Travel alone in Europe
By Rick Steves
I've talked to too many people who put off their travel dreams because they don't want to do it by themselves. If you want to go to Europe but don't have a partner, consider gathering the courage to go it alone. There are plenty of people to meet as you travel, and single travelers often enjoy a montage of fun temporary partners throughout their trip.
Traveling solo has its pros and cons — and for me, the pros far outweigh the cons. When you're on your own, you're independent and in control. You can travel at your own pace, do the things that interest you, eat where and when you like, and splurge where you want to splurge. You don't have to wait for your partner to pack up, and you never need to negotiate where to eat or when to call it a day. You go where you want, when you want, and you can get the heck out of that stuffy museum when all the Monets start to blur together. If ad-libbing, it's easier for one to slip between the cracks than two.
Of course, there are downsides to traveling alone: When you're on your own, you don't have a built-in dining companion. You've got no one to send ahead while you wait in line, help you figure out the bus schedule, or commiserate with when things go awry. And traveling by yourself is usually more expensive. With a partner, accommodations cost less because they're shared. Rarely does a double room add up to as much as two singles. If a single room costs , a double room will generally be about 0 — a savings of per night per person. Other things become cheaper too when you're splitting costs, such as groceries, guidebooks, taxis, storage lockers, and more.
But when you travel with someone else, it's natural to focus on your partner — how you're getting along, whether she meant it when she said she wasn't hungry — and tune out the symphony of sights, sounds, and smells all around you. Traveling on your own allows you to be more present, more open to your surroundings. You'll meet more people — you're seen as more approachable. You're more likely to experience the kindness of strangers.
Solo travel is intensely personal. You can discover more about yourself at the same time you're discovering more about Europe. Traveling on your own is fun, challenging, vivid, and exhilarating. Realizing that you have what it takes to be your own guide is a thrill known only to solo travelers. Your trip is a gift from you to you.
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