As a woman, deciding to take a trip on your own can be daunting. From the moment you first open your mouth and reveal your intentions to your loved ones, to the moment your feet touch their destination, it’s very easy and very common to be plagued by fears and insecurities. If you’re in this boat, don’t worry. Most of us start out that way too
According to Visa’s 2015 Global Travel Intentions Study, solo female travel is on the rise with one in five people having travelled on their own on their most recent leisure trip. Of these, the majority are ‘Wander Women’ who are embracing the independent travel lifestyle.
There are now even dedicated apps such as Tourlina, specifically made for single females to connect with one other on the road and share their advice and common experiences. And there are numerous travel blogs for solo women, some of them summed up nicely in this Utterly Subjective List by Women on the Road.
Independent travel can be extremely empowering, emancipating and cathartic, but most importantly, it’s that much overdue spring cleaning of the self that we all need. The time alone lets you to not only focus on yourself but also opens the doors for you to clear our the clutter in your life and re-prioritise the aspects that are most important.
It’s something that any serious traveller should experience at least once in their lives, so what are you waiting for?
Go forth and feed your passions, expand your horizons, discover yourself and jump out of your comfort zone. To help out the first-timers, here are eight of the safest destinations for solo female travellers to visit (and if you feel, the safest destinations just sound too boring, you might want to jump directly to A New Bucket List for the Under 30s)
Solo female travel destination in the North: Reykjavik, Iceland
According to the Global Peace Index 2016, Iceland is the safest country in the world. Having been awarded this title for the sixth time in a row, it’s pretty fair to assume that the island nation is a safe destination to explore.
But, make no mistake about it, it’s ‘safety ranking’ isn’t the only reason to visit. Iceland is an epicentre of adventure and culture that welcomes five times the size of its native population in tourists each year.
With over 30-odd active volcanoes that shape it’s mountainous terrain, Iceland is a supercharged splendour of nature’s dramatic spectacles and offers a plethora of outdoor activities to enjoy.
Choose from: diving at Lake Þingvallavtn and swim between two tectonic plates, bathing in bubbling hot springs besides gushing geysers, taking a dip under famed rainbow-arched waterfalls such as the Golden Waterfall ‘Gullfoss’, whale-watching off the Snaefellness peninsula, hiking snowcapped peaks under the Midnight Sun or hunting for the spectacular Northern Lights as they swirl and snake across the night sky lighting up the rugged fjords and lush valleys that lace the countryside.
If that’s not enough, we’ve all seen the wander-envy inducing images of our favourite Insta models taking a dip in the smokey waters of the Blue Lagoon, so why not join the crowds and get pampered in the mineral-rich geothermal spa?
The bustling capital Reykjavik draws so many solo travellers that it won’t be hard to make new friends with whom you can either split the cost of car hire with for a day trip to see the Golden Circle or the Ring Road, or head out for a cheeky pint or two or three at one of Reykjavik’s many live music venues or nightclubs. More than just The Land of Fire and Ice, there’s plenty to keep intrepid solo travellers occupied here.
Travelling solo in Copenhagen, Denmark
The Scandinavian countries regularly rank highly on the UN’s World Happiness Index with Denmark being crowned the Happiest Country in the World.
Boasting low crime rates and the Danish way of life known as ‘Hygge’, which roughly translates as cosiness, Denmark’s hospitable capital will have you feeling at home in no time at all.
Catering well for parties of one, Copenhagen’s bicycle-friendly streets that snake throughout the city makes it easily navigable. Cycle across the iconic Nyhavn canal to take in the views of the postcard-perfect multicoloured houses that line the bustling harbour and make your way to Papirøen to try some of Copenhagen’s famous street food.
Another must-do experience is to visit the goddess Gefjun fountain at night, which illuminates against a backdrop of sound where stories from Norse mythology tell of how Denmark was created. Beckoning female travellers with its nightlife, culture, shopping and beautiful architecture, Denmark makes for a fantastic first-time getaway to pop your solo travel cherry.
If you want to find the perfect hotel for you in the right part of the city, try KAYAK Heat Maps. Simply click on ‘Show map view’ in the the top right-hand corner of the results page where it says ‘Go to map view’. From here you can filter by what’s most important to you: Shopping? Food? Nightlife? Stay in the ‘hood that’s best for you.
Solo travel in style: Stockholm, Sweden
Not one to be outdone by its Scandinavian neighbour, Sweden ranks among the Top 10 of the Happiest Countries in the World (lead by Denmark, see above) and packs a punch that challenges Denmark in the rest of its tourism offering too..
As one of the safest destinations in the world, you’re more likely to do damage to your wallet in Stockholm than to yourself. Home to fashion brands such as the luxurious Acne Studios to coveted high-street brands like H&M, shopping sprees must be had on a trip to the Swedish capital.
The perfectly preserved cobblestoned streets of the Old Town district, known as Gamla stan, is any budding photographer’s paradise. Packed with candy-coloured baroque buildings, hidden teahouses and the Royal Palace, it’s a hive of activity for solo travellers to investigate and snap for their visual travel diaries.
Best bet for solo travellers in Norway: Bergen
Safety runs in the family of the Nordic nations, and Norway is by no means any less exceptional, both in terms of its safety for travellers and for what it offers solo travellers.
While in the capital Oslo, you’ll find plenty of green spaces, art exhibits and museums to explore, such as the celebrated Viking Ship Museum that houses an astounding pack of preserved 9th-century Viking ships, or the famed Vigeland Sculpture Park, Norway’s second largest city of Bergen, is favourite among urban explorers.
Set amid a picturesque coastal landscape that Scandinavia has become synonymous with, Bergen is celebrated the world over as one of Europe’s most beautiful cities. Something that cannot be missed is a quick trip to the waterfront district of the old wharf: Bryggen. The colourful UNESCO World Heritage remains an important remainder of the country’s former legacy as a trading hub.
Iconic to its cityscape are its picturesque wooden houses that line the quayside, housing the artisanal works of local potters, jewellers textile and leather craftspeople, for which the city is famous for. It’s here where you want to look for your souvenirs to take back home!
Heading to the Southern Hemisphere: Melbourne, Australia
The holy grail for all young backpackers, Australia makes it to the list for the sheer number of solo travellers already making their way around down-under.
Holding the crown as the Most Liveable City in the World according to the Economist Intelligent Unit, Melbourne tops Australia’s solo travel destinations for its thriving live music scene, abundance of parks, galleries, museums, theatres, award-winning foodie culture, and the sheer fact that it’s walkable.
But if you’re not looking to stretch your legs, hop onto the free City Circle tram line to reach the graffiti-clad Hosier Lane where you’ll find plenty of young backpackers perfecting that artistic selfie or the hipster haven of Brunswick Street packed with its trendy bars, cafes, restaurants, and vintage shops.
The huge backpacking culture here means the city is highly familiar with solo travellers, and it also means that if you’re looking for the opportunity to make other travelling friends, this is the place to do it! Melbourne serves as an excellent base for exploring ‘Straya’s other treasures, such as Philip Island, The Great Ocean Road and Grampians National Park.
But if you’re looking for a bigger adventure, why not rent a 4×4 and take a road trip up to Cairns, stopping off at highlights such as Blue Mountains, Sydney, Coffs Harbour, Byron Bay, Gold Coast, Brisbane, Noosa, Fraser Island, Whitsundays, the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree National Park along the way.
So, what if you want something a little longer? Or perhaps you’ve been slaving away at that coffee shop every weekend to increase your travel budget? Trying using KAYAK’s Flight+Hotel search. Enter your destination and then use the filters on the right-hand side of the page to see what kind of flight and hotel combos are right for you, and save money doing it.
Unlike anywhere else: Queenstown, New Zealand
More than just Hobbiton, New Zealand is a stunning Oceanic country located in the Pacific, brimming with bountiful natural beauty.
Like Australia, the country is immensely popular for backpackers and as such, is a thriving hub for tourism. The great news is that unlike its Down Under neighbour, it isn’t home to a million deadly animals lurking around the corner ready to pounce on you, making it much safer to travel to, and with relatively low crime rates, and heaps of friendly locals, it makes for an excellent primary solo trip.
If you’re a thrill-seeking solo traveller, then look no further than Queenstown. Perched on the shimmering shores of the South Island’s Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown is a haven for adventure sports. From bungee jumping off Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge, to snowboarding on the slopes of Coronet Peak, jetboating across Shotover River to taking on the World’s Biggest Swing at Nevis Bungy, Queenstown has everything you need and more to get your pulse racing. When that’s all said and done, take a Gondola up Bob’s Peak to enjoy a spectacular 220-degree panorama of the city, go pony trekking through alpine forests, unwind on the Queenstown Wine Trail by savouring the local flavours of wines or simply visit the magnificent Lake Wanaka to reflect on your journey so fBuzzing
Buzzing, bustling and safe: Hong Kong, China
A bustling metropolis filled with some 7 million residents from all over the world, Hong Kong’s reputation as a World-City is unchallenged. With so much hustle and bustle on the streets at any time of the day or night, it’ll be difficult for any lone traveller to feel lonesome in this city-state. From haggling at the Temple Street Night Market to partaking in free morning Tai-Chi classes, you’re bound to run into fellow explorers throughout your time in the Pearl of the Orient.
A beautiful hybrid of rich Eastern heritage set against Western influences; Hong Kong is the ultimate foodie heaven. Head to the spiritual Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island, visit the Tian Tian Buddha and sample exquisite vegetarian dishes that will tickle your tastebuds. Alternatively, check out the mouthwatering sizzling soft-shell crab at Aberdeen’s floating restaurant, ‘Jumbo King’ or take a boat ride over to Tai O island to discover the stilt houses of the Tanka people and sample the abundance of fresh seafood the fisher folk have on offer.
Once your stomach is full, nourish your soul with a tour to spot Hong Kong’s endangered and enigmatic ‘pink’ dolphins as they dance about in the Indo-Pacific waters. Walk along the Avenue of the Stars in Tsim Sha Tsui and have your picture taken with martial arts legend Bruce Lee (in sculpture form at least). If you have some time on your hands, take a day trip across the border and visit the old Portuguese colony of Macau and nibble on an Egg Tart or two. If your taste buds are satisfied, head over the China’s mainland town of Guangzhou, former Canton province, to meet the Giant Pandas at Shenzhen Safari Park or learn more about the Qin Dynasty’s terracotta warriors and their horses.
Multiculturalism in Montreal, Canada
Canadians have a reputation for being the friendliest people in the world and in no city is that truer than in Montréal. While Ottawa may be the capital, Montreal is the country’s cultural juggernaut, where diverse communities fuse together to create a colourful, cultured cocktail of multiculturalism. From its architecture to its arts, it’s cuisine and even its language, the Canadian Francophone municipality is wonderland waiting to be discovered.
With its low crime rates – violent crime is virtually non-existent in tourist hot spots – it’s calling out to solo female travellers to come and tread through streets.
Home to 250 theatre and dance companies and almost 100 festivals, of which The Festival International de Jazz de Montréal and winter Carnevale are the most coveted, as well as the photogenic facades of the scenic riverfront Old Port, Canal de Lachine and terraced cafes of Plateau Mont-Royal, culture is Montreal’s lifeblood. Combine this with the beautiful Botanical Gardens and the plethora of vibrant bars and nightclubs placed across the city, the UNESCO City Of Design embodies joie de vivre for visitors of all interests to devour.
Montréalers also know a thing or two about food, and you can’t leave the city without appreciating its delicious dishes including Kamouraska lamb, Arctic char and, of course, the irresistible and world-famous Poutine. Trust us, when it comes to cuisine, there’s no topping the Québécoises.
These cities are only a portion of all the great capitals you can visit at great prices. Check out KAYAK Explore, filter by price and choose when you want to travel and we’ll show all the places (capitals included!) you can go.
Note: These rates are based on search queries made on KAYAK.co.uk on March 14th, 2017. The prices are quoted in GBP. Flight prices are based on results for a return economy flight search. Hotel prices are for double occupancy and include taxes and fees. Prices are subject to change, may vary, or no longer be available.