Travelling alone is no longer taboo. In fact, it’s now trendy to be an independent traveller, as more people are discovering the freedom of exploring a new place on their own terms.
At the same time, independent traveller’s community groups, meet-ups, and a vast wealth of online and digital resources have made it easier than ever to hit the road solo. From the stunning landscapes of Iceland to the sultry beaches of Belize, many destinations are friendly to solo travellers.
Still undecided? Here are some tips on destinations known to be safe and where to look in each.
1. Reykjavik, Iceland
Outdoor activities are king in Iceland. Base yourself in the capital for easy day trips to virtually any corner of the country, beauty spot, or adventurous activity. Iceland frequently tops solo travelers’ lists of most user-friendly destinations. In Reykjavik, hang out at The Laundromat Café, a social meeting hub where travelers and locals casually dine, wash laundry, drink coffee, read books, and share travel tips.
2. Paris, France
With an extraordinary array of bistros and cafés, Paris is a city where you can while away hours poring over a café au lait, chocolate chaud, and sumptuous patisseries while observing French culture through the fenêtres (windows) on the Champs-Élysées. Solo travelers gravitate towards Café de Flore and Deux Magots, which serve as meeting places for solo travelers to join up to explore the city. Also of note: Paris is a relatively safe European city for women travelling alone.
3. Bali, Indonesia
Yoga, spirituality, spas, massages, beaches, organic eateries and markets — are you sold yet? With such diversity, Bali is a staple for solo travellers from across the globe. People drift into its ease of life and wealth of fellow traveller-settlers. It helps that food is delicious and cheap, as is the cost of living in general.
4. Bangkok, Thailand
Solo travel and Bangkok have a long and convoluted history. It’s often said that you’d be lucky to meet a Thai in some parts of Bangkok. Luckily, other parts retain deep-rooted authenticity, which still attracts even the worldliest travellers. Temples, floating markets, cheap shopping, and nightlife galore keep the most active visitors busy traversing the city thanks to its excellent infrastructure.
5. Seville, Spain
The capital of Andalusia reflects all the romantic notions of Spain, as it plays home to Moorish architecture, bullfighting, and flamenco. Easily navigable on foot, Seville offers colourful ceramics, cobbled alleyways and mouth-watering markets. The city is a photographer’s dream with inexhaustible charm, luring enthusiasts to stay a while.
6. Dubrovnik, Croatia
With an infrastructure geared for tourists, solo travel is straightforward in “The Pearl of the Adriatic,” as christened by Lord Byron. Shoulder season is warm and not yet overcrowded. Take day trips to Montenegro or Bosnia and Herzegovina. If adventure gets you going, take a hiking or rock-climbing tour, where you’ll meet others with the same interests or relax on an island cruise with others while sipping sundowners along the dramatic Dalmatian coastline.
7 . Dublin, Ireland
Anyone anywhere could make friends over a pint of Guinness, and Irish hospitality is world-famed for warmth and friendliness, especially in Dublin. Head to a traditional Irish pub, havens of chatter, to converse with locals who are used to tourists, even in the most remote countryside spots. Join walking tours exploring the literary greats, from Oscar Wilde to George Bernard Shaw, earning Dublin its UNESCO City of Literature status.