Empowering, exciting, challenging: few things are more rewarding than solo travel – and pre-pandemic, research showed it was on the rise, especially with women. Sure, you might have to ask a complete stranger to take that photo of you walking across Tokyo’s Shibuya Crossing or standing outside of Barcelona’s Sagrada Família, but it’s a small price to pay for the freedom to plan a trip exactly how you want it, when you want it.
That said, travelling alone isn’t always easy; choosing the right destination can be equal parts exhilarating and overwhelming when you (and you alone) are responsible for all the research, travel planning, and packing. And while there’s lots of data-fuelled consensuses out there about the ‘safest’ places for women to go alone, some of the most beloved spots for a solo getaway are places that might not cross the radar of those big-city rankings, yet boast welcoming locals, walkable old towns, and vibrant food and art scenes. To help you start planning that first post-vaccine solo trip, we tapped six experienced solo travellers for their tips. Here, the places that stood out to them the most when they saw them firsthand – totally alone – and why some of them couldn’t pick just one.
This story was originally published in October 2018. It has been updated with new information.