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Old 07-21-2015, 10:35 PM
 
4,685 posts, read 2,312,356 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erjunkee View Post
Well, not really.

I guess my fears are irrational to an extent.

I've traveled back and forth home to the South alone a million times, but this is never an issue beause it's just home...it's just familiar.

But being on an 8 plus hour trip, alone, flying across a great ocean, with me not knowing a single soul on the plane, makes me nervous.

I don't fear for my safety concerning other passengers...I guess it's the issue of just being all alone and not knowing anyone.

You don't know anyone NOW, but strike up conversations with others on the plane. That will make the trip shorter. I've met the MOST interesting people in flight and have even had memorable experiences in airline terminals. Everyone is a bit nervous flying and things happen like flight delays, etc. so that we all share a common denominator and that makes for great conversation and sharing. People are very helpful when traveling. You will be fine.

Here's a true story of a young colleague. I was going to Salamanca, Spain one year and she also enrolled in the exchange program, but in Granada, Spain. She ended up in GRENADA in the Caribbean! She had NO idea until she was there. Can you believe it? (I guess whoever setup her flight didn't know any better/didn't know difference in pronunciation of the name of the city and my colleague didn't bother to check her flight details.) Well, she had spent the flight chatting with someone in her section. Upon realizing her predicament, that person invited her to her home in Grenada to stay until she could sort out a new flight. Spent a wonderful day on the beach, had a restful night's sleep and took a flight out the next day to Spain. Funniest thing EVER. Things work themselves out.

As long as you prepare security before hand - money, contact info, ID (MAKE a few COPIES of Passport and Drivers License and store separately from originals), cell phone, you will be fine. Just remind yourself that you've done it before, yes with a small group, but you did it successfully.

Get a shuttle (shuttle is best and inexpensive) from the airport and you will meet up with your friend and you will be set to enjoy your experience. You can prearrange your shuttle ride online for your trip from the airport to your hotel (I checked and there is a shuttle at Leonardo da Vinci International (I assume that will be your airport.). It will take you directly to your hotel. I always prearrange my shuttle online when I am visiting Spain, for the return trip as well.

Best advice I ever got about traveling: Take comfortable walking shoes AND more importantly, buy some "Mole Skin" because you will be walking a lot. (You probably remember the walking in Spain.) Mole skin is a pad you cut to fit and put on heels or toes or wherever your shoes rub you. You can buy it at Kmart or Walgreen's or whatever drugstore. It will be a blessing. I keep it in my luggage for wherever I travel now. : )

I'm so envious of anyone traveling right now as I haven't done it in a while and won't be able to until next summer.

You will have a great trip.

Last edited by tangelag; 07-21-2015 at 10:57 PM..
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Old 07-22-2015, 06:07 AM
 
3,139 posts, read 2,175,645 times
Reputation: 5043
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aredhel View Post
And that, right there, is why you should go on the trip.

We all have irrational fears at times, that's only human. But there's a funny thing about fear: it grows to fill whatever space you allow it to occupy. The more you give in to what you KNOW is an irrational fear, the more that fear grows in strength, and the more power it comes to have over your life.

So go face the boogeyman head-on. Do your research on Rome (as many of us have recommended), then make yourself book that trip and GO. You're an independent, competent adult, you'll manage Rome just fine, and the odds are that you'll have a wonderful time there. And the next time you want to travel overseas, or travel solo to somewhere besides the South, you won't be nearly as anxious about it as you are now.

Go have fun in Rome! You CAN do it safely, AND enjoy it!
Youre 100% right!!

THank you so very much!!!
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Old 07-22-2015, 06:55 AM
 
Location: Cedar Park, Texas
1,601 posts, read 2,468,803 times
Reputation: 1159
I don't even know you but I'm so excited for you! I can't wait to hear a report after you get home!! I did a week-long cruise to Mexico alone when I was 35 years old and had an absolute blast -- I explored each port on my own and met really fun people.

Rome is a fabulous, BIG, busy city and very similar in that respect to big, busy US cities. You'll be perfectly safe and you'll have such great opportunities to meet fantastic people! Everyone was so nice! You won't have any worries about language because English is everywhere.

Rome is a great city to just "rome" HAHA around in because it's pretty hard to get really lost. The ruins are absolutely amazing, and the underground Colosseum tour was just fantastic (buy tickets online beforehand and you avoid lines!)! One area I wish we had spent time exploring was the Trastavere neighborhood just across the river from the historical area...it's a very local area with tons of shops, pubs, restaurants, etc. I'll definitely spend a lot of time there next trip.

The part of Rome that irritated me were the street hawkers, selling everything from umbrellas to cheap plastic crap. They weren't dangerous but they were pushy and irritating. I felt really guilty at first for having to be quite pushy in return, but after a week of it, I didn't mind telling them NO THANKS before they could even get the words out of their mouths.

I've learned through my travels that the best people to ask questions of, especially if you're trying to get directions, are the police officers. They're knowledgeable about the areas, they usually always speak English, and in general they're very willing to help lost tourists. They were super nice in Rome, letting us take pictures with them....and one is a personal friend of mine so if you have any troubles, I'll get him to take care of it! :-)

We were there in 2012, when I was 43 and my husband was 52. We also had my 74-year-old mother with us and never once did we feel unsafe. Just walk with an air of confidence (even if you don't feel it), keep your hand on your cross-body bag (NEVER take it off at all until you're back in your apartment/hotel), and keep your money in an inside zippered pocket and you'll be fine.

HAVE A BLAST and please do report back when you return!!!
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Old 07-22-2015, 07:15 AM
 
10,847 posts, read 11,250,780 times
Reputation: 7578
Quote:
Originally Posted by erjunkee View Post
Hi All,

So Ive just been presented with a wonderful opportunity to go to Rome, Italy, for an international emergency medicine conference in Italy in a few months.

I have an old med. school buddy who's going to Italy. Due to our scheduling conflicts at work, she will be leaving ahead of me and she wants me to meet her at our conference hotel.

I don't travel often, but when I do, it's usually just to my home state in the South. I've only been to Europe once (Spain), but I was traveling with a group of 5 other females and safety was never a question.

This time alone, it would be me all alone, up until I meet with my friend at the hotel.

While I would love, love, love, to go to Italy (as it's a once in a lifetime experience!), I'm very nervous about traveling alone. In fact, I'm scared. Just the thought of traveling for 8+ hours on a plane, by myself, and then landing in a foreign land alone, is overwhelming. I feel inundated with so many "what ifs."
But I so want to go!

Has anyone had a similar experience with being fearful about traveling internationally alone?

For those who have traveled to Italy (specifically Rome), is there anything I should look out for or be worried about?

Any and all helpful advice would be greatly appreciated .
you are an adult, and are scared of going by yourself to a perfectly safe city? I don't know... what exactly are you scared of?

You sit on the plane, like everyone else. Eat when food is brought to you and go to the bathroom when you need to. Upon landing, just follow everyone else, present your passport at customs and you will be let in. Take Leonardo Express for 14 euros to Termini station in central Rome, or simply call a taxi in your case since you seem terrified - most people in the service industry speak some English so communication is not an issue. Once at the hotel, check in like you do in the US and then relax!

What about it is "overwhelming"? Besides language, how is it different from any new city in the US? And as I said, most younger people speak at least some English, so if you are unfortunate enough to have to talk to someone, that's not a big problem.

There is "what if" every minute in life no matter where you are. It seems you are an extremely risk averse person and are probably terrified at the idea of going anywhere outside your comfort zone, and I am sure you don't like it either. Maybe it is a chance for you to step out of it. The entire west Europe is safer than almost any American city. There is no reason to be overly concerned about personal safety. I did Barcelona, Paris, Lisbon, Istanbul, Tokyo, Kyoto, Buenos Aires all by myself and never felt scared (uncertain or frustrated sometimes about way finding, yes, but scared, no).

Looks like you should do more solo trip to foreign countries. That's the best medicine.
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Old 07-22-2015, 07:25 AM
 
3,139 posts, read 2,175,645 times
Reputation: 5043
Quote:
Originally Posted by RooCeleste View Post
I don't even know you but I'm so excited for you! I can't wait to hear a report after you get home!! I did a week-long cruise to Mexico alone when I was 35 years old and had an absolute blast -- I explored each port on my own and met really fun people.

Rome is a fabulous, BIG, busy city and very similar in that respect to big, busy US cities. You'll be perfectly safe and you'll have such great opportunities to meet fantastic people! Everyone was so nice! You won't have any worries about language because English is everywhere.

Rome is a great city to just "rome" HAHA around in because it's pretty hard to get really lost. The ruins are absolutely amazing, and the underground Colosseum tour was just fantastic (buy tickets online beforehand and you avoid lines!)! One area I wish we had spent time exploring was the Trastavere neighborhood just across the river from the historical area...it's a very local area with tons of shops, pubs, restaurants, etc. I'll definitely spend a lot of time there next trip.

The part of Rome that irritated me were the street hawkers, selling everything from umbrellas to cheap plastic crap. They weren't dangerous but they were pushy and irritating. I felt really guilty at first for having to be quite pushy in return, but after a week of it, I didn't mind telling them NO THANKS before they could even get the words out of their mouths.

I've learned through my travels that the best people to ask questions of, especially if you're trying to get directions, are the police officers. They're knowledgeable about the areas, they usually always speak English, and in general they're very willing to help lost tourists. They were super nice in Rome, letting us take pictures with them....and one is a personal friend of mine so if you have any troubles, I'll get him to take care of it! :-)

We were there in 2012, when I was 43 and my husband was 52. We also had my 74-year-old mother with us and never once did we feel unsafe. Just walk with an air of confidence (even if you don't feel it), keep your hand on your cross-body bag (NEVER take it off at all until you're back in your apartment/hotel), and keep your money in an inside zippered pocket and you'll be fine.

HAVE A BLAST and please do report back when you return!!!
Will do! I'm booking my ticket as we speak!!!
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Old 07-22-2015, 08:26 AM
 
Location: Niceville, FL
7,678 posts, read 16,089,040 times
Reputation: 7684
You might find doing a few planned day tours reduces the stress for you. Viator provides a nice listing of a bunch of companies that offer such things:

The Top 91 Rome, Italy Tours & Sightseeing Tours on Viator Tomorrow, This weekend, or in July | Viator.com
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Old 07-22-2015, 09:50 AM
 
10,847 posts, read 11,250,780 times
Reputation: 7578
Quote:
Originally Posted by beachmouse View Post
You might find doing a few planned day tours reduces the stress for you. Viator provides a nice listing of a bunch of companies that offer such things:

The Top 91 Rome, Italy Tours & Sightseeing Tours on Viator Tomorrow, This weekend, or in July | Viator.com
or simply book a tour from America.
One of my colleagues did that. To be greeted and guided by English speaking guides from day 1 at the airport, along with 30 other English speaking tourists all the time, in a tourist bus from place to place. There is definitely no danger in that. you don't even need to hear one word in Italian.
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Old 07-22-2015, 10:54 AM
 
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
7,289 posts, read 4,145,583 times
Reputation: 18254
Quote:
Originally Posted by erjunkee View Post
Will do! I'm booking my ticket as we speak!!!
Whoo-hoo! Have TONS of fun! (And eat some gelato for us!)
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Old 07-22-2015, 11:44 AM
 
4,685 posts, read 2,312,356 times
Reputation: 6165
Hi OP,

I got to thinking a bit more about what you said here:

"Has anyone had a similar experience with being fearful about traveling internationally alone?"

Well, 4 years ago I was planning a trip home and just didn't 'feel' right. I was so anxious. But then I realized that I was anxious about everything. It was an irrational fear of flying. I have been an avid traveler for most of my life. LOVED flying. But this time I had an awful anxiety and everything seemed to go wrong - flight arrangements, travel from airport to my family's home, everything. The flight was horrible due to my anxiety. My heart rate went way up and I was so stressed on the flight. When I arrived I was so irritable when I arrived and informed my family of my arrival I snapped at my brother that I preferred to take the shuttle, didn't want him to bother. Ugh! Shuttle was late (I waited hours!) I was grumpy the whole time of my visit. This had been going on a while before my trip. It was so bad I'd jump at the tiniest sound. Well, I began to do some research as the anxiety was causing even more anxiety about why I was feeling this way! I soon found out that I had an adrenal gland problem which caused the anxiety.

After that trip I began to take some natural remedies for the problem and after 8 weeks I found myself traveling by plane again. I had THE BEST flight ever (and I'd been flying for almost 40 years) even though there were seating errors, toddler tantrums, bumpy flight! No nerves whatsoever. I was unbelievably calm.

Just know that lots of times anxiety is there before the trip and you may be experiencing it due to other events in your life.

If you are able to, something natural and easy that you can do is take extra Vitamin C and Vitamin B5 (also known as Pantothenic Acid):

What is vitamin B5?
Vitamin B5, more commonly known as pantothenic acid, is a water-soluble nutrient that is part of the B vitamin family. The B vitamins help support adrenal function and a healthy nervous system.

(As a side note, I also took Ashwaghanda, an ayurvedic /homeopathic with my Vit C and Vit B5, but I'm not advocating that you do so as I am not a doctor. Just wanted to be clear about all that I did.)

But Vit C and Vit B5 are good for most people to take regularly, especially if their diet may be lacking, and if you have no allergies to those supplements, it might help. You could start taking them now, not just when you are actually traveling.

Vit C is also frequently recommended for those flying due to all the germs one encounters being enclosed with so many people, many of whom may have a cold or something.


Best of luck. Have a fantastic trip!
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Old 07-22-2015, 12:32 PM
 
6,387 posts, read 5,424,239 times
Reputation: 11015
Congrats, OP. It's good to do something that you are a little scared of. I do remember the feeling the first time I stepped off a plane in a country where I didn't know anyone and didn't speak the local language and was unsure of many local customs. But learning to deal with it on my own was a great growing experience and one that hooked me ever since.
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