Travel Single and Safe in Italy
Want to travel to Italy but nobody you know wants to go?
Have specific dates for your holidays but none of your friends have the same options?
Does your spouse want to stay home this time?
You're not alone --- you're part of the fast growing single traveller market. As a frequent single traveller in Italy and elsewhere, here are my tips on companionship, safety, money matters, and quality of life for travelling solo in Italy and beyond.
1. Look for restaurants or hotels with communal tables. It's easy to start a conversation over a meal. Choose restaurants with tables close together so it's easy to strike up a conversation.
2. Break up your time alone with half or full day tours with a specific focus so you have fun with people of similar interests. Ask your travel agent or local tourist office for city walking tours, day wine tours or other short trips.
3. Find tours that cater to single travellers. We send many singles to two companies who accept a solo traveler, one family, is in Chianti and one in Sorrento. They give cooking lessons in their homes; there are always people around for company. A family member takes the single traveller on the same excursions as a group.
4. And if you want a congenial travel companion for your trip? Look to sites like http://www.travelchums.com to set up your profile & find a travel companion among their members.
Safety For Solo Women
5. No matter what hour of the day, if a street is deserted you may not want to walk there. In general, stick to streets where other people are walking. Walking along the Arno River in Florence at 10:00 p.m. is wonderful. Walking down a deserted little street in mid-afternoon may not be wise.
6. Dress in ordinary clothes, leave jewellery at home. Take a handbag with a shoulder strap you can put diagonally across your chest. Walk with a strong, confident bearing; don't look like a victim stay alert. All the above apply in any big city. In small country towns relax a bit, little happens there.
7. What about men chatting you up? Just like at home, stick to public places until you're comfortable. If you're not interested, politely say "no thanks" as many times as it takes.
8. Find tours that have no single supplement. We have a few cooking tours in Italy without the supplement. Ask us! Other tour companies in Italy, some walking tours, match you up with a roommate. Hikers are a nice bunch in general. Be open to new people, & make friends!
9. When looking for a hotel, email the hotel directly about a single room and don't book online. Any other special requests you have such as a request for a quiet room not over looking the street can be made at that time.
Quality of Life
10. To give yourself enjoyable meal experiences, go to restaurants on the early side (12:30 for lunch, 7:30 for dinner, 7:00 in big tourist cities) and get the best seat. Then no one minds if you occupy a table for two with a front row view of the sea or the parade of life in the piazza.
11. Accept help and reach out to other travellers. If someone offers to help you carry your suitcase up the stairs in a train station, say yes, thank them and give them a big smile.
Have a happy time travelling solo in Italy or beyond!
About the author:
Margaret Cowan is Mama Margaret. She owns "Mama Margaret & Friends Cooking, Wine & Walking Adventures in Italy." If you like to immerse yourself in the local culture, learn to cook local dishes and meet unique characters when you travel, you will appreciate Margaret's "Insider Travel Tips" at: http://www.italycookingtours.com
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