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4 replies
Female, 5 weeks, by myself, HELP!
wanderinggia
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I have never been outside the US except Canada and Mexico. I am going for 5 weeks, Apr. 29th – June 7th…BY MYSELF. Should I be scared? Safety tips? I am 25, tall blonde and stick out like a sore thumb. How can I blend in so I can be safe. ALSO; let me know if this is a good route/doable in 5 weeks. I am starting and ending in Barcelona b/c I have a friend from high school there…

Barcelona
Florence
Zurich
Munich
Salzburg
Vienna
Prague
Hamburg
Amsterdam
Brussels
Paris
Barcelona

Any advice would be so much appreciated!

oldlady
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Quote:
I am 25, tall blonde and stick out like a sore thumb.
A tall blonde probably sticks out less in Europe. Clairol sells more product in Europe than in NA.

Your route is doable. Id’ look for cheap flights to/from Barcelona, particularly Barcelona to Florence. Overnight train is an option for Paris to Barcelona if you can’t find a cheap flight.

Is there a reason you’ve picked Zurich?

papyr
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I cannot speak for other cities, but I’m quite sure you will be safe in Prague.

Anyway, safety tips in European cities = as in American or Canadian cities. Except Europe is said to be a bit safer. (I don’t know, I’ve never been outside Europe.) Southern nations’ males may express their appreciation of your fine looks by whistling and gestures, but you haven’t included Balkans or southern Italy, so it shouldn’t be the worst.

One more tip: when traveling in a public transport vehicle allowing you to sleep, carry your money on or under your (sleeping) body. If possible, lock everything that can be locked. E,g, in a sleeping train, I sleep with my jeans (with my keys, documents and money in it) under my head, on a bus/plane/seater train, I have my documents in a buttcheek pocket of my jeans and I sit on them as I sleep. And never sleep in urban transport vehicles.

If you have any questions about Prague or Czech and Slovak republics, ask me.
If you only want to search train or bus connection within Czech&Slovakia and/or to neighboring countries, use www.cp.sk or www.idos.cz search engines. For domestic transport, they also show prices.

Cil
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I am moving this thread with the thought that Wanderinggia might find more advice and encouragement in this forum.

oldlady wrote:
Quote:
I am 25, tall blonde and stick out like a sore thumb.
A tall blonde probably sticks out less in Europe. Clairol sells more product in Europe than in NA.

Is there a reason you’ve picked Zurich?
lol Oldlady, I was going to ask the same question about Zurich. IMHO it’s just kind of boring and expensive in Zurich. The only reason I went was because my travel companion wanted to look up an ancestor.

Wander, I’m old now, but as a 22 year old tallish blond had a couple interesting experiences with unwanted advances in Spain and Italy. However, it was nothing that has not been experienced here in the USA.
I bet you’ll have a great trip.

oldlady
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I keep thinking of Amsterdam — can you imagine tall and blond being noticeable there?

I’ll add my standard warnings to solo females. All are standard, common sense:
1. You need to worry about your possessions more than your personal safety. A solo traveler (of either gender) is an easier target for pickpockets and purse snatchers. Use a money belt. Look confident and act like you know where you’re going. If you need to consult a map drop into a store or cafe. Don’t get so wrapped up in taking the perfect picture that you aren’t paying adequate attention to your gear.
2. Stay sober and pay particular attention in bars and clubs. While it’s the guys who get scammed into buying $75 drinks for some good-looking girl, date-rape drugs, etc. do exist in Europe. Again, your wallet’s probably in more danger than you are, but pay attention and trust your instincts if anything feels “wrong.”
3. There is a slight cultural difference. What’s a friendly hello to a stranger on an American college campus may be interpreted as a come-on on a city street in Europe. Sun glasses help avoid unwanted eye-contact although they sometimes brand you as a “rich tourist” in poorer areas. The girls there are spending their limited resources knock-out clothes, peroxide and high heels to be noticeable tall blonds. They can’t afford sun glasses, too.