Solo holidays: Our guide to single travel
Have you ever wanted to take a trip by yourself? While we love traveling with friends, family, and partners, solo travel is its own reward. Single holidays give you more flexibility to do what you want, when you want to do it. We've found some incredible solo trips to affordable destinations across the globe, whether you're looking to explore the ancient ruins of Mexico, take a road trip across Iceland, or just relax on the beaches of Mallorca.
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The 6 best solo travel destinations for 2020
Whether you’re a seasoned solo traveller or just looking to dip your toe in the solo holiday lifestyle, we’ve gathered our 6 best places to travel alone.
We realise that Southeast Asia is already a popular destination for solo travellers and backpackers. However, we decided on Vietnam specifically due to the diverse landscapes and variety of activities to do there.
From the bustling, moped-laden streets of Hanoi in the north to the tranquil beaches of Phu Quoc island in the south, Vietnam offers it all. For history buffs, there are the tunnels in Ho Chi Minh city whereas those wanting a quieter trip can head to the countryside and the rice fields of Sapa.
Travelling around the country couldn’t be easier — or cheaper for that matter. With internal flights costing as little as a lunch in the UK and busses departing cities on a regular basis, hopping around Vietnam, even on your own, couldn’t be more straightforward.
The great thing about travelling around Vietnam — especially in more urban areas — is that there is a wealth of free WiFi spots. So if you get into a pickle, a hotspot will be close by!
Since a number of low-cost airlines have released direct routes to both the East Coast and West Coast, travel to the USA has never been more affordable as a solo traveller.
This huge continent offers everything any budding solo traveller could want, from the bustling cities of New York and Los Angeles to the drama of the Rocky Mountains and The Grand Canyon.
Booking accommodation on your own can be as cheap or as luxurious as you wish. With more and more affordable accommodations and funky hostels popping up all around the country, you really are spoilt for choice.
Don’t fancy just focusing on one place? Car hire is super cheap! Head out on your own American road trip or opt for someone else to take the wheel and book a cheap fare with one of the many cross-country bus companies.
3. Copenhagen, Denmark
European cities are a great way to kick off your solo travelling journey. Not only are they relatively cheap to fly to but they usually offer accommodation options that suit every budget.
If safety is one of your main concerns when travelling solo, Copenhagen has recently been voted as the safest place to travel. Offering a number of budget-friendly accommodations from classy hostels to Scandi-styled hotels, there’s something to suit all in this quaint city.
Looking elsewhere in Europe? We like cities like Prague and Budapest as they have a buzzing vibe about them without being overly populated. Larger cities like Barcelona and Paris may be a little overcrowded for your first solo trip.
Made famous by countless Instagram images of beaches, swings over rice fields and luxurious hotels, it’s no wonder that this bucket list Indonesian island made our top 5.
Offering a huge range of accommodations from budget to luxury and bamboo bungalows to bubbles, Bali has it all. The only thing to take into consideration when in Bali is that taxis can be pricey.
Public transport is sparse, so taxis are the most convenient form of getting around but fares can add up.
5. New Zealand
Made famous by the Lord of the Rings movies, New Zealand is made up of two islands that offer so much more than Hobbits and Mordor.
Auckland, located in the north of North Island, is where many travellers begin their adventure. It’s worth noting that flights to Auckland vary dramatically in price, depending on your layover times, airlines etc. Once you’re there, if you have a driver’s licence then hiring a camper van is by far the most cost effective way to travel and sleep. For those who aren’t that confident driving in another country, internal flights with Air New Zealand can be picked up very cheaply if booked in advance, as can nationwide buses.
North Island is home to a number of major cities in New Zealand like Auckland and Wellington. But head out of the city limits and there is a wealth of things to discover. Phenomenal beaches and coastlines, thermal spas and pools as well as sweeping vineyards and fantastic hiking opportunities.
South Island feels like a whole other country, as its landscape is a lot more dramatic. Shaped over millions of years by slow-moving glaciers, the island offers snow-capped mountains and glass-like lakes. Queenstown is a favourite for travellers as it has a number of extreme sports on offer. On the opposite coast lies Christchurch, a quaint, small city with oodles of personality — head up the coast for a few hours to Kaikoura for whale spotting experiences.
Many people travel solo around NZ so it offers opportunities to meet new people from around the world. If you get stuck, locals are known as some of the friendliest in the world and most will stop to help a lost tourist.
We’ve added in Tanzania, which may not be the first country to come to mind when you think about solo travel. However, this is a destination bursting with personality and culture.
Looking for some relaxing beach time? Head to the paradise island of Zanzibar. Lying off the coast of the mainland, Zanzibar is full of activities like dolphin spotting. It is also home to Freddie Mercury's birthplace in the main town of Stone Town as well as Insta-famous restaurant The Rock.
Head to the mainland by plane or boat — flights are generally pricer but take a fraction of the time whereas the ferry can get a little crowded. Flights depart for either the country’s capital of Dar Es Sallam or Arusha. We would generally advise against Dar Es Sallam as its streets have an unpredictable nature. However, if safaris and stunning mountain views are your bag, then Arusha is where it’s at! As the gateway to Kilimanjaro and Tanzania’s many national parks, travellers tend to create a base here before going on treks and day trips.
Moshi is a small yet busy town that sits at the base of Kilimanjaro, with plenty of accommodations to suit all budgets available. Hiking not your thing? There are other tours you can do. Head partway up the mountain by bus for amazing jungles, waterfalls and coffee plantations. Walking tours can be arranged at a number of outlets both in town and online.
Safari-wise, talk to your accommodation. They can usually come up with an itinerary to suit you and your budget. For the ultimate experience, book a private tour. Here you will have your own knowledgeable driver to take you to locations in your selected park frequented by wildlife. This level of service, however, comes with a price tag. For a more budget-friendly option, select to join a group safari. These usually need to be booked further in advance as jeeps fill up fast.
What makes Tanzania such a great place to travel solo? As well as a wealth of activities, accommodation is cheap and, due to its expanding popularity for tourists, the local people are very friendly and approachable.
The 11 best tips and tricks for solo travel
Travelling alone. Whether it’s because your friends can’t make up their minds on your next destination or you just fancy a solo adventure, it can lead to some of the most incredible and liberating experiences of your life. However, it can seem like a daunting prospect at first if you have never ventured out solo before.
Check out our handy tips below if you’re considering a single holiday!
1. Choose your destination carefully
If you’re new to the land of solo travel, then throwing yourself in the deep end with a multi-stop trip around Asia may be a little bit of an overload. Start off small, maybe a 2 night city trip to Europe. A place that is often walked by tourists and where it’ll be easy to find someone who speaks your language. We suggest places like Prague or Budapest. These cities have a wide selection of budget friendly accommodations and eateries and are known for their safety.
Fancy somewhere a little further afield? Many hotel resorts in the Canaries, Balearics and Greece boast single rooms. This means you just pay for the room you use, unlike if you booked a double room - you may end up paying double.
2. Stay smart
Don’t make yourself a target to pick-pocketers or opportunists by flashing your phone, cash or other valuables whilst in and around busy locations. If you need to check your Google Maps, park yourself on a bench out of the main hum drum of pedestrians. At night, don’t limit your senses by using headphones and checking your phone. When packing or getting ready to go out, stash cash and cards in different places in your bags or on your person. Therefore if you are unlucky enough to be targeted, you’re not left stranded. Does your hotel or hostel offer a personal safe? Make sure you make the most of it.
3. Join a tour
If you’re a little uneasy about exploring alone, join a group tour. Whether it be a day trip or a free walking tour, this way you will learn more about your destination as well as meet new people (and ask them to take those all-important photos).
4. Educate yourself
Each destination has its own style of scam artist — an unfortunate reality of traveling. Make sure you take some time to look these up before heading out on your big trip. Whether it’s offering you bracelets under the Eiffel Tower or saying that your henna is ‘free’ in Morocco, decline politely and keep an eye on your belongings at all times.
6. When taking a taxi
Always sit in the back, behind the passenger seat. Apps like Uber allow you to share your journey with friends, giving you another level of security with your ride. Only ever get into registered cabs and ask to see the driver’s ID for added peace of mind. This is not rude, just you taking care of your well being. If someone who you haven’t booked in advance approaches you or offers you a cheaper, private cab or tour, kindly decline and move on. If you feel uncomfortable, maybe pretend you’ve received a call and excuse yourself from the situation.
8. Join solo traveller groups
Social media platforms offer a wide range of groups you can join to ask fellow travellers or locals for advice on your destination. Some even go to the lengths of meeting up for a drink or meal!
9. Let those at home know your plans
Share your plans or your current whereabouts with those at home, either through social media updates or by sharing your itinerary before leaving. Apps like ‘Find My Friends’ are also useful.
10. Trust your gut
If something doesn’t feel right, excuse yourself and leave. Don’t worry about appearing rude or abrupt: politeness should NEVER come before safety. The more you travel, the more you will get a ‘feel’ for situations and learn what you are or aren’t comfortable with.