The best places to travel alone

Are you considering travelling solo for the first time this year? Excited about the opportunity to have a free rein over your holiday, but nervous about where to start? Lisa Eldridge, founder of solo travel blog Girl About The Globe, lists the best places to embark on a first solo trip and offers advice for making the most of your time away as a solo traveller
Travelling alone allows time for reflection. Photo by Martyn Goddard / APA Publications
Travelling alone allows time for reflection. Photo by Martyn Goddard / APA Publications

Travelling alone allows time for reflection. Photo by Martyn Goddard / APA Publications


Travelling alone to a country for the first time may seem a little daunting but solo adventures can give you the freedom to have the holiday you desire. With endless possibilities to choose from, though, how do you determine which country is right for you? Not every country that is suited to solos may appeal and thinking about whether you prefer adventure, culture, cities or ancient ruins will help you narrow down your must-see destinations. To help you on the right track, here are a few of my favourite destinations to travel alone:

1. Australia

Australia is one of the easiest places to travel without companions and because of its ease, many younger travellers choose to visit here to experience life Down Under before entering the job market. Australians are incredibly friendly and you’ll never be short of company. With an outdoors culture and a more relaxed vibe, Australia will feel just like home only much further away. The east coast is popular for backpackers or visit Melbourne for chic boutiques and a slightly older crowd. If you want to plan your itinerary pre-departure, talk to Insight Guides' local experts who can create, plan and book your entire holiday for you: submit a trip request today

2. New Zealand

An abundance of gorgeous scenery and easy-going folk create a winning destination and if it’s adventure and the great outdoors that you’re searching for, New Zealand could be for you. There is a large choice of hostels, campsites, hotels and lodges, and getting around the country couldn’t be simpler. Jump aboard an organised tour, hire a car or rent a motorhome to travel around the two islands; perfect for those who prefer solitude. Visit the North Island for whale and dolphin watching or the South Island for glaciers, waterfalls and Queenstown: the adventure capital of New Zealand and a mecca for travellers.

3. Thailand

Thailand’s hospitality is known as one of the friendliest in the world. If you choose to travel solo here you are guaranteed royal treatment and service fit for a king or queen. Well-preserved culture with tropical hideaways make this a destination to kick off your shoes, remove your watch and just let time slip by... Plus, it won’t break the bank. Completely geared up for the tourist industry, Thailand is incredibly easy to visit, with great transport links, stunning accommodation and the guarantee of meeting many other like-minded solos. Choose northern Thailand for culture and hill tribes (Insight Guides' Golden Triangle tour will guide you through the region's highlights) or visit Ko Samui or Ko Phangan if you prefer beaches and nightlife (browse all suggested itineraries from Insight Guides here).


Visiting hill tribes in northern Thailand
Visiting hill tribes in northern Thailand is an incredible experience while travelling solo


4. USA

If you’ve never travelled alone before, North America is a great starting point. The United States may not be as exotic as Asia but what it lacks in ancient culture, it makes up for in world-renowned buildings and vibrant cities. For sunshine, visit Florida or California (Miami has a vibrant party scene and is a great place to meet others) or try New York for a wide range of hostels and guaranteed company.

5. Swaziland

Africa may not seem like a continent suitable for solos but there is one country that welcomes internationals with open arms. The Kingdom of Swaziland is untouched by mass tourism and, with Swazis believing that greeting foreign guests is a way of gaining wisdom, you can be sure of an enlightening and cultural stay. Visit Swaziland for game parks and wildlife watching, too. Travelling independently isn't quite as easy here, however, the best way to see the country is to join an organised tour.

6. Bhutan

Bhutan is one of the most cultural countries in the world and entering the kingdom is only possible on a pre-booked tour. Not only are you escorted around, put up in four-star accommodation and treated to amazing cuisine, you have your very own personal guide to teach you about this country and its Buddhist roots. Although Bhutan is very peaceful, Thimpu is the best place to meet others and has surprisingly good nightlife. Discover more of Bhutan's unmissable destinations on Insight Guides' Mountains and Monasteries holiday

 

Tiger's Nest, Bhutan
The Tiger's Nest Monastery, in Bhutan, is an unmissable sight for a solo traveller

 

Top tips for travelling solo

Whichever country you choose to explore, here are some general tips and advice for travelling solo around the world:

1. Research the countries before you travel to learn local customs and etiquette and for advice on any areas that you should avoid. 

2. Ensure you are aware of the laws of the countries you are travelling in. Certain places have very strict policies and even standard medication can be illegal in some destinations. 

3. Leave a copy of your itinerary and a list of contact numbers with friends or family before you travel. 

4. If travelling with a tour company, check the demographics of the group beforehand to ensure they are not mainly couples or a younger crowd. 

5. Pre-book your first night’s accommodation and airport transfer before you travel for ease. 

6. Obtain a business card for your accommodation or ask them to write the name in the local language in case you stray off-course or need a taxi. 

7. Leave your expensive jewellery and valuables at home and dress appropriately for your destination. 

8. Attend free walking tours once you arrive in a city to get your bearings and meet others.

9. Be aware of appearing like a tourist and when walking alone, act confident even if you don’t feel it. 

10. Take each day as it comes and make the most of every minute.

And finally, just because you may start your trip as a solo traveller doesn’t mean you will always be alone. In fact, travelling by yourself enables you to meet more people than you would in a group or as a couple so whether you’re looking for company or prefer your own, you simply cannot beat solo travel. 

  

Lisa Eldrige's blog, Girl About The Globe, provides advice about responsible solo travel, especially for female travellers. She has visited 107 countries, 70 as a solo traveller. Follow Lisa on Twitter @girlaboutglobe.


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