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People often think I’m not too big on solo travel, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Many people (very wrongly!) assume that lone travellers are only going it alone because they have to. Newsflash: they’re not! Even though I have a wonderful partner to share my travels and digital nomad lifestyle with, I absolutely love exploring on my own.
Travelling solo isn’t easy – but that’s what makes it so great. Just like I’ve never regretted dragging myself to the gym, I’ve never regretted booking a solo trip somewhere. Whenever I’m feeling frustrated, uninspired or just need to shake things up a little, it’s usually the fastest ticket to doing so.
Why travel solo?
Right now you might be thinking… but I have plenty of friends to travel with. I like travelling with other people. Why would I choose to go it alone?
In my opinion, booking a solo adventure is something that everyone should do once. At least once. Not only will it make you a better traveller, but it will probably make you a better person in general. You’ll get to know yourself better than ever and feel the kind of independent (wo)man vibes that would make Beyoncé proud.
Where to travel solo
A solo trip doesn’t have to take you to the highest mountains, wildes seas or even involve anything crazier than asking for extra hot sauce on your fries. My first solo trip took me to the totally-underrated-but-not-particularly-exotic city of… wait for it… Cologne. I simply booked the cheapest return ticket to a country I hadn’t been to and a hostel recommended to me by my friend Katie. And that was it – off I went.
I spent the entire journey there wondering if I was crazy (hey, it’s not like I had a burning desire to go to Cologne, of all places) and the rest of the trip learning how to be completely in control. There was no one to tell me when to eat, what to drink or how to explore the city I ended up in. And even though I can’t say Cologne is one of my favourite cities in the entire world, it’s still one of my most treasured travel memories.
While you don’t need to travel anywhere exciting on your first lone traveller voyage, there’s no reason not to. Here are six very good places to start – and six more in case the first six don’t do it for you – whatever your solo travel style.
The City Break: Venice
I may be a little bit biased here but Venice is one of the most solo traveller-friendly cities I’ve been to. It was the last place I visited as a lone traveller, and I enjoyed it even more than I expected to.
Venice’s never-ending maze of alleyways and back streets were just made to be explored solo. There’s nothing quite like slipping away to the peaceful solace of an isolated back street and listening to the hustle and bustle of the main street just metres away. Do it alone and it’s even more magical.
Runner up: Tokyo
Possibly the safest country in the whole world, Japan is surprisingly ideal for solo travellers. The efficient systems, friendly (but not too friendly) locals and incredibly low crime rate make it the ideal place for a solo trip. You can enjoy the eclectic Tokyo nightlife without fear of getting home and won’t have to wait too long for a spot at the sushi train.
Tokyo is also a great city to head to if you’re feeling self-conscious about doing things alone – even the locals do karaoke solo.
The Outdoor Adventure: Saalbach, Austria
The Austrian Alps might not seem like a great place for a solo trip. After all, they’re best known for their ski resorts. But head to Saalbach in the summer months and it’s a very different story.
I spent five days exploring Saalbach solo and it was just the escape I needed. I enjoyed plenty of time to catch my thoughts and unwind while surrounding myself in the incredible landscapes there. From hiking and high rope course to paragliding and mountain biking, it was a great way to enjoy nature. But it wouldn’t have been quite as therapeutic with a travel companion by my side.
Runner up: Arizona, USA
Even though I didn’t travel solo to Arizona, it did strike me as a place I’d like to go back to alone. The landscapes of Arizona completely caught me off guard and left me in awe, humbled by the massive surroundings. If you love hiking and want to try a solo trip, Arizona has plenty of places to explore. And if you want a real challenge, you could even take on the famous Havasupai hike alone.
The Retreat: Kolpa River, Slovenia
Glamping in Slovenia is unlike any other glamping experience I’ve had. Glamping is always a great way to unwind, surrounded by nature, and the Kolpa River adds an extra calming touch.
The cabins at Big Berry’s glamping resort sleep between two and six people, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy them alone. Book a couple of nights in the 2-person cabin and you’ll be in for a truly refreshing retreat. And if you fancy some human company, there’s always something going on too.
Runner up: Abergavenny
Abergavenny is a teeny tiny town in Southern Wales, and it’s also home to one of the cosiest hotels I’ve ever stayed at. As the winter nights roll in, The Angel hotel makes the perfect spot for a solo getaway. Think huge rooms, log fires and probably the best afternoon tea in Wales. If you feel like stretching your legs, the town is small enough to not get lost yet has plenty of markets, cafés and book stores to get lose in.
The Beach Holiday: Maspalomas, Spain
Maspalomas, on the southern side of Gran Canaria, has everything you’d want from a beach holiday. Unlike many popular tourist destinations, however, it’s very well suited to solo travellers.
The Maspalomas dunes are an iconic part of the island, and they’re also the perfect place to get lost. You won’t quite realise how big they are – or how small you can feel – until you do! Check into one of the area’s many all-inclusive resorts, such as the Seaside Palm Beach hotel, for an ultra-relaxing break.
Runner up: Ibiza
You might associate Ibiza with group getaways and party loving friends, but there’s so much to the White Isle. Ibiza’s wellness scene is just as big as its party scene, so it’s perfect for some solo TLC time. Check into one of the island’s many wellness spas, register for a yoga retreat or just spend some time enjoying the island’s famous beaches in one of the quieter resorts.
The Grown-Up Getaway: The Greek Islands
The Greek Islands will always have a place in my heart. I’m pretty most people who have been there can say the same thing. There are a lot of things that make the Greek Islands special, but something that really is stood out to me is the diverse crowds the islands attract. Old young, from near and far, groups and solo travellers… there’s something for everybody in the Greek Islands.
Whether you stick to one island or decide to go island hopping, there’s plenty for solo travellers to enjoy. Just make sure you’re prepared for the ferries before you go!
Runner up: Northern Portugal
Portugal was on my bucket list for the longest time, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Porto is certainly a beautiful place to spend a few days. But venture further afield and your trip will go from incredible to unforgettable.
Northern Portugal is perfect road trip territory, especially if you’re travelling solo. Not only is the landscape enough to keep you entertained all day, but the distances between towns are short. That means you get the best of everything (and plenty of time for pastels de nata!).
The Island Escape: El Nido
The Philippines isn’t just my favourite island destination in the world, it’s also a great place for lone travellers. El Nido is one of the most popular spots in the Philippines, but still relatively unknown compared to other backpacker favourites. That means it attracts an eclectic crowd which, combined with the friendly locals, makes it the perfect place for a solo trip.
El Nido is a relatively affordable destination, so you won’t have to worry about splashing out on a private room. There’s plenty of things to do that won’t break the bank too, whether you put together your own Palawan itinerary or choose to hop on one of the many tours.
Runner up: Koh Samui
Koh Samui is slightly off of Thailand’s typical backpacker route. That means it’s easy to find all the peace and quiet you want without ever being far away from the crowds. Koh Samui isn’t the cheapest island in Thailand but it’s not hard to find a great deal there. We spent three nights at the Escape Beach resort and was surprised when it turned out to be everything I had hoped: a luxurious resort right on the sea.
With more and more people choosing to travel solo, there’s never been a better time to give it a try. You may just love it and, if you’re like me, find a whole new way to re-energise. And if you don’t? Well, you never have to do it again. Either way, I’m sure you’ll never regret giving it a go.
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