby. I’m a quilter so I seek out quilt shops when I travel and often end up chatting with the people working there and getting recommendations of what to do or where to eat.
I've done 11 RS tours with 7 of them being solo. For reference, I've also gone solo on 13 Road Scholar tours which are in some respects similar to Rick's tours (and other respects not, lol).
BECAUSE of the Rick tours, I've been taught how to manage big-city transportation as well as other travel skills. I have never lived in a city that had public transport so the thought of city transportation systems or even traveling by train was a bit daunting for me at first. Now, I have no qualms about traveling on my own BUT I still book tours because they are fun! I've not done a My Way tour because I enjoy the history/culture/language lessons and information from the guide and the local guides.
I can still choose to bow out of tour activities on a non-transit day and do my own thing if I choose. In fact, I'm going on the Best of Italy next month and will pass on the first day tour activities in Rome as I've done them before. I'll go to a museum and then meet forum friends for dinner! I'm also working on what I want to do in Venice. I've done a city walking tour with a previous RS tour that went to Venice so I will concentrate on seeing sights that I've not done before.
I also get the single supplement. I enjoy interaction with group members but I like private time as well.
I'd say if you are at all interested go for it! I'm an early morning person so getting up and out on transit days is not a big deal for me but I understand others have a different circadian cycle and want to sleep in. I also don't mind the set schedule. I (mostly) can tell from the daily itineraries that are posted what the days will involve and I'm good with that!
Which My Way has caught your interest?
Pam, I have Rome coming up in December and planning Venice for next year, so looking forward to your report (no pressure!) :-)