Solo traveling can give explorers the freedom to follow their whims instead of sticking to someone else's itinerary. Before setting out on a solo adventure, though, you want to know that you have a safe, interesting destination. Ideally, you come home with stories that make your friends envious rather than stories of dodging danger.
Part of a great adventure is going cheap and mingling with locals!
You've seen Lord of the Rings, and you want to see if New Zealand can match the beauty shown on film. The country will not disappoint. You just need to know the best walks on North Island. If you want to stay near a city, choose Mt. Victoria Trails in Wellington. Looking for something more adventurous, head underground by walking in Abbey Caves. Want to avoid all signs of civilization? Drive out to Karekare to hike Buck Taylor Track Loop.
Iceland has one of the lowest crime rates in the world, so you can feel comfortable traveling solo. As an island located pretty far north, it also has a unique trait: visitors who come during summer get treated to very long days while those that come during winter get extremely long nights. Regardless of when you go to Iceland, set time aside for the ice caves at Vatnajokull Glacier, eating bread baked in the ground near geothermal baths, and look to the sky to enjoy the Northern Lights.
Unless you have a very long vacation planned, you will never have enough time to see all of the beautiful buildings, historic sites, and charming villages of Spain. Plus, every town seems to serve the country’s best food and drink. If you have limited time, stop in Madrid to visit Centro de Arte Eina Sofia, where you can see artwork from Dali and Picasso. In Barcelona, talk to locals and tag along to the latest nightspot.
Tourists often go to the Netherlands for all of the wrong reasons. Do what you enjoy, but make sure you can find your way to several cities and towns. Rotterdam has mind-bending cube houses designs by Piet Blom. The Hague has more museums than you can throw a wooden shoe at. De Hoge Veluwe National Park provides refuge for wildlife and one of the country’s most impressive private art collections.
Go to Denmark with an interest in early European history. You can visit Viking burial grounds, get lost on the grounds of the Kastellet fortress, and—of course—enjoy a crisp, refreshing beer at the Carlsberg Brewery.
If you can, visit Dublin on Bloomsday. Every June 16, the city celebrates Joyce Joyce’s sprawling book, Ulysses. Expect drunken revelry everywhere you turn, but also look for wholesale activities like footraces, musical performances, and street theater. Can’t go on Bloomsday? Head to the Cliffs of Moher for natural beauty and stroll down Grafton Street to watch buskers and window shop.
Finland has just about everything you could want from a travel destination, including a big city (Helsinki), small towns, and wildlands where you can view plants and animals in their natural habitats. The country also has more than 3,000 saunas, so come prepared for a shvitz.
Travelers from North America and Europe often have the wrong idea about Vietnam and other Asian countries. Yes, you can find plenty of beautiful temples and pristine countrysides. While you should absolutely take in the splendor of Da Nang's Golden Hands Bridget, you also need to spend time in Hanoi. The large city a ton of restaurants, old architecture, and markets.
Albania is an interesting country where several cultures have overlapped for centuries to create a unique environment. Albania has an impressive number of museums, including Triana's underground BUNK'ART. You would be remiss, though, if you didn't set aside time for the country's captivating beaches. Some beaches even allow overnight camping!
Thailand often stands out to solo travelers who want affordable places to explore. Your food, transportation, and housing will cost less than $100. Obviously, you will spend some time in Bangkok. Try Chon Buri's beautiful seaside, Kanchanaburi's amazing waterfalls, and Ayutthaya's hundreds of temples.
Visiting Machu Picchu is a must for anyone traveling to Peru. Don't let it become the centerpiece of your visit, though. Go to Lima to experience a huge number of restaurants serving authentic Peruvian cuisine. Head to Puno so you can visit the islands of Lake Titicaca. And, if you have a strong stomach, take a short flight over Nazca to see human-made lines in the ground. Their reason remains a mystery, but they're wonderful to see from above.
Kenya has an incredibly diverse ecosystem where you can densely populated cities and open savannahs within hours of each other. Take advantage of both by visiting the restaurants and shops of Nairobi before heading to one of the national reserves to spot elephants, wildebeests, and zebra.
Japan has one of the world's lowest crime rates, so you can feel safe traveling throughout most of the country. Most people head straight for Tokyo, Japan's largest city. Luckily, the country's expansive train system will make it easy for you to see other highlights, including Kyoto, Nagoya, and Osaka. They all have slightly different cultures, foods, and architecture that makes them worth your time.
Chile's coastline stretch over 3,700 miles, so bring your swimwear and plenty of sunscreen. When you aren't lounging on the sand, check out the street art in Valparaíso or journey into the mountains of Patagonia. Patagonia can be a bit treacherous for newbies, so join a group to stay safe during your excursion.
Find an inexpensive hotel room in the capital city of Gaborone and make expeditions into the nearby arid regions to see incredible meerkat colonies, rhinos, antelope, zebra, and lions. Looking for lions? Make sure you hire a guide!