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23 year old female solo traveler. Budget oriented. I am more of a neophyte but my travels were unique to me in that I embarked on most of them alone. Ask me anything!

Bridget Sloniker
May 17, 2017

Studied abroad in Morocco. 

Other countries visited: Bermuda, England, Spain, France, Italy, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Romania, Iceland

Reason you believe this topic would be a great choice for an AMA:
There's too much apprehension in regard to travel. Global coverage and instant access to what is happening in all corners of the world makes people feel like the world is a more dangerous place than it is.

Reason you believe you will be a great host to speak on this topic:
I have traveled and learned a lot.

Have you ever hosted an AMA before?:
No

May we contact you via phone?:
No

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Conversation (101)

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I want to go to Sarajevo this summer, but I don't know anyone there. Some of my friends say it's dangerous; others that it's really pretty safe. Have you heard anything about visiting Sarajevo?

May 17, 8:53PM EDT1

Spokane, Washington is probably more dangerous than where you're heading.

What have you heard in terms of danger? It's sort of a blanket statement people give to the unknown so do your research and check travel advisories and warnings about Sarajevo. They haven't made international news for anything egregious.

I recommend reading female travel bloggers who have been to Sarajevo to guide you.

Rick Steve's is a cool guy. He said, "Every year, thousands of women, young and old, travel to Europe on their own. You can, too, by using the same good judgment you use at home. Begin with caution and figure out as you travel what feels right to you. Create conditions that are likely to turn out in your favor, and you'll have a safer, smoother, more enjoyable trip."

I included the link too. 

Safe travels! 

https://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips/trip-planning/tips-for-solo-women-travelers

May 17, 11:22PM EDT0

Hi Bridget, what's the life of a solo traveler like? If you are like me, you dream Travel all the time! Thanks in advance.

May 17, 7:28PM EDT0

Is Europe friendly for female solo travelers?

May 17, 12:16PM EDT1

In my experience, yes. I have found that when I am traveling by myself, I'm more conscientious of my surroundings because I'm in unfamiliar terrain and I don't have friends (a comfort) as a buffer of perceived safety. Alone, I witnessed the kindness of strangers and ran into few safety troubles. Just be aware of your surroundings. This doesn't mean you have to be paranoid about everything but it's important to be present.

Truthfully, I felt safer walking at night in some European countries than I do here at home. 

May 17, 7:22PM EDT1

I like your advice, thank you for that.

May 17, 9:54PM EDT0

Where's next?

May 17, 9:07AM EDT0

I am the youngest of 7 kids. All but 2 of my siblings are planning a trip to Vietnam at the end of the year! The trip might takes us to Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos as well but we are still in the planning stage. I've never traveled with family and I've never been to Asia so this should be a real hoot.

May 17, 7:29PM EDT0

Do you hook up with other solo travelers? Thanks in advance.

May 17, 2:03AM EDT0

This question is hard to answer in part because having sex with anyone has never been a part of my travel itinerary but I've witnessed it a lot. I'm very easily pleased when I travel alone. Just give me some room to roam and a baguette. 

However, because meeting people is so easy, especially in the hostel environment where you have co-ed rooms and open spaces to hang out in along with group outings, a lot of bonding can happen in an open-ended day\night. From there, two consenting adults can decide if they want to have sex or not. It's not uncommon for young people to casually hook-up. Just be smart.

If you do include the possibility of sex into your travel plans, remember to bring protection. 

May 17, 7:53PM EDT1
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How safe is it to travel alone, aren't you afraid in some cities/countries alone?

May 17, 12:11AM EDT0

How was it like, travelling alone? Especially if you have different people with different cultures and nationalities surrounding you?

May 16, 10:52PM EDT0

How do you book the cheapest flights? Do you need to book long in advance?

May 16, 10:30PM EDT0

I book the cheapest flights by using a mixture of mostly Skyscanner, RyanAir and Norwegian Air. Norwegian Air flies out of only a few larger American cities to Europe but at invariably lower rates than if you used a search engine to find "cheapest flights." The more flexible you are with the dates of your travel, the more likely you'll find a better deal. And say you want to be in Austria but you find a cheaper ticket to Paris. Book the cheap ticket to Austria and spend a couple days there. There are many buses and trains and other combos of transportation that will get you hopping from European city to European city without breaking the bank.

May 17, 9:46PM EDT0

Are you a foodie?

May 16, 4:12PM EDT0

My interests in food are not as refined. I'm interested in how food ties into a country's customs. For instance, In Morocco, the tables are circular and the dishes are circular. There is no head of the table and everyone shares the same dish. It's very family-oriented and open. 

May 17, 10:06PM EDT0

What do you think of G-Adventures and other similar companies that organize the whole trip from start to finish?

May 16, 3:00PM EDT1

I have never been on a G-Adventure but I would consider going on one with this particular company based on their reviews. You want to know that the company is loyal to you as a traveler and it seems smale-scale enterprises are guaranteed to be fun and have few hiccups.

However, when I travel I want to create my own plan but that plan is always subject to change. You never know what new, fascinating thing might come up. In the case of roaming free, you can guitlessly change any travel plans. 

That's not to say they aren't a good idea. It depends on what kind of traveler you are. On a G-Adventure you'd no doubt meet a lot of new people with that common denominator, a love of travel and do a lot of kick-ass stuff.

May 17, 8:21PM EDT1

Great answer, somewhat surprising. Thanks.

May 17, 8:35PM EDT0

Why are you traveling alone and not with a friend or a soulmate? TY

May 16, 11:02AM EDT0

I have traveled with friends before and had a blast. But there is something incredibly personal and empowering about traveling alone too. It's the independence and control and ability to travel at your own pace and do what interests you. You don't have to negotiate with anyone on what to do, where to stay and what to eat. 

It's challenginging. And fun.

May 17, 9:57PM EDT0

When you go to sleep at night, do you dream of your next vacation spot?

May 16, 5:11AM EDT0

I image a meadow somewhere full of wildflowers and a warm sun.

May 17, 10:06PM EDT0

You're on your way to South Africa, you have two weeks to travel, USD 1,000. What do you do, where do you stay, what places would you visit?

May 16, 5:08AM EDT0

I'm not sure how much a safari would cost you, but i would try to see as much wildlife as I could. Or, I would visit Richtersveld National Park and the Sani Pass.

Other places to visit: The Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site and the Western Cape towns.

May 18, 6:42PM EDT0

What are some travel wisdom ideas you cherish most?

May 15, 10:00PM EDT1

Be open to meeting new people and talking to strangers. 

Travel light.

Don't overload your itinerary. Take things as they come, expect the unexpected. There is beauty in embracing some uncertainty.

May 17, 8:29PM EDT1

All great points, especially the travel light point you've made.

May 17, 8:36PM EDT0

Have you done any ocean adventures like swimming with Dolphins, whales, sharks, or diving?

May 15, 9:39PM EDT1

No, but I almost snorkeled in Iceland at Thingvellir National Park between two continental plates. Here's a link! 

https://www.dive.is/dive-sites/silfra/

May 17, 8:32PM EDT1

Just added to my bucket ocean list!

May 17, 9:22PM EDT0

Can you recommend a good hotel for young solo travelers in Rome, something affordable? I want to be you one day ;)

May 15, 9:02PM EDT1

Hostels in Europe can be incredibly inexpensive! In order to find the best value for my buck, I go to the Hostelworld website and read through the reviews left by travelers, the amenities the hostel offers, the proximity to transportation and the city center. Have you considered AirBnb or Couchsurfing?

If you play your cards right, the lodging might be cheaper than your meal expenses! 

Last edited @ May 17, 11:23PM EDT.
May 17, 8:42PM EDT1

Great to know, thanks for that!

May 17, 9:11PM EDT0

How is it traveling to Muslim countries for a solo female traveler like Morocco?

May 15, 8:51PM EDT0

I studied abroad In Morocco. Among my classmates, the responses about the most difficult aspects of life there varied but our common disturbance was the incessant cat-calling anytime we left our respective houses and apartments. Men would often hiss and whisper things to you as you walked by. The public sphere felt very unwelcoming at times. As a rule of thumb, women shouldn't wander around past sunset. One time I did and I got followed by a car and propositioned for sex. Another time, a man followed me to my school to my night class.

While it's still a very male-dominated country, it's moving forward. The current king is considered a "feminist king" and I'd travel there again in a heartbeat. The pros outweighed the cons for me personally. In Morocco, I fell into the crosshairs of the most hospitable people I've ever met in my life. I befriended one shopkeeper who invited friends and I to his home for dinner. His home was very decorous and his wife has made couscous and served us buttermilk. Encounters like that are not uncommon.

May 17, 10:26PM EDT1

Have you done any group tours in different places?

May 15, 8:43PM EDT0

I have never gone on a group tour other than the free "foot" tours in Europe. They are usually pretty comprehensive and helpful. I like to ask the tour guide where their favorite local place is to eat and then give him\her a good donation.

http://www.freecitytour.com/destination/europe/

May 17, 10:29PM EDT0

When you think of all-inclusive resorts, what goes through your head? lol

May 15, 7:14AM EDT0

It reminds me of the movie The Beach. Have you seen it? "The only downer is, everyone's got the same idea. We all travel thousands of miles just to watch TV and check in to somewhere with all the comforts of home, and you gotta ask yourself, what is the point of that?"

May 17, 10:31PM EDT0

I'm sure it's not all so perfect so, what are some of the pet peeves in places you've stayed at?

May 15, 7:03AM EDT1

Great question!

It's funny because something that irks me while abroad are other Americans who are really loud and disrespectful.

My biggest pet peeve in Morocco was all the cat-calling. Men would "tsk tsk" and hiss at you in a way that is supposed to mean "I'm interested" or "I like what I see." At first it was kind of scary and then it became a daily annoyance.

May 17, 8:57PM EDT1
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What activities define eastern Europe in your opinion?

May 15, 5:12AM EDT0

Whats your daily budget like when you go on a trip?

May 15, 2:17AM EDT0

I try to keep it under $50 bucks a day.

May 18, 12:30AM EDT0

Have you made lifelong friends on your travels?

May 14, 11:28PM EDT1

Yes! I took a trip to Granada, Spain with some friends and there we met three guys who reminded me of the lost boys in Peter Pan. We ended up visiting the gypsy caves above the city and wandering the city together and stopping for tapas. It was the right people in the right place with the right bond and I still talk to them today.

May 17, 9:05PM EDT1

Thanks!

May 17, 9:10PM EDT0

You have the most amazing life! What are some of the highlights from your trips?

May 14, 10:29PM EDT0

Riding a camel through the Sahara desert in Morocco! 

May 17, 10:32PM EDT0

How many languages do you speak? how do you get by where the local language isn't English?

May 14, 9:31PM EDT0

I speak English and intermediate French.

In cases of language barriers, I've noticed that hand gestures are very helpful. I try to learn at least 10 words\phrases of the local language before I go anywhere, especially "Thank you."

My brother told me a story of a man he met in Normandy who didn't speak a lick of English. They communicated to each other by drawing pictures in the sand. People can communicate creatively without speaking.

May 18, 6:52PM EDT0

Are you a digital nomad by any chance?

May 14, 8:53PM EDT0

Not really. I don't have an instagram and sometimes I'll go somewhere and not bring any technology.

May 18, 6:52PM EDT0

How was Bermuda?? It's on my bucket list!

May 14, 7:41PM EDT0

Bermuda was beautiful. There are enough sandy white beaches and old men in colorful shorts to go around for everyone. And most of the architecture is pastel-colored. I swam in the clearest waters I've ever seen.

The cons: It was overun with tourists and quite expensive. They also have to import a lot of food which inflates the costs.

May 17, 9:14PM EDT1

Interesting, never thought about the high costs there but it makes perfect sense.

May 17, 9:20PM EDT0

What are good travel companies you could recommend for a solo traveler?

May 14, 7:15PM EDT0

Not from personal experience but I'm including a link to a savvy travel writer that would be a better guide than I. 

http://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-tips/choosing-the-right-tour-company/

May 18, 6:48PM EDT0

How long each trip lasts for on average?

May 14, 4:19PM EDT0

I try to stay in places for at least a week so that I can explore more deeply. Touch and go trips leave much to be desired.

May 18, 6:49PM EDT0

Have you fallen in love with a local in Paris?:)

May 14, 2:42PM EDT1

I have never fallen in love with a local in Paris. I couchsurfed in Paris with a gentleman who wrote music though. There is certainly potential for romance! 

May 17, 9:16PM EDT1

Love is in the air, I can feel it already ;)

May 17, 9:19PM EDT0

What are some websites you use before going on an adventure? Do you AirBNB, hostels, hotels, or?

May 14, 1:58PM EDT0

I primarily use HostelWorld, AirBNB, Couchsurfing for lodging! 

May 17, 11:25PM EDT0

You're so lucky and so young. When did you start traveling abroad and how did it all start? I envy you..

May 14, 1:41PM EDT1

I knew from a young age that I wanted to see what was "out there." My parents stockpiled National Geographic. Shortly after getting my passport 3 years ago, I booked my first trip to Bermuda when I found a super cheap roundtrip ticket there. That decision launched me into a love affair with travel.

May 17, 11:31PM EDT1

Beautiful. If you want change in your life, it starts with your mind. Your parents were wise to expose to you NatGeo early on.

May 18, 3:02AM EDT0

What did you study in Morocco, how long were you there? Do you speak the local language, I believe it's Arabic? TIA

May 14, 12:29PM EDT0

I was in Morocco for a semester, so about four months. I took Intermediate French and beginning Arabic. I learned a lot of useful Arabic phrases at my homestay. My host mother and brother spoke fluent French and Arabic. French and Arabic are both widely used in the country, it just depends on where you are. In restaurants, I ordered in French. But in coffee shops, I learned I'd get better service if I ordered my coffee in Arabic. 

May 17, 11:35PM EDT0

Suggestions for a relaxing Beach getaways for a solo-traveler in Asia?

May 14, 9:33AM EDT0

Where were you in Iceland, any pictures or links?

May 14, 8:29AM EDT0

Tips for first time solo traveler?

May 14, 6:29AM EDT0

Have you encountered any dangers or crime along the way? Have you been robbed or threatened?

May 14, 5:38AM EDT0

What have you learned from your extensive adventures around the world?

May 14, 4:08AM EDT0

Have you done any camping on your travels?

May 14, 4:05AM EDT0

What kind of traveler are you?

May 14, 3:19AM EDT0

What are some places on your bucket list?

May 14, 3:17AM EDT1

St. Petersburg, Russia/Norway/Wales/Madagascar/Senegal/Thingvellir National Park in Iceland/Yellowstone National Park/Jerusalem and Palestine/Jordan/Turkey/India - to name a few

May 17, 11:42PM EDT1
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What are some of your must-know tips for solo travelling?

May 14, 2:53AM EDT1

Be smart. Research places before you visit them. Learn about the local customs. 

Experience the magic of Europeam cities at night. 

May 17, 9:53PM EDT1
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Do you have a travel blog?

May 14, 2:38AM EDT0

I started one and am hoping to continue working on it. 

https://awaywewhoablog.wordpress.com/2016/10/07/the-road-not-taken/

May 17, 9:35PM EDT0

Pictures or it didn't happen :) Care to share?

May 14, 2:07AM EDT0

May 17, 9:29PM EDT0

will be in Spain this November. How do you connect with other solo travelers?

May 14, 1:47AM EDT0

I like to talk about hostels because it is a place that a lot of diverse people congregate who share a love of travel. Already that common denominator is an icebreaker. I recommend paying for the "family dinner" at the hostel to break bread with your new friends.

May 17, 9:21PM EDT0

Some Safaris are hard to book affordably because of single supplement costs. Have you encountered that on your travels?

May 14, 1:42AM EDT0

What are some adventurous ideas within the United States for a female solo traveler?

May 14, 12:54AM EDT0

Driving around the country to all the places you want to visit! Think van with shag carpeting and a disco ball.

Do you have any states you're keen on seeing?

May 17, 11:45PM EDT0

Hey ... Do u have some ideas of where to go for the Solo Traveler, places you have not been to yet?

May 13, 11:25PM EDT1

I think it would be great to see more of Eastern Europe. It seems quite underrated as a travel destination but is still deemed quite safe by those who venture there.

Where do you have your sets on?

May 17, 11:51PM EDT0