Travelling alone is no longer taboo. In fact, it’s trendy to go alone out of choice. Celebrated as a way to learn about oneself, more people are discovering the freedom of exploring a new place on their own terms. From the frozen heartlands of Iceland to the sultry beaches of Belize, many destinations are independent traveler-friendly. Community groups, meet-ups and a vast wealth of online and digital resources make it easier than ever to go solo. Paris even has fun speed-dating styled language improvement events. Still undecided?
Here are some tips on destinations known to be safe and where to look in each. Happy solo travels!
Outdoor activities are king in Iceland. Base yourself in the capital for easy day trips to virtually any corner of the country, beauty spot, or adventurous activity. Iceland frequently tops solo travelers’ lists of most user-friendly destinations. In Reykjavik, hang out at The Laundromat Café, a social meeting hub where travelers and locals casually dine, wash laundry, drink coffee, read books, and share travel tips.
With an extraordinary array of bistros and cafés, Paris is a city where you can while away hours poring over a café au lait, chocolate chaud, and sumptuous patisseries while observing French culture through thefenêtres (windows) on the Champs-Élysées. Solo travelers gravitate towards Café de Flore and Deux Magots, which serve as meeting places for solo travelers to join up to explore the city. Also of note: Paris is a relatively safe European city for women traveling alone.
Plan Your Trip: Visit Fodor’s Paris Guide
Yoga, spirituality, spas, massages, beaches, organic eateries and markets— are you sold, yet? With such diversity, Bali is a staple for solo travelers from across the globe. People drift into its ease of life and wealth of fellow traveler-settlers. It helps that food is delicious and cheap, as is the cost of living in general.
Plan Your Trip: Visit Fodor’s Bali Guide
Solo travel and Bangkok have a long and convoluted history. It’s often said that you’d be lucky to meet a Thai in some parts of Bangkok. Luckily, other parts retain deep-rooted authenticity, which still attracts even the worldliest travelers. Temples, floating markets, cheap shopping, and nightlife galore keep the most active visitors busy traversing the city thanks to its excellent infrastructure.
The capital of Andalusia reflects all the romantic notions of Spain, as it plays home to Moorish architecture, bullfighting, and flamenco. Easily navigable on foot, Seville offers colorful ceramics, cobbled alleyways and mouth-watering markets. The city is a photographer’s dream with inexhaustible charm, luring enthusiasts to stay a while.
With an infrastructure geared for tourists, solo travel is straightforward in “The Pearl of the Adriatic,” as christened by Lord Byron. Shoulder season is warm and not yet overcrowded. Take day trips to Montenegro or Bosnia and Herzegovina. If adventure gets you going, take a hiking or rock climbing tour with Croatia Traveller, where you’ll meet others with the same interest or relax on an island cruise.
Anyone anywhere could make friends over a pint of Guinness. And Irish hospitality is world-famed for warmth and friendliness, especially in Dublin. Head to a traditional Irish pub; havens of chatter, to converse with locals who are completely used to tourists, even in the most remote countryside spots. Join walking tours exploring the literary greats, from Oscar Wilde to George Bernard Shaw.
The adventure capital of New Zealand’s South Island can leave you exasperated trying to fit it all in. From bungee to zorbing to horseback riding, Queenstown is a mecca for adventure travellers. Squeeze in superb gastronomy and nightlife too. Travellers often end up staying longer than planned – you’ve been warned! It’s easy to rent a car or join a group trip. The latter is a sure-fire way to meet others travelling.
Consistently raved about by travelers for its advanced transportation networks, excellent restaurants, and beautiful public spaces, Santiago is a sophisticated and accessible yet authentic South American city. Head straight for Bellavista, a trendy bohemian quarter with bars, quirky buildings, and artistic graffiti. Within easy reach from Santiago are colorful Valparaiso and glitzy Vina del Mar.
Nature has a way of bringing people together. In the Masai Mara’s vast Big 5 terrain, a safari plunges visitors deep into the grasslands. Independent travellers are joined up with others on Jeep safaris, providing an instant set of friends. June to October is best to witness Migration, a movement of millions of wildebeest. But during low season, many lodges waive single supplements.
Summer is kicking in the bohemian and laid-back city of Vancouver. Live music festivals, such as Osheaga, are a big draw here. Non-stop summer sunshine guarantees plenty of outdoor fun, allowing you to bask in the rays in the signature, relaxed ambiance for which Vancouver has become known.
The coolest Central American destination right now has to be Belize. Ambergris Caye lives up to the hype, and there are bars, beaches, and natural beauty in huge quantities. Interspersed with Mayan ruins, a spectacular barrier reef, and rainforest, this English-speaking nation appeals to expats and solo travelers alike.
You’ll need 3–4 days in Tokyo at the very least. Indulge in the cuisine with sushi, ramen, and tempura that’s better than you’ve ever tasted. If you’re keen to meet English speakers, head to Pink Cow bar in Roppongi, known for its expat following. The Hub is a chain of pubs, popular with younger crowds, where it’s easy to meet people organically.
This beautiful vast Grand Circle spans 5 states loaded with national parks and monuments, interwoven by designated Scenic Byways.
It’s an attractive route to Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park and more.