Many of us would never consider the daunting prospect of travelling to distant lands on our own. However, for some, globetrotting solo is the only way to travel. Not only do you get to go at your own pace and experience exactly what is important to you, you’re less likely to feel stressed out, you’ll undoubtedly save money, and it can be an excellent confidence booster.
Whether you are a seasoned or fledgling traveller the five locations below are some of the friendliest, most captivating, and unique destinations to experience alone.
Unlike other Latin American countries which have witnessed political unrest, class struggles, and revolutions, Costa Rica has remained unscathed. It was once stereotyped as an unsafe travel destination for solo travellers but this was grossly unwarranted. The country doesn’t even have an army due to its peacefulness.
If you want adventure and a welcoming community, it is a fantastic country to spend days or months in. Travellers can hike through lush rainforest before beginning to scale one of the many volcanoes, or head to one of the many popular beaches. Those travelling alone will not be short of friends as globetrotters flock from all over the world to experience life in Costa Rica.
How could we ever consider leaving out the world’s number one backpacking destination? Southern Thailand’s numerous beaches and islands have been visited by lone travellers for years, with many inspired by Alex Garland’s 1996 novel, The Beach.
Whether you choose the Gulf coast to the east or Andaman coast to the west you will never be short of other backpackers to tag along with. Known as the land of smiles, people very rarely have an unenjoyable time in Thailand. However, if you do fancy getting away from the crowds, head to undiscovered Trang, the remote beaches of Chumphon, or the hidden province of Nakhon Si Thammarat.
Incredible activities and jaw-dropping landscapes; what more could you want? Particularly a hit with adrenaline junkies, New Zealand’s South Island is rife with different experiences. The mountains, lakes, and glaciers make the perfect backdrop for activities such as skiing, horse riding, kayaking, or hiking. However, if you want to up the ante there are plenty of destinations offering skydiving, bungee jumping, and white-water rafting. Essentially, South Island is one big-kids outdoor playground.
Although Bali is a very popular Indonesian holiday destination there are many locations off the beaten track where solo travellers can escape. Visitors can meet locals and learn the local culture, hit the beach for relaxation or surfing, or find some clarity in one of the yoga or meditation retreats.
As a Hindu island, Bali’s entire aura is very tranquil and the abundance of fertile green rainforest and stretches of water only add to this feeling. One of the most celebrated retreats is The Yoga Barn in Ubud. Set in indescribable scenery, the facility provides several free yoga classes, ranging from Yin to Hatha.
Monkey Forest is also located in Ubud and, yes, the name says it all. Go armed with bananas and stick to the outskirts of the forest as this is where the friendly monkeys are. Warning: they will climb all over you! If you walk deeper along the forest trail, you will come to a stunning temple area.
Ireland is rarely near the top of solo travellers’ lists, with many assuming the Irish are the slightly livelier cousins of the English. However, Ireland is famous for welcoming strangers with open arms. If you’re a foreigner in an Irish pub expect to be fuzzy headed in the morning, having chatted long into the night with locals. If you’re lucky enough you may experience a traditional Celtic music performance in one of the pubs.
Many visitors head to the remote west coast, hiring minivans with other travellers picked up along the way. Many pilgrimage to Croagh Patrick, a 764-high mountain in County Mayo. It is a site popular with hikers and at the top lies a small white chapel called St Patrick’s. Another favoured historic site is Rock of Cashel, in Tipperary. It is a fantastic place for exploration, especially around the ancient cathedral which was built in 1235 AD.