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Lone travellers..

(21 Posts)
tanith Sun 09-Oct-11 18:33:55

My husband can't/won't fly, its never going to happen so I have given up on that idea . I just wonder how others manage to take trips overseas without a partner? I have up to now managed to tag on with my brother and family or visited my son in Gibralter but I really really want to travel to and around Australia for a good few months so a tour wouldn't work as they are all a month or less.. any ideas or stories to tell ? I'm too lilylivered to go alone I'm afraid so I'm beginning to give the idea up all together as a pipe dream..

Granny23 Mon 10-Oct-11 00:25:17

Didn't want to see your post unanswered so here goes. With my DH it is not the flying, which he enjoys, it is the being too far from home that worries him. He has lost his sense of adventure or get up and go. I too am afraid of going it alone but may eventually travel with my sister, whose DH's illness prevents him from going.

I wonder why Australia? Have you just always wanted to go there or do you have family/friends there? If it is the latter perhaps you could use them as a base, a place of safety if you like and take three or four tours to different areas from there.

tanith Mon 10-Oct-11 09:10:02

Hi thanks for the input, travelling with your sister sounds like an excellent idea, my sisters and I aren't really that close and one wouldn't be able to fly although I had thought about it. Australia has always been a place I've wanted to go its just so vast and parts are so empty , I do have a friend who has gone travelling there for 2yrs but she is young and she is a free spirit so wouldn't want to have me hanging around I don't think, but she is keeping me up to date with her travels and experiences she is encouraging me to go as its been pretty plain sailing for her over there but she had friends to go to so a bit of a base as you say. But its the old 'can't do it by myself routine', I'm just not that confidant enough to go hire a car and travel alone I really want to slap myself but I know I couldn't do it. thanks for you thoughts

MrsJamJam Mon 10-Oct-11 11:39:28

I'm sure I read somewhere about a website set up specifically for women travellers to contact like minded souls and find a travelling companion or group. Might be worth a bit of 'googling'.

I did once hire a car in the States and set off for a few days exploring on my own - after a conference when I couldn't bear to miss the opportunity having got that far already - I felt very much 'out of my comfort zone', glad I have seen some things (the Amish country) which I would otherwise never have experienced, but think I am definitely the kind of person who feels safer when with others!

Grannylin Mon 10-Oct-11 12:31:00

Yes there is a thread on Travel/ Solo travel with a couple of websites

raggygranny Mon 10-Oct-11 14:21:06

Why not try a few solo trips nearer home for starters, just to see how you get on? Then when you feel confident that you can cope you could plan the biggie!

yogagran Mon 10-Oct-11 22:48:35

Like you tanith my DH can't/won't fly either. I fly to Canada on my own to see family there (actually I think it's easier to do it on your own as there is no one else to feel responsible for or to worry about. You can just sit in the airport and on the plane and please yourself!).
I travel with an organised group to places in Europe. Companies such as Riveria Travel are good for single travellers although we always get stung with supplements for single rooms.
A friend of mine who was widowed a few years back usually goes on cruises as she says that she doesn't feel like a "spare part" there and generally people are of a similar age and background

tanith Wed 12-Oct-11 08:40:30

Thanks for all the input, I'll investigate the websites suggested, its not like I haven't flown alone but I'm wary of travelling alone once I get where I'm going especially the wide open/lonely spaces in OZ.. its just a dream I've had for 40yrs and its sad I'm now 63 and no nearer to realising that dream and of course the reality is the older I get the less likely its going to happen, Mrs Jamjam you described it perfectly as 'out of my comfort zone', I know I'd feel vulnerable and easily spooked so finding someone of similar age tastes is the way to go...
Cruises I could do with DH but it doesn't appeal to either of us we do travel around the UK quite a lot and I love that but its the OZ trip thats on my mind , I even have a 'savings pot' thats called My OZ trip hahaha how funny is that.. when the money is sitting waiting on me to 'grow a pair' as my grandsons would say.

Hattie64 Sun 16-Oct-11 19:39:03

I have travelled solo for the last four years, as my husband won't go on any holidays. On my last trip, Greek Islands, I met a Australian lady, who after this trips, had two separate coach holidays organised, one was around Turkey, and the other a Italian trip. Perhaps this could be the sort of thing you could organise in Australia.
I have to confess, even though I travel alone, I do usually go on river boats, or coach. Don't fancy actually travelling in and around a country under my own steam.

Gally Sun 16-Oct-11 19:54:41

A friend of mine did a solo trip round Oz some years ago at the age of 65 after our daughter's wedding. She went on buses on organised trips, of which there are many, and camped all over the country mostly with young gap-year students, but also with multi nationalities of varying ages. She had a wonderful time. I thought she was very brave - but only because I can't bear camping. So Tanith, go for it. Australia has to be visited - I love it and 63 is no age; my Aunt who was at the wedding took off to Uluru on her own and opted for the helicopter trip rather than walk down King's Canyon and then flew to Perth for a week solo - and she was 87!! grin

tanith Mon 17-Oct-11 11:58:03

Thanks for the stories and encouragement ladies, Gally I'm going to investigate the bus trips suggestion I'm wondering if my young friend would be willing to give me a base and I could book things from there she is in Sidney so I'm sure there would be coach trips from there all over..camping I'm not so sure about but with others I guess I could cope..
Hattie thats it isn't it under our own steam just seems a step too far.. anyway food for thought..

Faye Mon 17-Oct-11 13:10:39

Tanith I live in Australia and there is lots to see and it also depends on what you are interested in. I suggest the Ghan, it's a train from Adelaide to Darwin. You could stop off at Alice Springs and do a trip to see Ulara then continue on to Darwin. I would be taking tours myself...if I was on my own. I definitely wouldn't be travelling over here in the middle of summer. It's hot and sticky up north, but the weather is lovely there during the middle of the year. In the south of Australia it's quite dry and can be extremely hot during summer.

tanith Mon 17-Oct-11 15:49:07

Thankyou Faye its nice to get some info from someone on the ground so to speak.. I have to get my map out and do some investigating... I'll maybe pick your brains for more info if thats ok?

Faye Tue 18-Oct-11 11:26:23

It's a pleasure Tanith, it will be interesting to hear how you get on!

Greatnan Wed 19-Oct-11 10:50:35

I am 71 and have travelled the world on my own for many years, as my hobby is snorkeling on coral, which means visiting tropical waters.
If the country or island is big enough, I hire a car to see as much of the hinterland as possible.
I live in a tiny ski resort in the French Alps, and use my home as a base for motoring all over France, Italy and Switzerland. When I was still quite glamorous, in my 40's and 50's, I did get some unwanted attention from men, but it is easy to make it clear that you are not interested. I went on a few singles holidays but sometimes they seemed to be full of desperate people - obviously not everyone! I spent one pleasant holiday with Saga, where there was a mixture of single people and couples.
I now spend two months of the French winter with my daughter in New Zealand, and I am enjoying exploring that beautiful country too. In January, I will be flying from New Zealand to Thailand for a week's snorkeling before heading home.
I don't seek conversation with other traveller, preferring to take a book or sudoku to dinner. I love the freedom of being alone, after so many years of holidaying with my daughters and my sister. I used to get mildly annoyed when taxi drivers or waiters would ask me where my husband was, which happened often in Malaysia, Egypt and the Caribbean, but I just put on a sad face and say I have lost him. In fact, I have been happily divorced for over 30 years.
After a lifetime of being totally non-sporty, I discovered snorkeling at the age of 58 when my daughter was living in Malaysia, and I then started trying to do something exciting every year, such as white water rafting in the Pyrenees. I have lost 20 lbs. since moving to the Alps last year, as I walk for several hours a day up very steep mountain paths.
The only time I have ever felt a little afraid to be on my own was when I lived in Chelsea and had to walk from the underground station in Sloane Square to my flat!
If you do actually want to meet other people, it is easier on your own, as when you are in a couple you tend to talk to each other most of the time.
My advice is to pluck up courage and set out on your big adventure. Life is too short to let fear hold you back.

Grannylin Wed 19-Oct-11 15:26:12

Wow Greatnan, that's really inspiring!I want to be you! I'm going to New Zealand in February to see my brother and then go off on my own for a couple of weeks. If you have any accommodation/ activity/ must see tips would you pm them to me, thanks.

Greatnan Wed 19-Oct-11 18:50:14

I will be staying with my daughter most of the time, but accommodation is not expensive in New Zealand and I will be looking for budget hotels on line when I hire a car and take off for a week to explore on my own.
When I went for the first time in February and March of this year, my daughter and her husband and the three of her six children who live at home took me to see some wonderful spots. They live in Wakefield, which is near Nelson at the top of South Island, only 12 miles from lovely golden beaches but also close to a lovely area of lakes and mountains. It was high summer, so we swam on several days. No coral, though!
Picton is very picturesque, all white clapboard buildings and I loved Nelson and Richmond. Of course, it is a bit of a culture shock to find nothing over about 100 years old, but there are some interesting villages, and quaint little churches.
I don't know how adventurous you are, Grannylin, but I can strongly recommend white water rafting. I draw the line at canyoning or bungee jumping, although many older people do both. I am a great walker and was happy to do a 12 mile round trip to see some spectacular waterfalls. For some reason, I didn't suffer from jet-lag so I was able to start enjoying my holiday the day after I arrived
Which airline are you using? I went with Cathay Pacific and the seats were horrible - they were in a sort of shell and did not recline properly. It took me 40 hours to get from Nelson to Geneva via Heathrow, so I was a bit stiff when I got home. This December, I am going with Singapore Airlines and I am told they are much better.
Please send me a pm if you have any specific questions.

yogagran Wed 19-Oct-11 19:19:31

Crikey Greatnan - I feel very much in awe of what you've done and just a little incapable!

Grannylin Wed 19-Oct-11 22:52:21

Thanks Greatnan, useful info and yes I do like a challenge. I'll pick your brains nearer the time!Went to Australia last year with Singapore Airlines-fantastic, you'll love it. Flying with Etihad this time which doesn't seem to have such good reviews.Ah well, its all an adventure!

Greatnan Wed 19-Oct-11 23:14:10

I was married at 18 to a man who could bore for Britain and would only ever let us go on holiday in self-catering accommodation in Wales or Scotland - in other words, I just carried on doing on all the chores without the conveniences I had at home! I got divorced after 20 years and decided that I was going to make up for lost time! I was working as an eductional advisor but I got a job working for an English millionaire in Monaco and took my daughters, then in their mid teens, with me. When they returned to England and got married and had children, I followed them and started my own business. It was very successful, but I got bored and went to work in Brussels as a financial advisor. I hated that job, so at the age of 50 I became a trainee tax inspector, and stayed there until I retired.
I now have ten grandchildren and four great grand-daughters - I find Facebook excellent for getting all their news.
I wish I had lived a healthier lifestyle in my 40's and 50's, instead of drinking too much wine, dining out several nights a week, and driving everywhere, but it is never too late!
I have started a blog about moving to France, which has photos of my lovely area.

tanith Thu 20-Oct-11 08:57:50

I'm in awe Greatnan what a wonderful picture you paint such travels you've had. Thankyou for your input I'm taking it all on board.. maybe I'll get there...