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30 year old male, first time solo traveller. Nervous........

Cardiff, United...
1 post
30 year old male, first time solo traveller. Nervous........

I haven't been on that many holidays in my life and I'm looking to make up for lost time. My last holiday was a few years ago with my then girlfriend when we had a relaxing beach holiday in Greece. I have NEVER been anywhere on my own and find the prospect a little daunting, so any help you can give me would be so appreciated you have no idea.

So I'm thinking of starting small and working my way up. Rome sounds a perfect start for a single traveller from what I've read. I'm thinking of just a few days, maybe a three day trip? So how do I do this? Do I book flights, book a well reviewed hotel somewhere central, and then what? I'm thinking I should have my days planned in advance? I'm terrified of sitting in my hotel looking at my shoes, or worse walking aimlessly on the streets waiting for something to catch my eye.

As you can probably tell "novice" would be too kind a word for me. I'm clueless! Is there a tour operator I should be booking trips with to places like the Colosseum or Vatican museums? What about food, do I pick a restaurant and then walk in and eat alone?

I'm especially scared about nightlife! I love going out, but sitting at a bar alone with a drink for a few hours with no-one to talk to, or somewhere more vibrant with dancing where I'm just standing there with a drink is not my idea of fun. What do solo travellers do in the evening?

Any help giving me any kind of direction is very much appreciated!

New York City, New...
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45,253 posts
1. Re: 30 year old male, first time solo traveller. Nervous........

First - relax - if you really want to do this (and from what you are saying you sound more frightened than anything else - are you sure you want to do this?) - get yourself a good guidebook on Rome so you can read up on all the wonderful things there are to do there. You will have more choices than you can imagine.

You can book the Vatican Museums and the Colosseum online before you go as those are the two sights that have the longest lines and booking the tickets in advance will allow you to skip the long lines to buy tickets.

Yes - you see a restaurant, look at the posted menu and go inside (or outside) and eat. No different in Rome than where you live. Always check with someone who works there to be sure it's good to sit as tables could be reserved. Again, just like where you live.

What you do at night is up to you; dinner in Rome/Italy is pretty late - so, having dinner that ends at maybe 9:30 or 10 pm leaves some time for a nice wander in the beautiful piazzas if you don't want to go to a club or anything. Totally up to you: for things to do other than the usual sites, www.inromenow.com - www.buzzinrome.com

Get the guidebook! It will make things very clear for you

Miami Beach, Florida
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2. Re: 30 year old male, first time solo traveller. Nervous........

I would first start by getting yourself a guidebook on Rome and also read the Top Question threads on the right hand side of this page.

Washington, DC
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882 posts
47 reviews
3. Re: 30 year old male, first time solo traveller. Nervous........

I'm trying to put myself in your shoes and can imagine your anxiety. In addition to the good advice you've already received, you might want to strategize about how to meet people while you are there, if only to chat to them for a few minutes. I hope the experts and those who have done it will weigh in here, but I think something like a Rome Walks tour or two, with it's small groups, would work for you.

Destination Expert
for Naples
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17,994 posts
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4. Re: 30 year old male, first time solo traveller. Nervous........

It's not clear to me if the OP's fear is travel related, or a general dislike for being alone. If you're not comfortable doing things alone at home, trying to do it elsewhere would kick up the anxiety level.

If the discomfort really is strictly due to being in an unfamiliar place, a good plan for your time will alleviate much of the problem. Perhaps a group tour or two would help bridge alone time with some social interaction.

Going on a package tour is an option, but unless the tour is designed for singles it will be expensive and you'll find yourself among couples and families, which can make you feel even more alone than if you'd gone on your own.

Rome, Italy
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for Rome
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5. Re: 30 year old male, first time solo traveller. Nervous........

I am assuming you don't speak Italian … Maybe you would like to stay in a place that has a lounge or garden where you can easily socialize with other guests, at least some of whom will probably speak English, particularly other singles or groups of friends … I am thinking something like the Beehive might be good, you may be able to meet people and perhaps find some new friends to go out and about with in the evenings. Website is http://www.the-beehive.com

Oxnard, California
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1,934 posts
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6. Re: 30 year old male, first time solo traveller. Nervous........

I am an early 50s male and will be travelling solo to Italy for the first time in September. Seven years ago I did a solo trip to Switzerland, Austria and Germany, and absolutely enjoyed my time there. On that trip I did all of my planning on my own, booking all hotels in advance, as well as all train travel prior to arriving in Europe. I planned my locations and hotels for each day, but for the most part didn't plan every single day in its entirety. There were some "must sees" for me at the time, and I managed to do most of them. On this trip, my first ever to Italy, I am taking pretty much the same approach. I think the key to enjoying your travel adventure is to not take it as a serious endeavor, and to instead view it as an exciting way to discover parts of the world you've always dreamed of seeing. You can plan the basic infrastructure of your trip, but still leave room for spontaneity in your days, and that is what I find to be what makes the overall experience so fulfilling. If you're an introvert like I am, just remember that it's your trip and your money, and take some chances. Social interaction is a necessity, and you'll have a great opportunity to engage in many conversations with people. If you're an extrovert and simply hate being alone, then go places where there are crowds and lots of action. I hear the people of Italy are extraordinarily friendly and love to interact with visitors.

My trip is about two months away, and at this point I have booked all hotels for all 15 nights of my visit. I booked my airfare in February, and booked my train tickets about a month ago. Now all I have to do is book some tours, primarily in Rome (Colloseum and Vatican, which are extremely popular), and then I'll be all set until I arrive. I'll be spending 3 nights in Venice, 4 nights Florence, 3 nights Lucca, and 5 nights in Rome. Take care of the basics like I have done, and the rest should be relatively easy to take care of. Don't be nervous.....you can have a great time and have some great experiences. I hope your trip goes well.

Brisbane, Australia
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7. Re: 30 year old male, first time solo traveller. Nervous........

I was going to suggest that maybe you look at a hostel, which is what poster #5 has suggested. I can't speak from my own experience with hostels but I have a niece who travelled solo in the US last year, staying at hostels, and met some wonderful people who she subsequently spent time with in the various cities, as well as doing some things on her own. The Beehive looks interesting. Good luck and I hope your trip goes well.

8. Re: 30 year old male, first time solo traveller. Nervous........

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Destination Expert
for Rome
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9. Re: 30 year old male, first time solo traveller. Nervous........

I think that you should accept more the idea that if you are alone you can do something, but you can't do something else. Don't be conditioned by the idea of having to meet someone: sorry, but a person who travels some days alone is quite likely not to meet anyone and not to socialize with anyone, it is a matter of fact. Accept you won't eat in restaurants (in Rome there is excellent street food) and you won't go to bars or to dancing. You'll do it when you're with someone. Take advantage of this experience to discover a city you don't know: there are a lot of sightseeing you can do alone, even wandering here and there (Rome is not just the Colosseum and the Vatican Museums, though 90-95% of tourists seem to think so). Or if you are so nervous and you can't accept to stay alone in a foreign land, give up this travel.

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
45,253 posts
10. Re: 30 year old male, first time solo traveller. Nervous........

Aristofane: why do you say the OP should accept to NOT eat in restaurants or go to a bar? I do that on my own all the time - well, not a bar per se, but I go listen to jazz on my own at various clubs and eat in restaurants pretty much every single day/night.

It's just not a big scary thing though I realize that for someone new to solo travel or solo dining, it might seem so (but, I still don't really understand that either) BUT, after doing so once, I would guess they will realize it is just fine.

I'm curious why you say the OP must accept only street food? Unless, I misunderstood something