Best Places to Travel Solo in 2019
Travelling solo is one of the most rewarding travel experiences you can have. It can also be a challenging one based on the country you choose to visit. There are a few things you should think about when choosing a country to visit – safety standards, the ease of travelling around and the interests and activities on offer and whether that would appeal to yourself.
We’ve curated a list of best places to travel solo which takes into account the safety standards particularly for solo women travellers, transportation options, whether public or private, and interests and activities that appeal to solo travellers.
Below is our list of the ten best places to travel solo.
Iceland tops our list of best places to travel solo. It’s a country in the making and any traveller, solo or otherwise, should visit this beautiful country while it’s still untouched.
Iceland is revered for its breathtaking landscapes, unrivalled trekking and Arctic wildlife. In fact, for scenery and adventure, Iceland is unmatched. Iceland is also a place not just to see, but to experience. Experience bathing in turquoise-coloured hot springs, kayaking through a fjord, scanning the horizon for breaching whales, witnessing the Northern Lights or walking across a dazzling white glacier. These once-in-a-lifetime experiences are not to be missed.
Crime is quite low in Iceland and is mostly limited to theft and vandalism; violent crime is rare. Iceland is regularly ranked as being one of the best countries in the world in which to be a woman and a mother. However, as with any other country, women are subject to incidents of theft, intimidation, and physical violence.
Iceland is not for a destination for the budget traveller as accommodation, food and transport are all expensive. Public transportation is not easily available outside the capital city so you will need to charter your own vehicle and drive long distances between places. For the solo traveller, a guided tour of Iceland is the best value option.
For solo travellers, Japan hits the travel sweet spot. Travelling in Japan is remarkably comfortable, even with the language barrier thrown in. It’s unique enough without any downside.
Japan is one of those places that both conforms to and confounds your expectations. All the cliches – Zen gardens, sumo wrestlers, bullet trains, geishas – are easy to find, but the memories you will take away are the unique experiences: staying in a ryoken (traditional Japanese inn), soaking naked in an onsen (hot spring), sitting in a robe on tatami mats eating raw fish and mountain vegetables.
Crime rates are low in Japan as are sexual assaults, and any unwanted propositions from men can usually be shaken off with a simple no. However, groping hands on crowded trains are an acknowledged problem. Women should avoid mountain paths after dark and be wary of men outside stations trying to initiate a conversation.
Most visitors fly to Japan and then use the excellent railroad system to get around the country. Many famous sightseeing areas lie on or near the bullet train lines. Other local public transportation systems such as streetcars, subways and buses are often very efficient, but you may need to rent a car to explore remote regions.
As a well-developed tourist destination, Thailand is value for money. This is a great destination for the budget solo traveller as everything is cheap including the shopping.
One of the best places to travel solo, Thailand fills the bucket on many levels. It’s a tropical getaway with its golden beaches and jungle-topped islands, a landscape filled with cultural and historical wonders and a country filled with friendly and fun-loving people who will ensure you have a good time. Then there’s the lip-smackingly delicious Thai food that will keep you coming back for more.
Thailand is not a dangerous country to visit while travelling solo and female travelers face relatively few problems while travelling around the country. Assault of travellers is rare in Thailand and attacks and rapes are not common here. However, solo female travellers need to be smart and somewhat sober when interacting with the opposite sex, be they Thai or foreigner.
Taking public transport in Thailand is a better option than hiring and driving your own vehicle. The bus network in Thailand is prolific and reliable, while Thailand’s train system connects the four corners of the country and is most convenient as an alternative to buses for long journeys.
One of the best places to travel solo in South-East Asia, Vietnam continues to draw crowds for its laid-back atmosphere, budget-friendly travel and memorable experiences.
Vietnam has always been a popular destination for solo travel and it’s easy to see why.
From delicious Vietnamese food to stunning natural beauty and cultural complexities, from dynamic megacities and hill-tribe villages to jaw-dropping adventures, unforgettable experiences are everywhere. And when it’s time to relax and rejuvenate, there’s outstanding spas and wellness retreats for a little bit of indulgence.
All in all, Vietnam is a relatively safe country to travel in. Scams and hassles do exist, particularly in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Nha Trang.
Vietnam is also relatively free of serious hassles for female tourists. There are issues to consider, of course, but thousands of women travel alone through the country each year and love the experience.
Vietnam is easy to get around whether it’s with public or private transport. Flying between cities is the quickest way and the prices are affordable too. Trains are reasonably priced as well and comfortable enough in air-conditioned carriages. However, having your own set of wheels gives you maximum flexibility to visit remote regions and stop when and where you please.
The USA features on our list of best places to travel solo because it has something for everyone. The biggest problem will be choosing where to go and what to do in this vast, open country.
From natural and cultural wonders to teeming cities, mountains, plains and forests, the USA is enormous and staggeringly diverse. You can’t go past the bright lights and big cities but this is essentially a country of road trips and scenic drives. The USA has no shortage of spectacular settings for a bit of outdoor adventure as well.
Despite its seemingly Babylonian list of dangers – guns, violent crime, riots, earthquakes, tornadoes – the USA is actually a pretty safe country to visit. The greatest danger for travellers is posed by car accidents. Women travelling alone should not expect to encounter any particular problems in the USA.
The biggest problem of travelling around the USA is its sheer size. Flights are the best way to get across the country. However, to save money, travel by bus, particularly between major towns and cities. For maximum flexibility and convenience, and to explore rural America and its wide-open spaces, a car is the best option.
6. New Zealand
Whether you go on a group tour or self-drive, New Zealand is one of the best places to travel solo. It’s safe, easy to get around and the natural beauty will take your breath away.
New Zealand is a land dominated by mountains, forests, rivers and lakes, some of which you may recognise from movies like The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. For movie buffs, a visit to Hobbiton and WEPA Studios will be a highlight.
New Zealand is a paradise for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. In fact, there are activities to suit almost any taste – wine & foodie areas, internationally renowned hiking, water sports (sailing, surfing, kayaking, rafting), traditional Maori villages, ski fields, caving, art galleries and more.
New Zealand is one of the safest countries in the world to visit, especially for female travellers. Multicultural New Zealand is a peaceful country and you are more likely to have to stop your car for sheep to cross the road than have any other difficulties. Crimes do occur in New Zealand as in any other society, and visitors need to take sensible precautions to protect themselves and their property.
The best way to travel around New Zealand is to hire a car or campervan which allows you to explore the country at your own pace. Travelling by public transport is not a bad option. While the coach network covers most major routes, the rail network is limited but travels through spectacular scenery.
What solo travellers will love about Ireland are the fascinating and friendly people whose lyrical nature is expressed in the warmth of their welcome.
Ireland is a great self-drive destination. Visitors love the stunning coastal scenery, historic buildings and picturesque villages. But what really sets Ireland apart are the friendly locals. Join them in the evenings at their local pubs for dinner, live music and sometimes dancing.
Ireland is safer than most countries in Europe. Ireland should pose no problems for women travellers. Irish women are well respected members of the community and this respect extends to visitors. Irish can be as persistent as the rain but are generally more humorous and respectful than in other countries.
Transport in Ireland is efficient and reasonably priced, especially to and from major cities. The best and most convenient way to explore Ireland’s every nook and cranny is by car. However, if you’re on a budget, Ireland’s extensive network of private and public buses make them the most cost-effective way to get around.
Few countries offer quite the same variety or bewildering choice of vacation as Italy. No other country has Italy’s perfect combination of art, culture, food, fashion, wine, opera, people and landscapes.
Italy continues to draw people in search of culture and romance. Few countries can compete with its Classical origins, art, architecture, musical and literary traditions, its scenery or food and wine. Solo travellers will love Italy’s cultural riches, endless feasts, spectacular landscapes and most importantly, living life, Italian style.
Although Italy is generally a safe place for visitors, it is wise to keep a watchful eye on your personal belongings, especially in the larger towns and cities. Women travelling on their own in Italy are likely to meet with a lot of attention. It is best to keep away from lonely, unlit streets and areas near railway stations at night.
Italy has an excellent public transport network which makes travelling here quite straightforward. Rail and bus systems both offer regular and reliable services and are reasonably priced. In fact, train travel is one of the best ways to explore Italy. However, if you plan to explore the countryside, hiring a car is a practical way to explore the country.
India is a challenging destination to visit especially for a solo female traveller. However, it will also be a country you will fall in love with.
From colourful festivals to man-made wonders, from mouthwatering dishes to incredible journeys, India is replete with unforgettable experiences. A visit to this incredible country will ignite your curiosity, shake your senses and warm your soul. India also offers solo travellers a profound spiritual journey and a place where they can enjoy the benefits of trips to spas, yoga centres and Ayurvedic treatments.
Travelling in India is relatively safe for tourists. However, women face a certain amount of unwanted male attention, especially when travelling alone. The problems women encounter can range from being stared at to more active harassment such as suggestive comments and body contact in buses and crowded places. Dress modestly and avoid walking about alone in crowded or quiet places and in rougher parts of cities.
It is easy and inexpensive to travel around India by public transport. While frequent, expect overcrowding and delays. Trains are a great way to travel long distances, especially overnight. In fact, travelling by train is a quintessential Indian experience. Travelling within a city is best done in a taxi or auto rickshaw.
Nepal is one of the world’s great travel destinations and should be on every solo traveller’s wish list. There are few countries in the world that are as well set up for independent travel as Nepal.
Nepal is a trekker’s paradise complete with stunning Himalayan views, golden temples, charming hill villages and jungle wildlife watching. Nepal is also a playground for lovers of adventure sports and high-adrenaline activities. The biggest problem you might face in Nepal is just how to fit everything in which is one reason why many people return here over and over again.
Nepal is more stable than it has been for years, and crime is not a major risk for travellers. Nepal is also a safe country for women travellers. However, women should still be cautious and dress modestly. Also, women should never trek alone with a local male guide.
Getting around Nepal can be challenging due to the terrain, weather conditions and the condition of vehicles. The easiest way is to hire a car or jeep with a driver or get a taxi. While expensive, it will be more comfortable and reliable than public transport. Flights are good for long distances but expect delays or cancellations due to bad weather.
While the above ten countries form our list of the best places to travel solo, there are other countries that are also worth visiting as a solo traveller. China, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Namibia, Croatia, Peru, Jordan, Cambodia and Russia are equally alluring and continue to attract solo travellers from around the world. However, some of these countries are best done on an escorted tour for safety reasons.