Editor’s note: This piece has been updated with additional information. This piece was originally published in October 2020.
In a pre-COVID world, solo travel, especially for women, was on the rise.
But if you’re a woman wanting to travel alone, how do you decide where to go? According to a survey, key factors for solo travelers when deciding on a destination include safety, cost, quality of the scenery and that English is widely spoken.
From bustling cities to wild natural landscapes, these are nine of the most welcoming and interesting spots for women to visit, especially when traveling alone. With some still closed to Americans, now is the time to start your planning.
Destinations that are open now
Germany is open to American tourists again as of June 18 and with a low crime rate, excellent public transportation, a high level of spoken English and progressive vibes will make pretty much anyone feel at home in Germany’s capital city. With plenty of hostels and free tours, you’ll be able to easily meet other solo travelers in a low-pressure environment. Berlin also has a fantastic public art trail, so wandering the city on foot is especially easy (and entertaining).
TPG tip: The Marriott’s Moxy Berlin Ostbahnhof (one of the millennial-facing brand’s two Berlin properties) is a great hostel-inspired space where you’ll easily make new friends but also have plenty of privacy. Room rates start at less than 15,000 points during low season.
The Grand Hyatt Berlin is also a great option for redeeming points also starting at 15,000 World of Hyatt points per night. The luxury hotel is close to public transportation and also has a spa on property as well as room service — for those days when you’ve had enough sightseeing.
Open to American tourists and known as one of Africa’s safest countries thanks to its longstanding democracy, Botswana is an ideal spot if you’re a female solo traveler wanting to visit this continent, especially because English is the country’s official language. Many lodges focus on eco-tourism, meaning they are small, intimate spaces where you can get to know your fellow lodge mates around an evening campfire. Because many safaris and excursions are done in groups, Botswana is a great option if you’d rather not be entirely alone on your solo trip.
TPG tip: Many hotels, lodges and safaris will waive the solo supplement during the off-season and some even market themselves as “no solo supplement safaris,” focusing instead on grouping together solo travelers.
While Malta is currently open to American tourists, only 38 states are currently on the Amber list of places to travel from. A small country where most locals speak English, Malta is where many Europeans flock to during summers to take English courses and enjoy the gorgeous beaches. A country where small children play outside until midnight and walking around alone at night is no big deal, solo women travelers can expect to feel safe at all hours of the day. Socialising is common, as many visitors come hoping to practice their English and locals love making new friends. Grab your camera and snap colorful boats, crashing waves and UNESCO ruins.
TPG tip: Distances between cities and villages may be too far to walk, but the buses are easy and ferries and water taxis can also quickly get you from A to B.
Destinations to plan for future travel
Gallery: Best Budget-Friendly Vacations for Outdoors Lovers (GOBankingRates)
Taiwan may not be open to Americans just yet, but it is right up there with Japan in terms of safety — and Taipei is much cheaper for a solo traveler to visit than Tokyo. With an immense offering of budget and boutique properties, as well as large brand hotels that are also well-priced (think Kimpton and Hilton), solo women are spoiled for choice when it comes to lodging options. Free walking tours are offered in many neighborhoods and are an excellent way to link up with like-minded travelers, as are street food tours.
TGP tip: Taipei’s metro system is clean, organized and safe. It even plays classical music when the trains approach.
Taipei Skyline. (Photo by Sharleen Chao/Getty Images)
We’re still anxiously awaiting Canada’s reopening but we can dream in the meantime. While Montreal isn’t the most exotic destination on this list, it’s friendly, welcoming and safe. While you likely won’t run into language barriers, you might want to download a translation app, just to be safe. (At least refresh your French basics.) When the weather is nice, renting a bike at an automated BIXI station is a fun and safe way to explore the city. Consider bedding down in the eclectic Plateau neighborhood or enjoying the mesh of English, French and Italian cultures in Little Italy.
TPG tip: The STM metro system is cheap, safe and easy to use, especially during snowy winters when you want to escape the cold.
Read more: How to travel solo — and why you absolutely should
New Zealand, unfortunately, closed its borders again after the short-lived Australia-New Zealand travel bubble resulted in new COVID-19 cases for both countries. Even still, the country is one of the safest in the world, according to the Global Peace Index. Solo travelers can enjoy beaches and hiking trails on the North Island, and should definitely take time to experience the café culture in Auckland. Adventure tourists may decide to head instead to the South Island to explore cliffs, lakes and glaciers. Want to make friends and get a taste of the local land? Do what’s called WWOOFing: Willing Workers On Organic Farms, a system where you work on a farm in exchange for accommodation and food.
TPG tips: The biggest danger to solo travelers in New Zealand is probably the outdoors. Take extra care when hiking or doing any extreme sports alone. When necessary, hire a guide, tell your hostel or hotel where you’re heading and always dress and pack properly for the activity.
Currently, travel to Singapore is limited to travelers from select countries and the United States isn’t on the list. But Singapore deserves a spot on your list of safest places for future solo travel. A place that’s become safer and safer as the years go on, it’s the perfect jumping-off point for solo women to see South East Asia. After all, it’s organized, clean and English-speaking. Sure, there’s plenty to do in the luxury travel realm (think fancy hotels and massive shopping centers) but a budget traveler will feel just as comfortable sampling the famous street food at hawker stalls and exploring colorful Chinatown and Little India.
TPG tip: One reason Singapore is so safe is that the country has many laws to maintain public order. Watch yourself when it comes to littering, jaywalking and even gum chewing.
Read more: 11 of the best apps for solo travelers
A dream for now, Chile was number 28 on the Global Peace Index in 2018 and the capital city has an especially low crime rate. Once you venture beyond Santiago, you can enjoy skiing in the Andes, trekking in the Atacama desert and even enjoy bicycle wine tastings. In terms of stunning natural scenery, the wild Chilean landscapes are hard to top. Plus, the entire country has a huge hostel culture (with both budget and high-end options), making it easy to find new friends. Prefer to stay in town? Santiago has many accessible lookout points, fantastic museums and delicious restaurants, too.
TPG tip: Uber is a widely used and safe mode of transport in Santiago. But beyond the capital, English is not widely spoken. Definitely brush up on your school Spanish before traveling to Chile.
In addition to the failed travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand, Australia plans to remain closed to international travel until 2022. But if you love art and music, Melbourne may be a perfect match for you. Known for its coffee culture (flat whites in particular), the city’s coffee houses are relaxing and safe spots to hang out in. While the city itself is very walkable, you can hop on the free City Circle tram line to get around, too. And, of course, Australia is an English-speaking country with an excellent position on the 2018 Global Peace Index.
TPG tip: The Royal Botanical Gardens are a great hangout for solo women travelers, thanks to the parade of events hosted here such as moonlight cinema screenings and guided tours. And if you’re planning ahead, the hip W Melbourne will enter the city’s somewhat lackluster hotel scene in 2021.
Traveling solo is really rewarding and exciting — you’ll probably have a completely different experience than if you are traveling with friends or a partner. However, being on your own comes with its risks so if you fancy a solo adventure — especially if you’re female — hit up one of the above destinations to ensure your time is fun, but safe too. If you have your heart set on a destination that’s still closed to America, start planning now and do it right.
Additional reporting by Ashely Onadele.
Featured photo by Justin_02/Twenty20
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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
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