Lone female eager to travel but too scared!

Travel Forums North America Lone female eager to travel but too scared!

Last Post
21. Posted by leics2 (Respected Member 448 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

And do most British travellers use British Airways to get there?

There are no 'budget' airlines flying UK>US as yet, though it's worth investigating Icelandair and Norwegian. But really, which airline you use to get to the US depends entirely on you, your dates and your budget. Use www.skyscanner.net to find out who flies from where to where and what the fares are but imo it's always best to book on the airline's own website. Using third party sites can sometimes cause mega-problems.

I've flown with BA and Virgin from Heathrow and with American Airlines and Aer Lingus from Birmingham. All were ok, with Virgin being the best and AA being (imo) pretty appalling. On my last trip I flew via Dublin, which is excellent if it's possible for you because even though you have to change planes you go through US pre-clearance (i.e. border control & Customs) at Dublin airport. The whole process was so easy, so relaxed and courteous and so very, very much more pleasant than facing a long queue at the US airport's border control after a long flight (my longest waiting time there so far has been 2.5 hours!)

>which airlines are most frequently used in and around America

The US is a vast continent (it's quite difficult to get your head around the sheer scale if you haven't been) so there are a lot of different airlines flying different domestic routes. Again, use skyscanner to see who flies where and at what price. I've used Delta, United and Virgin America (I liked VA a lot) but would certainly have chosen South-West airlines ( a sortof 'budget airline') if they'd flown the routes I needed.

Guide books? None are anywhere near a 'bible' to me but I do prefer the Rough Guide series to any others. RG have tissue-thin (but uber-resilient) pages, excellent streetmaps and very good info about historical sites (my priority). But you won't imo find just one good guidebook for the whole of the US; it's far too big and far too varied in terms of landscape and climate. Better to spend the time between now and then getting a variety of guidebooks out of your local library and cherry-picking (i.e. photocopying or making your own notes) the tings which interest you.

By the way, I'm not sure if people ever feel sorry for me (I'd hate it if they did) and I've never been invited to dinner. I'm actually pleased about that because I enjoy my own company, never feel lonely and, so far, have never experienced problems of any sort in any of the 30+ countries I've visited (several more than once, most especially Italy). I enjoy other people but, when it comes to travelling and exploring, being by myself is brill! :-)

[ Edit: Edited on 16-Aug-2017, at 12:43 by leics2 ]

22. Posted by Beausoleil (Travel Guru 835 posts) 1y 1 Star this if you like it!

When we travel in our own country (USA), we usually end up with Southwest Airlines. They are quite reasonable especially if you can catch one of their sales. It's not the most comfortable airline and you can't choose your seat. You board and grab what you can get. They are on time and go into all the major airports though so no complaints. You can't book them anyplace that I've found except their own web site. Just Google (or use any search engine) for Southwest Airlines to get their web site.

As far as guide books, we always take a Michelin Green Guide and a DK Eyewitness Guide for the area where we'll be traveling. However, this is only for Europe so I have no idea if they cover the USA or not. In the USA, the American Automobile Association provides a lot of travel services including maps and guides that are excellent. We use those and contact local tourist offices. In Europe I always contact local tourist offices too. They are generally a great source of information and helpful people.

23. Posted by Loneskyblues (Budding Member 11 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Thanks Leics2, this will be a good starting point. And I would only want people to feel sorry for me if there's the possibility of a free meal, I hate cooking! :( I too much prefer my own company, I like meeting people but like to leave them too

Thanks Beausoleil, good to know what Americans do and I'll check out the guidebooks!

24. Posted by Teoni (Respected Member 613 posts) 1y 1 Star this if you like it!

In terms of figuring out flights I would also use flightconnections.com, Skyscanner is good if you know the dates but if you just want to figure out what flight routes exist and possible connections you can make this is a good site to do so.

I would concur with not booking flights through a third party site. A lot of the times the prices advertised don't exist and after you've gone through the process of filling out the booking form they inform you of all the fees they will charge that it ends up not being cheaper then if you booked direct. In saying that once I did manage to achieve a pretty good deal on a third party site, but it took a lot of effort and the process was really convoluted. If this is your first solo overseas trip you may want to save this complication for when you are more experienced.

Southwest Airlines does have pretty good deals unfortunately they don't allow themselves to be aggregated so to find their routes you have to use their website. I have found they are more limited in where they go compared to other airlines, so again this will come down to your destination list. Also if you want to save some money travelling without check in luggage. I haven't found a domestic American airline that doesn't charge for luggage and the prices are not cheap.

While I don't know about free meals if you are looking for home cooked meals there are sites that connect diners with hosts, like mealsharing.com, EatWith or travelingspoon.com. Some cases they will teach you how to cook the meals, maybe knowing some recipes will help you hate cooking less;)

[ Edit: Edited on 16-Aug-2017, at 19:58 by Teoni ]

Post 25 was removed by a moderator
26. Posted by Calcruzer (Travel Guru 2004 posts) 1y 2 Star this if you like it!

My suggestion for a way to get this started is to pick a large enough city to not be all alone or have others see you as a target, stay there for awhile and enjoy the activities, then move on to the next one, and after you've seen about 4, end this vacation, go home and assess how it went--what should you have done differently--how did you do, what was scary? what wasn't, etc.

I would pick something with some activities, but not one that is crammed with people trying to keep you going all the time and buying stuff or that is expensive to live in. (so avoid the New York and Boston's, and Los Angeles and Miami to begin). Also avoid dangerous spots or places with weather issues, so avoid Detroit, Chicago, and Houston.

Lastly, I would avoid staying in hostels to begin. At a hostel, you have to worry about someone stealing your stuff all the time--and people getting to know you too well, or knowing that you are alone. Start with small hotel chains reasonably priced and move up to nicer ones as you desire.

I would probably start in the winter months in the west in California or Phoenix, or in the summer months in places outside of fun cities like Denver, Pittsburgh, Park City (in Utah--near Salt Lake City) or near Baltimore's Inner Harbor, where there are activities but you don't have to go do them everyday or feel tied down.

Since you said you would problem travel in the summertime, let me start there. In Denver, go to a mountain resort or visit a national park nearby; in Pittsburgh, go to a summer concert, or take in a baseball game, in Park City, ride the tram to the top of the mountain or go to the nearby Olympic village, in Baltimore visit Inner Harbor or get a ride down to the monuments of Washington DC or take a ride to the nearby beach at Ocean Beach, and take in the gigantic chicken cooking festival down in Salesbury. Maybe visit a historic civil war site and learn the history.

Lots of things to do to keep your self busy, but nothing super expensive, and all are great places to meet people.


27. Posted by Loneskyblues (Budding Member 11 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Thanks Teoni. Great advice about flights!

And thanks Calcruzer. What you've suggested actually sounds pretty awesome and I'm desperate to go to a baseball game so I'll bare these places in mind!

28. Posted by Hal2017 (Budding Member 2 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Hai I travelling to Thailand end of September for 10 days. You could join me if u like.

29. Posted by ToonSarah (Travel Guru 755 posts) 1y 1 Star this if you like it!

I'll try not to duplicate any advice you've already been given in this long tread, but apologies if I do!

I've not travelled on my own in the US (and only a little in Europe) so I can't speak from that perspective, but I have lots of general experience of travelling there, from a British perspective. On car hire, do shop around and check additional costs before deciding which is the best value, then book in advance. Not only is it likely to be cheaper but there's also a risk that a car hire office in a popular destination could be short of the cheaper cars (compact or economy models) and you might have to get a bigger one than you'd planned, which is not only more expensive in terms of the hire cost but also fuel consumption. And check your travel insurance policy very carefully beforehand as it will very likely include at least some of the extra insurances the car hire company will try to sell you, in my experience (maybe we're just fortunate in our policy?)

As this is your first time I would suggest only planning to drive for part of the trip and spending the rest of the time in cities or in places easily reached by public transport. You might also consider building in a couple of weeks on a tour. I know they're not for everyone, and we've never done one in the US, but companies that encourage singles as well as couples are worth considering and they're pretty used to people slotting a tour into an otherwise independent itinerary.

On guide books, I like the Moon ones for the more rural states with lots of National Parks - places like Utah, Arizona, New Mexico. Like leics I find the Rough Guides good for general purpose and Lonely Planet are similar. For cities the Dorling Kindersley ones are good on culture, museums etc.

When you have a rough idea of any places you want to include do come back here as I'm sure there are plenty of people to offer more detailed advice :)

30. Posted by Loneskyblues (Budding Member 11 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Thanks ToonSarah! I'll check out the Moon ones too and I'll definitely coming back here for more advice. It's great to hear from others