Common issues for solo travelers
Solo travel can be a rather stress-free and delightfully self-indulgent experience. You may spend the entire day doing nothing, but lingering in a museum or café hoping. You may hire a guide to visit some of the most remote ruins in the world, or loll on a gorgeous pristine beach. Furthermore, you may opt to join a gang of like-minded strangers for an epic Himalayan trek or indulge your passion for classic music in one of the great concert halls in Europe.
You can literally do anything your heart desires without having to consider someone’s preferences, prejudices and tastes. Solo travel, after all, is the ideal opportunity to try something new, like a bike trip in a quaint town in Southeast Asia, a visit to quintessential spa town in Europe, or a surf camp in Central America. And in spite of the often costly and dreaded single supplement, accommodations for solo travelers are both available and affordable in many parts of the world. As you travel solo, you'll have to equip yourself with a great backpack.
There are, however, a couple of concerns for many people who wander alone – safety and the level of happiness of the destination. Let’s face it, though the world is a great place to live, there are some destinations that aren’t just safe for solo. Statistically, there are countries that are much safer than others for all kinds of travelers. Also, as a solo traveler, you need to pick a country where you’ll feel utterly welcome and easily interact with the locals. For a purely rewarding solo travel experience, you need to fully immerse into the culture, and not just feel like you’re an outsider.
To help you pick a country that’s happy and safe for solo travel, we’ve crunched the reliable numbers from Happy Planet Index and Global Peace Index, and listed down the safest and happiest destinations for people who see the world alone.
1. New Zealand
New Zealand is not just an extremely safe and friendly destination, but it’s also a land full of adventures. From bungee jumping and skydiving to hiking iconic Milford Track, you won’t run out of thrills and epic adventures in New Zealand. And if you’re less sport and adventurous, you may just enjoy the awe-inspiring views of the country or feed its wildlife, which is something you’ve never seen before.
Iceland, with its incredibly low crimes rates and friendly locals, is an easy pick for solo travelers. As a matter of fact, Iceland is so safe that it was ranked number one in safety by Global Peace Index. Though it only ranks 80th on the Happy Planet Index, it’s still a lovely destination for solo travelers to feel comfortable in. What’s more, it has a load of world-famous attractions that promise to put you into a state of bliss, including the dazzling Northern Lights and the Blue Lagoon.
After exploring the metropolis of Tokyo for a few days, hop on a bullet train that passes by Mount Fuji, so you can experience old Kyoto’s contrasting tranquility. From modern hotels to admirable ryokan inns, lodgings in Kyoto are designed for people who travel solo. You may mediate in a Zen garden, enjoy a hot spring bath and please your cravings for Japanese food at a sushi restaurant – a classic favorite of many solo travelers.
Compact and small, Vienna is by far one the easiest cities to navigate in Europe for solo travelers. Kick off your solo expedition in Austria on a high note with Vienna’s smorgasbord of museums, concert halls and cafes wherein you’re expected to linger a genuine Viennese tradition. Salzburg, even though is smaller than Vienna, is just as welcoming and solo-traveler friendly. And with a top-notch rail network, you can practically get anywhere in Austria with ease, from Graz to Kitzbühel to Innsbruck.
Street life is extremely colorful and surprisingly safe in the largest cities of Vietnam, whether you are exploring Saigon’s Ben Thanh market to heading for the sprawling Dong Xuan Market in Hanoi. For a relaxing solo trip in Vietnam, practice tai chi with dozens of locals along Hoan Kiem lake, before trekking into the picturesque mountains of the Central Highlands with a local outfitter. Cap off your solo stay on the gorgeous island of Phu Quoc, for a taste of the classic beach-bum lifestyle in Southeast Asia.
Switzerland – a country known for locals who mind their business – is a natural choice for those who want to travel solo. Pack a good pair of hiking boots and purchase a Swiss Rail Pass, which is good for each lake streamer, tram and train in the country. You may start your solo trip in Switzerland with a 2-day sojourn in the pedestrian-friendly and stately city of Zurich. Afterwards, head south to Lake Geneva’s shores for the nightlife, bistros and museums of Lausanne and Montreux, before going to Ticino – an Italian-speaking region.
7. Costa Rica
With endless opportunities for fun and adventure, it’s easy to see why Costa Rica nabbed the top spot on the Happy Planet Index. For decades, this Central American country has been luring American travelers with its outdoor offerings and adventures, such as surfing on the Pacific Coast and white-water rafting on Pacuare or Reventazon rivers.
They don’t call the Canadians as the friendliest people on earth for nothing. Trust me, solo travelers won’t have a difficult time interacting with the locals here. To make things even better, the country is supremely safe and has no shortage of attractions to suit all kinds of travelers.
Want to experience this 1,000-mile long country without spending a fortune? Then, hop aboard a Hurtigruten coastal streamer that sails up Norway’s coast, into Bergen, and though some of the most gorgeous fjords in the country, stopping at many ports along the way. Alternatively, you may sign up with a local outfitter for a scenic multi-day trek along the fjords of Norway, with accommodations that range from mountain huts to cushy hotels. As an added plus, it will let you catch the splendid Northern Lights for free!
From ziplining through towering treetops to whitewater rafting on Chiriquí Viejo, adventure is truly the main reason solo travelers flick this Central American destination. Likewise, Panama has a flourishing surfing culture, specifically in Bocas del Toro – a place where the intense nightlife, beach culture, and Caribbean charm are sure to temp all singles. Make sure to explore the atmospheric Old Town in Panama City, and catch the sight of ships that transit the Panama Canal.
Once you in Singapore, you’ll feel like there’s nothing that can go wrong with your trip. After all, Singapore is the second-safest country in all of Asia, next to Japan. And despite its relatively small size, Singapore has plenty of delights to offer to solo travelers, including mouthwatering food, gleaming architecture and vibrant shopping centers.
Chileans are, in general, welcoming and friendly, which is a big plus for solo travelers who are eager to discover this beautiful country of endless coastline, mountains and deserts. Whether you’re heading south to Patagonia or north to the mystical Atacama Desert, make sure to save some time for the easy-to-navigate and safe Santiago.
Visit Finland for its long sunshine-filled summer days and get oriented in its easygoing capital, Helsinki, which is filled with museums and design stores. The Esplanade is a beautiful place that boasts a market and ton of outdoor cafes. Sociability starts and continues here in sauna, which you can find all over the capital and the rest of the country. Day trips though trains are a piece of cake, whether you’re heading for the artsy Espoo or the seaside towns of Lohja or Hanko.
Massages, yoga on the beach, temples, striking landscapes, and cheap food and lodging – these are the things that make Bali an alluring destination for Western solo travelers. Then, add a global roster of spiritual seekers, hedonists, and backpackers, and you got the ultimate solo travel hub. If you prefer a less touristy place in Indonesia, make your way to Lombok – an island off Bali’s coast.
Too many options can be oftentimes a good thing, and that is what you’re going to encounter in one of the friendliest countries in Europe – Germany. You may chill out in Berlin – the nightclub-filled, gallery and café hotbed of hipster Europe – without any company. Later on, you are going to be tempted to visit the other areas of this underrated destination, using its top-notch rail network. When that happens, head to Dresden, Munich and Düsseldorf.
With a European feel and a vibrant café culture, it’s no wonder Buenos Aires is an irresistible destination for solo travelers. But, make no mistake about – life outside Argentina’s capital can be just as fascinating and remarkable, whether you fancy the horse rides with gauchos, the breathtaking landscapes surrounding Salta or Mendoza’s wine region.
Surrounded by the archipelago’s waters, Stockholm is a beautiful and compact city that’s fairly easy to explore for a solo traveler. As you travel alone in his city, you’ll get to easily explore its park by bike or see its beautiful landmarks from a different perspective though sea kayaking. Plus, the city has Modern Museet’s artistic treasures, terrific outdoor cafes and stellar design shopping. And, if you want to get away from city life for a while, indulge on a quintessential Swedish outdoor experience by trekking or lakesiding in the far north.
Thailand is, for most solo travelers, a great introduction to Southeast Asia. Not only does it flaunt an ideal mixture of small artistic towns, stunning islands, trekking grounds and cities, but it also has a solid infrastructure for traveling, thanks for its superb ferries, buses and trains, making it fairly easy to get around. Plus, it’s an excellent starting base where you can meet other travelers who’ll help you plan your trips throughout the region and its neighboring countries.
Laos, as with Vietnam, was a war-ravaged country that has transformed into a peaceful and picturesque haven. But unlike Vietnam, Laos has wonderfully retained its heritage as well as preserved its environment, making it one of the most pristine places for solo travel in Southeast Asia region. Highlights of your trip may include chilling out with a bunch of international travelers in Vientiane, visiting the royal and majestic city of Luang Prabang, and a classic riverboat ride down the Mekong.
Take away the country’s original bike culture, liberal social policies, and towns and cities crisscrossed with canals, and you got the Disneyland for solo travelers. The Dutch are arguably the most accepting and laid-back people in all of Europe. You may get lost wonderfully in Amsterdam’s streets for days, even though you would also do well venturing out seeing smaller cities like Maastricht or Utrecht.
Taiwan’s tourism has been surging as of late, luring flocks of travelers from across the world. Although it’s not as popular as neighbor – Japan and Hong Kong, Taiwan is on the verge of becoming a prime destination for solo travelers, and with good reason. Not only is it extremely safe, but it also has a tasty cuisine that will put you on a state of pure bliss. Additionally, there are plenty of attractions in Taiwan that will make your solo trip even more memorable, including Taroko National Park, Kenting National Park, Jiufen, National Palace Museum, Ximending, Yangmingshan, Sun Moon Lake, Orchid Island and Taipei 101.
Slovenia’s beauty is simply awe-inspiring. Coined as one of the most underrated destinations in Europe, Slovenia will appease your wanderlust with its fast-running rivers, elegant cities, vast caves, picture-perfect lakes and towering mountains. For an unforgettable trip in Slovenia, make sure to check out one of the most outstanding and Instagram-worthy places in all of Europe – Lake Bled.
Denmark, with its vivid nightlife, striking landscapes and great culture scene, is definitely a country that should be on everybody’s travel bucket list. As you explore Denmark on your own, you’ll get to experience days of pure relaxation as well as get a glimpse of the pretty cool Scandinavian way of life. As far as crime in Denmark, you have little to worry about, and ladies need not to fear any type of harassment.
To make sure you enjoy your solo adventures, and discover the other lovely places in your destination, start planning your trip with Trekeffect!
Share Your Travel Experiences With Us
We want to hear from you! What are your thoughts on the article? What did you find most interesting and do you have any of your own experiences you can you share with us to make this article even better? Let us know in the comments!