Solo Travel to Europe: A Forty Something Adventure, Part I
Having travelled most of North America and the Caribbean, it was time to tackle the mysteries of Europe. As a 40-something-year-old male, the idea of a cruise (please) or planned excursion style (ugh) vacation was never an option. Being a seasoned and adventurous soul, I decided to dive in, plan, well, semi plan, my own European vacation.
Getting to Europe provided two options: flying or taking a boat. Since I had 10 weeks at my dispossal, I pursued both options. Boating proved a non option, gone are the days of working yourself overseas at rock bottom prices. Besides being Canadian, I had no interest in leaving from New York. Flying it was, now to where? I made good use of the internet in researching my adventure, although I never used it to book rooms, trains or excursions. That would be left to my superior-in-person negotiating skills.
Being that I had the choice of Detroit or Toronto, I had a plethora of options. Upon much internet searching, Toronto became the best and the cheapest selection. I soon realized that Air Transat, based out of Montreal, Quebec, was not only the cheapest, but a non-stop, with meals and a generous luggage allowance (I didn’t need, it was June). I booked on line, for $49.00 Canadian – $215.00, taxes included, one way to Amsterdam.
The adventurre was on. I quickly got myself up to speed on Amsterdam, what to expect for accomodations. Travelling solo, and yes, with a backpack, I researched everything from 5-star $700.00 per night to hostels at $20.00 per night. I decided to wait until arrival to choose a place.
Knowing that I was travelling to different countries around Europe, I explored Eurail passes. That provided me with pricing and itineraries. Being shy to package deals, I opted to pay as I go, which by the way, I highly recomend. Train passes come with a lot of if, when and how, not to mention length of stay and country restrictions. I used a transportation service from Windsor to Toronto – Robert Q Airbus, $80.00, curbside drop-off, a splendid convenience.
The flight left promptly at 18:20, get used to militay time; it is used exclusively all around Europe. We landed at Schipol Airport shortly prior to our scheduled 7:40 estimated arrival, gaining six hours by Greenwich standards. Perfect – an overnight, overseas flight for just over $200.00!