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Old 03-09-2015, 11:06 PM
 
39 posts, read 29,314 times
Reputation: 32

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Hi everyone,

I am a 24 year old female that has recently become obsessed with the idea of backpacking through Europe in the fall of 2016. I feel like I need to do this at some point in my 20's, or else it will be my greatest regret for the rest of my life.

Ideally, I'd do it for two months, if I'm able to save up the cash I need. I'm trying for about $13,000 and am even taking on a second job on the weekends in addition to my full time one during the week. The reason why I'd like to save that much is because I want to keep my apartment ($950/month) for the duration of my trip. That means I'd need an additional $2000, plus I need to have a safety net when I come back and don't have a job.

I have what someone without wanderlust would consider a good situation right now. I have a stable job (thought it's boring), a nice apartment, and most of the people I love are close by.

If I travel alone for 2 months, I have no doubt I'll get lonely without someone to share all my experiences with. I'm also worried about my family judging me for traveling alone, and I know they'll worry about me constantly.

I'll come back, and I won't have a job. I'll have to hustle my ass off to find a new one so I can keep my apartment. My safety net (though I'll probably have enough for at least 3 months of rent) will quickly run out, so it's crucial that I lock down another job ASAP.

On the other hand, I'll have had what I'm sure will be one of the most life changing and beautiful experiences. I've never been outside of the United States except for Canada, and I'm dying to see the world. I sometimes feel like I'm suffocating because there's so much out there I have yet to see. I think I need to do this. But I have some doubts too and it's hard to reconcile between the two.

Anyone else have this sort of trepidation? What was it like traveling alone, for those who did it? How did you deal with the judgement of your family for traveling alone, if they were judgmental? How much did you save? Is the experience really as life changing as I think it is, or am I romanticizing it a bit?

Thank you very much!

Last edited by rathernotsayyy; 03-09-2015 at 11:20 PM..
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Old 03-10-2015, 03:15 AM
 
Location: Brussels
400 posts, read 279,893 times
Reputation: 405
yes, traveling is an eye opener.
traveling on your own even more.

if you travel on a budget in europe and choose the right countries, 2 months should not be too expensive.

maybe 2000 for transportation (including your plane ticket) and then 60 dollars per day (including food, bed, drinks, tickets) so 60x60days = 3600

there are cheaper places in the world, for example latin america or southeast asia, where 2 months can also be great.

what i would do is to buy a guide book as soon as possible and check what you want to see in 2 months. then tripadvisor forums have loads of info on each country and great people to answer your questions.
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Old 03-10-2015, 03:26 AM
 
Location: Honolulu
700 posts, read 1,014,195 times
Reputation: 977
I can't really speak from experience as I've never done a trip like you're suggesting but I do know one thing. It's usually better to do something and regret it than never do it at all and wonder what if, within reason of course. I'm not a big traveler, maybe average but I regret not traveling more in my 20s. It doesn't get any easier as you get older. More responsibilities, possible health problems, complacency. I've only done a couple short trips alone and I didn't have to worry about my family judging me and I don't think you should either. I think everyone is different as far as the experience being life changing. As for me I'm not really into meeting new people, I'd rather just see the sights and nature. I can't really give you advice on how to plan for your trip, but I strongly suggest you do it. Research as much as you can and be safe, but definitely do it. As far as the money aspect, it sounds challenging. Is there a safety net in case your savings run out or you can't find a new job when you come back? Could you move in with any friends or relatives in an emergency? Try to plan for that contingency. Your 20s are probably the best time to do this sort of trip since it's easier to recover from the financial strain such a trip will have on you. I repeat, if you're really enamored with doing this, just find a way to make it work.
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Old 03-10-2015, 06:30 AM
 
Location: Washington, DC
3,221 posts, read 3,090,000 times
Reputation: 4944
Whatever you decide, I respect your desires. But you may be practicing all-or-nothingism. The idea that if you don't do a long backpacking trip in your 20s, that you will never travel (or have regrets as you say).

Granted, if you return and start having babies and money gets tight, travelling might be unthinkable. But plenty of people are able to travel abroad regularly over the years, perhaps 2 week trips instead of 2 month trips.

It's a matter of choices and options over a lifetime, not just over a decade (your 20s). And I'll add that one country-hopping 2 month backpacking tour will blur in your memories. Many shorter, concentrated trips will be more rewarding and allow you to "study" the world more deeply.
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Old 03-10-2015, 06:31 AM
 
4,223 posts, read 1,842,735 times
Reputation: 6180
My daughter has traveled alone several times. She took a Mediterranean Cruise and a 2-week Caribbean cruise (i joined her for one week).

From a financial standpoint I think you know the risk. There is always a risk-reward with such a decision. You may "pay the price", but you also may make it up fairly quickly. On the other hand, if you don't go at all, that could be permanent regret of never trying the experience. But again, maybe the opportunity will avail itself a few years down the line and even though you might be 30, maybe that will be the right time.

And as a parent who had a daughter who traveled alone, and of course I worried for her as a girl alone can be a target, F*ck being judged. It's your life and no one else's. Make a decision that's right for you. bothers you so much about family, enough that makes you decide not to go, just remember that decision is on you and not your family.
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Old 03-10-2015, 07:47 AM
 
9,396 posts, read 8,186,544 times
Reputation: 6358
Quote:
Originally Posted by rathernotsayyy View Post
Hi everyone,

I am a 24 year old female that has recently become obsessed with the idea of backpacking through Europe in the fall of 2016. I feel like I need to do this at some point in my 20's, or else it will be my greatest regret for the rest of my life.

Ideally, I'd do it for two months, if I'm able to save up the cash I need. I'm trying for about $13,000 and am even taking on a second job on the weekends in addition to my full time one during the week. The reason why I'd like to save that much is because I want to keep my apartment ($950/month) for the duration of my trip. That means I'd need an additional $2000, plus I need to have a safety net when I come back and don't have a job.

I have what someone without wanderlust would consider a good situation right now. I have a stable job (thought it's boring), a nice apartment, and most of the people I love are close by.

If I travel alone for 2 months, I have no doubt I'll get lonely without someone to share all my experiences with. I'm also worried about my family judging me for traveling alone, and I know they'll worry about me constantly.

I'll come back, and I won't have a job. I'll have to hustle my ass off to find a new one so I can keep my apartment. My safety net (though I'll probably have enough for at least 3 months of rent) will quickly run out, so it's crucial that I lock down another job ASAP.

On the other hand, I'll have had what I'm sure will be one of the most life changing and beautiful experiences. I've never been outside of the United States except for Canada, and I'm dying to see the world. I sometimes feel like I'm suffocating because there's so much out there I have yet to see. I think I need to do this. But I have some doubts too and it's hard to reconcile between the two.

Anyone else have this sort of trepidation? What was it like traveling alone, for those who did it? How did you deal with the judgement of your family for traveling alone, if they were judgmental? How much did you save? Is the experience really as life changing as I think it is, or am I romanticizing it a bit?

Thank you very much!
I say embrace what you want and totally go for it.
You are 24, and before you know it you will have a boyfriend, become a wife and mother and you life will be chain to a suburban house with a million chores to do every single day. So while you are young, be adventurous.

The fact that you find your comfortable life boring shows your personality. You want to excitement, at least when you are still quite young. Don't let money and job prevent you from having a more interesting and fulfilling life. The truth is, you may never be able to do even if you want to in a matter of 4/5 years, and by then, you will always regret you didn't do this while you are completely free.

Travel is not for the sake of telling people which countries I have been to. Travel is the best medicine for narrow mindedness and ignorance, and sometimes, stupidity. If possible, don't limit yourself to Europe, the continent most similar to America. Why not take the time to see parts of the rest of the non-white world, to see how people live? Only safe countries though, and that could be at a fraction of the price of France or Italy.

You will have the rest of your life (60 years?) working on jobs, making money, buying apartments etc. But you will only have a few years when you are young, curious, less risk averse, and want to do something non-tradition. No matter how much money you might spend (don't let yourself be in debt though), you won't regret it.
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Old 03-10-2015, 12:39 PM
 
Location: Eureka CA
6,570 posts, read 8,743,882 times
Reputation: 9212
Traveling alone is the BEST. See if you can get a once in a lifetime leave of absence from work. Point out to them that you're only going for two months and it will take them that much time to select and hire someone to replace you, anyway! Good luck.
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Old 03-10-2015, 01:28 PM
 
Location: USA
7,779 posts, read 8,127,647 times
Reputation: 11522
I was much older than you when I traveled alone in Europe for 4 months. I visited my brother and took the military tours available to the military and their blood relatives. Some of the time I wasn't on a tour. In the UK I was on my own, both in England and Scotland. There were times it would have been better had someone been with me, but it was a great adventure anyway.

Backpacking would be more dangerous for a woman, but I'm sure you know that. It will be difficult knowing who to trust that you meet up with during your travels. On my own in Paris, there were plenty of men on the lookout for a woman traveling alone. They seemed to have an uncanny way of spotting such women. But, I wasn't interested in buying a companion.

I took a lot of money in traveler's checks, but didn't spend nearly all of it. Food wasn't a big expense since I liked to eat from kiosks if they were available selling fast food.

I hope I'm still here when you return and tell about your trip. Have a great time. I do hope you can arrange a leave of absence from your job.
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Old 03-10-2015, 02:49 PM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
22,397 posts, read 48,114,706 times
Reputation: 21414
Quote:
Originally Posted by rathernotsayyy View Post
I am a 24 year old female that has recently become obsessed with the idea of backpacking through Europe in the fall of 2016. I feel like I need to do this at some point in my 20's, or else it will be my greatest regret for the rest of my life.
Go. Enjoy yourself. Many have done this before.
But you won't be alone for a minute longer than you want to be.
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Old 03-10-2015, 03:11 PM
 
39 posts, read 29,314 times
Reputation: 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rubi3 View Post
I was much older than you when I traveled alone in Europe for 4 months. I visited my brother and took the military tours available to the military and their blood relatives. Some of the time I wasn't on a tour. In the UK I was on my own, both in England and Scotland. There were times it would have been better had someone been with me, but it was a great adventure anyway.

Backpacking would be more dangerous for a woman, but I'm sure you know that. It will be difficult knowing who to trust that you meet up with during your travels. On my own in Paris, there were plenty of men on the lookout for a woman traveling alone. They seemed to have an uncanny way of spotting such women. But, I wasn't interested in buying a companion.

I took a lot of money in traveler's checks, but didn't spend nearly all of it. Food wasn't a big expense since I liked to eat from kiosks if they were available selling fast food.

I hope I'm still here when you return and tell about your trip. Have a great time. I do hope you can arrange a leave of absence from your job.
See, this is what worries me. I have no doubt that there are tons of people that target vulnerable travelers, and it doesn't help that I don't speak any of the languages.

But thanks for the advice!
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