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Travel to Europe in May or September

Hi,

My name is Doug, 40, from Canada, recently separated and looking to do some travelling. I am open to this May/June or September/October, trying to avoid the heat of the summer. I haven't traveled on my own since I was 19 so I'm out of practice...

I've already traveled quite a bit in Italy/France/UK/Spain/Portugal/Greece/Malta/Baltics, and am hoping to do something different--maybe Eastern Europe, Scandinavia or Ireland? Combination of any of those? I'd love to see Vienna/Budapest, places like that. I'm pretty flexible. I'm hoping to travel for about 3 weeks.

I have some timeshares I could share that cut down on costs, but they are usually in more remote locations so...not always ideal. I'm not looking to rough it particularly, happy to enjoy good food, wine, a car--those kinds of things. I generally prefer urban activities but good hike is also appealing.

Anyway, looking to see if anyone has any plans in those times--I'm pretty flexible, I just want to go somewhere for awhile :)

Cheers,

Posted by
11389 posts

If I was visiting Scandinavia I would choose May over late September or October , for the longer days of sunlight .

Posted by
372 posts

We've traveled in both time frames and both have plusses, especially the idea that they are both closer to off-season/shoulder times.

For me, if I'm looking to travel in someplace more "exotic," where I don't speak the language or the culture is very different than what I'm used to, I look to Rick Steves tours as an entry-way. His tours help you get your sea legs, so to speak. And then follow up with some independent travel to round out the vacation.

We also will borrow books from the library, especially during the wide "where should we go" exploration phase. Then, once destinations are decided, we might purchase the best/most applicable books.

Good luck on your journey...wherever it takes you.

Posted by
12084 posts

I have only one year to use as an example, 1977 as the only time I was in Europe in September when I was 27. It was all right then in Germany, France , and Austria. But count on the daylight decreasing as the weeks go by and vice versa in May/June.

Sometimes in May it is already warm, ie, warm enough not to take a light jacket out and about. By June it can get hot in Central Europe. I go anytime from May to July, heat or no heat, since I want the day light. Yes, there is the oppressive heat.in Vienna and Budapest.

Posted by
3904 posts

Doug, are you looking for advice or a travel companion?

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks everyone.

I guess looking for both, at least in part. Traveling alone is new to me so...just seeing what's out there.

Noted about Scandinavia. My preference is probably Eastern Europe so that's fine. September is probably more likely so I'll aim for then. Given I'd only have about three weeks--Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovakia etc...what would be key to see?

Posted by
12084 posts

Basically, traveling solo is actually no big deal, once the safety concern is behind you. The locals do it, you can do it. I've traveled solo in Europe on most of my trips since my solo first trip at 21, now 47 years later I'm still at it. In Poland, Czech Rep I've traveled both alone and with family (in Poland). This coming trip will be likewise, ie, solo.

Posted by
4 posts

It's not the safety that's an issue or anything. I've done lots of traveling, it's just I've always done it with someone else. So, I'm just unsure how that works...

Are there groups or tours or something anyone could recommend?

Posted by
433 posts

Sorry you are traveling solo again, that will take a bit of adjustment but I think your instinct to keep on traveling is excellent!

Tours are available if you want a group, browse the Rick Steves tours on this site for options. One example is Eastern Europe in 14 days.

Enjoy the planning and the trip!

Posted by
12084 posts

You travel solo you can pick your own itinerary in what you label as "Eastern Europe" You go with a tour, it does the selecting of the places to be visited within the city and the cities/towns too.

Given those basic rules, I would rather go solo, pick my own train routes, dep times, accommodations, from a hostel or small hotel to the possibility of a splurge, say a 4 star hotel, revisit a sight if so desired ( you can't do that on a tour), choose where I want to eat especially at dinner, ie, restaurant or train station, and which museums.to be visited.

Posted by
5 posts

I traveled with a tour company to Eastern Europe in September 2016 - it was a really good time weatherwise. Went to Budapest, Vienna, and Prague.

I went on a tour (not Rick's, but I was satisfied with them - not sure if naming them is ok in the forum?) mainly because of all the currency/language changes. I'm not afraid to travel solo, I just didn't want the hassle of trying to book things in different currencies etc every 3 days. When I'm on vacation I want to relax so I let someone else handle it that time.

I wished I had spent more time in Budapest - did 3 days, I think 5 would have been better. Vienna was ok but not quite as nice as I had expected. There's a ton to see there so probably at least 4 days would be best. Prague was nice but SO overcrowded - even at the end of September - even during the weeknights, the streets are packed.

I'm doing Ireland solo next month. I rented an airbnb in Dublin and will use that as a jumping off point to doing day trips.

I don't know if you're familiar with the couchsurfing website, but its full of mostly solo travelers looking for people to hang out. I've met lots of people through it - people have profiles with reviews from prior guests/hosts/friends so you can get an idea who would be cool to hang out with. They're a really openminded bunch.

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks all. I'm still at home, having decided to head out in September. I'm still waffling on where to go, but really do want to see cities like Budapest and Vienna. Slovenia also has some attraction.

So, that's that--I'll be planning it in more detail over the next few months! As always if someone wants to join for some that'd be fun!

Posted by
12084 posts

Assuming it is not about health issues and since it is not a matter of safety that is of concern, then there is nothing else in traveling solo to Europe, be it in England, Germany, Poland, France or Holland. What you are not used too, you can get used to right away, that is, if you really so desire.

Posted by
12084 posts

I was in Vienna this time for a week in May, too short, compared to last year's stay in Vienna. Both times solo, as always.

You can expect the weather still to be hot in Vienna the first half of Sept. The public transportation sytsem is easy to use, I use in combination the trams and the subway system, ie the U-Bahn. Just know which stations serve as junction points. The city is super interesting, fascinating both tourist areas and the non-tourist districts, if you're really into the history, good, bad, and the ugly, linguistically, and culturally.