Why wait? The world is calling you now!
When it comes to traveling, one of the most stressful parts can be the planning, making sure each member of your family or friend group is in agreement on the itinerary, hotel, spending and more. Want to avoid all of that?
We recommend a solo trip!
Traveling on your own can seem scary, but with the proper preparation and a good head on your shoulders, the world is ready for you to explore it right now. Going it solo, there are a few less things to worry about like a hotel room size (you just need one bed!) and group flights, but there also some nuances to make note of.
That’s why we interviewed a professional solo traveler, who now helps others get outside of their comfort zone and off into the great unknown.
We chatted with Jen Tenzer, founder of The Soloist, a luxury solo travel advisory site with all the tips and tricks you could need when going it alone. She let us in on some insider tips, plus mapped out where the best places to venture solo are, from the Americas to Asia, Europe and beyond.
Plus, read on for tips and tricks for who should travel solo
The best places to solo travel in America
What our experts say: “Sedona, Austin, and New York City — These cities are very concentrated and accessible, with tons of activities to keep solo travelers busy. Consider a wellness hotel in Sedona, a foodie walking tour in Austin, or a solo museum visit in NYC,” said Tenzer.
What our editors say: What can I say — since New York City is on the expert list and I totally agree. As cliché as it may be, the Big Apple has endless options for solo travelers, from watching a Broadway show to seeing landmarks or just exploring the many museums and parks the five boroughs have to offer.
Sedona, Arizona: If you’re in need of a wellness moment, go it solo to the southwest and head to Sedona, Arizona. For an actual retreat, check out the Sedona Mago Center for a SunTao spa. If you prefer solo excursions, head here for hikes and tours to do solo.
Austin, Texas: For a true blue Texas trip, consider going alone to Austin. This is the best place to catch a live show and vibe with likeminded people, or, as our expert recommended, join a food tour and leave full of BBQ and great memories.
New York City, New York: What can’t you do in New York? Our expert first recommended a Broadway show, and we couldn’t agree more. Find tickets here and then plan the rest of your trip, with tours designed for solo travelers like you.
The best places to solo travel in South and Central America
What our experts say: “Costa Rica and Peru — Same as above! These destinations are safe for solo travelers, have a well-established tourism infrastructure, and most people interacting with tourists will speak English,” said Tenzer. “I love the idea of a wellness-focused surf and yoga retreat in Costa Rica or joining a group trek to Machu Picchu!”
What our editors say: I need to add Brazil to this list, since I did take a trip there myself. For a more friendly and party atmosphere where you are bound to meet other backpackers and solo travelers, Rio de Janeiro would be a great home base. I also took a solo trip into the Amazon Rainforest, which was a crazy adventure, but when done right, was a life-changing and introspective trip to do on my own.
Costa Rica: Per our expert, unwind and relax with a yoga retreat, staying at the Pura Vida Retreat & Spa. You can also book surf lessons to stay active or book a multi-day tour here so you don’t have to make your own itinerary.
Peru: Machu Picchu is a top bucket list destination for many, so why wait for a group to go? Instead, join an EF tour that also takes you to Lima and Cuzco, and even the Amazon Rainforest should you opt to extend. If you’d rather explore on your own, book a highly-rated hostel for budget lodging, sorted by city.
Brazil: Brazil is a huge country, so we advise you to pick a few places or spend a long time exploring. For a true cultural explosion, Rio is the place to be and you can take daily tours of Christ the Redeemer, Sugar Loaf Mountain and more. For the more adventurous, take a flight to Manaus and enter the Amazon Rainforest. We did it in spring 2022 and took our tour here.
The best places to solo travel in Europe
What our experts say: “England, Portugal, Italy… I could go on and on! European cities in general make for perfect for solo trips because everything is walkable, there’s tons of activities to keep you busy, and the expansive European train network makes it easy to transfer between cities,” said Tenzer.
What our editors say: I added two countries to our expert list: Spain and Switzerland. Spain is a great one to tack on to the end of any European adventure, as it is super closely connected to Portugal and Italy from the list. You can go from the northern Basque country to the south of Valencia and see a huge range of culture, food and architecture in just one country.
England: To start, flights from the US to England aren’t too hard to find, and savvy travelers can use Skyscanner to find the best deals. Once you’ve arrived, rent a cottage for a relaxing stay in a town of your choice or head into the thick of it and go to London for a full itinerary of solo things to see and do.
Portugal: Portugal is a great country to explore solo, with Lisbon and Porto as standouts for a great combo of nature and city life. If you like to be solo but also experience a place as the locals do, consider a tour or activity with a local guide, like a cooking class or a walking tour.
Italy: Italy may seem like a place of romance, but it can also be a place of self-love for the solo traveler. Use the railroads to book trains throughout the country so you can see it all, from Rome to Florence to Venice and beyond to see the country for yourself. You can also book a solo tour through EF and not worry about making your own itinerary.
Spain: Architecture, food and culture blend seamlessly together in Spain. See it for yourself, with a trip through the country. We personally started in Barcelona and then headed to Madrid and Valencia, all via train or bus. Then load your days with museums, walking tours or even dance classes to fully immerse yourself in the Spanish lifestyle.
The best places to solo travel in Asia
What our experts say: “Thailand, Bali, and Vietnam — These destinations are safe for solo travelers, have a well-established tourism infrastructure, and most people interacting with tourists will speak English. There’s so much to see and explore here,” said Tenzer.
What our editors say: I have to agree 100% with Thailand, as I lived there on my own for six months. The country is easy to explore via public transit, cabs and even short flights, inexpensive to travel in and has some of the best food, nature and culture I have been exposed to.
Thailand: What can I say about Thailand? I personally lived there for six months and still never ran out of things to do alone, and also ran into plenty of other solo travelers and backpackers throughout the country. If you want some guidance, consider a tour with an itinerary. If not, be sure to keep your wits about you and make sure to visit Bangkok, with a trip north to Chiang Mai and a trip south to the islands of Krabi or Phuket for the full Thailand picture.
Bali, Indonesia: Once you’ve booked your ticket to Bali, the rest of the trip is all about relaxing, unwinding and taking in the incredible nature. It is also a surfing hot spot, should you like to take a lesson from just $14. Bali is also famous for yoga, so why not stay at a spa and yoga retreat to charge up for your next adventure?
Vietnam: There are plenty of things to do in Vietnam, making it another hot spot for backpackers and solo travelers who want to explore Asia. Built on the water, be sure to take some tours down Halong Bay and the Mekong River, or take an island day trip to get all the sun and sand you need.
The best places to solo travel in the rest of the world
What our expert says: “Another less-obvious way to travel solo is by joining a group retreat or cruise! You’re still traveling alone to a new destination and surrounding yourself with strangers, but there’s a comfort in knowing that you’re not truly alone in an emergency. It also takes some of the stress out of things when everything is pre-planned for you. Group travel experiences are a great way to tiptoe into solo travel,” said Tenzer.
Solo travel FAQ with an expert:
What is the appeal of traveling alone? “Solo travel offers a rare opportunity to disconnect from everyday life and reconnect with your core wants and needs,” said Tenzer. Solo travel enables you to explore wherever and whenever you want, stick to a tight budget or truly treat yourself and fill your days with whatever activities light you up! It’s a newfound freedom that allows you to return from vacation actually refreshed. You’ll return re-motivated to show up for everyone in your life as your best self!”
What are some benefits of solo travel? “Solo travel is incredibly empowering,” said Tenzer. “You don’t know how capable you truly are until you’ve pushed yourself beyond your comfort zone. Solo trips always come with the added benefit of a self-confidence boost. Solo travel is also a fantastic way to meet like-minded new friends. I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but I’ve met infinitely more people traveling solo than when traveling with a companion.”
Who should solo travel? “There’s a bit of cliché around solo travel; that it’s best suited for 20-something single backpackers on a gap year,” said Tenzer. “In reality, there are all sorts of reasons why someone may choose to travel alone: A major life transition like a breakup, career change or the loss of a loved one. Maybe they’re feeling burnt out and craving a personal recharge, or maybe they’re just sick of waiting for other people’s travel schedules and budgets to perfectly align. I’ve had solo travel clients in their 20s and in their 70s. The common tie amongst solo travelers isn’t a certain demographic, it’s a certain state of mind — ready to shake things up and have an adventure.”
How long do I need to solo travel for? “Solo travel doesn’t have to mean an intimidating 2-week trip to some far flung destination. The same solo travel benefits can be obtained from a weekend away to a nearby city you’ve always wanted to explore,” said Tenzer. “I always recommend starting small in your own city. Try visiting a museum on your own or dining out alone. Or, if you’re traveling with family, maybe you spend some time alone during the day and meet up with everyone else at dinner.”
When choosing lodging, what are some tips and tricks for solo travelers? “It’s important to pick a hotel that’s centrally-located in the heart of your destination,” suggested Tenzer. “This is not the time to pick a budget hotel located outside the city in a remote area. Ideally, your hotel is walkable to all of the major sights and attractions, so that you have the freedom to come and go as you please without being reliant on taxis. I also don’t recommend Airbnb’s for a first big solo trip, and prefer the support and safety that comes from a front desk staff who can help in a pinch.
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