10 Great Destinations for Single Female Travelers
Itching to plan a solo international adventure? Follow in the footsteps of intrepid women who have been all over the globe — and are back with solid advice.
Photo By: Lauren Oster
Photo By: Lauren Oster
Photo By: Rebecca Holland
Photo By: GettyImages/ullstein bild
Photo By: Robin Bennefield
Photo By: Aleah Taboclaon
Photo By: Haber Vision
What Are You Waiting For?
The number of female travelers who set off for adventure on their own has been on the rise for some time now, as pros have noted, and it’s likely to keep on climbing. We turned to 10 experts for the stories of some of their favorite destinations — and their tips for women who’d like to chart solo courses for themselves. (Psst: Iceland, pictured above, is a pretty spectacular destination for women on their own, too.)
See More Photos: Top Trips for Solo Travelers
Italy will always have a special place in my heart as it is where I not only went solo for the first time, it was the first time I'd been in a country where English wasn't the first language. I traveled from Rome to Florence and then up to Venice by train and stayed in cheap hotels and pensiones with shared bathrooms along the way. It was far from luxury but it remains one of my favorite holiday experiences because it was such an adventure.
When I flew to Rome I didn't have a hotel booked as this was back in the pre-internet booking days and all of the places in my guide book were full, so I ended up getting a taxi driver to drive around to hotels until we found one that wasn't full. The next morning I had no idea where I was, but I took a business card so that I could just show it to another taxi driver at the end of the day and went for a walk. When I saw a queue I decided to join it, not knowing what it was for. And that's how I ended up looking up at the Sistine Chapel when I'd gone out looking for breakfast.
That's one of the things I love most about solo travel — being able to just wander with no need to discuss a plan for the day, or negotiate how long you're going to stay in a certain spot. Italy was perfect for seeing where the day would take me.
— Amanda Woods, travel writer and blogger (Adventures All Around)
One of my favorite places for solo travel is the Dalmatian Coast in Croatia. I went there for nine days, which was the perfect amount of time for a solo trip. I started in Dubrovnik, then took the commuter ferry to Hvar, Mljet, Korcula and Split. Though there are many reasons the Dalmatian Coast is perfect for solo American travelers — it's super easy to get around, for example, and most locals speak English — my favorite is that it's a great place to unwind. In Croatian culture, there's a concept known as "fjaka," which is essentially an elusive state of mind in which you conduct yourself at a slower pace and aspire to do nothing. Though "fjaka" technically can't be learned — it's considered to be a true gift from god in Dalmatia — I found it pretty easy to succumb to my own version of "fjaka" during my trip. I spent my days wandering around aimlessly, strolling into beautiful alleyways and stumbling across abandoned villages. My only plan was to not come up with a plan at all, and that plan worked perfectly. I lingered over lots of delicious local Croatian wine, ate all of the fresh handmade pasta and octopus salads, and, of course, went swimming in the insanely blue waters, which really are as clear as they look in photos. And the best part is that I returned home with a mind as clear as the sea.
See More Photos: Explore Split, Croatia
A woman traveling solo in Colombia? Yes, while I certainly wouldn't recommend it as your first solo trip — especially if you don't speak Spanish — you shouldn't write off this country as a "dangerous place" and one that you can't do alone. Sure, it's had a dark and troubled past under the reign of Pablo Escobar, but Colombia isn't what it used to be in the '90s.
As Colombia has become safer it's also become more popular as a destination — especially for digital nomads. I spent several months based in Medellín in 2018 and traveled solo to Cali — to salsa! Cali is the 'Salsa Dancing Capital of the World' and a great place to meet travelers in dance lessons. You do need to stay vigilant traveling alone here (take cabs/Ubers instead of walking at night), but I'm sure you'll find, as I did, Colombians are very welcoming and always ready to help out.
Colombians love their country and want you to love it as well.
— Kathleen Rellihan, travel writer and editor
See More Photos: 13 Adventures in Colombia
Jordan was the first country I ever [visited] outside of the U.S., and it remains one of my favorite places to visit and to travel solo. Of course there's the nostalgia factor, but even without that it's safe to say it's a remarkable place. Often in the U.S. we have a view of the Middle East as scary or inhospitable to women traveling solo, but that is rarely the case, and especially not with Jordan. Hospitality and generosity have a long history in Bedouin (a nomadic, desert tribe) culture that is still present throughout the country today. Tourists will hear "Welcome to Jordan!" so often it becomes comical, people will go out of their way to share directions and suggestions, and it's almost impossible to leave a market or home without being fed. Whenever I'm in Jordan, I feel taken care of and safe. That's not to say solo travelers, and especially women, shouldn't take the same precautions you would take anywhere, but the point is Amman feels no less safe than Chicago, where I live in the U.S., and in many ways feels safer. It's also such an easy country to get around, and small enough that you can see Petra, sleep under the stars at Wadi Rum, float in the Dead Sea, take in Roman ruins in the north, spend some time in Amman, and maybe even do some extra hiking or canyoning all in one 7-to-14-day trip. Plus, it's affordable, meaning you can stay in a safe, nice Airbnb or guesthouse and not have it break your budget.
My number one tip to women traveling in Jordan is this: don't be afraid to talk to strangers! They will be your best guides and truly make the experience. But don't be stupid either. Dress according to local custom and be respectful of traditions. Jordan is a really special, hospitable place, and the vast majority of people want you to show off the country and ensure you have a good time.
I traveled to Costa Rica alone and took part in a digital detox on the Nicoya Peninsula. I’ve never felt more happily alone than during those 10 days. My days revolved around cycling down to the juice bar, reading and practicing my very basic surf moves in the Pacific Ocean. At night my casita was illuminated by candlelight and I was lulled to sleep by the sounds of the ocean waves. I always felt safe, especially as everyone I met was kind and helpful. That said, I took the same common-sense precautions that I grew up with as a Londoner: being aware of my surroundings, letting friends and family and hotel management know my travel plans and researching the area before I arrived.
—Fiona Tapp, freelance writer and educator
See More Photos: Infinity and Beyond: Costa Rica's Best Pools
I’d heard of friends traveling solo who bought door stoppers on Amazon to keep extra-safe while they traveled [abroad] alone. That was shocking to me after spending 5 years living in Thailand, a place that always felt safe. (I think a big part of that was the Buddhist beliefs of the people.) However, my favorite place to recommend to solo female travelers is Cambodia. The people are genuinely kind and thoughtful, especially when you’re respectful of their more modest cultural traditions and learn a few words of the local language. Furthermore, private drivers are incredibly cheap — so you’re supporting the local community by hiring one, [and you then have someone to] take you around towns like Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. They’re always happy to share their favorite places for amok, a local Cambodian curry.
Watch the Video: Low-Cost Cambodia
I would definitely recommend Georgia as a destination for solo female travelers. I arrived there in late September, which was rainy season already (for those who want to hike, visit a month or two earlier). I only did day hikes; multi-day ones are also possible, just bring (or rent) your own gear. If you're in Tbilisi and staying at a hostel, find [companions for] day trips, so you can share in the cost of the cab fare.
You can find homestays and hotels in Mestia, but lodgings are limited and basic in Ushguli. Don't believe the booking sites when they say the homestays have internet — you'll be forced to go on a digital detox when you're there! Given what you can see when you go out of your room, however, going offline for a few days isn't such a bad idea.
Despite the language barrier, I felt quite safe in Georgia. In the three weeks that I traveled there, I never felt taken advantage of. Locals went out of their way to communicate with me, making me feel sorry that I didn't know a word of their language (except 'thank you'). I hiked solo in Ushguli and Mestia [and] hitchhiked more than once, and all I felt was friendliness, curiosity and eagerness to help.
— Aleah Taboclaon, travel blogger (Solitary Wanderer)
See More Photos: 10 Things to Do in Mysterious Georgia
One of my favorite countries I’ve traveled to is Japan. While the language barrier is steep, and at times isolating if you’re out and about and hoping to chit chat or make friends, everyone I came across was extremely polite and courteous. I felt super safe in Japan — not a single person catcalled me. After living in New York City for almost ten years, that was a refreshing surprise. Moreover, I felt little-to-no need to check over my shoulder, hold my possessions extra close, or worry about walking later in the evening alone, let alone taking any of the normal safety precautions I would normally swear by in other countries. Japanese culture is orderly and prioritizes cleanliness and efficiency above most things. Though navigation at times can be tough (I’m someone who’ll ask as many people as I need for directions if Google Maps is failing me!), Japan’s culture and people made me feel very at ease as a solo female traveler. I felt like I could get lost, but [that if I did I would] enjoy the process and journey of finding my way back, without the worry of danger.
— Chelsea Davis, freelance journalist
See More Photos: Japan's World Heritage Sites
Not only is Singapore a fantastic destination for solo travelers, it’s also a fantastic introduction to that part of the world for anyone planning their very first trip to Asia. Singapore was just crowned the second safest city in the world (right behind Tokyo) again and the moment you start exploring, you’ll be able to see why. Public transport is easy, efficient and far-reaching, which means you’ll be able to see pretty much everything on your itinerary with a simple (although sometimes long) metro ride. While long distances don’t make it the most walkable city out there (you’ll have to break up your plans by areas), it is certainly a joy to explore on foot. Whether you’re walking around Chinatown, Little India, Marina Bay, Kampong Glam — you name it — you’ll feel utterly at ease at pretty much all hours of the day (and night). The sights are wonderful, the food is delicious, and the people are next-level friendly. Should you get lost, you won’t be pressed to find a local to point you in the right direction, and it doesn’t hurt that English is one of the official languages.
— Barbara Pavone, Montreal-based writer and editor
I've felt most invigorated, as a solo female traveler, by Thailand — and Bangkok in particular. I could wax all day about the well-worn tourist trail of temples and markets, but the buzzy city lends itself well to unstructured, by-the-seat-of-your-pants, travel, especially for women. The city is easy and safe to get around, thanks to rideshare apps like Grab, and the late-night culture means that it's rare to come across a quiet street, a huge perk for us night-owls and one smart way for solo women to stay safe.
— Laura Ratliff, editorial director, TripSavvy
See More Photos: Thailand's Top 10 Outdoor Adventures