Solo travel can be one of the most life-affirming, invaluable, and rewarding experiences an individual can undertake. With the freedom to do what makes you happy and be whoever you want to be, solo travel enables individuals to truly experience the world their way.
According to a Solo Travel Survey, commissioned in October 2019, 76% of participants stated that they had either already undertaken a solo travel adventure or had plans to do so in the future, with women representing the largest group of solo travellers. Citing motivations from focusing on the self to meeting new people, it is clear this mode of travel continues to be very popular in the increasingly global world we live in today.
Whatever the reason you choose to venture off into the big, wide world alone, it’s relevant to consider the places you want to visit. As an avid solo traveller, I know the importance of taking into account factors like culture, safety, and experiences. As a female solo traveller, and worrier, I also think it is important to consider places that I’ll feel comfortable exploring on my own, especially at night when so many cities truly come to life!
A recently published article by Travel + Leisure listed their 18 Best Countries for Solo Travel, with the top three being Norway, Switzerland, and Denmark. Their other recommendations included Spain, Panama, and Japan. Stretching far and wide, their lists included happiness ratings and safety ratings and noted some of the most beloved places within each country.
To answer the question ‘what are the best places to go when travelling solo?’ my top countries would be Australia, which did not feature in their recommendations, and New Zealand. Both countries offer culture and history as well as adventure and thrill-seeking in equal parts. There is literally something for everyone. For English speakers, there is no language barrier which helps individuals to feel secure as they understand the locals and the locals understand them. Companies such as Uber also operate in these countries meaning safe travel home after a night out or excursions are guaranteed. Whilst they are typical places that everyone envisages gap year takers visiting, the countries are beautiful and offer such a variety of activities and experiences that nothing about them is typical at all. From the people to the lakes, from the mountains to the reefs; the landscape in itself embodies how much diversity exists within these two countries. They allowed me to feel safe and happy and explore without the limitation of worry. Without a doubt, they are my favourite countries, and I would go back in a heartbeat.
However, getting to this part of the world can be expensive and I would recommend being able to commit a good chunk of time on a visit of this nature. If you only have a week or two, or even a few days for travelling, somewhere a little closer to home might suit you better. I also travelled solo around Europe last year which was fascinating and beautiful. At times I worried more on this trip, and perhaps felt less safe as I struggled with transport and communication, however, I came out of my shell so much and learned many things about all the countries I visited, including Spain, France, and Italy.
I think it is also important to look at this topic objectively. I don’t believe anyone can or should tell you the best place to go for your solo adventure. Ultimately, what matters is what you want to get out of the trip and where you want to go. Where one person would feel happier going to the USA, another could be content as far afield as China or Brazil. It depends so much on your values, intentions, and expectations.
Solo travel is a unique experience and therefore all that matters is YOU. Prioritise your wishes and the adventure you are after and the place itself will become clear. Research, look at all the options, consider your own situation and then finding the best country for you will be easy.
So, I could tell you the best places to go, but part of the fun of solo travel is finding out for yourself. The adventure doesn’t start when you step off the plane but rather when you open up a web browser to explore your options. Discovering where you want to go is the first step! So go on, open up a new tab and click search, your very own solo adventure is just waiting to be started.