Woman traveling alone Greece + Italy
Replies: 32 - Last Post: Sep 4, 2013 12:35 AM Last Post By: BthDth
Aug 26, 2013 7:19 PM
Woman traveling alone Greece + ItalyHi, I'm a 24 year old female planning a solo two week trip to Italy and Greece in November. I've never traveled alone but I think it will be awesome. My parents however are shockingly upset and worried that I would choose to do this.
Most of the advice/considerations from similar posts are to use common sense and it's perfectly safe. Is there anything else I should keep in mind? Areas to avoid? Public transportation to avoid? Is it ok to go out at night by myself or should I make sure to go with someone? I also am sadly terrible at languages and only speak english- will this be an issue?
I don't have my itinerary set yet but it'll likely involve Athens, Ios, Rome, Florence and Venice.
Any tips or success stories to quell my parents' distress would be much appreciated!
Aug 26, 2013 11:44 PM
1Use common sense,and its perfectly safe ;-)
No problems about going out or using public transport...lots of females travel solo in these places,and of course millions live in these countries and move around every day.
You just need to be aware of your surroundings (like any place you don't know)..don't wander around drunk and alone late at night,or flash large amounts of money.Maybe use a moneybelt or at least keep your valuables out of reach....
BTW Ios in November is going to be..very quiet! Most of the bars will be closed i guess,and the beaches will be too cold (for me anyway).
Aug 27, 2013 12:55 AM
2Ios in November? No, an utter waste of your time. I'm assuming you picked the place because it's reputation as a party scene.
Where do you live? How safe is it?
Same thing in most places. The problems for (younger) travelers in new places is that sometimes they are too self-conscious about their visitor status, try too hard to 'meet locals', get into trouble exploring places they're not familiar with (pretending they're more experienced than they really are), looking for 'adventure'. It's all a mix for making dumb mistakes, and most of the mistakes can be easily avoided.
Here's an example: here at home if a complete stranger walks up to me and starts offering 'help' or starts a conversation, the warning lights start flashing. This is not the behavior of your average person leading an every-day life. People go about their business. I keep the same attitude when visiting a new city. Look around and you'll see that people generally leave each other alone. Same thing in any city, complete with families, mothers with babies, school kids, people of all ages going about their daily lives. Try to see the cities for what they are.
At the same time, impressionable tourists are easy to spot. Someone approaches me for no good reason and I'm immediately cautious. It's something you have to learn.
Safety/ theft issues only require some forethought on two points:
1. steps to avoid petty/opportunistic theft in the first place
2. a backup plan in the event that something is stolen
There's no value in being worried about 'what if' scenarios. Think about what to do ahead of time and you'll be OK.
Aug 27, 2013 4:00 AM
3Very good advice given you so far. I started travelling alone in my own country at 17 and abroad from age of 20 and I was pretty naïve at first. With regard to your chosen destinations, I have knowledge of Athens and Venice in recent years (the others too long ago to be helpful). Athens is fairly safe but avoid the Omonia area except in the main part of the day. As #2 says, people will come up to you and strike up a conversation - hey, you are 24 and female and on your own and you are visiting the home of South European males - you don't need to be like one of my friends and instantly be hostile, but be wary and don't get drawn in. If they are offering you a wonderful sounding deal - trip to somewhere, etc, then it is probably a con. Listen to your vibes - don't ignore any niggly feelings. If you feel even slightly uneasy, walk away. I don't think you'll get any trouble but if you are in a difficult spot, seek out another woman and ask her to help you. Having said that, some people are lovely but you have to look after yourself. Going out at night is OK if you stick to well used and well lit streets. With regard to Venice - it is THRONGED with tourists all day and all evening and you are safe walking about in it. Lovely place.
You could also tell your parents that you won't be on your own for long because although you go on the road initially alone, you will meet many other travellers and be with them for parts of your trip and make a lot of friends. Trouble is, of course, you won't ever want to stop travelling for the rest of your life (needn't tell them that).
Aug 27, 2013 4:09 AM
4PS to above: When I began travelling overseas, one of my grandfathers, who had been in the Middle East during both wars, told me "Never get in a taxi with more than one man in it - i.e. just with the driver". I always remembered this and never did until once in India, was with another female traveller and we caught a bemo in which the driver had his friend next to him. I told my companion of my grandfather's warning and, sure enough, when we stopped the driver's mate tried to steal her jewellery as we got out. (In my grandfather's day, the trick was to drive you into the desert and rob you). Worth being cautious. Other thing to tell you re taxis is that I've been ripped off many times by Athens taxi-drivers (many people will say the same - it happens to a lot of foreigners) - one of their scams is to take your note of payment (especially if it is dim lighting) then hold up a lesser one and say that is what you gave them and it is not enough - if you are tired and unfamiliar with the currency, you might well believe this. They can also ask for too much money. They MUST use the meter and they are allowed to charge more for picking you up from the airport and some other venues (there is a printed card of charges they can show you) and initial flagfall should register the pick-up fee anyway. They can, I think, also charge if you have a large amount of luggage (also on the official card), so they might want to add that on to the final charge. Also, make sure you've got your luggage with you before you pay as one of my friends once turned from paying the taxi driver to get her luggage out and he took off with all of it and she never saw it again.
Aug 27, 2013 5:35 AM
Aug 27, 2013 6:58 AM
Aug 27, 2013 9:26 AM
7Nightlife is essentially for tourists. Native islanders wouldn't bother. And there won't be tourists.
Considering the amount of time you have, nds44, it is a waste of resources to go to a Greek island, and even to Athens under the circumstances. While I agree withe the previous poster that the worth of a visit to one or another island depends on your reasons for visiting, the mere fact that you are asking the question (and had picked Ios as an option) implies to me that your reasons don't fit the season.
Aug 27, 2013 9:35 AM
8I beg to disagree. What is wrong with visiting Athens in November if you want to see it? A trip to Delphi and perhaps a night there for a gentle look around. I imagine the poster just wants to see a bit of Greece and why not? If she is setting out for a trip to another continent alone in order to see things, I don't imagine nightlife is all she finds interesting.(NB she wants to see Florence, Rome and Venice - so I suspect her interests are varied)
Aug 27, 2013 4:49 PM
9I do really want to see Athens but obviously don't know much about the islands :) I read that it's pretty easy to take a day trip from Athens to some of them, which is why I figured I'd check it out (heard Ios was awesome) and appreaciate the feedback that it might not be the greatest idea in november. Nightlife is a plus but not really a priority for me. I might look into visiting the peloponnese instead- delphi would also be cool I think.
Aug 28, 2013 2:57 AM
Aug 28, 2013 4:15 AM
Anyone can do what they want. I don't care. The OP can go to Ios for that matter. But this simply begs the question what is on any one person's mind when they pick their destinations. What, for example does the phrase "Greek islands" conjure up in one's thoughts. Again, practically, a person can be physically in an island, but what is the point (beyond saying you have "been on a Greek island") if it doesn't fit whatever it is you are imagining?
What if someone's head is full of postcard images of one of the cycladic islands during summer season. Sure Aegina is an "island", technically, and you can ferry out and back from Piraeus in Nov. in a half day. And the goal "visit Greek island" has been achieved.
What a weird way of planning a trip ..
With a limited view (or lack of knowledge), you might not even be able to tell whether you're on an island or somewhere along the mainland coast. If all someone wants is "picturesque town by the sea" they could do a lot worse than Nafplio, to give one example.
Aug 28, 2013 4:46 AM
12But that's the thing, people have all sorts of, perhaps to others, "weird" reasons for wanting to see things but if they want to see somewhere for themselves, even for a brief visit, there isn't any harm, is there? If you live on another continent and have heard all your life about how fantastic the Greek islands are and seen some stunning photos, you might well want to have a quick visit to see for yourself with your own eyes. Joanna Lumley (actress) had a story book when she was a small child in Malaysia of a penguin that stood watching the Northern Lights and formed a lifelong wish to go and see them and experience it for herself - weird? No, I don't think so - different triggers push you to travel to a place and if it is something you really feel drawn to do, why not do it - you don't have to justify your reasons to others. A life of travel has taught me to be a more laid-back and tolerant person, for which I am grateful and has made me a more contented person - I wouldn't discourage anyone else from venturing where they wish - if it turns out a little disappointing here and there , then you begin to learn what you prefer to look for next time.
Aug 28, 2013 7:49 AM
I agree that a 3 day trip to Athens on such a short trip is not worth the time and money. Plenty of stuff to see in Italy. NOt saying that Athens isn't worth it- but one must weigh up the added value of seeing Athens instead of somethig equally interesting in Italy versus the investment required.
Aug 28, 2013 7:56 AM
14nds, I am this forum's biggest fan of Greece -- just completed my 11th extensive trip -- but I advise you NOT to go there at this season. Greece is all about the light, and the sea, and the sun, and November is not the time for it. The history, yes, the ancient and modern culture too... but it appears that you have not explored these yet. As others have said, your mind is full of the calendar images, and you will not find them at this time of year ... and it may put u off Greece for the future. Stay in Italy ... so much to see on a rainy day, and trains to catch between towns. Build your "travel alone" savvy, read up on Greece more, then come back some May, June or September -- the ideal months to experience Greece.
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