Traveling alone can offer up an incredible opportunity to embrace freedom, see the world at your own pace and make new friends along the way. Sure, it might make you feel a little uncomfortable at first. But that’s sort of the point. Pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone, stepping away from your everyday routine and taking on new challenges is exactly what solo travel is all about.
Still not ready to go it totally alone? Join other likeminded travelers just like you on a group solo trip with Flash Pack, where you’ll arrive as one and leave as part of a connected community, having made a whole bunch of new friends. Here’s our hitlist of the best places to travel solo, together…
Ever-welcoming Iceland is often considered one of the best places for solo-travel adventure in Europe. Indeed, it’s been voted among the friendliest places to visit, so you won’t need to worry about feeling alone as you explore the capital Reykjavík and wild hinterland beyond. Crime is statistically incredibly low here and basing yourself in the compact capital provides an all-too-easy jumping off point for the vast wilderness that makes up the rest of the island. Take time to warm up in the many geothermal hot springs and pools – from larger landmarks, such as the world-famous Blue Lagoon, to cool, lesser-known locals’ favorites, such as Vök Baths or GeoSea Sea Baths near Húsavík, with incredible views over Skjalfandi Bay.
The city of San Miguel de Allende is just one of the many delights for solo travelers in Mexico. Voted the best city in the world by Travel + Leisure for being welcoming to solo travelers, its pretty cobblestone center is easy to navigate, coming alive with music when the sun goes down, as locals spill out from cafes and bars into nightly fiestas. Packed with more than 130 art galleries and museums, there’s plenty to explore between parties, too, such as the Mercado de Artesanias, a buzzing artisan market, stocked with clothes, jewelry and souvenirs. But why stop there? Tick off temazcal ceremonies and tequila tastings, catch Lucha Libre wrestling matches and feast on foodie Oaxaca, swim in cooling cenotes or hit the beach with yoga-loving bohemians and surfers… Once you’ve started with Mexico, you won’t want to stop.
Small in size, but big on impact. Cucumber-cool Croatia is another great option for solo-travel tours – especially its twin cities of Split and Dubrovnik, both of which are prime ports, poised to take in Croatia’s confetti of 1,000 islands. From Split, choose the central Dalmatian islands of Hvar to hang out with the smart set, Vis for chilled-out coastal quiet or Brac for the guidebook-gracing Zlatni Rat (Golden Horn) beach. Seafood lovers are spoilt for choice in Croatia, with the likes of black cuttlefish risotto to fresh oysters appearing as staples on most menus.
US solo travelers have been heading to Costa Rica – AKA the world’s greenest, most biodiverse country – for years, and finally the European market is catching on, too. The country’s pura vida (pure life) ethos runs deep, especially when it comes to the solo travel offering and protecting its natural bounty. From capital San José, head off on adventure tours or eco-minded wildlife trips into the Central Valley, hike and bask in hot spring in the Parque Nacional Volcán Arenal, make your way over to Manuel Antonio National Park, or take your pick from the culturally distinct Caribbean coast and surf-ready Pacific shoreline.
Bali is often nicknamed ‘The Island of The Gods’ – partly, we’ve decided, because it’s heaven-sent for solo travelers. The highland town of Ubud is its artistic and cultural heart, dotted with yoga studios, cookery workshops and co-working spaces, with close-by countryside that’s ripe for adventure. Whether you loved or loathed Elizabeth Gilbert’s seminal solo-travel memoir, Eat, Pray, Love, it’s here she found love – and there’s definitely still an aura of magic about the town, ringed by mist-wrapped mountains and velvety-green rice paddies. Solo travel is incredibly common in Bali – thanks in no small part to Gilbert’s book – and everything is perfectly set up to accommodate those traveling alone or on a group tour, from surf shacks in Uluwatu to beach bars in Canggu. Don’t miss the chance to explore Bali’s rural heart, too, by climbing Mount Batur or escaping to the powdery white Gili Islands near Lombok.
Japan is a dream destination for solo-travel tours, since the country’s language barriers and customs can sometimes make it tricky to navigate entirely on your own. The bright lights of capital Tokyo can be a little overwhelming for some travelers. But, fear not: in amongst all the neon, there are quieter neighborhoods to explore, including Kichijoji, Shimokitazawa or Nakameguro, with its arty coffee shops. Next, hop on a bullet train to explore some of the country’s other highlights, including foodie Osaka, history-rich Hiroshima, cultural capital Kyoto and hush-hush Hakone – gateway to steamy onsen (hot springs) and pindrop-quiet mountain hikes. Along the way, you’ll be introduced to the hallmarks of Japanese culture – sumo experiences, sushi workshops and geisha-hosted tea ceremonies – bonding with other solo travelers are you immerse yourselves and understand this complex culture together.
Peru pushes solo travelers through powerful Andean peaks, dense Amazon jungle and a wave-lapped, wildlife-roamed Pacific coast. Many gravitate towards the former Inca capital of Cusco, gateway to high-altitude hiking trails, grazed by llamas and circled by condors. The most famous of these is, of course, the Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu. But if you’re looking to swerve the crowds, head instead to Rainbow Mountain for an under-the-radar alternative trekking option, with incredible technicolor views all the way to the 5,035-metre summit.
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Images: Flash Pack, Adobe Stock & Unsplash