Q&A: Top 9 Destinations for Your First Solo Trip
Updated: May 8, 2019
As I've talked about before, first impressions are important. If your first solo trip doesn't go well, it can be hard to get back the motivation to try it again.
Solo travel is an experience that has such incredible benefits—think confidence building, empowerment, a broader perspective, worldwide connections. You want to make sure your first trip alone goes as well as possible, so you'll be driven to go again and again and collect these amazing rewards.
That's why deciding where to take your first solo trip is so important! You want to choose a place where:
You'll feel safe and comfortable exploring
There's a lot to experience, plenty to see and do
You'll be able to make new friends with both locals and travelers
You can have a great experience that will give you a positive impression of solo travel
To help you with this important choice, I asked female solo travelers (FSTs) on Instagram for their recommendations as part of my Q&A Wednesday! For your first solo trip, consider:
1. YOUR HOME COUNTRY
When you're making plans for your first solo adventure, remember that it's ok to work your way up! You don't have to start with a major international trip and be gone for weeks right off the bat.
Dip your toes into the world of independent exploration in your own country—where you're already familiar with the language, culture, and currency. Begin with a day trip alone, and then eventually a weekend trip where you stay a night or two. Focus on appreciating the beauty in your own backyard first, if that feels like a more comfortable first step.
After those experiences, you'll be more prepared to consider going abroad. You may want to start with a country where you speak the language, like the first few options on this list. Then, you can branch out to places like the last few on this list—where English isn't the main language, but there's good tourist infrastructure and plenty of other travelers to meet.
You want to challenge yourself, but you don't want to be so nervous that you can't enjoy your trip. There's no one "right way" to begin traveling solo—so start wherever feels right for you.
Why Australia? Solo traveler Efia from Scotland says, "because one of the most challenging things about traveling solo can be the language barrier. You don't have to jump in at the deep end if you're not ready. Try an English-speaking country first, then branch out afterwards!"
Her top tip for first-time FSTs there: Download the Maps.me app! "It's my favorite mapping tool as it works offline. That means you can always find your way back even if you have no Wi-Fi or signal. Just don't forget to download the maps before you set off on your adventures!"
Why London? Solo traveler Greece from Peru says, "because it's safe and full of history, but also has fun activities to do. And the transportation is great!"
Her top tip for first-time FSTs there: "Camden Market is a must-visit spot. Such a colorful market with a canal, plus the little bars around it are awesome!"
Why Scotland? Solo traveler Nanette from Indonesia/US says, "because it's safe, they speak English," and that London isn't too far away for a side/weekend trip.
Her top tip for first-time FSTs there: "I'm a huge reader. I remember going on a literary tour and discovering Scottish authors I'd never read before. Going to the Highlands was also a highlight, where you can take pictures with the hairy cows!"
Why Iceland? Solo traveler Sonia from Canada says, "because it is a very safe country and they speak English perfectly!"
Her top tip for first-time FSTs there: "To me it was all about taking in Iceland's beautiful nature: the surreal Jökulsárlón Glaciers, soaking and relaxing at the Blue Lagoon, and witnessing the beautiful sunsets. Iceland is magical and not to be missed!"
Why Thailand? Solo traveler Samantha from the US says, "because there are lots of solo travelers there, very easy to meet people!"
Her top tip for first-time FSTs there: "Visit Chiang Mai and Pai in the north and Koh Tao in the south. Try khao soi (only available in Chiang Mai!) and also the delicious papaya salad!"
7. SOUTHEAST ASIA
Why Southeast Asia? Solo traveler Noelia from Spain says, because of the "warm weather, charming people, fantastic places and views, a lot of travelers to meet on your way. You will never be alone."
Her top tip for first-time FSTs there: "I can only say, just go!! And my tip to meet other travelers is to stay in hostels where you will have the opportunity to interact with others."
Why Malaysia? Solo traveler Deepa from India says, because "the people are very warm and welcoming. Beautiful landscapes. Plus it's economical and safe."
Her top tip for first-time FSTs there: Visit Langkawi! "It has the most amazing things to do, like Chenang, the waterfall nearby, and the Langkawi skybridge. And outside of the beach is all the street food you can try—don't miss the fried ice cream!"
9. HONG KONG
Why Hong Kong? Solo traveler Kady from the US says, because "there's a ton of culture, but also a little western influence, and English is spoken."
Her top tip for first-time FSTs there: "Taking the bus to the top of Victoria Peak was awesome. The busses are super clean and really cheap in Hong Kong, and the view from Victoria Peak is amazing. The ride up is really pretty too."
Happy trip planning and happy travels,