People told me I was foolish for solo backpacking Europe as a 19 yo female for 6 weeks, but man can I say it was worth it. Here’s one of my favorite pictures I got while in Bratislava Slovakia. What a charming city.

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183 comments

      1. It was the bridge headed towards the other side yeah. You could see it if you visited the “castle” on the hill. I forgot what it was called

        1. The name of the restaurant is UFO I think, or at least that’s what the people call it. And the castle is called just “hrad” (castle) iirc.

      1. You know what country sounds terrifying based on news? The USA. Yet everyone tells me I’m going to die when I travel based on a thing they heard.

          1. As someone from Aus who stayed in Tenderloin for a week while in San Fransisco I can confirm this well enough. My friend did trip over a homeless guy at one point though. Thought we might have got fucked up but I think he was too stoned/drunk.

        1. Well statistically, it is likely to be more dangerous if you’re going from Europe. There are 20 countries in Europe with lower homicide rates than the safest US state.

    1. I’m wondering the same. I might hesitate to go to Europe these days myself – alone anyway – yet to be honest, I have more fear in America than I’ve ever felt while overseas. I went on a backpacking trip in 2010 that family members tried to talk me out of because I was staying in hostels, and they’d seen that movie…but what made it worse was when they found out that I’d be staying a few days in the very town where that film had been made, Cesky Krumlov! I was also warned about skinheads in Germany (I’m a Black woman) yet I refused to allow that to stop me. I had a lovely time and would consider relocating to Bavaria for a couple of months right now if I had the money.

      1. > I might hesitate to go to Europe these days myself

        Even including the increased rate of terrorism in Europe over the last few years, the homicide rate is still *far* higher in the US.

        1. Yeah but if you would take data from the very specific cities or even neighborhoods a tourist would go, that homicide rate would be quite different. South Side Chicago…. Very dangerous. Downtown Chicago, not a problem.

          Compton, California dangerous. Hollywood or By ocean in Santa Monica…. Not comparable

      2. I’ve certainly met racist germans (they couldn’t understand why I was livid with them using the N-word in front of me), but never any one who is violent in the way that cops, white supremacists, republicans, etc. are towards blacks in america.

      3. Cesky Krumlov was a beautiful little town, one of my favorite spots I visited in the Czech Republic, I would recommend everyone to see it. Everything was very reasonably priced compared to Prague, Prague was amazing as well

      1. I worked 40 hours a week on top of being a biochemistry student and managed to make do. I’m certainly not rich. Travel doesn’t have to be expensive!

      2. It’s more about choice than wealth really. I hate the constant suggestion that travel is for the ‘rich’. You can hitchhike across europe and sleep in hostels if you really want to see places, for the price of that new iPhone that so many seem to consider a basic commodity. It’s all about priorities.

        1. Travel has largely moved from available to the upper classes of advanced western nations to anyone from the lower middle to super rich of the same nations and the upper middle and above from midtier (economically) nations.

    2. I love traveling alone as well, but I have to agree that there’s a inherent risks of going solo.
      At least if you have one other person traveling with you, you have someone who can have your back. Someone who can keep track of you if something goes wrong.

      Going solo almost anywhere and you’re an easier target for those who don’t have the best of intentions.

  1. I’m for sure going to be heading that way again! I’ll let you know next time I’m in the area because that list would be very helpful! Thanks so much!

  2. Did you already pass through Prague? And central Europe is much safer than most major cities in the US. Anyone who discouraged you from travelling is an idiot, for lack of a better word.

    1. I absolutely adored Prague! One of my favorite cities in Europe so far! Definitely felt very safe there. I can’t believe how cheap travel was in Central Europe as well

  3. I backpacked through out western Europe when i was 19 for 6 weeks 🙂 I was super novice traveller at that time, limited English as English is not my mother tongue. If i look back now, i would have done so many things differently, but i’m glad i did it. And it made a huge impact in my life 🙂 sorry about my rambling, this post made me smile! Happy travel! 😀

    1. This comment made me smile! It’s nice to hear that it made such an impact on your life! Before this trip I had never left the US, so I can already tell how much this trip has enhanced my cultural awareness. I know it will definitely have an impact on the rest of my life! Thanks for the comment 🙂

    2. But you don’t mention your gender. Even back in the late ’50s, I putt-putted all around much of Western Europe on a Vespa at the age of 16 (Army brat), and never had a problem. But I’m a guy. I’m pretty sure the experience would have been rather different for a girl. And I don’t think the times (or people) have changed *that* much.

      1. I’m a female. Yeah and i visited again Amsterdam&Rome last spring this year, smartphone have changed a lot how we travel, but still the vibes&the feel of those city were the same as 10 years ago. 🙂

        1. I first went to Europe 10 years ago as a 20 year old and people only really used their phones for texting back home then. I can’t even remember if anyone had an iPhone on that trip, so I think we mostly used internet cafes. I’ve been back twice since and having a smartphone is honestly the best advancement in travel in decades. So much easier to navigate, book things etc. I still don’t get an overseas SIM since I don’t want to be staring at my phone all day.

          1. Same same same!! 😀 Internet cafes or hostel PC. Haha I’m terrible terrible with directions and i’m too lazy to plan everything ahead. I can’t stress enough how smartphone raised the quality of my travels. But i enjoy being an alien, so i just get by with free wifi. 🙂

      1. Be more social. i’d never been outside of NE asia at that time, i was generally being cautious and i didn’t know how to start a conversation. And actually doing/seeing something more haha. It was more of 6 weeks of attempting&getting lost. Oh! And buying a decent map in every city! I had a crappy map for the first week, didn’t even know it was crappy. But then one guy told me “you should get a better map”, and woah! But it was pre-smartphone. 🙂 All is such a good memory now. But don’t miss your flight.

        1. Im about to do a 2 week group tour on NZs south island for my first overseas trip. Im doing it solo and im not a very social person but m very excited. So i think doing it this way basically addresses everything in your list

          1. You’ll have a good time and get to meet nice interesting people. Have fun and good luck!

          2. Group tour in an English speaking country. You’re good to go, they take of almost every detail usually.

        2. No need to buy a map. Just use something like OpenMaps or the Maps.Me app.

          That along with TripIt will make your travel life so much easier.

          1. It was 10 years ago, pre-smartphone era. Feel so old now. Haha. Yeah i like the maps.me app too! But just asking the locals/fellow travellers is the best way to get around 😉

    1. I agree! I’m actually a university student and that was the only amount of time I could between my studies. I actually am studying abroad rn, so still “traveling” one way or another. Will spend more time when I get more funds.

  4. I was there a few weeks ago! A little known fact is that the green tower in the picture can be climbed and the view from the top is magnificant. 😀 hope you enjoyed it.

  5. I really doubt anyone told you you were foolish. It’s probably something you tell yourself that people say so you feel more adventurous. But who cares because you were motivated (and fortunate) enough to get out and do something new and challenging. BTW you will probably never stop traveling so better start making a list!

    1. I know you doubt it but I was told by 1 person at home and 2 random strangers I met along the way! I will never stop traveling though after this! So excited for more adventures to come and feeling braver everyday 🙂

    2. I heard this ALL of the time. I traveled for 10 years of my life from 20 to 30 and people were quick to put down anything I had to say about it.

        1. I’ve had my fair share of them. Just trying to encourage the younger ones to believe in what they want for their lives. Seems like the jerks are still out there.

      1. I feel that. People where I’m from aren’t prone to traveling (many haven’t even left the state) so that’s why I think they felt that way. I’m glad you still continued to travel despite other people’s ideas of it

    3. People have told me I was foolish for going to Mexico alone as an American (and a 6’3″ 220lb male) that speaks Spanish. Some people are just scared of the world.

  6. Yeah, seriously! Whoever told you that was smoking crack. Goodonya for taking the plunge…and beautiful photo!

      1. One thing I was disappointed with in Bratislava is that it’s not cheap at all in downtown. I knew it wasn’t going to be how cheap Eurotrip made it out to be, but most things in downtown Bratislava are equivalent to a lot of American prices. Still cheaper than most Western European capitals, but not by much. Though the rest of rest of Slovakia is pretty inexpensive, when it comes to hotels, food, drink, souvenirs, and most products, you won’t be saying much money in Bratislava. You’ll need quite a bit of nickels.

    1. Sadly only Bratislava! I’ve heard that I should have really gone into the country side more. Definitely a beautiful country based on my train ride through it. Also thank you!!

  7. I started traveling when I was 20 and I heard the same things. Don’t listen to these people. They’re so afraid of anything new / different. Keep following your desire to see the world and you experience it. I was lucky enough to travel to 13 countries from 20 to 30. Now I’m 30 and I’m going to have baby (which I absolutely am so excited for). You never know when life can change and these types of opportunities go away. Also, for me, I needed to find / create myself before I settled down. Keep traveling and finding any way possible to make sure you do it. The fire is lit inside of your soul now help it continue burning.

    1. This comment means so much to me. Congrats on the baby! I bet you are so excited for that new adventure! I’m so excited to see what the future holds and where it will bring me 🙂

  8. Never have done a solo backpacking, you are very brave for a 19 yo female! Do you mean you changed overall or some specific things changed in your life?
    I ve been to many places and now I feel like it is much more interesting to explore those small countries with their unique history that are not mainstream tourist destinations. Slovakia is on my list, yeah!

    1. I think I changed overall. My worldview was very small before traveling… I had very little knowledge of the world around me. The more people I meet and the more places I go makes me realize how small I am in this huge universe! That’s so comforting to me because now I feel like the problems in my own life that used to feel so big don’t actually matter in the scheme of things. It sounds pretty cheesy but I think that changed me as a person a lot. Also I have way more confidence in myself and I feel like I can do so much more than I could before. Sorry to ramble!

    1. Hey! Sure thing. Let me start with a nice selection of great places to eat that has some nice proper Slovak food:

      – Slovak Pub
      o It is an old pub with interior constructed of old Slovak cottages so it’s super cool insie despite being pretty mundane on the outside. The pub has exactly 500 chairs as the old king called Pribina had 500 of his best men under his command who accompanied him at all times.
      o Location: https://goo.gl/maps/x3CpRZLCh3n

      – Mestiansky Pivovar
      o It’s a really nice pub with some great food. It also offers beer from local breweries so you could definitely pop in there. (Beer in Slovak is called Pivo – the same as in Czech republic or Poland)
      o Location: https://goo.gl/maps/WNzwjMtVxhL2

      – Le Senk
      o This is THE beer place in Bratislava. It has a wide variety of niche beers from Czech republic as well as Slovakia. Burgers here are really nice, but I mostly go there to have a nice cold beer haha.
      o Location: https://goo.gl/maps/JUfMHT8WXkv

      – Gatto Matto
      o Alright this is more of an Italian place, but they make some excellent steaks there. Food in general here is of excellent and so is the service! It’s a bit pricier than the ones above but hey it’s still cheaper than an equivalent place in Vienna haha
      o Location: https://goo.gl/maps/rkSJxanMwZR2

      – Bratislava Flag Ship Restaurant
      o It seems like it is touristy and all but it’s alright. This place has some more traditional Slovak food and it’s also very good value for money. The pub itself is a bit hidden but it’s very old and gorgeous from inside!
      o Location: https://goo.gl/maps/fDkcHPEnyJC2

      – Lokal u Frantiskanov
      o This is very lovely and cozy place with excellent beer and some amazing food! It’s great value for money despite being right next to the main square. Service is excellent, so is the beer and again the food is great!
      o Location: https://goo.gl/maps/3zs3bLGb8jT2

      – Divny Janko
      o This pub is a place where most local people go and eat. It has all the traditional meals including great Schnitzel. Also, it’s next to the Presidential Palace gardens which are worth a visit as it’s free and open to public. This place is off the beaten path, but has a local charm, reasonable prices and in the vicinity of a lovely park!
      o Location: https://goo.gl/maps/aA6hf582PWS2

      – KC Dunaj
      o This is a super cool pub in an old functionalist building with the best views of Bratislava castle! No food served here, but pop in there in the evening for a good beer and the views. You might be lucky and have a band play there too. There is also a café from the main entrance of the square, which is really nice. The entrance to the pub is from a side street, but you will find it if you google it.
      o Location: https://goo.gl/maps/ACGrfsojJj52

      – Orbis Street Food
      o I think the name is self-explanatory haha. They have some nice selection of delicious street food. There is no seating however so it’s definitely food on the go. I still recommend it for the their tasty offerings.
      o Location: https://goo.gl/maps/vCWCaoWr6qH2

      – Stur Café
      o This one is a café but it’s named after the guy who codified our language hooray! It’s cozy, central and have some really good coffee and desserts. Fun fact: the Stur had to ask Austrian royal family for help with having our language approved as the Hungarian part of the kingdom did not allow such freedoms at the time and became quite oppressive in late 19th century.
      o Location: https://goo.gl/maps/B3Zo5QR3F772

      – U Kubistu
      o This is one of those modern cosy places that I really like in Bratislava. Service is excellent, their dark beer is super tasty and the food is something more special. Also, the staff is friendly and all speak pretty good English (maybe even german haha). Tip: it is next to the Blue church which is very picturesque as it looks like candy and is definitely worth a visit.
      o Location: https://goo.gl/maps/evWWuFYJsrr

      I’ll come up with some sightseeing tips too shortly 😉

      1. Was at KC Dunaj last November and had one of the best hot dogs I have ever had. Unless it changed, they still have them. What a great place, I can’t wait to go back to Bratislava! I was working and that was the only night I had to go out into the town, but I plan on returning as soon as possible!

        Try the ostiepok (cheese) and their local dish, gnocchi made with said cheese called Bryndzové Halušky.

      2. As someone that has visited Bratislava a few times several years ago, I wish I had your recommendations before I went. I have been to about half of these places though and I agree that most are worth a visit! The Slovak Pub is a must! 🙂

        I’m curious what a local’s thoughts are on Modrá Hviezda. I have eaten on the terrace there a few times, and I always recommend a stop there to fellow travelers. I also fondly remember Prašná Bašta in Old Town.

    2. 1. Bratislava Castle
      It houses the History Museum where you can see approximately 3500 paintings, statues, and prints by domestic and foreign artists grouped according to theme. There are more rooms to see with coloured Slovakian glassware, carved wooden furniture, clocks, weapons, helmets and armor. Other than that it has amazing views, and a French style Baroque garden that was just finished last year according to the original gardens that used to be there during Maria Theresa’s time.

      Location: https://goo.gl/maps/TkCUH3ozipN2

      2. St Martin’s Cathedral in Bratislava
      How could you miss our lovely cathedral 😉 In the 16th century, the Dome became the coronation church of Hungarian kings and there were 19 Hungarian Emperors (including Maria Theresia) crowned in the cathedral until the 19th century. The cathedral was actually built into the town’s outer walls as part of its fortification. So don’t you dare to miss this beauty!

      Location: https://goo.gl/maps/KLdiMHX26Am

      3. Primatial Palace in Bratislava
      The palace is filled with large oil portraits of Hapsburg royalty, including one from 1742 of Marie Therese at her coronation. Another major attraction in the palace is the ornate Hall of Mirrors. Although built on a smaller scale than Versailles, the Hall is still an impressive sight as well as being historically significant. It was here that Napoleon and Francis I signed the Treaty of Pressberg (Bratislava’s former name) in 1805, after the Battle of Austerlitz where 50,000 Russian, French and Austrian troops were killed.

      Location: https://goo.gl/maps/DWaRFivo17G2

      4. St. Elizabeth’s Church – The Blue Little Church in Bratislava
      It is one of the most beautiful pieces of Art Nouveau architecture in the world (I am likely a bit subjective here haha). The Blue Church has one nave and a cylindrical tower and the exterior design is of the Hungarian Art Nouveau style and is decorated with bright and beautiful blue majolica tiles. P.s. I was baptised here too

      Location: https://goo.gl/maps/tmyHkoGApbu

      5. Old Town Hall in Bratislava
      Built in renaissance style, the town-hall tower was however of defensive nature. At the bottom, you can find a table with the date of February 1850, marking the high water level when the Danube flooded. Left of the Gothic window, there is immured a cannon ball commemorating the attacks of Napolenonic troops in 1809.

      Location: https://goo.gl/maps/xKoALKPqsAA2

      6. St. Michael’s Street and St. Michael’s Gate in Bratislava
      Most of the building on the Michalska Ulica (street) date from the 18th Century and have survived several wars, occupations, and Communist rule, which was notorious for tearing down old, historic buildings throughout then-Czechoslovakia and replacing them with unattractive cell-block like high-rise apartments. On the top of the street there is St. Michael’s Gate – the only preserved gate of the medieval city fortifications.

      Location: https://goo.gl/maps/9Ro4z9ZMLFr

      7. Novy Most (A.K.A UFO Bridge) and Observation Deck
      There is a walkway for pedestrians to walk to and from Novy Most. Take the elevator to the observation deck.After a quick ride up, you arrive at the observation deck where there is popular but expensive restaurant UFO(you have to make the reservation for eating).

      Location: really? I mean it’s impossible to miss 😀

      8. Devin Castle
      At last! The birthplace of Slovak language in all its glory! (the founders of our codified language got drunk up there in 1848 and that’s how Slovak cultural rejuvenation started). After the fall of the Great Moravian Empire, the castle served again as a boundary fortress under the reign of the Hungarians. The castle was altered in 13th and 16th century and destroyed by Napoleon’s troops in 1809. This place is amazing for a walk and some amazing food in the village. I can’t praise it enough. It’s a bit further from the city centre but still accessible (around 40mins with public transport).

      Location: https://goo.gl/maps/4DrEU2qD2gr

      I also recommend just stroll around city centre and visit any place you like. There are any great hidden gems so have a walk, drink same great beer and eat well! I hope you have fun pal and let me know how it went 😉

    3. Rent a bike and go to Devin Castle. It’s about a 10 mile ride along the banks of the Danube. Highlight of my time spent there.

  9. Those people are fools. Glad you had a great experience. I was in Bratislava last year for a few days. Great place and food.

  10. Bratislava is really underrated city, and it drives me a little nuts every time I see people write it off as an afternoon trip at best. If anything, I liked it much more than Prague.

  11. Good for you!

    I started traveling internationally at that age by myself. Going solo was one of the best decisions of my life. It forced me to figure out unfamiliar situations and successfully doing so was great for self-confidence and people skills. I was able to do whatever I wanted with my time. I also made amazing friends that way. Shoutout to /r/SocialParis.

    A couple of people were skeptical about me traveling alone as a woman, but interestingly enough, those people rarely traveled abroad or fed into sensationalist news.

    I can’t see myself going back to traveling with people now, unless it’s a special occasion or a *significant* safety issue and the person’s knowledge is helpful.

    Glad you had a great time!

    1. 19 here going on my first big international solo trip through Asia in 3 months and your comment made me feel better about it haha

      1. That’s awesome! Sounds very exciting.

        My best advice is don’t drink alcohol in excess this time around, be careful with food, and trust your gut. If something feels off in a situation, it’s totally okay to bail and do something else.

        Have fun!!

  12. Hitchhiked from Krakow to Budapest in July. Slovakia’s countryside and smaller towns were astonishingly beautiful. Definitely worth checking out.

  13. oh wow, this is one of my dreams though i’m rather scared to as I am single now. How did you keep yourself safe, and also how did you plan the trip? very inspiring!! (^◇^)

    1. I used TripIt to plan my trip and rome2rio to book my traveling tickets. I also used hostel world for most of my hostels… sometimes airbnb. I made sure to text the same person at the same time everyday where I was and how I was doing. That way if they didn’t get a text, they would suspect something was wrong. Also do the common sense things… don’t walk alone at night, don’t accept drinks from strangers, etc. you will meet people along the way to explore the cities with too, so that will make it a little safer.

  14. Im doing the same thing as a 19 for 5 weeks, its in november-december so a different time frame but any suggestions would be stellar

    1. Go to Central Europe for sure! It’s way cheaper than Western Europe and less touristy. Also I used TripIt app to plan my trip and rome2rio to plan my flights train and ferry tickets.

  15. I was there in July, but only for one day. I stopped at the Pink Elephant Hostel to drop of my backpack and walked into a “wedding” where all the guys were dressed in skirts and dresses. All the walls in the hostel had psychedelic drawings all over them, and they had some trippy music playing. I had to stay for the wedding it was such a weird/amazing experience. Also, the city was really beautiful.

  16. Hey I’m also from Minnesota! Any tips from your trip? I’m 19 and female (not very big) and wanting to take a trip like that by myself

  17. I just creeped your profile & saw you’d had waffles in Brussels recently – how did you find the city? It gets a lot of hate but I really enjoy it mysef, can’t quite figure out why I’m an outlier!

    1. I absolutely loved Brussels! I was only there for a short time, but the architecture and the food was absolutely amazing! Still can’t get over the beer and the chocolate haha

      1. I’m so glad to hear that! I spent so much happy time there it really saddens me to see that it’s a ‘skip it, go elsewhere’ place on this forum…

  18. Thanks for this post. 22 year old female here and going backpacking for 6 weeks very soon, feeling a bit anxious about it but it is reassuring seeing posts like these.

  19. Man, I’m 26 and I’m still terrified to do this even though its on my bucket list! I want to do a solo trip to Amsterdam. Props to you!

    1. Amsterdam was so amazing! I felt pretty safe there for the most part 🙂 definitely go! Rent a bike and explore the city and the country side around the area too! Just be weary though because it is expensive as hell there!

    2. Don’t be terrified. Unless you’re trying to rail coke off a hooker you’ll be fine nearly anywhere you go if you use common sense.

  20. Beautiful picture.

    I don’t think it was foolish to travel solo at all. I find that it’s a great way to really learn a lot about yourself, and it pushes you to try new things and expand your comfort zone. Also, since you only answer to yourself, you ensure that you do whatever you want to do. You don’t have to worry about missing out on something because you had to cater to your travel mate.

    What was your favourite place?

  21. I’m glad you did, but must say you are pretty courageous for doing so and, as a brother of 19yo girl, I can say your family must be pretty worried about you.

    Enjoy and be safe

  22. Man, makes me happy to see so many folks in here talk about Bratislava, too many times I feel like people just brush the city and country off. There’s a ton to explore – I’m going back in about 2-3 weeks. Really happy to see it pop on here with some great suggestions to boot.

    1. When I went on a school trip, we took a train from Prague, and I bought a flute at the top of the main hill there. That memory is etched in my brain, it was a very lovely place.

  23. I am an avid traveler myself. Have met many girls on solo trips during my travels, made friends with some, had nice chats with the others. I wholeheartedly support them and think it’s great they are doing what they’re doing, but at the same time I would NOT want my sisters or my girlfriend to do the same. Funny contradiction. But honestly, there are plenty of risks. I’m glad you’ve had a life-changing experience!

    1. I posted it on an earlier thread but between 2,500-3000. I couldn’t eat as much at the end of the trip though so I would budget for a little more if you’re planning on traveling

  24. It’s so good to see another woman my age doing the same! I’m a year older than you and went on a solo backpacking trip in Europe for 6 weeks this summer too, and I did another one last summer in Japan. I have yet to meet another woman my age doing this alone so far. I haven’t had anyone tell me I was foolish for doing it, but I’ve heard some people voice concern about my safety or commenting on how “brave” I am.

    1. It’s funny because I’m a 25 year old male and I also get the same comments on how “brave” I am for backpacking solo in Europe this past summer. I wish I could show people there’s nothing to fear in traveling alone and that it’s an eye opening experience!

      1. Well, I wouldn’t say that there’s nothing to fear in travelling alone, especially as a young woman, but I think that it is possible to minimize the risk to a negligible amount if you take precautions. Also, I could kind of see why someone would think a young woman travelling alone is brave, it definitely takes more courage for a young woman to travel alone than a man (because the world is fucked up). I have been in situations where I felt unsafe but would have felt safe in if I were a man, and there are some countries that I will not go to alone, but I definitely agree that as a 25 year old male that would be a very odd comment to receive.

  25. This comment thread is a bit too much. Of course we’re in a travel subreddit, and we like to travel, but most of the positive comments here seem to be assuming an awful lot.

    If we are going to make assumptions, let’s start with these:

    1) The people who told OP she was “foolish” might have been doing so out of jealousy, but the more (much more) likely possibility is that they are genuinely concerned for her safety. That’s not a bad thing. Sure, maybe they were pushy, or maybe they were being close-minded. Or maybe they weren’t. Maybe they were just genuinely concerned. *That’s not a bad thing.*

    2) Yes, it’s true: not all women are easy targets, just as not all men are automatically in the clear. Also, not all 19-year-olds are built the same. Some people are fully capable of taking on the world, while many of them would probably benefit from being confined to quarters. We do not know the OP, so we cannot judge her maturity or ability.

    3) There ARE risks in travel…for everyone. To suggest otherwise is incredibly ignorant and dangerous. Going to a strange place, by yourself, and relying on strangers is an inherent risk. There are ways to manage this risk. Step One would be to not travel alone, and Step Two would be to gain experience by visiting places with individuals who are already familiar with the region. OP did not do this, and that might be why there was concern in the first place. She even states that she had no prior experience in traveling. Perhaps the people who called her “foolish” believed that she might be biting off more than she can chew?

    I’m glad OP is safe, and having a great time. That’s the BEST case scenario, and many times it doesn’t work out that way.

    To be perfectly honest, this is an emotional argument for me. I’ve lost one friend who was traveling in a third world country. It was violent and awful and it could have been avoided. I wouldn’t wish that fate on anyone.

    I’ve also had one near-miss with my own sister, who was traveling (not carefully enough) with friends in a first-world country. She escaped without too much damage and now she wants to travel to a third-world country by herself. What about that is a good idea? Am I in the wrong for telling her it’s a bad idea? Would she get on reddit and post about me calling her “foolish”?

    My message is this: Keep on traveling, and exploring this beautiful world, but *please* don’t ignore the people who love you and care about your safety. I wish everyone would take risk management more seriously. I wish I didn’t have to spend time worrying about my reckless sister. Most of all, I wish I could have my friend back.

    1. About #1, the problem is we read this time and again. I myself have had such concerns expressed to me and I’m a guy. I think people watch too much TV and see too much news and such bias contributes a bit too much to their fear.

      And yes, something could happen but if you’re being smart and avoiding bad places, it’s highly unlikely. Sometimes life requires risk and a first world country is a pretty low risk, even with recent events. If we all let fear control us, we’d never leave our homes.

      1. > About #1, the problem is we read this time and again. I myself have had such concerns expressed to me and I’m a guy. I think people watch too much TV and see too much news and such bias contributes a bit too much to their fear.

        So because you read this time and again, you’re suggesting it should be ignored? I disagree with you about that, but on the other hand, I agree about “TV feeding fear”. The news is a bit ridiculous, isn’t it?

        >And yes, something could happen but if you’re being smart and avoiding bad places, it’s highly unlikely. Sometimes life requires risk and a first world country is a pretty low risk, even with recent events. If we all let fear control us, we’d never leave our homes.

        Again, I already mentioned risk-management in my original comment. I also specifically said that I encourage people to travel the world…but to do it in a safe manner.

        If your intent is to defend the OP, then I’d argue that she doesn’t have much of a leg to stand on. She’s a teenager…who has never left her home country previously…who begins by traveling VERY far from home…by herself. Again, if we’re strictly talking about risk management here, OP obviously skipped a few steps and made “higher-risk-than-necessary” choices. It’s working out for her so far, but it’s still technically poor risk-management. Without knowing the OP personally, we can’t really judge how intelligently or stupidly she’s actually going about her travels.

        The purpose of my original comment was to highlight the fact that everyone in this thread was all “You go girl!” and “Ignore those fools!”, when in fact that exact attitude can be incredibly dangerous, especially to any other young, inexperienced travelers who might be reading here.

        “Well, reddit supported that one girl, so I MUST be fine even if my family thinks it’s an awful idea!”

        Hopefully by posting my comment, we can show that young person this isn’t an automatic “You go girl!” world, and that they should indeed heed the warnings of the people who care about them. They should engage in risk-management and consider all of their options before booking their first flight.

    2. That’s so sad about your friend. My mom is always saying the same thing and she’s usually right. Don’t city walk at night by yourself, take your phone everywhere but don’t flash it, make photocopy duplicates of passport, I’d, credit card and put them in your secret travel fanny pack, always bring a bottle of water, don’t leave a drink unattended, call a cab if you need to and don’t worry about the price, wear sunscreen, let someone know what you’re doing and where you’ll be, establish travel plans with your credit card companies. So many easy common sense tips can make travel a whole lot safer

  26. good for you!! I’d love to connect and get some ideas from you. I’m a 64 yo woman who plans to solo backpack the world taking photographs after I retire. Just spend the rest of my life travelling.

    1. I felt the safest in Ljubljana Slovenia! It’s a super cool city with a great vibe and great people. Didn’t feel scared one bit when I was there and everyone was friendly and helpful.

        1. No problem!! Stay at Celica art hostel! It was by far my favorite hostel I stayed st in Europe. It used to be a jail and it was refurbished into this beautiful artsy building. Very cheap too! Book in advance for that place though because they are very popular

  27. People who discourage those types of things are projecting their own regrets and insecurities. They either wish they had the balls to do what you’re doing or regret that they never did when they were your age. Good for you OP!

  28. Can confirm, I was a 22 yo female who went to Europe by myself for 2 months. People thought I was nuts, but it was one of the greatest things I have done.

  29. When I was 19, I told my parents I was going to spend 6 months in New Zealand by myself. I did it and it is still the best choice I’ve ever made. Listening to my gut and being confident in my choices has given me a life I look back on and smile. And I’m only 25!

  30. I visited last winter. Everyone told me to skip Bratislava because it can’t compare to places like Prague. So glad I ignored them!

    Bratislava was beautiful, non-touristy, and very authentic. I think it was my favorite place.

    1. Between 2,500 and 3,000 including plane tickets. I had to cut down on my meals by the end though so I would recommend budgeting for more. Also I’m a very small person so I don’t eat as much in general

  31. Who on earth told you it was stupid to backpack around Europe as a female? Is there anywhere safer to backpack as a female?

  32. > People told me I was foolish for solo backpacking Europe as a 19 yo female for 6 weeks….

    Stop listening to and/or paying attention to immaterial dummies.

    Glad you had a great trip.

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