Thursday, June 13, 2024

10 top spots for solo travelers in winter (or any other time of year)

If you have never been on a solo vacation before, it can be not very safe. It’s easy to check in…

By Chan , in Travel , at December 13, 2023

If you have never been on a solo vacation before, it can be not very safe. It’s easy to check in for an outbound flight, but it is only when you reach your destination alone that reality sets in. Any initial doubts will soon fade. Nervousness will quickly give way to excitement as you explore the city and find your first meal.

Selecting the right destination is a key factor in learning how to travel solo. Some places are better suited for solo traveling, whether you’re taking a city break or a multi-country journey. Some areas are better suited for solitude, and others where people are more likely to be together.

There are many solo travel destinations around the world. You can go on a trip alone in winter or summer. These ten destinations are perfect for solo travelers. Interests arrange them. These spots will get your solo adventure off to a great start, whether you are into raves or relaxation, hiking, sightseeing, or exploring.

South America is best for solo travelers.

South America offers the ultimate adventure experience with mountains to climb, rivers and jungles for exploring, and ancient ruins and jungles. South America’s summer is the winter of the northern hemisphere, making it the best time to explore Patagonia and the Andes. The continent offers something for everyone, from well-trodden trails in Argentina, Chile, and Brazil to virgin jungle paths in Ecuador and Colombia. There will be plenty of company for your trek to Machu Picchu.

South America’s size shouldn’t deter you. With easy border crossings, well-established traveler centers, and a large number of travelers, it’s perfect for solo overlanding. Gringo trail, which covers the most popular destinations on the continent, is a great way to meet other travelers and make new friends. The warmth of the locals and the quality hostel network on the continent make solo travel easy.

Epic Solo Travel Experience: Mountain Biking down Bolivia’s infamous Death Road.

Receive our Weekly Newsletter for more travel inspiration and tips, as well as exclusive offers delivered straight to your mailbox.

Ubud, Indonesia, is the best place to reflect.

Bali is a magical place, regardless of whether you liked or disliked Elizabeth Gilbert’s groundbreaking solo travel memoir ‘Eat, Pray, and Love. It is in the island’s artistic center and spiritual hub, Ubud, that Elizabeth Gilbert found love and likely ate and prayed. The place remains a wonderful, laid-back destination for solo travelers who want to relax, recharge and reflect. Bali is an all-year-round destination. Summer is the peak season, but winter is when it is quieter.

Ubud is a thriving solo traveler destination nestled in a rice field surrounded by misty mountains. You won’t be looked at funny if you show up alone for a yoga class or if you ask for a seat for one in an expensive vegetarian café. If you want to experience the healing powers of Ubud and enjoy some solitude, check into one of the health retreats scattered around the town.

Epic Solo Travel Experience: Get up early to attend a holistic class. You can learn everything from meditation and yoga and then follow it up with a relaxing massage at a spa-like Taksu Spa.

Berlin, Germany: best for nightlife

Some claim that you’re more likely to be admitted into Berghain – the most renowned nightclub in Berlin if you come alone. The rumor, whether true or not, shows the German capital’s affinity for solo travelers. Berlin is a city that attracts many solo travelers because of its reputation for being one of Europe’s friendliest and most inclusive cities, as well as for its nightlife.

Berlin has a lot of activities to offer. From the Brandenburg Gate to the Holocaust Memorial, you will be surrounded by a wealth of history. You can also find quirky cafes, boutiques, flea markets, food trucks, and cool boutiques. Berlin is an easy place to wander alone or join a walking tour for some company.

Epic solo travel experience: Heading out to a bar or nightclub and seeing where the night takes you. For some guided imbibing, join a beer tour with Brewer’s Berlin Tours or Berlin Craft Beer Experience.

East Africa: best for a group tour

Have you always dreamed of viewing gorillas in the jungles of Rwanda, meeting a Maasai chief in Kenya, or spotting the “Big Five” in Tanzania but were daunted by the logistics of tackling East Africa independently? A group tour can simplify the experience of visiting this stunning region of the world and provide a buffer for the sometimes challenging experiences Africa can throw at first-timers.

East Africa’s tourism infrastructure is well developed, and traveling solo in most countries here is quite achievable (particularly in Kenya and Tanzania), but joining a group tour means you can bundle together a string of big game-viewing safaris in multiple countries without getting hit by additional lone traveler charges or facing the daunting prospect of arranging multiple tours and transport.

Best of all, tours in these bucket-list destinations attract a diverse group of travelers. You’re much less likely to be the only solo traveler sandwiched between canoodling couples or the only 20-something in a coach full of empty-nesters.

Epic solo travel experience: Catching the great migration from the Serengeti in Tanzania to the Masai Mara in Kenya – and an almost Lion King-esque parade of wildebeest, zebras, gazelles, and predators.

Singapore: best for a solo stopover

With all manner of cultural attractions to explore, a growing collection of hostels and guesthouses, loads of free things to do, and one of the world’s best public transport systems (including excellent airport links), there are few more stress-free solo travel experiences than landing at Singapore’s award-winning Changi airport on a tropical afternoon.

Whether you choose to trek with an audio guide through the Chinatown Heritage Centre, gawp at the otherworldly Gardens by the Bay, plunge into a lavish rooftop pool, or join the hordes feasting in Singapore’s hawker food courts, the city is perfectly suited to solo travel. A bonus is the city’s cosmopolitan attitude – locals don’t bat an eyelid at the daily influx of international arrivals, and there are few hassles and scams to worry about.

Epic solo travel experience: Checking out the cozy cafes and quirky boutiques in the gentrified 1930s housing estate of Tiong Bahru.

Rome, Italy: best for culture

From ancient icons such as the Colosseum and the Roman Forum to the towering masterpiece of Renaissance architecture that is St Peter’s Basilica, Rome’s cityscape is a kaleidoscopic canvas of artistic flair, architectural wonderment, and historical marvels. Whether you’re visiting for two days or two months, there’s so much to see that there’s little risk of becoming bored.

Though English is not as widely spoken as in some European nations, it’s hard to feel lonely among the 14 million other tourists who visit this cultural hub each year. And solo dining means you only have to worry about keeping one palate happy in Rome’s fabulous restaurants. But don’t pack too much into your itinerary, as Rome rewards relaxation; mingling with strangers over a glass of vino at sunset is an essential pastime in The Eternal City.

Epic solo travel experience: Visit St Peter’s Basilica and walk the 7km (4.3 miles) of artwork-filled halls that comprise the Vatican Museums.

Portland, Oregon: Best City break

One of the USA’s hippest hubs, Portland has all the cultural advantages of a major metropolis but the down-home intimacy of a small town. This generous attitude reverberates in the town’s urban wineries, microbreweries, and coffee shops, where conversation flows quicker than the drinks can be poured. And with its patchwork of small, friendly neighborhoods, it’s easy to discover this easy-going city one district at a time.

There’s more to this bastion of counterculture than its love of a good chinwag, with a host of whimsical attractions highlighting its quirky streak, from a museum dedicated to vacuum cleaners to an urban herd of goats. It’s also a cinch to navigate, with good public transport and a popular bike-share scheme. And while Portland is famous for its artisan restaurants, a more pleasant – and undeniably more fun – way to dine is at the city’s 500-or-so street food carts.

Epic solo travel experience: Exploring the Alberta Arts District; for the company of fellow art enthusiasts, time your visit to coincide with the Last Thursday art walk.

Chiang Mai, Thailand: best for food

It’s a close-run thing, but for solo foodie travel, one destination stands above all others for travelers who view the world through the prism of a knife and fork. The capital of northern Thailand – and once the center of an independent kingdom – Chiang Mai offers the entire Thai package in one compact location: stellar food, rich culture, ancient ruins, responsible elephant encounters, relaxed nightlife, and an easy-going traveler scene that’s easy to plug into.

Every day is snack time in Chiang Mai. From the city’s impressive northern Thai restaurants to its fun-filled and frenetic night markets and hole-in-the-wall restaurants serving the city’s famous kow soi soup, the city always has a fork or spoon in hand. What makes Chiang Mai especially suited to solo travelers is its collection of cooking schools – ideal places to meet new people and learn how to cook up a perfect bowl of phat thai, green curry, or hot and sour tom yam soup.

Epic solo travel experience: Learning to cook Thai food, of course! Most courses start with a market trip so you can learn to identify local ingredients before you begin pounding herbs and spices to make your curry paste (Small House Chiang Mai is one recommended school).

Caye Caulker, Belize: best for an island escape

Enchanting atolls aren’t reserved for honeymooners. Pastel-hued, car-free Caye Caulker has always been a great place for solo travelers thanks to its compact size and easy-going, backpacker-friendly vibe, which draws a relaxed, international crowd in search of a less commercialized slice of paradise.

It’s easy to lose days lounging at The Split, the island’s premier beach, but there are plenty of other activities on offer, from snorkeling and diving on teeming reefs to kayaking to lesser-visited parts of the island while keeping a beady eye out for crocodiles.

Join other travelers at local reggae bars during the afternoon happy hour before sampling Creole-style street food come nightfall. What’s arguably the greatest blessing of solo travel? You don’t have to share your shrimp and swordfish dinner!

Epic solo travel experience: Snorkeling or diving in the Caye Caulker Marine Reserve, which teems with turtles and small sharks.

East Coast Australia: best for road-tripping

It would actually be hard to explore the East Coast of Australia alone. So many travelers follow the snaking stretch of road that runs from Sydney to Cairns that solitude is often harder to find than companionship. For travelers in search of natural wonders, excellent infrastructure, abundant tours and group activities, and raucous late-night revelry, there are few places to match it.

But it’s not just the good-time vibe that makes this stretch of coastline so spectacular. The classic road trip route is studded with bucket-list attractions, from lolling on Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach to rambling through the ancient Daintree Rainforest or blowing bubbles on the Great Barrier Reef. Consider renting a car to explore – the most memorable moments will likely come from interactions with locals in coastal surf towns and one-pub villages in the Outback an hour or two inland from the coast.

Epic solo travel experience: Joining a tour with the East Coast’s Indigenous people. Tours led by guides from Aboriginal communities will show you a less-seen side of this well-explored land.