Top 10 Best Destinations for a Solo Traveler

By on June 5, 2013

There is something wonderfully liberating about setting out into the great big world, passport and plane ticket in one hand, dusty luggage in another, an exciting itinerary awaiting and only yourself to experience it with. For some, that may seem lonely, but for others, like myself, I love a little (or major) solo adventure every now and then. Unfortunately, there are some places that are not exactly solo-travel friendly, and some that are perfect for it. Have a little solo vacation time on the books? Check out these solo-friendly travel destinations!

1)  The United Kingdom

If you've never been overseas, and you just want to get your traveling toes wet, the UK is a perfect place to start. It's English speaking, dead easy to get around, and one of the most welcoming corners of the planet. With the excitement of London, Scotland's majestic highlands, the mysticism of the Emerald Isle and the awe inspiring National Parks of Wales, the only issue you may have traveling here is finding enough time to see it all!

2)  Costa Rica

Costa Rica has long been a favorite for Canadian snowbirds, would-be surfers, and adventure seekers alike. Its burgeoning tourism industry offers a plethora of accommodation options, an abundance of solo-travel friendly tour companies and a unique warmth that you can only find in Central America. Whether you've got your eye on a rafting adventure down the beautiful Reventazón River, a thrilling expedition to the volcano and geysers at Rincón de la Vieja National Park or a surf lesson in Malpais, travelers of all walks of life are charmed by Costa Rica's pristine landscapes. And to confirm Costa Rica's commitment to putting its citizens and visiting tourists at ease, it's one of the only countries on earth that doesn't have a military.

3) Vietnam

It's incredible to think that just a few decades ago, we were at war with one of the most picturesque countries on the planet. Despite its war torn history, Vietnam is one of the hottest destinations for solo travelers in Southeast Asia. Renown for its friendly people, sumptuous cuisine, and a rich and complex history, it's also one of the most affordable destinations for the solo traveler. You are spoiled for choice when it comes to activities, but the name of the game should be getting to see as much of the countryside as you possibly can. Take a bicycle tour through idyllic rice patties, catch up on your reading on any number of quiet beaches on Phu Quoc Island or get your culture fix by spending your days wandering from one iconic temple to another.

4)  Chile

Calling all outdoor enthusiasts, Chile is seeking new adventure applicants! Bring your best gear and join a Patagonian climbing expedition, explore the jagged rock of volcanoes and geysers in the driest place on earth, the Atacama Desert, or sea kayak up and down the coast of Chiloé Island. Feel like hitting the slopes? Check out Portillo resort, a single lodge where all visitors feel more like a family than crowd of international strangers. Be sure to take a meander around the capital city of Santiago, a cultural and culinary playground for history buffs and food enthusiasts. Delight in some legendary Chilean barbecue, and for an ultra authentic experience, try doing a homestay rather than hotel accommodations.

5)  Fiji

Though Fiji and it's surrounding idyllic islands has long been a draw for star-crossed lovers, it is one of the most backpacker friendly countries, and some of the lowest incidences of tourism crime in the world. An impressive inventory of inexpensive boutique hotels, and beachside family run guest houses await the weary solo traveler. If crowds aren't your thing, Fiji should move to the top of your list. Its South Pacific locale doesn't attract the young, rowdy crowd, so rest assured you'll be able to get some serious R&R here. If you are looking for something a little more luxurious than a hostel-like stay, luxury is also Fiji's middle name! Spend an afternoon at the beach bar getting the lowdown on all the most fabulous dive spots and be sure you leave yourself enough time to explore some of the most beautiful reefs in the world.

6)  Bhutan

How can you not love a country where the Gross Domestic Product is measured in units of happiness? A trip to Bhutan is like hopping in a time machine. This medieval kingdom is very slowly inching its way towards the 21st century, and it's attitude towards tourism is cutting edge. Bhutan is not an inexpensive visit, with tourists having to pay a minimum of $200 per day, this fee makes it cost prohibitive for the wrong crowd. It is hailed as one of the most peaceful corners of the world, and has been described by a Buddhist paradise by many. A visit to the Buddhist sites in Bumthang Dzongkhag is a must, and if you have enough time, a multi-week expedition is one of the most popular and beloved activities on offer.

7)  Canada

Have you ever visited your neighbors to the north? Call me bias, but I think that Canada is one of the friendliest and most travel-friendly destinations. From coast to coast, Canada is both geographically and culturally diverse. Ski and surf in the same day in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia, hang out with some cowboys during the Calgary Stampede, get lost in the circumpolar Boreal Forest, dance your tush off at North America's largest Caribbean festival in Toronto and check out the highest tides in the world at the Bay of Fundy in Atlantic Canada! If you think you know Canada, you have no idea!

8)  Bali

Yes, if Bali was good enough for Julia Roberts in Eat Pray Love, it should be good enough for the rest of us, right? The truth is, long before that book gained popularity I fell head over heels in love with the warmth of the Balinese people. I've traveled to other parts of Indonesia extensively, and as much as I adored the exotic Sumatran jungles, and Java's staggering geography, Bali is undoubtedly one of the safest and easiest places to travel solo.  Affectionately known as the pearl of Indonesia, if you can ride a motor bike, you can get from one end of the island to other with great ease. If not, hire a driver for next to nothing and explore all the treasures of this Hindu isle. The sweet scent of frangipani will lull you into a state of quiet tranquility, its cuisine will feed more than just your belly, the endless calendar of festivals will delight you, its beaches will spoil you and its affordability will entice you to come back as soon as you can.

9)  Iceland

I traveled here with a partner, but on my various excursions around the island, I met plenty of solo travelers. Iceland's out of the way locale means its often overlooked by most, and if you prefer a destination devoid of roving camera-wielding crowds, if you time your visit right, you can find yourself standing in front of panoramic glacial views out on the frozen tundra all on your own. While this is one of the more expensive countries to travel to, a visit to the Blue Lagoon, a trek on an Icelandic Pony and culinary tour around Reykjavik is worth every last Krona you can spare.

10)  New Zealand

New Zealand and the word ‘adventure' are one in the same. Any adrenaline junkie worth their salt knows that a visit to New Zealand is a whole other level of thrills. You will meet plenty of like-minded adventure-seekers like yourself, and before you know it, you will be whitewater rafting, bungee jumping off bridges and rock climbing with new friends. With over 350 hostels available to travelers of all ages, despite its reputation for being costly, traveler can rest their head for about $10 per night as a starting price. There are numerous hop-on-hop-off buses that connect to New Zealand's most sought after destinations and the buses are all designed for solo travelers and backpackers, so what are you waiting for? Get down there!


 
Jordana Manchester
Jordana Manchester
Contributing Writer at ExcelLiving.com
Jordana is an award nominated freelance travel and fashion writer, a former model, an anthropology student and photographer. After spending a year abroad working with lions in Zambia, trekking through the jungles of Sumatra and wandering medieval castles in Portugal, she settled down in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia. She makes use of her eclectic background by incorporating her infatuation with fashion and style, her obsession with xenophilia, and her obvious love of wayfaring, into every piece she writes.

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