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Trevelling solo, not sure where im going!

Horley, England...
3 posts
Trevelling solo, not sure where im going!

Hi, I want to travel alone for a month possibly 2. I'll be leaving in April (not sure what date yet) I am planning to start in Amsterdam to release all the stress of normal life. I was just wondering if any experienced travelers think its a good idea not to plan/book etc. btw first time traveling only been on holiday with mates so far.

I don't really like following a structure ( have to do that in normal life!) and would rather just go whether i felt like at the the time e.g if i met a group of people i would like the option to follow them or just float about in general. I will be taking about £4k with me possibly more. Im a very easy going in the sense i love everything history,adrenaline,partying etc least favorite is probably art but i still like that as well. Which is good but makes it hard when planning (hence why i don't want one!)

Thanks for your time :-)

Edited: 18 December 2014, 18:05
Wales, United...
Destination Expert
for Bargain Travel, Cruises, Swansea, Cardiff, Carmarthenshire, Neath, Port Talbot
Level Contributor
74,268 posts
478 reviews
1. Re: Trevelling solo, not sure where im going!

Hi Antony and welcome to the forums

I hope you aren't going to be carrying £4k around with you, and that what you mean is that you'll have access to that amount via ATM's?!

While your idea of spontaneity is appealing, do be aware of the practicalities of doing something like that. You may find your options of transportation and accommodation limited if you attempt to arrange them at the last minute, and you may end up paying top price for train, or air tickets. Bus tickets tend to be cheaper, but it may not be as straight forward as you think to just join up with others on a whim, especially if they have made their arrangements well in advance. At the very least you'll have to spend a bit of time making these arrangements on the ground, rather than enjoying yourself!

I'm not saying don't do it, even though I much prefer to have things booked before I go, I'm just saying that there are negatives involved as well as positives.

Horley, England...
3 posts
2. Re: Trevelling solo, not sure where im going!

Thank you!

No i am not going to carrying the cash about but i have heard there is a travelers card/bank thing that reduces the charges for withdrawing from foreign countries. Ill visit Martin the Money man!

Yeah i didn't consider the travel expenses doing it this way, ahh if only money wasn't an issue! Now too decide what countries hard to decide when you want to go to them all and you only have a certain amount of time. Any ideas for a beginner? I'm 23 btw

Horley, England...
3 posts
3. Re: Trevelling solo, not sure where im going!

Not sure why i put April in the OP i meant August lol! my dates are flexible if this a bad time of year, Im not sure when the schools break up but i know the travel companies rip people off in the summer break.

England, United...
Destination Expert
for Somerset, Solo Travel, Exmoor National Park
Level Contributor
34,990 posts
111 reviews
4. Re: Trevelling solo, not sure where im going!

There was a discussion at least once about how each of us travels and it changes according to circumstance.

Make an outline plan of where you are going, how long for and accommodation. This puts a framework in place to ensure you are not sleeping on the street and get reasonable prices. Otherwise you can spend so much of your vacation looking for accommodation or trying to buy tickets

Have a look at what is available locally so you are not wasting time again doing this when you get there but when you do arrive just drift around, see what you see and how you feel at the time. I take a list of places to eat and make my decision when I get there. Saves me spending hours trying to find something and gives me an area.

Plans (as an outline) save time and give a better chance of getting the good things but If I see something better when I'm there I'll change plans. That is the joy of solo travel, you can do that.

kent
Destination Expert
for Kent, Solo Travel
Level Contributor
14,816 posts
141 reviews
5. Re: Trevelling solo, not sure where im going!

Antonyy...August is peak tourist season in Europe. All the schoools and Uni's will be closed, so expect to meet lots of families and students! Prices will be higher and budget accommodation may well be difficult to find at the last minute. If you can move your travel dates to early June or from mid September, not only will prices drop, but the weather will still be great and budget accommodation will be easier to find.

At £4k, you may (just) have enough for a month or so to a long haul destination with cheap in country prices. I'd suggest Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos or Sri Lanka... but check the weather patterns for monsoon/typhon seasons.

Edited: 19 December 2014, 01:02
Amsterdam, The...
Level Contributor
16,943 posts
6. Re: Trevelling solo, not sure where im going!

I agree with Mcpinder and Rojblake.

It's your trip, you can do it any way you wish. But yes, August is peak season which means full accommodations, higher prices for accommodation and transport... Then again, the first weekend of August is Gay Pride in Amsterdam, with street parties that attract gays and straights alike (a couple of hundreds of thousands), and a carnivalesque boat parade on Saturday 1st August.

Mind the IBC conference dates in Amsterdam in September, or stay in a hostel. The conference affects hotel availability and prices, probably not those of hostels / dorm beds. (Google the dates.)

Personally I have traveled in many different ways, and either prebooked things, or only the first night and the plane ticket.

Of the trips I made without fix plans other than a return date and place, these are some examples:

- a month through France by car and with a tent, finding campsites as we went without any trouble, in high season; a similar trip by train

- two months in Indonesia, just planning a few days ahead all the time, and finding accommodation as we went, sometimes it took some time to find a hotel that had room.. but nowadays with the internet you can easily see which hotels have availability

- 5 months in South America, a rough plan for 4 countries but floods made us stick to only 3. Was able to find accommodation on the spot all the time (sometimes tried a few before one had availability), even during popular periods such as the Holy Week before Easter, and the elections.

- 3 weeks in Spain with a rental car, booking accommodation one day in advance as I went, no problem at all, but just outside high season

- bike holidays in the Netherlands, booking accommodations only a few days in advance

And many more examples. In fact it is my preferred way of traveling if I have more than two weeks time. I don't like to be stuck to schedules either.

Having a car or rental car will increase your flexibility, but cars are not good for cities. Expensive parking, confusing and chaotic traffic. Only for villages, small towns and countryside.

Major advantages of not booking anything in advance:

- stay longer if you like a place

- leave sooner than you expected because you dislike a place

- tag along with other people you meet (who knows you might meet people who are traveling by car)

- utter freedom, which feels great

- time to listen to your body and your own travel rhythm, no need to rush to the next destination on a day you feel more like chilling out

- follow the weather! if the weather sucks where you are, look up where the weather is nicer and just fly there or something

Disadvantages may be:

- it may take a bit more effort to find accommodation but in my experience there is always SOMETHING available, especially now that you can book online. For example booking.com will only show the accommodations that have availability for your dates, so no disappointments!

- international train tickets can be more expensive, for example Amsterdam - Paris can be around €35 if you book 3 months in advance, or around €100 if you wait till last minute. But you can find ways around it... for example book an unpopular travel time like extremely early morning or late at night which tends to have some cheaper tickets left; take a bus instead; hitchhike through www.hitchhikers.org (safety not guaranteed), or do the journey in smaller steps using local trains that have fix price instead of those fluctuating prices.

- flights within Europe might be more expensive if you book last-minute, then again there are all kinds of deals, follow www.tix.nl , easyjet.com , www.vueling.com , www.ticketspy.nl , www.klm.nl and other sites that warn you for deals (for example get their newsletters).

- for some countries you might need a visa or other document, so sometimes you need to spend some time organizing or planning something during your trip. But that can also be part of the fun.

As you can see I can think of many more advantages than disadvantages.

Southeast Asia is also an option you might want to consider, your GBP's will last you a lot longer once you're there. And very, very good for traveling on a whim, except for a few visa issues that can easily be found beforehand, just make sure you know how they work and you can still go without arranging them beforehand. Oh and you will need some jabs for SE Asia.

The evenings can be great times for making plans for tomorrow or the next couple of days. For example for looking things up on the internet (part of the fun!) or reading in a guidebook.

Cecilia

http://cile.home.xs4all.nl/

Edited: 19 December 2014, 01:49
Dundee, United...
Level Contributor
320 posts
7. Re: Trevelling solo, not sure where im going!

Wow how I envy you mate if only I was 23 again with 4k burning in my pocket, but if It was me I would be looking at 1 or 2 months pottering round Netherlands, Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy all connected by rail and with excellent transfer links within each country, plus you can nip over on the ferry from the UK and pretty much start your trip as soon as you land in mainland Europe, good luck let us know how you get on mate.

Luxembourg City...
Level Contributor
892 posts
39 reviews
8. Re: Trevelling solo, not sure where im going!

If you start in April, why don't start with some southern destination where you can fly cheap (say, southern Italy, or Greece). And then make your way back with buses, trains, on foot, a couple of cheap ryanair flights. Amsterdam in April may not differ too much from England, southern Italy will be a totally different world.

I do not like planning and usually book accommodation for the first night of my trip only, then everything is depending on plans, feeling and weather, I have never had problems with that (apart from isle of skye and, funny enough, Amsterdam). If there is a place on earth for which you really need to secure affordable and decent place to stay a night months ahead, that's Amsterdam. Horribly expensive, touristy, crowded place. If you really wish to visit Amst, don't stay a night there, stay in Brussels, Antwerp, Rotterdam and make a day trip to Amst.

Edited: 28 December 2014, 19:53
9. Re: Trevelling solo, not sure where im going!

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