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Travel buddy wanted for RST 21 day Europe May/June 2015

I'm a happily married woman in my late 40's (with a husband who's a homebody) looking for a travel buddy for the RST 21 day Europe Tour. I'd like to pick a date in late May or early June, but can be a bit flexible. I'm pretty laid back, but I have a crazy sense of humor and a longing for some adventure. I don't care too much about age for my "buddy", just someone like me, who wants to explore Europe, have fun and would prefer to have a friend to do it with. I am hoping to tack on a couple of pre-tour days in Amsterdam/Haarlem and a couple of post days in Paris. I'm from the Midwest and have been to Europe once, three years ago. I took a Russian River Cruise and spent my pre-cruise days in Holland and Post-cruise in England with a day tour to France. Please contact me if interested!

Posted by
14288 posts

I just finished the 21 day tour as a solo traveler. I suggest you just go on your own. There is always someone to go around with if you don't feel comfortable venturing on your own to begin with. I noticed some who were traveling with people they didn't know very well got quite tired of their travel partners at times.

Do plan to get there a couple of days ahead.

Posted by
1 posts

I'm a female in my 40s looking to travel in Europe as well but I will be going in April and May. I took two months off to do maybe 21 days? I'm not sure yet how I'm going to get around (train, etc).

Posted by
333 posts

I appreciate the input, Pam, and I am seriously considering a solo adventure. I'm very excited about the trip and can't wait to pick out my dates. I just thought if I had to share a room with somebody on the tour, it might be nice to meet someone in advance and maybe share some pre and post days and possibly a flight.

Posted by
14288 posts

I do recommend the single supp too. This sounds like I am a very cranky traveler but really I'm not!!

The hotel rooms are small so you can sort of be on top of each other and often a twin room is 2 singles pushed together but made up with separate sheets. On our trip in the hotel in Switzerland 2 of the single gals swapped with a couple who had gotten a room with 2 separate beds as the single gals had the pushed together bed arrangement.

I also met up with a friend in Paris and we did well together but we then met up with 2 other friends. We have both known one of them for years but had never traveled together. We were mortified to look up and see her walking in the Orangerie in Paris with her shoes off!! Her feet hurt and she said the cool marble felt good. The first friend just emailed me that the barefoot friend gave herself a foot rub at dinner in a restaurant last night.

First friend and I were discussing this and no way would we have been able to predict this behavior. At home she presents as a competent, capable professional.

We won't even discuss how she snapped her fingers and yelled "garcon" at lunch one day!! Really!!

On the other hand, I hope you do go and have a wonderful time!! I had an awesome time! The guide was really, really excellent. The group was a LOT of fun and there were blockbuster sights every day. I learned so much and was taught good travel skills so I can navigate most places on my own now. There was a whole busload of folks to share the moments with.

Posted by
333 posts

LOL! Pam, I appreciate the input a lot! I was debating back and forth about whether to splurge for the single supplement. I travelled to Hawaii solo a few years ago and while I worried about being lonely, for the most part I really loved it. I was busy, busy, busy during the day taking different tours and by evening, it was nice to be in the peace and quiet of my room and just zone out to the TV, read a good book, or write in my travel journal.

I was also reflecting back to my Russian River Cruise. I went with my daughter, but we had a couple of single travelers in our group. They never looked lonely. In fact one of the women spent a lot of time with my daughter and me and we became quite good friends. She was only alone when she chose to be. The other tour members were always very gracious with everybody. We all wanted to make the most of our trip and part of that experience was getting to know the other tour members.

So, the more I ponder the idea, the more okay I am going solo. I've been planning a trip to Europe for 7 months already- was going to go with my best friend. So we've been pouring over tours from various agencies, looking at agendas, narrowing things down, and then BOOM, right as we're about to put down payments down, she told me she can't go. So I've really had to adjust my mindset quickly- and I'm still adjusting. I don't like to fly, so I really looked forward to having a buddy for the 10+ hours in the air. I'm also a little hesitant about the pre/post tour days on my own- just for safety issues. I have to refer myself back to Hawaii. I was fine. So perhaps I'll just take a couple of mini tours thru Viator on my pre-days. I'm actually thinking about meeting up with my single friend from the RRC in Paris for my post days. She lives in Scotland and said she loves to take the train to Paris every couple of years. So she might meet me at tours end for a couple of days and then I might follow her back to Edinburgh for a few days, just to round out my Europe experience. I'm waiting to hear from her before I choose my dates. I really want to travel after school gets out for my son. He has special needs, so if I go before school gets out, I need to work things out so that he's got someone to prompt him in the mornings and get him off to school on time. We already have arrangements for him in the summer. However, if I go before school gets out, I'll save $100 on Ricks Tour and about $500 on airfare- which would pay for most of the single supplement! So much to consider...
Lisa

Posted by
14288 posts

Oh yes! My experience on the tour was very like your Hawaii tour. Sometimes I just need some alone time to decompress and marvel at what I have seen.

My experience was also like the solo person on the tour with you and your daughter. Lots of people to do things with...or not. What is odd is that you will run in to tour members all over where you are touring so there is always the option to see some on your own then spend time with others.

The experience I most wanted to do was go up the Schilthorn in Switzerland then hike in the afternoon. The guide (did I say how awesome he was?? Lol) arranged all of that as an option. He took us up on the gondolas then later up the other side of the valley and got us started on the hike. He hiked with us until we got past any turnoffs then hiked ahead. We took our time, sort of stayed together, made sure everyone was doing OK and gawked at the gorgeous scenery. We all met up and took the cog train back down as a group to Trummelbach Falls. There was an option to hike back to the hotel along a pedestrian path which I did solo. There was another couple I knew was coming behind me and the guide gave explicit instructions to me plus laughingly said I will come find you if you are not at dinner.

I actually flew in to London for a few days then took the Eurostar to Brussels, Thalys (fast train) to Amsterdam and the local out to Haarlem. I got to Haarlem the night before the tour started and went into Amsterdam for the day. I wish I had allowed a full day to roam around Haarlem as I did not get in the church there nor did I get in the Corrie Ten Boom House.

I am sure you are having to wrap your mind around going solo when you had mentally bedn with a friend. Better to know now thst she is not going. Btw there is usually a savings if you book tours on the day Rick has his travel festivals which are often Fall, Jan for the reunion day and sometime in spring. Look on the events page and maybe you will be ready to book one of those days.

Can you tell this tour was the most fun ever? Can't stop talking about it!

Posted by
333 posts

I'm so glad you CAN'T stop talking about it! It makes me more excited and more comfortable with doing it myself. I'm reading all the travel blogs for this trip that I can find online. I'm one of those people who lives, breathes and researches the heck out of a trip before I go. I'm not a rich lady so I always do my best to get the most bang for my buck. However, once I'm on the trip, I'm pretty laid back and if things change, things change. I fully believe though that if you're well researched, you're much less likely to have problems and when you do, you'll be better prepared to deal with them.

I loved Amsterdam when I was there two years ago in July. We did a windmills tour that took us to a wooden shoe factory (got to see them be made) and to the Delft Pottery Factory to see it made. Plus of course the beautiful windmills. My daughter (who was 20 at the time) loved going to the Hard Rock Café. We also saw the Anne Frank house and we had skip the line tickets, but it was so stinkin' crowded that it was hard for me to get out of it what I'd hoped to. I re-read both "The Hiding Place" and the newest version of Anne's diary before we left. I did have one "Wow" moment in Anne's House, when I found myself alone in the kitchen. I stood at the sink, stroking the counter top and faucet, and probably came as close as I ever will to having a "psychic" moment. I started to tear up and almost became overwhelmed with emotion. I'm hoping the RST visit might not be so crowded? We also spent a day in Haarlem because the Corrie Ten Boom house was on my bucket list, and Het Dolhaus (the mental hospital/museum) was on my daughters. Once again, The Corrie Ten Boom house had a huge crowd wanting to get in. Not wanting to turn anybody away, they let us all in, but modified the tour for the crowd. Translation, very short tour and no time to linger and appreciate where we were. Also, my camera battery gave out. On top of that we got to Haarlem on gay pride day, so the whole town was bursting at the seams. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of wearing a new(er) pair of shoes and by the time we got to Haarlem, my feet were bleeding from being rubbed raw. It prevented us from further exploring and enjoying Haarlem. I thought I'd properly broke them in, but no. You can bet I'll be buying new shoes for my tour right after Christmas and wearing the heck out of them. I plan to go back to Corrie's house. I got about three pictures before my camera gave out, including one of me in front of the hiding place. I have dreams of this time being able to go inside of it- like a friend of mine did when she visited the next year.

Like you, I'm also quite excited about Switzerland. (I'm heavyset, so I'm now in "conditioning" mode, swimming laps three days a week and soon to start walking and stair climbing on the non swimming days) I can't wait to hike in the mountains and "absorb" the view in every way that I can. I also have this dream of paragliding in the Alps, if it can be arranged. I'm trying to lose enough weight be in shape (enough) to do this crazy thing. Lets face it, how many times will I see the Swiss Alps while young enough to do something crazy? This is my time! A few years ago we took a family trip to Ouray, Colorado, which is the "Switzerland of America", supposedly very close in appearance to the Alps- and it is gorgeous there. I can't wait to make the direct comparison!

I'm eager to hear whatever you might want to share about your trip!
Lisa

Posted by
14288 posts

Lisa, there were many people paragliding down to the Lauterbrunnen Valley in the Stechelburg area. I saw a number of them coming down on my walk from Trummelbach Falls back to Stechelburg including one of those even crazier guys who jumps in the flying squirrel suit. (No idea what that is called plus he scared the stew out of me by being totally silent til he popped his chute right over me and landed in a field just behind me.)

This tour is a very strenuous tour but often the hard days are bracketed by bus days. The longest days were Amsterdam and Rome. However it is doable. One guy wore a fitbit and reported at the end we had gone 112 miles and used something like 101, 000 calories, lol. Of course that was based on his gender/height/weight.

Posted by
26 posts

Well, I have to put my 2 cents in. I am a 61 year old single woman who loves to travel. The year I turned 60 I decided to do 60 new things. One of those was traveling alone. I signed up for one of Rick's Italy tours. The tour was wonderful however on my tour it was all couples and one 30 year old. She had paid the ss so I got it free which was a real deal (for me!). I am so glad I was alone. The first day I got a horrible cold and all I could think about was, what if I didn't know someone, was sharing a room, and I was coughing, sneezing and blowing my nose. I would not be happy with me! Then, on the Cinque Terre, I fell and broke my arm! My poor guide spent the evening at the local hospital with me and took me to the hospital in Florence the next day. I missed the tour of David! Although I am a happy, funny, very young 61, I just couldn't connect with the couples. They were nice but no one said, come, have dinner with us tonight. I am glad I had my own room due to my circumstances but I really, really missed having a buddy. I find most things funny and it's much more fun to share it. Also, I like to dawdle over dinner and talk about what happened during the day. So, I guess my bottom line is, I would want my own room if I didn't know someone and I would want a buddy. But that's just me. I just got the new tour brochure and it looks like the prices went up significantly this year. The only thing I didn't like about the tour was that I would like at least 2 nights in each place. Oh, and one last thing, as a grown up 61 year old I decided to stay in Florence 3 extra nights. I got the room from Airbnb and it was a great experience.

Posted by
333 posts

Thanks for your input. Ideally, I would have a travel buddy. However, I'm just not having luck finding one. So, I'm prepared to go alone. I'm hoping I'll have a fun group that is very inclusive. If not, I'll make due. Still debating the SS option. I'd like to have my own space, but it is a significant addition to the travel cost. I'm so excited to go!

Posted by
2147 posts

I've gone solo on 4 RS tours and enjoyed them all. On 3 of the tours I paid the single supplement and had my own room. On the 4th tour I shared a room with someone I met on another RS tour. It didn't work out very well and I really wish I would have insisted on separate rooms. At the end of the day I think it's important to have your own space and time to unwind. I didn't have a problem blending in with the other tour members and found them to be very welcoming and friendly. On the GAS tour there were only 2 single people - a guy and me. When I got the list of tour participants I was disappointed and almost backed out. I went on the tour and it was one of the best times I ever had. Don't chicken out, do it and I bet you'll have a great time too!

Posted by
333 posts

Thanks for your input Donna!

I just put down my deposit money for the tour on May 3rd and I paid the single supplement. I'll keep my fingers crossed for a great travel group that might be willing to join me or include me for a few dinners and free time exploration. Otherwise, I'm all for a solo trip. I've decided to do 3 pre-days in Amsterdam and a pre-day in Haarlem. I'll do 3 post days in Paris and meet up with a friend. Then we're going to Scotland for another four days. Five weeks total and I'm thrilled to death!

The more I thought about it, the more the single supplement made sense. Three weeks is a long time to spend with a stranger or a rotating roster of strangers, depending on who all signs up for the tours. The last time I was in Europe, I was wired. Jet lag often made me feel like I was drinking cases of energy drink. It wasn't unusual for me to be wide awake at 3am and writing in my journal. There were other times too when during free time, as much as I wanted to explore, the need for a quality nap won out. Those things might be more problematic with a roomie. So even though it's significantly higher for the SS, I think it will be worth it in the long run.

I'm so excited I'm already setting up my trip blog! Thanks everybody for the great comments and advice!
Lisa

Posted by
14288 posts

Yea!! So glad you took the plunge. I think you will probably look back on your thoughts about the group and say why was I worried? Different sleep cycles or sleep needs along with just basics regarding maintaining your suitcase (unpack at every stop or work out of cubes??) and laundry can increase stress when rooming with others.

I hope you post a blog link when you get back. I would love to read about your adventure. I like the extra time you have built in as well.

Posted by
767 posts

Yes, please post a link to your travel blog!! I'd love to read it.

Posted by
333 posts

I will certainly post a link to my blog (if I can here- I thought I read somewhere that THAT is a no-no).

I really am so excited... I bought my airfare last week, so I know for sure I'll be in Amsterdam for 3 days and Harlem overnight on pre-tour, then Paris for 4 days post tour, followed by 5 days in Scotland. For my birthday last week I bought a nice pair of ECCO hiking/tennis shoes to start breaking in, got my Pacsafe, pink, polkadot, purse, (say that five times fast) and my new rolling packpack with detachable day pack and a new set of packing cubes to organize it all. I think I'm set! Now how am I going to WAIT for six months?!

Posted by
1 posts

Hi there! I'm traveling Europe around that time too. You should check out Busabout, it's ideal for solo travelers! Good luck. :-)