2018’s Top Destinations for Solo Travellers
New year, new you right? Of course you’re going to make resolutions about frequenting the gym more, eating better food and making better choices. But this year, instead of pledging something that won’t make it into February (the average person sticks to their new year resolutions for three weeks), why not plan a solo adventure?
Whether it’s a soul-searching trip, a challenge you set yourself, or you simply want to explore more of the world but not sure you could put up with any of your friends for that long, we’ve put together a list of destinations we reckon would be killer for a one-person-band adventure.
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Honestly, is there a country that’s more polite, clean and organised than Japan? If there is, please tell me, I want to go. Meanwhile though, Tokyo is one of the busiest cities in the world, yet its streets still manage to be orderly and navigable. Things are clearly signposted – often in English- and the subway and bullet trains are actually so easy to use. There are myriad experiences here to be had on ones’ own. The food is an adventure in itself, the nature is plentiful and varied, and the culture is an exciting breath of fresh air.
It might not seem super exotic, but ‘inzid’ is a killer place to roadtrip solo. Firstly, if you’ve never gone solo before, it’s not too far away, secondly they speak English. Winning. It’s also got a decent dose of adventure to challenge yourself. The South Island is of course blessed with grand mountain ranges and plunging fjords, snow-capped peaks and glaciers you can hike on. There are friendly dolphins you can swim with near Christchurch, penguins and seals, wine regions, spectacular places to kayak and sail, thermal baths and action sports in Rotorua, the list literally goes on. The roads wind through valleys that reveal breathtaking vistas around every corner, and there are a tonne of simply beautiful places to camp all along the way.
High up in the Himalayas, Bhutan is one hell of a destination to visit, even moreso if you’re travelling solo. Not because it’s necessarily difficult, but because it’s so uniquely beautiful. This is a country that has a Gross National Happiness scale, is dotted with monasteries, where by law 60% of the country must remain forested, and here everyone pays the same daily tourist tariff. The tariff doesn’t go to waste though, it covers accommodation, food, transport and an official guide – you just need to decide where and when you want to go. Sounds pretty magical right?
The Serengeti – need we say more? Tanzania is a safari mecca, so if seeing any or all of the Big Five is on your list, this is the place to go. Tanzania is also home to another highlight, endlessly popular with solo and group travellers – Mount Kilimanjaro. When you’re done hiking and seeking out Elephants, head offshore to Zanzibar for a seriously laid back beach holiday.
Vietnam and Cambodia
Southeast Asia is a destination so rich and varied that there are always new, enticing things to discover. Backpacking, cycling, or touring through Indochina, from the frantic streets of Ho Chi Minh City to the peaceful temples of Angkor Wat, you certainly won’t get bored. Due to its popularity, this is also the perfect destination to connect with other solo travellers, even if only for an afternoon. If you’re the kind of traveller who wants a balance of history, art, wilderness, activities and a party or two, these vibrant countries are sure to be a hit.
The fact that Iceland is such a hot destination makes it the perfect place to travel solo. One moment you can be engulfed in wilderness, completely alone with the landscape, and the next you can drive over the hill and strike up conversation with fellow travellers at a campsite or hotel. There are plenty of day tours and longer tours you can join to reach places like ice caves and volcanic valleys, but there is also plenty to explore on your own. While you need to keep a close eye on the unpredictable weather and wind, simply turning off the main ring road opens up so many hidden gems, gigantic waterfalls and thermal baths that take the whole adventure to the next level.
This one probably tops these kinds of lists year after year, but for bloody good reason. Canadians are really friendly, the landscape is really beautiful, and despite its massive size (it’s the second largest country in the world), it’s relatively easy to navigate. Head to Iceberg Alley in Newfoundland on the east coast, mingle with locals in Toronto’s hip neighbourhoods, practise your high school French in Quebec, cross the mighty Rocky Mountains, go wine tasting in the Fraser Valley, and take the ferry to Vancouver Island – coast to coast Canada delivers the goods.
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Bob Dylan sang about it, Hunter S Thompson wrote about/lived it Gonzo-style, the people in the Walking Dead do it all the time, and, if you’ve got Netflix, you will know Paul Rudd’s been at it recently en route to the America’s deepest pit (strangely with Selena Gomez in tow).