Traveling alone has many more pros than it does cons. You don’t have to work around anyone’s schedule but your own, you get to choose your every meal, and you get all the glory of your travel triumphs (and the hilarity of your mistakes) all to yourself. Of course the cons are not paltry ones — safety is a paramount issue when traveling alone as is the ever lingering feeling of loneliness that can turn a fabulous, delicious dinner into a slow form of torture.
But to let those totally surmountable problems stop you from lounging in Iceland’s thermal baths, tucking into a heaping helping of poutine, or pensively staring out on stunning fjords seems ill-advised. The trick is to plan ahead — make sure you choose a safe destination, plan great activities that will keep you busy, and suck up any insecurity about talking to strangers; your mother was only kind of right when she told you not to.
Ask your hotel’s concierge for a restaurant recommendation, for example, and when you get there, sit at the bar. That way you can chat with the bartender about what you shouldn’t miss and what you should skip. Standing in line at a bakery or to buy tickets for an event is another perfect place to strike up conversation — you have a topic built in! Getting a local's take on where to go and what to eat makes for great adventures (and stories).
Certain destinations are better for solo travelers than others, depending on language barriers, easy-to-understand currency, built-in activities, or food so good you’ll forget you’re sitting there on your own. Australia has these qualities in spades and was ranked the 18th safest country on the Global Peace Index. Likewise, traveling alone in Costa Rica is among the easiest and most fun trips you can plan from zip lining and chilling on the beach to snacking on plantains.
Whether you’re an outdoor adventurer or a culinary explorer, there are amazing trips just waiting for you (and you alone).