Traveling solo for the first time can be nerve wrecking. Choosing your destination plays an important role in making or breaking your experience. A good trip will have you gushing over the pros of solo travel for a long time to come, followed by several such journeys or even long term travels.
Luckily, my first solo destination was also one of my favorites and it surely gave me the confidence to venture out on my own. So much so, that now I prefer traveling alone and truly enjoy the perks in terms of flexibility of plans and adventuring your way!
If you are worried about safety (like most people I know) and ease of travel, fret not. I have 30 travel specialists here talking about the easiest, cheapest and safest destinations for traveling alone.
30 Best and Safest Places to Travel Solo
Vang Vieng, Laos – My personal choice
Since my first solo escapade to Laos, I traveled all over south east asia for an year and explored many countries on my own. However, from a first timers perspective I would rate Vang Vieng as one of the coolest and easiest places to go solo. Why? Well, firstly its easy to make friends and then there’s lots to do (not just in VV but all over Laos).
It is perfect for adrenaline junkies, explorers, nature lovers, party goers and backpackers. So, you can have a great time, make new friends instantly and all that – without breaking the bank! Sounds like your kinda place?
Read about my adventures in Laos below to learn why I highly recommend it as a solo travel destination –
If I were to do it all over again, I would probably choose Georgia as my first time solo destination as it is easy, fabulous and well, cheap, compared to its other European counterparts. Plus, after reading about all the fantastic things to do in Georgia, I am pretty much sold on this destination.
Coron, Philippines recommended by Nathan Aguilera from FoodieFlashpacker
One of the easiest places in the world for solo travelers, first time or otherwise, would be Coron, Philippines.
There’s so much to see and do all over the Philippines, the people are wonderful, and without the language barrier you can easily interact and befriend locals.
Samoa recommended by Dane from HolidayFromWhere
Depending on where you are flying from Samoa may not be the easiest place to get to but from Australia, New Zealand or West Coast USA it is not a problem. Once you are there how ever you will find this an extremely hospitable destination especially if you are alone and travelling for the first time. Upon landing the first thing you will notice when you leave the airport is the warmth and genuine kindness of the local islanders. They are a large jovial people that are always laughing and always want to talk and find out where you are from and what you are doing in Samoa. There are all these giant men with this tiny high pitched laughs that I could never wrap my head around.
Once there depending on what you enjoy Samoa is super easy to navigate due to the fact it is a relatively small island. There are resorts along the north and south coasts ranging from budget to luxury. I literally stayed in a straw cabin shaded by palm trees where the water came up under my room at high tide and this was a well priced place that included breakfast and dinner.
Busses are fairly common and easy to take, renting a car is also an easy process and give you complete freedom to navigate the more hidden gems of the island such as waterfalls, black sand beaches and countless small bays and amazing beaches.
Between the amount of activities and how much you will be approached by the locals there should never be any moments of boredom as long as you are will to open yourself up to random conversation.
Budapest, Europe recommended by Barbara Wagner from JetSettera
Budapest, in the heart of Europe is an ideal destination for first time travellers. It is easily accessible by train, plane or bus. The infrastructure is excellent and many people speak English. Budapest is a fascinating city with a vibrant nightlife and a rich history. It is a great place to learn about Eastern-European history or taking a boat cruise down the river Danube during the day or discovering the ruin pubs during the night.
The city is vibrant, modern, with great restaurants and cafes. Lots of young people come to visit Budapest during the Summer as the biggest Eastern-European music festival takes place here in August, which attracts many young Western Europeans. The country is considerably cheap and he nightlife is superb. The must see spots include: The Budavar Castle, The Bazilika, Szimpla Kert, Jewish District, Heroes Square.
Luang Prabang, Laos recommended by Ruben and Rachel from GaminTraveler
If you decide to take the plunge and start your first time solo travel. Here´s a great option: Luang Prabang in Laos. I traveled to this city by myself, and it´s one of the easiest places to meet people. Locals are very friendly. And they are all willing to talk to you to practice their English and to know more about you and your culture, as a foreigner. You can also meet many travelers who are also traveling around Laos and spending a few days in Luang Prabang. There are many plans to do around Luang Prabang. Visiting temples, chasing sunsets, and visiting the Kuangsi Waterfalls. While visiting those places, you will meet many people. One more thing, eating in the local market or local restaurants will help to make new local friends.
Goa, India recommended by Gokul Raj from PlanSaveTravel
Maybe this is what I want to do – to travel….a part of me to see new places, a part of me to meet new faces.
Lima, Peru recommended by Dan Bagby of HoneymoonAlways
Lima, Peru was my first destination as a solo traveler a few years ago when I was a senior in college. I actually stopped there on my way to Brazil for 3 days and it made for a great trip because it was very affordable, the locals were nice and helpful and there were plenty of things to do during my stay. I researched hostels and hotels and found an affordable hotel in Miraflores, one of the most affluent and safest neighborhoods in Lima. When I arrived at the hotel, I quickly met with the manager to plan my stay. He made recommendation for what to do and I booked a city tour and a cruise to swim with sea lions.
It was easy to make plans to see the city and on each activity I met very friendly people and had a great time. Swimming with sea lions was one of the best experiences I have ever had traveling and on the cruise were some friendly Brazilians I made friends with. On a city tour, I met a solo traveler from London who I then went to dinner with and stayed out with that night.
Bangkok, Thailand recommended by Aleah Taboclaon of Solitary Wanderer
For solo travelers, especially those who are just starting out, there’s no other destination I would highly recommend than Bangkok. This Thai capital welcomes millions of international visitors every year, so it won’t be hard to meet other travelers. Accommodation is cheap, food is delicious (even the ones sold on the streets!), and it’s very easy to get around using the metro, the BTS, the moto, and the tuktuk. Whatever you’re after as a solo traveler, you’ll find it in Bangkok — culture, food, adventure, nature, and a vibrant nightlife, among many others. I lived 4 months there and I still wasn’t able to plumb its depths. It’s no wonder why travelers worldwide, when they want to travel to Asia, think of Bangkok first.
Berlin, Germany recommended by Adelina from PackMeTo
Berlin, Germany is a fantastic destination for the first time solo traveler. The whole time I was in the city, I felt very safe and welcomed. The city is very easy to navigate with an extensive public transit system and well-marked streets. Most people speak English so if you get overwhelmed by being in a foreign country, you can take comfort in knowing that you can easily communicate. There are also a lot of expats and English friendly gatherings that happen in the city where you can meet locals (look on Meetup!). The city is also home to so many different things to do depending on your interests. From art museums to historical sites to great food, whatever your interesting, you can easily fill a day with activities so you don’t feel lonely. All these things make Berlin a great option when you’re getting your feet wet with solo travel.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam recommended by Sally Lucas from Our3KidsvtheWorld
HCMC is a good place to organise day tours which you can organise at your tour desk upon arrival. Popular places to visit include the Mekong Delta, Cu Chi Tunnels , Mui Ne, Long Tan or Cai Be Floating Markets, all these are reasonably prices and tours are well organised. Make sure you take a cyclo tour of the HCMC, touring a rickshaw like bicycle, these are slowly being fazed out.
Belfast, Northern Ireland by Lindsay Mickles from TheNeverendingWanderlust
Northern Ireland, well Belfast in particular, is a fantastic place to take your very first solo trip. The city center has everything you could possibly need, and there is easy access to city and regional tours. I stayed in the city center and the tours I took picked me up directly from (or nearby) my hotel – a huge relief!
I would suggest taking a tour of the city, via taxi or city bus tour, and allot extra time to wander around the Shankhill area. In addition, be sure to take a full day-tour to check out Giant’s Causeway and the Antrim Coast.
Milan, Italy recommended by Margherita Ragg from TheCrowdedPlanet
Milan is often overlooked as a destination by travellers, and it is only used as a jump-off point to destinations like Lake Como and Cinque Terre or as a transport hub. Maybe I’m a bit biased because it’s my hometown, but I think Milan is a great destination for first time travellers to Italy. First of all, it’s not as busy and crowded with tourists as other Italian cities like Rome and Venice, public transport is easy to figure out, and lots of people speak English! There’s plenty to do to fill a few days – make sure you start from the Duomo, the wonderful cathedral in the picture and a must visit while in town. Milan sometimes gets the reputation of being an expensive city, but there are so many free things to do in Milan that you can really have fun without breaking the bank!
Isle of Skye, Scotland recommended by Helena from ThroughanAussiesEyes
I have always wanted to travel. After a messy break up, I didn’t give it a second thought and I booked a solo ticket to the Isle of Skye, Scotland. I had never travelled solo before so this was a real adventure for me. If you have never been to Skye than I highly recommend exploring this fairytale isle.
Skye is really easy to navigate with lots to see around every corner – perfect for a solo traveller. I hired a car (that is my preference) but I saw plenty of people hitchhiking around and the locals were more than happy to give them a lift up the road.
I came across so many beautiful people. My B&B host saw that I was struggling to dry my clothes (it rains a LOT in Scotland) so she washed and tumble dried all of my clothing for me while I was out. This was exactly what I needed!
The Isle of Skye was the perfect destination for a first time solo traveller. It was easy to navigate and had plenty to see and do for a solo person. If you wanted to meet some of the friendliest people in the world, than the Isle of Skye, Scotland is for you.
Oslo, Norway recommended by Dr. Cacinda Maloney of PointsandTravel.com
For a solo traveler, I think Oslo is an easy first time experience. First, they speak English and that may be half the battle when traveling solo. Then, there is a direct train that takes you from the Oslo Airport to the Oslo Central Train station. This easy-to-catch train will take you right to the center of town, where you can easily find your nearby hotel. This area of the city is built on a grid system and so everything spreads out from the main central train station that you arrived in. As you walk out of the train station, you will be facing Carl Johans Gate, where you can walk straight ahead and find everything you need: parks, art museums, pubs, piano bars and one amazing city to explore.
Melbourne, Victoria recommended by Danni Lawson from Livein10Countries
Grabbing a working holiday visa and boarding the neverending flight to Australia is a right of passage for many. It’s the perfect place to take your first solo trip because there are so many other people in the same boat, and there’s an atmosphere of collaboration- I had people in hostels eager to lend me dressy interview clothes so that I could land my first paid shift!
In fact it’s hard to stay alone in Melbourne for long, as the city pays red-coated tourist assistants to answer questions and help you in Federation Square, while in Chinatown the food is delicious and at lunchtime you’re guaranteed to be seated with a lot of other diners tucking into their dumplings. As you find your feet solo, a lot of things will be breezy in Melbourne, from the bank account I opened before I even landed, to the free trams that run the whole city centre without tickets and even the free attractions where you can go even if your budget runs out: the ACMI (Australian Centre for the Moving Image), St Kilda Beach and the incredible White Night every year.
Himachal Pradesh, India recommended by Sudipto De from SaltandSandals
The path starts from Dharamkot and is dotted with small shops selling cold drinks and bowls of Maggi. You can find tents on the Triund top for which you’ll have to pay at base camp. The feeling of solitude, the exertion of climbing and the fresh, clean mountain air rushing into your lungs is something that will make your head airy. Do try out this trek for your first time.
Byron Bay, Australia recommended by Sonja Thomson from Migrating Miss
Byron Bay is the perfect place for solo travellers. It has an easygoing vibe that you can feel as soon as your enter the coastal town. With places like the Arts Factory Lodge to stay at where you’ll be welcomed into a family of likeminded travellers, it couldn’t be easier. Every night people gather on the beach to watch the beautiful sunset at one of the best sunset spots on Australia’s east coast, while listening to the music of whoever is passing through and feels like playing that night. If you’re worried about travelling solo, you’ll forget about that as soon as you go to Byron Bay.
Port Fairy, Victoria recommended by Raksha Prasad of SoloPassport
My first solo travel was to a coastal town called Port Fairy in the state of Victoria in Australia. It is about 290 kilometers from Melbourne. Port Fairy has a rich history and has about 50 buildings that are protected by the National Trust of Australia. It is the beautiful blue-stone town on the famous Great Ocean Road. Imagine a good book, warm sunny weather and a blue waterfront walkway, where you can put your feet down, sitting along the side of the water – that’s how Port Fairy was for me. I enjoyed every bit of my first solo travel.
Even though it was my first time travelling solo what worked for me was that the town was very easy for me to explore. The roads were very well marked and the locals were extremely friendly, approachable and helpful, no wonder the town has been voted as one of the World’s most livable cities with a population under 20,000.
The Port Fairy visitor center is a very good place to start for the first time travelers in the region. They have all the information that is required, including the activities to do, places to stay and eat. They also offer bicycles for hire. The city can easily be explored either on a bicycle or by walk.
I would definitely rate this town as one of the best towns to start the solo travels in Australia. It is a cute little town in which I made some good memories.
Cornwall, UK recommended by Claire Summers of ClairesItchyFeet
So many people never make it out of London when visiting the UK but if you are a first time traveller and looking for somewhere friendly and easy to explore then make sure Cornwall is on your list. Firstly it’s stunning, it looks like something out of a fairy story, which is why so many films shoot there, and it has some of the most incredible coastal paths and scenery. The locals are some of the friendliest people you could ever hope to meet and traditional foods include: The Cornish Pasty, Cream teas (careful which order you put your jam and cream on), fish and chips and most importantly Cider!
If you are a budget traveller there may not be so many hostels of budget B&Bs but there are plenty of camping and caravan sites and so many people opening up their homes to AirBnb users. The only tricky part can be transportation as public transport isn’t great. My advice would be to take the train to somewhere like Plymouth and hire a car (or better yet a caravan) and road trip it. No matter the time of year Cornwall is great, Summer on one of the many beaches or in the sea learning to surf or winter tucked up in a pub in front of a open fire drinking warm cider after a winter walk.
Playa Del Carmen, Mexico by Hannah & Adam of GettingStamped
Traveling as solo traveler to Playa del Carmen is super easy and it starts at the airport. There is a bus directly at the Cancun airport to Playa del Carmen and in an hour you arrive at the beach in paradise. Head to Mamitas Beach Club and you’ll instantly meet friends on the beach there to have a good time too. Playa del Carmen is a super easy city to get around many tourist rent bikes or I prefer to walk, there is some great street art and tasty food carts to be found on the side streets. If you’d rather make some friends under the sea jump in a collectivo taxi and head to Akumal beach where you can swim with the sea turtles. You are guaranteed to see sea turtles in Akumal and it’s one of the best day trips from Playa del Carmen. I loved the vibe in Playa del Carmen and let’s get real the tacos & margaritas are amazing.
Prague, Czech Republic recommended by Shara Johnson of SKJ Travel
I found Prague to be fantastically simple to get around on my own … I spent two weeks there. There are plenty of hostels and hotels in the historic centers, and most places you’ll want to explore are within easy walking distance of one another. If you don’t want to spend all day on your feet, the key to happiness is to get a transit pass for the red trams. These make it super easy and efficient to get around town. (So if you book a room outside the center, just stay near a tram stop.)
There’s also a Metro, adding convenient access to even more areas of interest. A language barrier can feel daunting when you’re on your own, but you don’t need to know the Czech language in Prague to figure anything out (although it’s nice to know some basic polite greetings/phrases). There is a university right next to the Old Town, so lots of young people are around, who are always helpful to tourists. Prague is a comparatively safe city for its size in terms of crime, I personally never had an uncomfortable incident, not even late at night. All factors align to make Prague very solo-friendly.
Hoi An, Vietnam recommended by Stef from Every Steph
I arrived in Hoi An, Vietnam, after a rough start in the country, but the city is so beautiful that completely conquered me. I was traveling alone, and I can totally recommend this destination if you are traveling solo. Hoi An is small enough to be able to walk everywhere, and if you fancy some beach time (who doesn’t), the beach is just a short bike ride away which sees you pedaling by paddy fields and water buffalos. The landscapes are just beautiful! There are plenty of hostels to choose from, and most of them are very social and organize activities, cooking classes, and tours so it’s easy to make friends. If you want to interact with the locals, simply head to the food market where you will be welcomed warmly.
I forgot to mention that Hoi An features loads of cheap restaurants where to have some of the best food in Vietnam! Hoi An is a destination not to miss.
Barcelona, Spain as recommended by Gabor Kovacs from SurfingThePlanet
Barcelona is one of the most popular destinations in Europe, and it’s especially fancied as a first travel destination amongst young people. It’s a really easy destination for many reasons. There are low cost flights to Barcelona from almost all major cities in Europe, which makes it accessible to everyone. Barcelona is a very compact city with most of the main attractions situated in a relatively small area, and in addition, it has a fabulous metro network and a very cheap public transport system.
Barcelona has everything to offer you for a first great travel experience: wonderful monuments, one of the best urban beaches in the world, great food and intense nightlife. Barcelona is also a very cosmopolitan city, where a huge number of foreign people live, and you will meet a lot of other foreign travelers to make friends with. In Barcelona you can get along speaking only English, which is not true at all in the rest of Spain. There are many things to do in Barcelona, and you can easily find either budget or luxury options.
Krabi, Thailand recommended by Nisha Jha from Lemonicks
When I think of a friendly place where I travelled solo, Krabi in Thailand comes first to my mind. Whether you stay on the beachside or in the town, Krabi is very welcoming. I stayed in a little guesthouse by the riverfront. One of the daily markets was just along the river and I enjoyed going there and making new friends. People are friendly, helpful and they make you comfortable. I remember a German girl who recently had a break-off and chose Krabi to visit. Not to mention, Krabi soothed her.
The rock faces at Railay Beach near Ao Nang have attracted climbers from all over the world. One can go & learn rock climbing from the experts at any of the rock climbing schools at Railay Beach. Every year, it is also the venue for the Rock and Fire Festival.
Krabi, the capital of southern Thailand’s Krabi Province, is a resort town near the Andaman coast. The province includes over 80 smaller islands such as Koh Lanta and Koh Phi Phi. I have visited these and many more and can vouch for all of them. These islands are well-known to adventurers, yachtsmen, scuba-divers, snorkelers, and day-trippers coming from Phuket also. Krabi’s beaches attract both locals and foreigners alike. There are a few national parks as well.
Istanbul, Turkey recommended by Pedro Richardson from TravelWithPedro
But what makes the city a great place for those on their first solo trips, is the people. Even for such a big and busy metropolis, Istanbulites are very friendly and welcoming of tourists. In the past there used to be a lot of tourist traps that we needed to be aware of. Nowadays that’s a really rare occurrence. Most people you’re likely to interact with speak English, even at local cafes, so language is not an issue.
And, believe it or not, the city is actually very modern and, in many areas, you would think you’re actually somewhere in Italy or France. But the moment you hear the call to prayer coming from a nearby mosque, you will realise you’re actually in one of the most amazing cities in the world.
Singapore recommended by Lina & David Stock from DivergentTravelers
Singapore gives you everything you need for the perfect introduction to Southeast Asia as a solo traveler. It is clean, modern and incredibly safe for foreign travelers. The metro system gives you ease of access to any part of the city you could dream of visiting and also offers a wide variety of free things to do during your visit. There are several hostels located on the metro lines that offer a communal living experience and a chance to meet other travelers. Being a progressive country, most people in Singapore also speak English, making it easy to ask questions and interact with the locals when you are out exploring the city. It is a city that will put you at ease after a long flight and ease you gently into this region of the world.
Stockholm, Sweden recommended by Allison Green from EternalArrival
Stockholm, Sweden is a perfect location for first time solo travelers. For one, the crime rate is virtually nil – this is one of the safest cities on earth. You can walk around Stockholm any time day or night without needing to worry about your safety. For another, English is widely spoken – in fact, when I asked a sales person if she spoke English, she looked at me as if offended and said “of course!” There are no shortage of sights to be seen, from the Royal Palace to Gamla Stan to the Vasa Museum. It is, however, a bit of a pricy destination – expect to spend around $30 per night even for a dorm bed and $15 at a minimum for a meal out – but it’s worth every penny.
If you have time and you’re visiting Stockholm in the winter, try to catch a cheap flight up to Kiruna where you can see the Northern Lights! Believe it or not, there are some hostels all the way in the Arctic Circle, so you can make friends and look up at the gorgeous Northern lights above you. Surprisingly, this isn’t too hard to do on a budget – check out how you can spend 3 days seeing the Northern lights on a budget of just $350 USD, including flights!
Tel Aviv, Israel recommended by Trisha Velarmino from PSImOnMyWay
I can’t explain it but the Tel Avivians just always make ‘easy’ happen! Everyone (as in everyone) speaks English so you don’t have to worry about communicating. I swear to you, you will feel comfortable right off the bat in Tel Aviv.
Edinburgh, Scotland recommended by Stephanie Mayo from TheWorldasIseeit
Edinburgh is a fabulous city to travel to for first time solo travelers. Edinburgh is full of amazing sights, like the Castle, the Royal Mile, and Holyrood Palace. And because it’s set up on a grid layout of streets, it makes getting around and navigating easy. Buses and trains are easily accessible. From getting to and from the airport or getting in and out via public transport, you won’t be lost on how to maneuver the transport system.
There are there countless fun and hip hostels across that you are guaranteed to meet fellow travelers to explore with. If it’s locals you’re looking for, than head to any of the classic pubs, especially the ones that are just outside the downtown core, or around the university. There are also a variety of tours, both free and otherwise, where you can meet fellow travelers that are also eager to explore.
Tallinn, Estonia recommended by Evan Kristine from PrettyWildWorld
Tallinn is the closest foreign city accessible from Helsinki in just under 3 hours. Of course, I chose it as the first destination I shall travel on my own! It is entirely different from Finland, yet it feels closer to home. But that is not the only reason why I went to Tallinn; it is because the city itself is small, accessible, and interesting – perfect for a weekend getaway. In addition to this, hostels in Tallinn are amazing, and you’ll meet tons of interesting backpackers during your stay who are opting for a more untraditional way of exploring things. Tallinn is not a popular destination yet and is often overlooked, that’s why I would love to shine a light to the beautiful medieval city and ask fellow solo travelers to give it a try! You won’t regret it!
So these were some of the easiest, cheapest and safest places to travel on your now. Are you ready for your first solo adventure now? Tell me where you would go and why!