Slideshow: 12 Ideal Destinations When You Are Traveling Solo
May 2, 2017
Everyone should travel alone at least once, and these are the best places to go
12 Ideal Destinations When You Are Traveling Solo
Traveling alone can be daunting — especially the first time, with fears of getting lost or not making friends consuming your mind — but it’s truly the most rewarding travel experience you’ll find. Solo traveling has become increasingly popular over the past few years and with good reason. When you travel by yourself you give yourself the opportunity to break out of your comfort zone and grow on a personal level. You can stay at hostels and make friends with others just like you passing through the city, enjoy the “me” time you won’t get anywhere else, and be the independent adult you know you are.
Rent a bike and explore this beautiful city at your own sweet pace. Walk through the Albert Cuyp Market and eat some aged Gouda, a stroopwafel, or some raw herring. We recommend staying at a boutique hostel, such as Cocomama, where you can connect with fellow travelers without being surrounded by wild college kids studying abroad.
Bangkok is full of serene Buddhist temples, floating markets, open-minded backpackers, friendly locals (Thailand is not called the “Land of Smiles” for no reason), and, most importantly, fantastic street food — which you can discover via an award-winning food tour or on your own.
A solo traveler is probably much more likely to snag a place at Tickets, one of the world’s toughest tables. We do understand the irony of the city famous for tapas (or small shared plates) being great for lone wanderers, but Barcelona is full of travelers looking to make friends and forge unforgettable memories.
Cruises don’t have a reputation for being friendly to the solo traveler, especially with those dreaded single supplements, but that has changed in recent years. Some major companies, like Norwegian Cruise Line, which provides beautiful studio cabins, and Crystal Cruises, which uses its assigned seating system to make a table just for solo travelers, have made significant strides. Both companies are known for the excellent food they serve on board. We recommend an Alaskan cruise, where you can take in some natural grandeur and fresh salmon.
Many people see Fiji as a couples’ destination, but it is equally magical for the solo travelers looking to relax and meet new people. Stay with other solo travelers at places like Smugglers Cove on Nadi Wailoaloa Beach to break away from the resort honeymooners, and check out the nightlife at places such as Ed’s Bar.
Super safe and easy to navigate (it helps that everybody speaks English), Melbourne is full of great food and boutique shopping, so you can take your time at shops without somebody rushing you. Melbourne’s street food scene boasts diverse cuisines, from Vietnamese to Greek to Mexican to a truck selling just crème brûlées. Take a trip out of the city for some great adventure travel, too, if you so please.
New York City
Most people who visit New York find that the myth of the unfriendly New Yorker is quickly debunked. They’re just not effusively nice, is all. Nevertheless, whether you make a ton of friends or none, there is so much to see (and eat) in this city that it hardly matters. Grab a bagel with lox at Russ and Daughters, take the ferry to Staten Island for some spicy Sri Lankan food at Lakruwana, grab a prohibition-style cocktail at Featherweight in Brooklyn, and enjoy being in a place where there are so many independent folks just like yourself.
Paris? Really? We know what you’re thinking: Why would a solo traveler want to be somewhere that couples flock to and display their couple-ness so loudly? The thing is, Paris is just as famous for being a great setting for the lone, cerebral traveler, where settling down at a table with a kir royale and a book is quite a common activity. Moreover, there is so much to see: the Musée Rodin, street art at Canal Saint-Martin, the Père Lachaise Cemetery, the displays of old books in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, and so much more. Need we even talk about what the city has to offer in terms of food? Besides taking a look at our Paris travel guide, we recommend signing up to eat dinner at the house of a local via Eatwith.
San José, Costa Rica
Travel + Leisure voted Costa Rica one of the best countries for solo travel due to its safety factor and access to nature. For food, look no further than San José’s Mercado Central, where you can visit many a soda — small staffed street-corner joints that usually serve just one dish, be it arroz con pollo or beef tongue stew. We highly recommend splurging on a stay at Finca Rosa Blanca resort in Heredia, an eco-friendly paradise that sits on a coffee plantation.
With an excellent public transportation system, stunning views of the Andes, and La Vega Central Market — which offers delicious sopapillas (deep-fried pumpkin dough), fresh fruit juices, and humitas (corn, onion, and lard wrapped in steamed corn husks) — Santiago is a great option if you’re looking to explore a place on your own. While pickpocketing and confidence scams do occur, it is generally safe.
The city of canals is a beautiful place to explore alone. The people are warm and welcoming, and there’s plenty to keep busy. Sip on your morning espresso looking out to the canals, stumble upon the outdoor market of Mercati di Rialto, and visit the hand-blown glass and lace boutiques on Murano and Burano.