If you’re used to traveling with a partner or with your family, the idea of traveling alone can be scary. But many who travel alone find that a solo trip can be a liberating experience. Whether you are planning to go on a big solo trip through several countries or a short getaway, one of the most important things is to consider the best destination for this kind of trip. Some destinations seem to be perfect for embracing solitude, while others will help you meet other travelers and perhaps make new friends.
Describing a destination as the “best” or the “worst” for solo traveling depends mainly on your preferences. The good thing is that there are perfect places to solo travel worldwide, no matter what season it is or whether you like to travel during winter or summer. Currently, the best countries for solo travel according to travelers’ reviews are:
- Costa Rica
- Your home country
Whether you like to go hiking, sightseeing, partying or just looking for an excellent place to relax by yourself, in this article you will surely find the country that best suits your needs. But before we explore these destinations, let’s answer a question that many people who have never traveled alone ask themselves.
Without a doubt, solo travel can be one of the most enjoyable and empowering gifts you can give yourself. Solo travel can offer new challenges that can be fulfilling and exhilarating. Imagine yourself in a new country, with an endless number of new experiences ahead of you. The only schedule you have to follow is your own. The trip, and the destination, are entirely what you make of it.
It is entirely normal for you to feel a bit apprehensive about solo travel if you have never done it before. But, it is very likely that you only need to embark on your first solo trip to fall in love with this way of traveling. You may be wondering, why travel alone if I can travel with my loved ones or my best friend? What does solo travel offer me that traveling accompanied does not offer me? The truth is that visiting a place accompanied can be a completely different experience – even if it is the same destination. There are many reasons to dare to travel solo. Some of those reasons are:
Solo travel offers you the opportunity to discover more about yourself, rather than having to consider what activities a travel partner might also be interested in and planning day-to-day activities based on consensus. This opens the door to a genuinely introspective experience that often helps you understand parts of yourself that you haven’t had a chance to get to know before. It allows you to discover what you would do if you could choose only the activities that appeal to you.
To some extent, solo travel requires you to fend for yourself and attend to all your own needs. When you do this successfully, you will have a sense of self-sufficiency that eventually makes you feel more confident in yourself and your abilities. Especially when you learn to navigate a new destination on your own.
By not having external responsibilities or sharing your time with your partner, family, or friends, you will have more time to dedicate to yourself and do the things you like.
By not having any commitment to a travel partner, you can go where you want and when you want without going to places that perhaps do not interest you so much. You will own your time, and you can invest it the way you want.
Solo travel will help you develop new skills and generally learn more because it’s all up to you to navigate the new culture, logistics, and place you’ve chosen to visit.
Whether it’s arranging for travel or making a dinner reservation, having to problem solve for yourself will help you realize how capable you are. You will also better understand the value that people around you and your loved ones can bring to your life.
Without having a fellow traveler to talk to, you are much more likely to be open to talking to new people and locals. Also, people will likely be more open to talking to you when they see you alone.
A solo trip is more about the place you visit, its culture, history, and landscapes than about your company. This allows you to better understand the destination you have chosen and have a more intimate and close experience than when traveling with someone else.
When traveling alone, you will arouse curiosity and interest from the locals and other travelers. Some people will even go out of their way to enhance your experience as a solo traveler. You may even inspire some of them to take part in their first solo trip.
If you choose solo travel as a lifestyle, you’ll be able to consider your career, your relationships, and your life in general without having to deal with the weight of someone else’s opinion.
Although the preparation for a solo trip can be much simpler than traveling in a group, it also requires some planning, especially if it is your first solo trip. Here are some general tips that any enthusiastic solo traveler can apply to ensure a once-in-a-lifetime trip:
One of the essential things when planning an amazing solo trip is choosing an ideal destination. Not all destinations are the same, and even the same destination may not be the same for different travelers. When selecting the destination of your solo trip, it is vital to consider how much the place you want to go has to offer you. Try to evaluate if there are sights, places, or stories that arouse your attention in a specific destination and how safe and comfortable it would be for you to go there. There is no universal list that works the same for all travelers, especially in order of priorities, since the whole point of solo travel is that it depends entirely on the needs and tastes of each person.
We don’t mean to scare you out of the idea of solo travel, but it is vital to plan well and find out about the risks or possible tourist scams that there may be in a place to avoid falling for them – especially when you’re on your own. It is ideal to know the things to do to stay safe when traveling abroad, especially if you travel to remote places or places with large cultural or communication gaps between their culture and yours. Even big metropolises and multicultural cities like Paris can require a bit of caution. So it’s best to be well informed and take the necessary precautions to ensure that your trip is unforgettable for the right reasons.
Whether you plan to stay in a fancy hotel or a no-frills hostel, try not to rely solely on photos of the place to decide whether or not the location is right for you. Often, the site may not look exactly like the photos or may offer benefits in the description that they may not offer at the time of your stay. Try to read the reviews left by other guests and travelers to ensure that the place you are going to delivers the amenities it offers to its guests.
When you go on a solo trip to any place – specifically if it is a place with which you are not familiar – try to have several funds and payment methods prepared. This could be very helpful if one of the payment methods you prepared does not work for some reason. Debit or credit cards can be damaged. Your bank may not work in the country you visit, and losing your wallet, cards, and documents necessary to pay or being a victim of theft is always possible. While it’s not ideal to have too much cash on you, it’s wise to have some extra cash stashed away in separate places and away from your main bag, even on yourself in some hidden pocket or in a shoe. This can be of great help in emergencies.
You may be wondering how you can practice solo travel without traveling. The truth is that it is entirely possible to have a solo travel experience even in your hometown since solo travel is also a matter of mentality. Before making any reservations, try going to the movies alone, having dinner by yourself, or walking around the museum alone. In this way, you practice getting used to the concept of traveling by yourself in a safe environment that you already know. You will be surprised how much it will help you prepare to solo travel to increasingly distant and exotic places.
When traveling in general, very rarely do you use everything you carry, especially when you travel alone. It is good to remember this when packing for your solo trip because you want to be able to carry your luggage by yourself. Pack only your essentials like your clothes, toothbrush, razor, your phone, cell phone stand, and the necessary documentation for your trip. It is good to pack in a way that you can pass through airport security comfortably and without problems.
Try to dress in layers and create a capsule wardrobe for your trips to reduce the number of things you need to pack. You can buy a phrasebook in the native language of the destination you are visiting as soon as you arrive or even buy it in advance and also print out some maps of the area you are visiting to be prepared in case your phone runs out of battery or data. Make sure you have a good travel bag with pockets secure enough to hold your valuables.
There are many unique places to go in the world and what defines a country or destination as “the best” is relative, but – in no particular order – here is a list of the 15 best countries for solo travel according to travelers themselves.
Iceland always makes it to the top of many lists of the best countries to travel around the web. It is a paradise destination for travelers who love outdoor activities and beautiful and unusual landscapes. Iceland is full of caverns and caves to explore, natural geothermal spas to soak in, volcanoes, and glaciers to hike. According to reports from the Global Peace Index, Iceland is one of the safest countries in the world. Therefore, it is a destination where solo travelers can travel worry-free. You don’t have to worry about getting lost either. Many of the travelers in Iceland travel along the Ring Road or Golden Circle, which is perfect for road trips alone or with other travelers. In case you don’t feel like driving, public transportation works perfectly. If you are traveling through the capital Reykjavík, you should take advantage of visiting the famous Blue Lagoon or go whale-watching in Faxaflói Bay. If you like diving, the Silfra fissure is one of the best diving spots in the world. If you are more inclined towards outdoor activities, Thingvellir National Park may be the best place for you as you can go camping, hiking, or horseback riding.
One of the best destinations to travel in Europe is undoubtedly Spain, especially for solo female travelers. Spain is the second most visited country in the world, it is easy to get around, and it has an excellent tourist infrastructure. Being such a popular destination, it is very likely that you will make new friends or meet other solo travelers along the way. Spain is one of the countries with the lowest crime rates in the world, and at the same time, it is one of the most open-minded countries regarding the attitude towards women. It is one of the most egalitarian European countries with a solid LGBTQ+ community that is widely accepted. Spanish society is not only accustomed to tourism; it supports a large part of its economic activity. Spain has something for almost every taste for even the pickiest traveler, from architecture, food, Barcelona’s beaches and history to Madrid’s museums. In addition to all the UNESCO sites, the landscapes of the north and the culture of the south. No matter what type of traveler you are, it is very likely that you will find your ideal trip in Spain.
Nicknamed “the land of smiles,” it’s no surprise that Thailand landed on this list. Thailand is the perfect place to “test the waters” of solo travel. It is a relatively cheap and amiable country, easy to travel to, and full of delicious, exotic foods and other adventure-seeking travelers. You can start in its capital, Bangkok, a bustling city with flights full of tourists and backpackers of all kinds of land daily, including many other solo travelers. You can take a tour of the town and discover what it offers, or you can go north to Chiang Mai, where there are many other things to do and visit such as temples, cooking classes, or even where you can ethically play with elephants. You can also head south, where you can snorkel on some of the beautiful islands in the region, or if you want a more reflective experience, you can participate in a 10-day silent meditation retreat. Thailand is a country that is easy to fall in love with. The best thing is that if you like the region and want to extend your trip, it is straightforward to explore other nearby countries by taking your backpack, travel pillow and jumping on a train, a bus, or a plane if it is a little further or you want to be more comfortable.
Although Australia is an excellent destination for solo travel, it can be difficult to be alone once you’re there due to the number of travelers who visit. Australia’s east coast is so crowded, and so many travelers take the winding route between Sydney and Cairns that it’s usually more challenging to be alone than in company. Australia is a perfect place for travelers searching for natural wonders, abundant tours, excellent infrastructure, and lively nightlife. The superb atmosphere is not the only thing that makes this stretch of coast so great. The roads of Australia are packed with bucket-list attractions. From strolling through the ancient Daintree Rainforest, taking a moment on Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach, or blowing bubbles on the Great Barrier Reef. There is so much to do in Australia that it is best to rent a car to explore for yourself. The most memorable moments will probably come from hanging out with locals in coastal surf towns and outback pub villages, an hour or two inland from the coast. If you want to have an unusual experience on your visit to Australia and visit places not so seen, consider joining a tour with the indigenous people of the east coast.
There is much more to Italy than pizza, pasta, and delicious wines. Although these are undoubtedly some of the delights that Italy offers its visitors, it is just a little bit of the tip of the iceberg of what this wonderful country provides. It starts with its picturesque capital city, Rome, a kaleidoscopic canvas displaying a fine mix of art, architectural marvels, and historical relics. Although English is not as widespread as in other European countries, it is difficult for you to feel alone with the more than 14 million tourists who visit Italy every year. You can look for a guided tour of the area or explore on your own. Either way, chances are you’ll end up having an unforgettable experience. It is common to see someone dining alone in restaurants in Italy, but at the same time, it is almost a mandatory pastime to end up having a glass of wine with a stranger at sunset. Places to visit in Italy? The Colosseum, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Roman Forum, the Vatican Museum, the Aquarium of Genoa, Milan Cathedral, Florence, Naples, Venice, Pompeii. And the list can continue. Italy is a country with so much history and so much to see that you can hardly see everything in one trip.
If you are looking for a great and friendly place for your first solo travel, the Netherlands is the perfect place to dive into your first independent adventure. Amsterdam is a place with a welcoming and relaxed culture, perfect for doing as the locals do and taking a bike around the city. You can start in Voldenpark and then roll along the city’s picturesque canals and bridges to the world-famous Van Gogh museum. Holland is beautiful at any time of the year, but its most colorful time is between mid-April and the first weeks of May when the country is almost entirely covered in a layer of gorgeous tulips. You can visit the famous “Garden of Europe” at Keukenhof, which is home to over 7 million bulbs and 800 different species of tulip and is located just outside of Amsterdam. You can also go to Noordoostpolder and see the largest tulip field in the Netherlands during the annual tulip festival.
Colombia is a fantastic destination brimming with vibrant cities, must-see tourist attractions, and hundreds of things to do. It is one of the most diverse countries in South America. It has a range of different climates, really energetic cities, impressive wildlife, and many outdoor activities like rock climbing, rafting, kayaking, surfing, paragliding, diving, and much more. Colombia is full of beautiful places, but the best cities to visit in Colombia are undoubtedly Bogotá, Medellin, Cali, Cartagena, and Santa Marta if you are a city lover. Some of the must-see tourist attractions in Colombia are the coffee district, the rainbow river in Caño Cristales, and the four-day trek to the lost city near Santa Marta. You can also see sloths and river dolphins in the Amazon or the migration of humpback whales on Colombia’s Pacific coast, which are examples of the great diversity of things to do in Colombia. There are many ways to travel to Colombia, both by land and by plane, and the country has improved a lot in terms of security, especially in recent years. The number of tourists visiting the country increases every year. Colombia continues to work hard to improve its reality and image worldwide, becoming more tangible with the current peace processes.
When talking about solo traveling, Japan is undoubtedly one of the best destinations to choose. Starting with the capital, Tokyo, where you can climb one of the tallest towers in the world, go shopping in the luxurious Ginza neighborhood, take a pleasant walk through a traditional Japanese garden, or dine on ramen at the world-famous Ichiran Shibuya restaurant. It is very difficult to run out of options in the dazzling city of Tokyo. Now, if you’re looking for a quieter experience, you can take a bullet train to Kyoto, where you’ll find plenty of temples, shrines, and gardens to visit. If you are aware of tea ceremonies, you should know that this tradition has its roots in Kyoto, so this is the perfect place to do it if you want to participate in one of these ceremonies. The best time of the year to visit Japan is during the spring when the cherry blossoms are in bloom. According to some solo travel female bloggers, Japan is beautiful and has a lot to do. It is also an excellent destination for solo female travelers due to how caring and friendly the people are. Alyssa Ramos, blogger at “My life is a movie,” says that of the 105 countries she has visited, Japan is the country where she has felt best treated as a solo female traveler and where she has felt most comfortable traveling alone. In Japan, most people are very polite or at least take care of their own business. Hardly anyone will stare or ask you why you are alone, and it is completely normal to see women eating alone or on public transport alone. There is even a night bus specifically for women only.
Singapore is one of the cleanest places globally because of all the rules it has regarding hygiene standards. No littering, spitting, or gum chewing. However, this keeps the city neat and pleasant enough to take a walk anytime you want. English is widely spoken so you can communicate easily. A place you must visit in Singapore is the Supertree Grove, where there are giant trees that light up at night in sync with the music. In addition, it is open all the time, so you can go to enjoy this walk at dawn if you wish without worries since Singapore is a fairly safe city. Singapore has a reputation for being somewhat expensive. But, with careful planning focused on free activities in Singapore, you will be able to enjoy the city perfectly without breaking the bank. You can also research how to get around Singapore like a local. You will be amazed at all the options out there.
Germany is one of the most diverse and inclusive countries in all of Europe and can be the ideal destination for solo female travelers as it is also a very safe place. There are many things to do in Germany, but one of the characteristics that stand out worldwide is undoubtedly the lavish nightlife of its capital. Berlin is one of the best places in Europe to party, offering a vast collection of graffiti-covered beer gardens and clubs in a city that demonstrates its natural affinity for solo travelers. But clubbing is just one of the many things you can do in Germany. You can also visit one of its many art galleries, join an alternative street art tour, go shopping at a flea market, or visit historical places like the Brandenburg Gate or the Holocaust memorial. If you want to take a break from the city, you can jump on a train to Stuttgart or the Spreewald or visit ancient castles in the rest of Baden-wüttemberg and enjoy the beautiful natural landscapes that Germany has to offer. Touring Germany is super easy, and the country is safe. In addition, many people speak English perfectly, and the locals are generally friendly.
Switzerland could be the best destination of all for travelers who love beautiful landscapes, train journeys, dreamy forests, and chocolate. The best way to tour this country is by train. You can buy a Swiss Travel Pass and have unlimited travel by train, bus, and boat to see impressive waterfalls, and beautiful lakes, visit ancient medieval castles, go hiking in the Swiss Alps, or drink Swiss wine. If you’re a chocolate lover, it’s good to keep in mind that this country invented milk chocolate. Instead of getting a Lindt or Toblerone bar at the local grocery store, you can give it a complete spin by getting up close to the manufacturing process of chocolate. You can take a chocolate-themed walking tour of Lucerne or Zurich, or visit one of the several world-famous chocolate factories in the region.
Costa Rica boasts of being ranked number one on the Happy Planet Index list of the 140 happiest countries globally with high life expectancy, high levels of well-being, equality, and low levels of environmental impact. Costa Rica has a reputation for being the happiest country in the world and for being an excellent destination for outdoor activities. Costa Rica can be a paradise for any solo traveler from ziplining through beautiful rainforests, whitewater rafting on the Reventazón River, hiking in the Arenal Volcano National Park, or rappelling down waterfalls with a thirst for adventure. If you are looking for something quieter, you can also enjoy the warm springs of Arenal or relax on the white sands of the tropical beaches of Manuel Antonio National Park.
When evaluating which country to choose as your destination to do solo travel, few things are better to get a better idea of what the country could offer you than the recommendation and review of travelers who have already experienced it first-hand. According to several solo travelers’ blogs, one of the best destinations for solo travel is undoubtedly Mexico. You might be surprised at how established the backpacking infrastructure is in the region. You can spend months exploring Mexico and still leave without discovering all that this beautiful country has to offer. From its ancient Mayan ruins to swimming in fascinating cenotes, swimming with whale sharks, and a lot more things to see. Mexico ranks as the second happiest country in a list of 140 countries on the Happy Planet Index. The Mexican population, in general, is quite friendly, and its culture is as rich as its food which will undoubtedly leave you wanting to come back for more.
Chile ranks high on the list of experienced solo travelers as one of the best countries to visit. Chile’s landscapes are as beautiful as they are diverse. From the south on the San Rafael Glacier in Patagonia or the Torres del Paine National Park. Whether you’re camping under the brilliant sky of the Atacama Desert or climbing an active volcano in the Lake District, you’re sure to find some of your most dreamy adventures in Chile. Once you arrive in the city of Santiago, your experience will encounter a genuinely unique convergence of cultures in a city that is easy to navigate both on foot and by bike. If you want to have a beautiful panoramic view of the capital, you can climb Santa Lucia hill or the San Cristofer hill. You can enjoy the cocktail bars, cafes, or boutique shops in the Bellavista neighborhood or tour the various art galleries and museums throughout the city. Of course, you cannot leave Chile without trying the local wine, which is world-famous as one of the best wines in the world. If you are looking for a calmer and more peaceful experience, you can visit the beaches of Tongo or La Serena.
Last but not least, your own country can be an excellent testing ground for your first solo trip. When traveling within your own country, you won’t need as many documents to travel. People will usually speak the same language, you won’t need to use another currency, and you won’t feel as foreign as when you travel abroad. Also, with a bit of research about the tourist wonders that exist within your country, you could be surprised by how much there may be to do that you didn’t know about before. It can even be a very different experience to visit places you have already gone before with family or friends when you do it in solo travel mode. Giving yourself the chance to rediscover your backyard can be an enriching and uplifting experience even for your own identity, and doing it traveling alone can present the perfect opportunity to have a much deeper insight into the folklore and culture of the country you come from.
One of the most significant benefits of solo travel is that it teaches you to better connect with yourself and gain confidence. Putting yourself in a position where you have to attend to all your needs by yourself, manage your time, and be aware of all the small details necessary for your well-being, teaches you how to be a better manager of your own life. It also makes you responsible for yourself. Solo travel also teaches us to slow down and relearn to appreciate the small details that happen around us every day.
We generally overlook these details because we are immersed in our worlds. Being able to see the world from a more intimate and reflective perspective can teach you great life lessons. Solo travel teaches you how to recover that feeling of wonder you felt as a child when you were just discovering the world. It teaches you to appreciate the small but impressive details of life again and to be more compassionate and kind to the people around you.
Solo travel will teach you that a smile is the best way to bridge any cultural gap or language barrier between two strangers. One of the great things about solo travel is that it’s unpredictable. What is certain is that every single trip will help you discover yourself.