Solo Female Travel In Italy | Alyssa J Freitas: Solo Female Travel In Italy

March 21, 2018

Solo Female Travel In Italy

I'm back with another travel post! Most recently I posted a video of how I packed for Italy in a backpack and today I'm sharing my experience with solo female travel. This is something I had considered in the abstract for a while, but when it came to actually taking the leap and going away on my own, the decision was surprisingly easy. Today I'm going to go over my thoughts before the trip, the experience itself, and what I would tell anyone considering taking a solo trip (male or female).
Click to read now or pin to save for later! Considering solo travel? Here's my experience and what you should consider before you go
Photo credit: @allymarcinophotography

First, let me give you a recap of my "big" travels before Italy. I'd been to Europe and Asia with my family once before when I was sixteen. In the spring of 2017 I went to Mexico with some girlfriends and took a one day excursion on my own and I went to California with Ally in January, 2017. Since then I've done a bunch of domestic business travel (with one random solo trip to Disney...read the story here) and a few weekend getaways with Joe.

With working in Manhattan I feel comfortable with public transportation and I don't have much of a problem with being confident in myself to navigate and make sure I'm safe. So what were my main concerns and thoughts before going?

Thoughts before the trip


Will I get bored? Although I've written before about how to be your own best friend, there's a difference between some solo time and going days in a foreign country on your own (naturally). While it's great to be able to control what you want to see, how long you want to be at each attraction, when to eat and sleep, and all that, it's still a big commitment to head out on your own.

Will I regret not getting to share the experience with someone else? One of the joys of traveling is having fun with someone you love and making memories of a shared experience. Without someone else there to discuss the museums I visited or the food I tasted, I wondered if it would take away from the experience of if I would regret going on my own.

Other than that, I felt good to go, but those are two big things! The main reasons I decided to head across the ocean were:
1. To see Ally, obviously
2. I've wanted to visit Italy for a few years
3. I have the means to go and didn't want a lack of companion for the full duration of the trip to hold me back
4. When it came down to it, I would be on my own for about three and a half days before going to Ally, so this felt like a great compromise to give solo travel a try
Photo credit: @hansoulfood

The Experience

As suspected, I didn't have any trouble navigating on my own. From buses to trains to planes to boats, I did it all. And that's because I wasn't afraid to ask and I took my time figuring out a plan instead of rushing myself. It was also a HUGE help to have international cell service so I could use Google maps. Plus, when it came to getting to my accommodations (an Airbnb in Rome and Ally in Trieste) I was given directions by people who live there before I even landed. If something were to go wrong, I've found that you can *usually* find someone who speaks a bit of English and is willing to help (there was some trouble when I was leaving Trieste in an airport where most people did not speak English, but I stayed calm and eventually found someone. Worst case scenario you'll be delayed as you figure it out, no reason to panic).

Safety is always a concern, but I was aware of my surroundings and didn't stay out too late or anywhere I felt uncomfortable. With some research beforehand, I was confident in the area I was staying in and the safety of Rome and Italy in general.

Now on to the two questions that were highest priority on my mind once the basics were covered. 

Will I get bored? Nope, not even a bit! With three days in a city with that much history and art, it was nearly impossible to be bored. I booked a tour for each full day I was there (a photography tour to hit up some of the most iconic sites and a tour of the colosseum) so I knew I would have people to interact with and activities to do. Aside from that I found myself spending hours in the Vatican, eating dinner with a woman I befriended while waiting in line for a restaurant, and even getting to meet up with one of my mother's coworkers who ended up being in Rome at the same time as me!
From talking to locals, getting lost in museums, and getting gelato whenever I felt like it, there certainly wasn't any boredom.

Will I regret not getting to share the experience with someone else? This one is a bit more tricky to answer. It's a yes and no. I think the trip would have been enhanced with a companion by my side for sure, but then it wouldn't have been the same trip. I wouldn't have learned that I can do it on my own, or gotten to meet the people along the way that I did, or frankly, had as much time to fully reflect and take in everything I was experiencing. When it comes down to it, I would rather travel with someone else (if our goals for the trip are aligned, of course. I need a hard core museum buddy for a place like Rome), but if there's somewhere I want to go and the option is go by myself or don't go, I will happily choose go on my own.

There are a lot of hyped stories of solo travel where you go away and find yourself and come back an entirely new, more worldly person. I can't claim this happened to me. What I can say it that I came back more confident and excited about what I saw and what I'll be able to do in the future. 

What I would tell anyone considering taking a solo trip

Do it! Do it now! Just kidding, consider a few things first... then do it!

Here's what you should think about:
  • Is the place you want to go friendly for tourists? I.e. established public transportation, English speakers, generally safe, lots to do/entertain you
  • Are you the type of person who enjoys time on your own? Even if the answer is usually "no," I'd push yourself to consider giving it a go if you think you won't completely hate being on your own the entire time
  • A year from now, will you wish you had done it?
When you can confidently tick of the basics of safety, financial feasibility, and genuine interest in the location, pushing yourself to have a new experience on your own is a great way to grow and challenge yourself. 

Have you taken a trip on your own? What would you tell someone considering venturing off by themselves? Any favorite solo destinations?

-AJF
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