While traveling solo was very easy for me, I understand it’s not the case for everyone. Going solo to a foreign locale is exhilarating but also nerve-wracking. As a solo female traveler, one of the questions I receive the most is what destination I recommend for first-time solo travelers. You’ll be pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and discovering a new place away from home, so I understand the hesitation. Between you and I, I get nervous every time I’m visiting a new area (probably why I’m a repeat offender), but it does get easier. To make the process less cumbersome, I’m sharing five destinations that I found to be less challenging for first-time solo travelers and make for great cherry popping.
Imagine riding a bike as you pass by colorful row homes and picturesque canals. Visiting world-class museums such as the Anne Frank House, Van Gogh Museum, and Rijksmuseum with impressive collections that span centuries. Stopping into a coffee shop and not necessarily ordering coffee. Wandering in the narrow cobbled streets of the city, and eating one of the best Belgium waffles dripped in white chocolate chunks and white chocolate syrup, that you beat yourself up over and over again thinking about that one time you did not finish the one you bought while heading to the red light district because you were worried about your diet and all this crap that didn’t even – oh sorry, where were we? Oh yeah, red light district, great bars with mind-blowing drinks and fabulous restaurants. One of the most walkable cities that I have ever been to and if that’s not enough transportation is readily available and easy to navigate. For first-time solo travelers, Amsterdam is very safe, and English is widely spoken.
There’s a reason why many first time travelers visit European countries. It is great for budget travelers, country hopping is quick and inexpensive, and you’ll have a wide range of experiences waiting for you. Known for its art and architecture, Barcelona is the fifth most visited city in Europe. Eat lunch around 2 pm and dinner at 9 pm like a local; see the stunning Sagrada Familia, roam around Parc Guell, enjoy a concert at the beautiful Palau de la Musica, and catch an FC Barcelona game at Camp Nou. Make sure to book tickets for popular tourist attractions in advance to avoid long lines and crowds. Barcelona has one of the best public transport networks at very affordable prices. It’s chilled and laid back so slow down and enjoy. When you’re done, hop over to Madrid.
They don’t call Thailand the Land of Smiles for nothing. Thailand is known for its pleasant hospitality and has been ranked as one of the happiest countries on Earth. Meeting nice and friendly people makes traveling solo much more enjoyable. From the beautiful beaches, the magnificent Buddhist temples, ancient ruins, and opulent royal palaces, there’s much to see and do. It is incredibly budget-friendly, because where can you have a four-course meal with alcohol and a massage for less than 10 dollars? I’ll wait. Spend a couple of days in Bangkok and don’t miss the Grand Palace (well, you really can’t) Visit Wat Phra That Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai, party in Patong, and snorkel in Phi Phi Islands – yeah you’re going to need at least two weeks in Thailand.
Skip Cancun and head over to Mexico City. It is time to give this marvelous city its props. One of my favorite cities in the world, Mexico City boasts some of the world’s best museums such as the Museum of Anthropology and Museum of Fine Arts; with over 150 you’re bound to find something to satisfy your intellect. Skip the tequila shots (in fact when in Mexico City do not take shots – sip) and sip on Mezcal, eat some of the world’s best Mexican cuisines including tacos, tamales, and tortas, attend a luche libre, and visit the many ancient ruins and pyramids. Roam around the parks of beautiful Condesa, take in the amazing architect in Zocola, and return with money in your pocket. As far as transportation, do not use anything else other than Uber. The best Uber experienced I’ve had was in Mexico City and the rides are very cheap.
Couldn’t leave the U.S. out, the nation’s capital was one of the first places I visited as a solo traveler. With its diverse communities, unique museums, and an international food scene that can satiate any foodie, this destination is a must for all travelers. Explore the free museums, free zoo, free performances, free tours, free – seriously how many times do I have to say free to convince you? No need for a car (thank me later) the metro is a very easy system to learn and navigate, and Lyft and Uber services the area. Catch the changing of the guard ceremony (bet you thought this only occurred in Europe) at Arlington National Cemetery, rent a paddle boat to see the cherry blossoms, and avoid the crowd and check out the memorials at night; they are open 24 hours. Last but not least, the food. As an avid devourer (nice way of saying greedy) I appreciate the magnificent food scene in Washington, D.C. As soon as you step out on the street, you’ll have access to cuisines from all over the world; Vietnamese, Ethiopian, Mexican, Thai, Venezuelan, Peruvian, Italian you name it, within walking distance from each other, may the odds be ever in your favor. I do want to mention one extraordinary rule, people in D.C. take escalator etiquette very seriously (ask me how I know?) so stand on the right and walk on the left.
Are you planning on taking the plunge on a solo adventure next year? Let’s discuss below.
Until next time,