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Are you wondering on how to travel solo in Europe or looking for some solo female travel tips for backpackers? Europe is one of the safest places to travel when you are on your own and travelling Europe alone on a budget as it has some of the cheap places to travel. It can be a great place to meet people and fellow travellers as well and you can also travel cheap especially in May and June or October and November.

The eastern parts of Europe attracts with its rich history, magnificent architecture and cultural experiences. In 2020, more and more travelers will replace the most traditional weekend cities like London, Paris and Barcelona, ​​the cities located to the east of Europe. Europe is a continent and hence it is impossible to explore it in just one trip.

What you can do in 15 days is choose places that will be a tad bit light on your pocket and get to know them well. Here you will find a melting pot of culture, interesting food traditions and unique travel experiences with slightly lower prices than elsewhere in Europe - a real win-win. Now you have two options to pursue.

Travel to a lot of places in a touch and go manner and add up to your list of places covered. Travel to a few places but explore them really well.

travel europe alone

1. Use apps for travel


It's far better and cheaper than the others. The apps that we usually use in our trips and that we also recommend for Europe are Uber, offline Google Maps, public transport, or Zomato. They still work with the GPS but do not incur roaming charges, when abroad. Print off all documents. Mobile phones now have convenient apps which display e-tickets. But your phone might stop working just as you need it. Also bring printed schedule.

You need pens to do some documentation almost everywhere you go. Carry a pen. Also, carry photos and other documents if the country is visa on arrival.

2. Book a good hotel/AirBnb


If you are a bachelor, you should always prefer hostels to hotels. Hostels in Europe are great and you get to interact with people from all over the world when you stay there. Book a hostel near a railway station/old town. Then you save a lot of effort walking/travelling to there. If you are travelling alone or with friends, search for hostels before you book Airbnb or hotels.

Chances are you will have a much cheaper stay and also you will make some friends on the way.

Try to stay in hostels as much as possible. You don’t need to bunk in a dorm. You can avail single rooms as well. The best hostel properties can be booked from sites like Hostel World and Agoda. You can use Airbnb or hostels if you're friendly and it'll save funds. Book a good AirBnb (of course, after checking the reviews). In southern Europe, they’re abundant — though cheap rentals are putting a real pinch on locals looking for a place to live.

The really great thing about southern Europe is that there’s usually plenty of accommodation options for under $40 a night. Cheap things for tourists often have a serious downside for locals. Higher prices in the Nordic countries are one reason why, for the most part, they’re not a swamp of tourist selfie-sticks.

Don't feel shame in asking discounts at hotels. You may get it. Not all want to lose customers. Ask for the WiFi password if the hotel have a WiFi. You paid for it. It's your right.

3. Ask your hostel or research for free walking tours


Try to walk through the cities than the Hop on Hop off buses, you will get know much better idea of the cities, culture and architecture. Almost all big cities in Europe offer free walking tours which usually take place twice a day from the city center or famous attractions. Make sure to arrive there on time, and tip at the end of the tour what you want and can afford.

Go visit around some unplanned locations that were not originally on your list, and see what unexpectedly amazing memories you create. Your best memory will be the evening you spent wandering around with no specific plan, the beer you drank in a piazza while you gazed at the fountain, or the unexpected conversation you had with an interesting stranger who you’ll never see again.

There are lots of small alleyways. PERFECTLY SAFE TOO! You enter an alleyway and see so many people, lots of tiny shops. It’s like a tiny little world of its own.

If you really want to enjoy any country, try local food, stay, local travelling options like bicycles in Amsterdam and Copenhagen and events. Christmas markets are best in some parts of Europe, like Budapest (Hungary), Vienna (Austria) and Dusseldorf (Germany). You can try Glühwein, it beats the cold. Accept a fika (Swedish word for afternoon coffee/tea with cookies) if you are asked to.

4. Do not wear shorts if you are an adult


Italian men never wear shorts, very young Italian women do, occasionally. Do not forget that in Italy summer can be hot and sunny, you may not like getting extensive sunburns. Bermuda shorts are not considered very elegant but are usually OK, so are those horrible mid-calf trousers (capri in English, pinocchietto in Italian). But stay away from shorts.

5. Avoid casual or random flings


The risk of a trick-roll is very high while travelling, you’ve no idea what mess they hold with them. Think long and hard as to whether the Red Light district in Amsterdam is something you really want to do. You might think you need to do it, or think you want to do it. Until you’re in the middle of a bunch of gawking stag party types, most of whom are drunk or aimlessly milling about or both, crammed into a very small part of the city.

Make sure you bring contraception in case you get lucky.

6. No binge drinking


Follow local customs and have a bit to eat with your drinks. You will find that it has its merits. Do not take an aggressive exchange of words for an invite to physical violence. It is a rare event should it happen and seen as a lack of wits. Do not take loud exchange of words and shouting for aggression. It is just the way people talk, the more south the louder. Just live with it and join in.

Do not complain over kids out late with parents at the bar. This is a different custom and they really do have it under perfect control. Just live with it.

7. Always bring at least one physical photocopy of your passport


In case you are a student, carry your ID. A lot of places in Europe offer discounts to students. Apply for a multiple entry Schengen Visa before making bookings of flights, trains and accommodations. Once your visa is approved, then go ahead and plan. Always make a habit of uploading or saving copies of your important docs on cloud.

In many Schengen countries, like Spain, France, Belgium and the Netherlands, carrying an official ID document (which for foreigners normally means passport or EU ID card) at all times is compulsory to some degree. In others, like Germany, there is no requirement to carry official ID, but it is advisable to have some form of ID.

It’s not always easy to find out what the rules in any given country are. Now, in some countries you may risk a fine if you’re checked by police when you don’t have your passport on you. This is fairly unlikely in the first place. If you’re a tourist, you’re carrying a photocopy of your passport, and you’re polite, most police officers will probably be lenient even if they could theoretically fine you.

Depending on what you’re doing and how old you are, you might also need your passport for other purposes, like buying alcohol or getting age-based discounts in museums. Now you have to weigh the risk of pickpockets against the possible inconvenience and the risk of a fine.

8. Compare the picture of the driver


If you're using Uber or Lyft, be certain the vehicle that shows up is legit. Compare the picture of the driver you are expecting with the person driving. Download offline maps of your route. You can't trust network everywhere. Just download the maps of all the cities in your phone and you wouldn't need to buy a local SIM card everywhere.

Saving offline maps can help but you always need to search hotels/metro time and all. Buy a local plan. You can find its much cheaper than what you pay in-country for an international plan. It also helps to find when is your next metro bus train. Learn to read the metro lines in the google app. It's helpful.

9. Carry your own water bottle


You don’t see lots of stores near the tourist attractions, so you are told to carry empty water bottles. You see hoses lying around and water fountains. People actually refill 2–3 of their empty water bottles at these fountains.

10. Try to fit to meal times


Eat as much as possible from supermarkets and small local stores and street shops. Eating at a restaurant can easily set you back from $10-$20 per person, per meal depending on which country you are. Europeans prefer parceling the leftovers but aren’t familiar with the concept of sharing food. They take coffee black, but it’s not bitter. It has a really smooth flavor to it, and the sweet pastries are a perfect pairing to the coffee, to start your day on a good note.

It doesn’t matter where you go; eat like the locals do! Many are afraid to try any of the street food because of fear of food poisoning. You’ll experience the place through its food. You’ll enjoy plenty of the boring McDonald’s tastes back home. Eat more at small eateries than plush restaurants. If possible, cook yourself in case you have a kitchen in your hostel or if you’re staying in an Airbnb apartment.

There are two main distinguishing features of the breads of Northern Europe including Germany, Scandinavia and Poland as compared to the breads popular in countries like France, Italy and Britain. They typically use rye rather than just wheat for flour. In Germany, breads made from mixtures of different grains are quite popular, but breads made predominantly from rye are also common.

They normally use sourdough for leavening rather than baker's yeast; this gives them their characteristic sour flavour. That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of other wonderful styles of bread. Take a nice baguette, for instance! Depending on what you’re comparing it to, there may be more to it, though: a good German or Danish rye bread, a fresh baguette, a warm pita bread – those are solid.

Prices in most of southern Europe are more on par with prices in the rural Midwest or South, at least when it comes to food. Specially for people who do not eat meat, should carry their own snacks. Even though vegan culture is largely spread across different countries now, there are still very less options for veg/vegan food.

Before starting your day, do visit a supermarket in that particular city. Like Albert heijn in Amsterdam, Lidl in Germany, they provide lot of ready to eat options and are way cheaper than the restaurants you will see on your way. Don’t waste money on buying food at the airport, have some rice wafers or peanuts with you.

The further south you go, the later meals are. If you are hungry around 6 pm you may consider having an aperitivo, which means ordering a long drink (non-alcoholic options are OK) and grab whatever you like from a buffet. Most larger bars offer some kind of aperitivo, which range from just a few strips of pizza and focaccia to an array of finger foods, to pasta and meat in covered warmers.

In restaurants, no tip! Love it! But they charge a service charge which is a charge to use their silverware, tablecloth and complimentary bread. WATER IS NOT FREE! You have to pay for a bottle of tap water. Also, lots of restaurants have outdoor dining. They have a fan, but it has some sort of mist attachment. So the air that blew out, was cold and not hot air.

11. Make use of public transport


Try to stay close to the centre and walk everywhere. Unless you need to visit a spot outside the city, public transportation tickets are not necessary. This is also why traveling by train or by bus is the best mode of travel in Europe when it comes to proximity to centre and reducing your travel costs.

Budget airlines in Europe are abundant, and it’s normally as cheap or cheaper to fly than it is to take a bus, train, or definitely to drive yourself. EU doesn’t tax jet fuel, so that keeps airfare low. If you are crossing large distances, do check out cheap flight options such as Ryan Air, Easy Jet and Wizz Air.

The only catch is that they do not allow a checked luggage and have very specific carry on dimensions. Check-in bags can cost a small fortune, and you really can pack a lot into your hand luggage suitcase or soft back. Always take a drawstring bag, too - it is a lifesaver in so many cases!

Bookmark sites like Skyscanner and Expedia for staying aware of offers and discounts on flights. Keep checking them months before your trip. Always use Google flights and a few other websites to compare flight prices. Always take a look at flights price on incognito mode. Also, some countries have visa restrictions for transit.

Not always flying will be the best option - it’s always worth checking the price of trains or even buses. It can turn out that they get you from point A to point B in similar time, but lower price. Traveling solo in Europe is easy thanks to the excellent public transportation networks which criss-cross the country.

When looking through traveling organization tips, you’ll hear a lot about using public transport. Yes, that works for big cities. Travel in Local transport as much as possible. You will save upto 80℅ in travelling. Take the train. Aircraft travel is cramped and disorientating. Trains are relaxing, sometimes taking scenic routes.

Sleeping cars, dining cars and a convivial atmosphere makes for a great travel experience. Trains are an easy and budget way of commute in Europe. Within cities, use local subway trains and outside cities, travel by connecting trains. Check out the official website of Eurail Pass to understand the route and pricing. A Eurail Pass is the cheapest way to travel around Europe.

There are sleeper cars and a lot of long distance trains have restaurant cars that serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Train travel also provides a great opportunity to meet other travelers and hear about where they have been what what places they recommend. Tourists stretch public transportation capacity to its maximum. Some metro stations in Prague, Paris or London to name a few random names, are sometimes über-crowded.

But when you’re exploring remote destinations, it doesn’t work. Plan to rent your vehicle before getting to your destination, so you won’t waste time searching around. It can wait for you at the airport. Car rentals in southern Europe are often so cheap they’re almost free. You can rent a car in Spain for $11 a day, and one in Croatia for something like that.

Explore all travel options. Buses in Europe are very cheap and comfortable. Also, when you book overnight buses you can easily save money on accommodation for a day. For an early morning flight, you could even consider reaching the airport the night before if you are really thrifty.

12. Bring a credit or debit card


Increasing numbers of businesses don’t use cash at all. Be sure to bring a credit or debit card. If you don’t want to bring your own bank’s card, you can buy pre-paid cash cards at currency exchange places in airports. Don’t bother with traveler’s checks.

13. Be friendly


This is one of the most practical traveling organization tips you’ll get, although it doesn’t sound like one. You’ll benefit from the experience and knowledge of locals, as well as from connections with other tourists. Even if you want to spend a lot of time alone or with your partner, being friendly is still important. You’ll have questions and you’ll need recommendations. Being known as the kind person in the group goes to your advantage.

There is more to a solo Europe trip than ticking off girls trips to Paris and Barcelona. You should take the time to explore more than just the traditional options. The map of Europe forms a rich and diverse tapestry. And then, there is the behaviour. Scandinavians are, by any measure, very quiet, understated, and ever so slight. They tend to be introverts, very modest, and diplomatic.

Danes are known for cosiness, Finns are among those who drink the most coffee in the world, the Norwegians are known for their rides, hiking, skiing, camping trips and cab rides. While the Swedes love to spread coffee culture. Learn to say hello and thank you in the local language and you’ll have an even better experience with the locals. In Europe you are supposed to apologize even if you touch someone by mistake.

Talk to the locals. Ask for help if you get lost. Never ask only one person for directions. Ask a few people for directions to the same location because chances are, one of them is wrong.

14. Travel during off-season


I cannot tell how much money you’ll be able to save during that time of the year. You will have to pay around 2 to 3 times more money if you have not planned your travel, stay and itinerary way before the pick season. Book your train tickets, air, airbnb, hostel as soon as your travel itinerary is confirmed. Exchange currency in your own country, before leaving!

The popular myth is that the Nordic countries are super expensive, but in fact, they’re pretty much on par with the expensive parts of the United States. A sit-down dinner with a waiter in Helsinki is probably going to cost you $30+, especially if you order alcohol. Northern Europe in general is going to be pricier than southern Europe, but, northern Europe has other options.

You don’t have to eat at a sit-down restaurant. And you don’t have to stay at a hotel. In fact, once you cover certain places in Europe on your first trip, the trips that follow in the future will be all budget friendly trips.

15. Do your own research


As a solo female traveler or singles you have the freedom to set your own itinerary. There are lot of beautiful cities and places than the one we normally see on social media. Paris is not so romantic, but Nice in France is. Do not plan trip to 7 countries in 10 days, just to update them all on your timeline. You will not even enjoy half of them, because you will be exhausted while travelling and there is much more than a single monument in any city.

Planning down to each hour would be little excessive, as you might end up spending more than planned time at a certain place or the place you really want to visit is closed. This is particularly relevant when you travel to see natural phenomenon such as the aurora. You need to spend at least 3 days in the middle of nowhere to increase your probability of being able to see the northern lights. So make an itinerary, but keep enough buffer.

European countries have diverse landscape and unless you visit it all you would not know. However for the first time traveler, it would be impossible to visit each and every city. Visit one of the Scandinavian countries like Norway, Sweden, Finland or Denmark. Visit the beaches of Lisbon in Portugal, Barcelona in Spain, Nice in France, Naples in Italy, or Athens in Greece.

Visit cities rich in art and history like Paris in France, Rome and Florence in Italy, Vienna in Austria. Visit east European cities like Hvar, Plitvice national park in Croatia, Krakow in Poland, Budapest in Hungary. Visit cities that are not in the list of first time travelers like Budapest in Hungary, Prague in Czech Republic, Valletta in Malta, Berlin in Germany.

If you are on a one week trip through Germany or Austria and want to see a theatre play every evening in a different city, you can accomplish it with ease by driving perhaps 50 kilometres a day. There will be theatres and cultural offerings every few steps.

Try that approach in Sweden, and you are spending the days in your car, powering through probably more like 200 kilometres of blissful scenery to get to the next town with a theatre. That’s because Sweden is three times the size of Germany, but with only one-eighth the population. There’s simply nobody here!

Visit cities that are not touristic but beautiful Sofia in Bulgaria, Tallinn in Estonia, Andorra la Vella in Andorra. Visit the cities at its best like Amsterdam when tulips are blooming during March to May, Provence region when Lavenders take over the landscape in July, Cologne in Germany during the Carnival or Oktoberfest, Swiss mountains when they are covered in snow.

Do visit places that you always wished to visit even if it is a tourist trap. Yes Eiffel towel is overrated, the Oia sunset in Santorini is overcrowded, but when you grew up reading about these places and wished to visit these once, you should. If you went to Paris, and didn’t see the Eiffel Tower, did you even go to Paris?

Plan in your mind what is it that you exactly want to cover, and read reviews online. You’d maximize the satisfaction you get after the trip. Book tickets for popular monuments like the Eiffel, Louvre online beforehand or you might have to stand in long queues.

Time is money and you wouldn't want to waste 2 hours standing in a queue just to book tickets! Book tickets at least 3 months in advance. Book in advance for the best prices and make sure to be flexible. The more flexible your itinerary is, the more advantage you can take of last minute events and festivals, which never seem to end in Europe.

Don’t buy souvenirs right in front of or near to attractions. If you are in a very popular city, chances are you will get the same stuff at a very less price 1-2 km far from it. Haggling and bargaining won’t work everywhere, if possible take a local acquaintance with you for shopping, ask the hotel personnel or AirBNB host where to buy stuff.

So do your research where you are going, timing of attractions (some churches in Europe get closed in afternoon and again open in evening), where you will stay, how you will commute from Airport/Railway station to your hotel/Airbnb, about local cuisines, local transportation, daily pass and many more. Reading articles will help in many ways.

Make the most of the internet by researching, booking and planning your travel and accommodation. Don’t leave things to chance especially in busier summer months. Make sure you choose different types of countries to avoid getting fed up! Mix it up between ones with beaches, jungle, tropical, mountains and more cultural.

Any travel destination on Instagram is probably over rated and overcrowded already. Many people tend to have a romantic notion of certain European countries, and when they visit them, many people are disappointed in seeing the not-so-romantic parts of them. Because no country is perfect, not every part of those countries are flawless, but that’s what they saw in brochures and videos before the actual trip.

Don't rely on one source while making decision, confirm, research then make a final decision like food, laundry, currency exchange etc. A lot of travelers feel that Europe is damn expensive. Well it isn’t of you have the time and the passion to plan ahead and plan well.

As a traveler, you will be spending a lot on flights and visa. But compensate the extra cost bu saving hugely on accommodation, food and sightseeing. A 15 day trip to this part of the world should not cost you more. Europe isn’t as expensive as people imagine it to be. All you need to do is spend more on exploration and not on bookings.

The dark side of Italy is that too many tourists come with a checklist of things they must see. They rush through it all with barely enough time to appreciate where they are, and return home with nothing but a few pictures that nobody will remember in 6 months and a bit of extra credit card debt.

Your brain can only absorb so many works of art before it gets saturated. No matter how well you plan, you’re not going to see everything, and if you try to hard you’ll ruin your vacation. Try to deeply enjoy a few things, and give yourself plenty of time to relax. Your greatest memory won’t be craning your neck in the Sistine Chapel while 139 people are pushing you.

There are various free day tours in almost every city where you get to explore the city with a guide. Note that you are expected to tip the guide in the end.

Bring prescription medication you need and enough of it to last you the whole time, unless you are going to countries where you can buy it over the counter. Check the availability in countries you are going to.

Finally, respect local culture, laws and traditions. If its not allowed to drink at public places (Amsterdam), swim in Venice canals don’t do it, even if you can without someone noticing you.

The entire trip will be an immersive experience. It is about getting lost in the streets, stumbling upon great places, meeting people and preserving memories. It is about people gazing in Paris, calmness of canals in Amsterdam, sunrise at Charles Bridge in Prague, spine-chilling bull fighting in Madrid, serene beaches in Ibiza and Spanish music in Barcelona.

The Ring Scam is one seen in Paris. You, the unwitting tourist, are walking on one of the paths in the Tuileries Gardens when you see a glittering gold wedding ring lying in very plain sight. When you pick it up, the person who laid it there, usually standing unobtrusively about 40 feet away, rushes over to either sell you the ring she has lost or demand a payment from you.

The other variation is for them to run up for the ring just as you reach for it and then let you keep the ring you both found if you just give them a small payment. The language varies but the ruse is all based on your picking up the ring. So just don't.

In fact, go off to an unobtrusive distance yourself and watch how the scam artist manages the whole process with the next unwitting tourist. It is a bit like watching a creative squirrel raid a bird feeder -- fun to watch if you are not the bird.

So why not take the time to opt for the road less travelled on your next vacation with our travel destinations?
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Kalyan Panja Kalyan Panja Author

3 comments:

  1. My wife and I are heading to London in a few months and were trying to decide where else to stop. Your list has some great suggestions!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great list! Some unexpected ones in there. And Spain is just full of hidden gems, love it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Love this list! Italy is already in my plans for this year, and you know what, Norway looks stunning! I feel like it might be one of those non-touristy places that I would enjoy.

    ReplyDelete

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