The solo travel experience is one that we passionately champion over here at Backdrop. Travelling solo promises enough me-time, and as long as you pick the right location — based on factors like safety, weather/climate, roadside activities and more — you're sure to have a great time.
The availability of group activities is also important because there is an undeniable satisfaction in finding good company. With these conditions, here are 15 great solo travel destinations for a (potential) wanderer:
1. The Cayman Islands
This is a good destination for travellers of any gender, but it’s particularly great for women who would love to rock bikinis throughout without having to deal with strangers’ offering up their two cents. The location is filled with lots of helpful and friendly people, staff and locals alike. This is why you can enjoy simple things like a walk on your own or turning a mall visit into a souvenir collection adventure. (Shopping is tax-free here, so your adventure can stay budget-friendly.)
2. Austin, Texas, USA
Austin is generally a top US destination, alive at all times in terms of both nature and activity. You might not even know what you’ll enjoy before you get there, but since you’re the only person devoted to your itinerary, there are no solid objections to spontaneity. Jump in a lake. Join a festival you probably know nothing about. Stop at any of the city’s 250 locations to listen to live music. The first few days can be wild because there's so much to do and see and eat. If you're only staying a short period (like a weekend), you’ll gain some vigour which will help you resume mundane life all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.
3. Rome, Italy
Rome’s grand history and towering structures are enough to convince anyone they need a companion to enjoy the city. However, there's an Italian saying that goes ‘meglio solo che male accompagnato’. It means, “Better to be alone than in bad company.” This destination’s magnificence makes it a great place to roam (pun unintended), and you’ll enjoy this with a flexible schedule. If someone’s going to remind me about dinner time while I’m admiring the cobblestone path we’re walking on, I’d rather get lost on my own.
4. Reykjavik, Iceland
The safety requirement for solo travel makes Iceland a terrific destination. Violent crime is nearly absent in Iceland, making the Nordic Island nation one of the safest countries in the world. The Global Peace Index has rated the country as the number one safest country in the world every year for more than a decade. The Instagram-worthy landscape is mainly made up of the glorious outlets of earth’s internal heat (volcanoes, hot springs, geysers and lava fields), and this heat powers Reykjavik, the city’s capital. Other phenomena like the northern lights make the city even easier to get lost in.
5. Toronto, Canada
Food tours, movie watching and beach volleyball are some of the most common group activities for tourists in Toronto. The pastimes involve people who find each other via the need for a Canadian adventure. As a solo traveller in this city, you're given the chance at one or more meet cutes, and these relationships can go in any direction. And if you’d rather have your kind of fun alone, there are options for self-guided tours, such as the Segway tour of the Distillery District.
6. Seville, Spain
You can get to almost every part of this city on foot, and it’s also lauded for being safe. In no time, you’ve toured the entire city, gaining insight into the cultural heritage of the hospitable locals. These friendly residents also make for great AirBnB hosts, but if you prefer something else, Seville’s hostels have you covered. Lone wanderers can get roommates to share their space with or, if they prefer, get a room to themselves. Wherever you stay or go, you encounter wonderful services, practical as well as recreational. (For example, Seville's Oasis Backpackers Hostel is famous for having a rooftop pool!)
7. Dublin, Ireland
"Craic" is an Irish word used to refer to having a good time or doing something fun. Amusingly, it’s pronounced the same way as one of the aliases of coke. Thankfully, the only side effects of craic are losing time and lots of nostalgia in the future. First-time visitors to Dublin occasionally find themselves needing some help with directions, and the Irish locals, according to tourist reviews, are quick to offer help. The hostels are always alive with guests chattering away like they’ve known each other all their lives.
8. Bangkok, Thailand
Get stuffed by joining food tours of local street food or spend the day talking to the Thais about their best attractions. Exploring Bangkok via recommendations from locals will provide a much richer experience than any travel brochure ever could. The Monks have a pretty intriguing lifestyle, and you can observe this from all over the city. The grand temples are also cultural structures to explore, offering different kinds of lessons along the way.
9. Sydney, Australia
Surfing is one of the best activities to do alone, and it happens to be one of the most popular recreational activities for tourists in Sydney. If you don't know how to surf, you can still make your way to one of Sydney’s stunning beaches like Bondi Beach and find someone to teach you. Australians are very welcoming and the country is safe, especially for solo female travellers. Before you know it, you’ve made a new friend and learnt a new skill. Other great activities for lone visitors in the capital of New South Wales include visiting the Sydney Opera House or Harbour Bridge. Lots of tour activities happen in groups, so it’s easy to find a community of people doing something you're interested in.
10. Athens, Greece
Greece is quite famous as a baecation spot, but only a few people know how amazing it can be to explore this location alone. Historic structures are all over the place, from the Parthenon — the most famous landmark in Athens — to 150-year-old restaurants like Diporto. Perhaps it’s all the Greek yore, but there's something significantly simple about conversing with random people, locals and other tourists alike. There’s a great chance that you’ll only remember you came alone when you're on the flight back home.
11. Sri Lanka
Me-time usually has to equal peace, so the serenity of Sri Lanka makes it one of the best solo travel destinations, even though it’s underrated. The country is culturally rich, so good food and artistic sites are everywhere you turn. You can visit any time of the year, though the western areas are more inviting when it’s colder — just in case you don't want to spend your holiday needing too many hugs. I find it interesting that you can have two very different experiences in the same country if you have some time to move around.
12. Singapore, China
Another one of the safest countries to visit, a lone explorer in Singapore is in for amazing nightlife, shopping and great food — all of which make life in a busy city quite the dream for people who like to live fast. Chinatown is relatively the most sociable part of Singapore, and this is no surprise since there are incredible things to buy. You can buy some things for practical reasons, others just as souvenirs. There's also food from different cuisines, which I think is great for if you ever feel a little homesick. One bite from a platter you're familiar with can fill you with lots of warmth.
13. Dominica, The Caribbean
This mountainous rainforest region unlocks the need for adventure in most people, so the destination still comes with all the thrill of the journey. The heights, the sound of teeming life, the purity of the air all help one feel more connected to nature. When you have the chance to ground yourself like that, you should be paying attention to yourself. This is why a solo escape to Dominica is recognised as transformative.
14. Queenstown, New Zealand
This South Island of New Zealand is so epic, it’s prominent for adventure sports. Queenstown is mountainous, so skiing is one of the biggest activities during winter. However, when it's warmer, bungee jumping and jet boating become the hot stuff. No matter the time of the year, there's always something to get your adrenaline pumping. You’re bound to participate because the liveliness of locals and other tourists is very contagious.
15. Ecuador, South America
In South America, there's always the possibility of a full adventure. The mix of white sand, incredible greenery and exotic activities is the recipe for a dynamic travel experience in one location. Ecuador is one of the best parts of Latin America, and because it’s tight on space, the place makes as many impressions as it can in a little while. Travelling on your own makes it easier to immerse yourself in these experiences; you don't need to worry about keeping up with anyone or anyone keeping up with you.