For some of us who yearn to travel, it can be difficult to find someone to journey with. Friends and family members are tied down in jobs, struggling to save money, and don’t always want to go to the same places. The solution, of course, is to go it alone, a sometimes-scary prospect, but at the same time, a chance for self-discovery and adventure. But where to go? Get your bucket list ready, because here are some of the best travel alone destinations in the world.
The Galapagos, Ecuador
The Galapagos are ideal for solo travelers, whether you crave isolation or company. A cruise is the best way to see the islands, and smaller ships, like Haugan Cruises, have communal dining so you'll always have someone to chat with at dinner. With a land-based stay on Isabela or Santa Cruz, you can book a day cruise or walk to see flamingos, giant tortoises, and sea lions. If you want a swimming partner, sea lions and penguins are happy to oblige.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Solo travelers looking for clear skies should consider visiting Santa Fe. Offering an average of 325 days of sunshine per year, this southwestern city, which is the oldest capital in North America, is known for its art scene and beautiful scenery. Visitors can go hiking or skiing or check out more than 20 museums, such as iconic Canyon Road's Georgia O'Keeffe Museum. To reach the city, vacationers can fly into Santa Fe Regional Airport on American Airlines or United Airlines or into Albuquerque International Sunport before catching the Sandia Shuttle to Santa Fe. Travellers can then get around on foot, by bike or via the city's bus system.
Thailand is great for solo travelers—perhaps because it is one of the Buddhist mindsets, which promotes equality among the sexes. Thailand is known for its friendly hospitality, and as a travel hot-spot, there are plenty of chances to meet other like-minded travellers.
Overall known for being very cheap, especially in the north. A good choice if you want to get away on a budget. Thailand has a lot to offer, from the party-central Bangkok to beautiful beaches and tropical jungle. Travelling around Thailand is really easy—the country is a well-worn destination on the backpacking trail.
You could argue that the concept of adventure travel was born here in Costa Rica, a.k.a. the world’s happiest country. This Central American destination has been drawing Americans for decades to surf on the Pacific coast or join a rafting company for a day on the white water of the Reventazón or Pacuare rivers. If comfort is a priority, book one of the country’s storied adventure lodges and head out for day trips in the cloud forest.
For the ultimate solo getaway, consider walking along the Via Francigena, an ancient pilgrimage route that runs through much of the Tuscan region, including popular hill towns like Siena and San Gimignano. Chandi Wyant, an American author who lives in Italy, shares her experience hiking the trail alone in her book "Return to Glow: A Pilgrimage of Transformation in Italy." She describes how she found friendly locals who helped her along the way and enjoyed much soul-searching during the journey. VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations also recommends Tuscany to solo travellers, as English is spoken widely and many types of experiences are available. Plus, each town's plethora of Italian trattorias are likely to welcome anyone with open arms and ample pasta and wine.
Street life is colorful and safe in Vietnam’s largest cities, whether you’re exploring Ben Thanh market in Ho Chi Minh City or heading for Hanoi’s massive Dong Xuan Market. Do tai chi with hundreds of others by Hoan Kiem lake before heading into the mountains of the Central Highlands, preferably on a trek with a local outfitter. Wind up with a stay on Phu Quoc Island for a taste of the classic Southeast Asian beach-bum lifestyle.
The Netherlands is a truly wonderful country with some of the friendliest people in world ready to welcome you on your solo visit. The home of gorgeous tulip fields, winding canals and, of course, legalised marijuana, Amsterdam will forever be one of the best places to visit in Europe. For whatever reason, you may be a little more – err – laid back than usual while in Amsterdam, making it the perfect city to go alone, meet new people, and be open to new experiences.
According to Intrepid Travel, which leads group tours all over the world, Iceland is a great destination for solo travel. Most locals speak English and are warm and friendly, and the company notes that Wi-Fi access and cellphone reception are both very good. The country is often called the Land of Fire and Ice because of its abundance of natural wonders, from glaciers to volcanoes to waterfalls and hot springs. Consider a visit during the summer months to enjoy nearly 24 hours of sunlight while participating in outdoor activities like ice climbing, caving, cycling and hiking. Reykjavik, the country's capital and most populous city, is a good home base thanks to its proximity to Iceland's international airport and its multitude of shops, cafes, museums and art galleries.