Solo Travel in Italy? Why Not?Victoria De Maio
Italy is calling YOU! Ah, but there’s one little problem…You want to go but you don’t have someone to go with!?
Your spouse/partner/best friend doesn’t want to or can’t go when you can? Or, if they don’t want to go where you want to go or do what you want to do? Why not go solo? And si, Italy is a wonderful destination for solo travel.
Oh, I know! I have friends who won’t go to a movie, much less travel, alone! Well, I’m here to encourage you to consider a solo trip. Before you say “no way” and even if the thought of planning and going on a solo trip anywhere is daunting…please hear me out.
I have ideas and tips to help you! First of all, consider an organized small group experience that offers interests similar to yours. Whether you enjoy wine tasting, photography, cooking, art/history, shopping, learning Italian … you name it and I promise that there’s a tour group specializing in it.
Getting ready to go solo: Sure, there’s more to plan, so let’s begin with the basics.
After I know when and for how long I’m going, then I book airfare, reserve my accommodation(s) and arrange all of my transfers/transportation.
Deciding where to stay: I look for smaller moderately priced accommodations - typically bed and breakfasts or small hotels - in convenient, safe neighborhoods. I like to be near the historical center with cafes, restaurants and shops nearby. Do your research and ask for referrals from friends/reliable sources.
I love smaller venues and getting to know the owners/staff. I practice my Italian and ask their suggestions on where to eat, shop, etc. (Locals give the best tips!)
Eating alone: This can definitely be uncomfortable for novice solo travelers, especially women. It takes a bit of getting used to so, my advice? Practice at home. Go to a coffee shop or take yourself to lunch.
Italy is full of wonderful cafes with fabulous views. Choose one and enjoy people watching while sipping that espresso or glass of vino and just revel in being there. Think of it as a new adventure!
Making the most of your visit: I like to be flexible but still have a general game plan for how I spend my time. (e.g., researching when sites/museums are open, purchasing tickets in advance to avoid long lines.) I highly recommend taking guided walks and activities such as local walking tours, food tours, museum/site tours…they are fabulous!
Remember: It’s important not to try to do too much and just enjoy what you do.
Personal safety is a priority, especially for solo women travelers. Keep in mind that, although it has its share of petty thieves, Italy is a very safe country to travel.
I pack and dress to blend in and carry a purse with a cross body strap. I never bring more than I can carry and manage on my own.
When I go out, I bring ID (copy of my passport), information about where I’m staying and only enough cash for that day (credit cards/ATM can supplement if needed). I take a small tote bag that will hold maps, water and any small purchases.
I stash other valuables (e.g., passport, extra cash, jewelry, iPad, etc.) in locked luggage or the room safe.
Budget for those occasional splurges: After all, this is Italy! Those fabulous leather gloves, those shoes, that scarf…save room in your budget and your luggage!
Last but not least, I encourage you to learn some basic words and phrases in Italian. Don’t worry if your pronunciation is terrible. Italians are very patient whenever you try to communicate in their language and a little goes a long way.
Solo travel can be enriching and, yes, fun! Hopefully, now you will consider that solo trip to Italy and, when you do, I want to hear all about it!