There are several things to think about when traveling alone, one of which is figuring out the purpose of your trip. Are you trying to make friends your age, sleep all day and party all night, volunteer for a cause close to your heart, or learn a new skill? Take the time to set out a purpose for your solo vacation, and the ideas for what to do will flow easily. Traveling alone can be the best time to find your spirit and discover things about yourself you didn’t know. Immerse yourself in another culture, and you just may find that you learn a thing or two about life. Most importantly as you travel, keep a diary or journal to track your journey and self-growth. While any city can be traversed alone, some are better designed than others for solo travelers, and a few are great for doing things you’d never do in front of your friends!
1. Budapest, Hungary
Budapest offers what any European city can offer, but at a much lower price tag. From acclaimed museums, awe-inspiring churches, buildings, and market halls, to fun themed “ruin” bars, Budapest has everything. So, even though as a solo-traveler you aren’t splitting room costs with a mate, you won’t be breaking the bank by visiting here either. Something that makes Budapest truly unique is its natural thermal baths. With several bathhouses across the city, a few select ones keep to the traditional rules of separating genders and allowing nudity. No reason to be shy when no one is going to know you. Take advantage of being a solo traveler and get naked!
2. Prague, Czech Republic
Keeping in the same category of having everything a typical European city has, but at a much lower price tag, Prague is another great option for a solo traveler looking to experience Europe on a shoestring budget. Come during the holidays and you can fill your nights with evening strolls around the Christmas markets, or if you’re down to party this is the perfect spot to grab a bed in a hostel and make new friends. Known for absinthe and beer alike, Prague has a reputation of being a party city.
3. Krakow, Poland
Another economical European getaway, Krakow isn’t filled with skyscrapers like the other capitals, keeping its hometown feel in many ways. The outskirts of the city have just as much to offer as the main market square, and the town is surrounded by many day-trip options for a solo traveler. And not to make any assumptions about someone traveling alone, but there are also two new cat cafes in town that are run by a charity group with the little kitties’ best interests at heart; a perfect spot to relax with a coffee and get some much needed snuggles.
4. Stockholm, Sweden
If nothing else, go to Stockholm to practice the art of Fika, and carry the custom back home with you. Many will jump to the conclusion that to Fika is to take a coffee break, but talk to any Swede and you’ll quickly find out that it is something much more than that. Fika is a state of mind, a gathering of friends, or time spent alone, with coffee and cakes, to socialize and reflect, to be in the present moment with a warm beverage and some treats. There are many variations of Fika; there’s funeral Fika, which we’ve been told is the best kind of Fika (we’re not kidding), and work-day Fika, which is actually written into Swedes working contracts, the list goes on and on. This is one solo vacation idea that you can do over and over again, until you’ve discovered which cafes in Stockholm are truly the best.Share the art of Fika with all your friends back home, and make it a part of everyone’s daily routine.
5. Seoul, South Korea
Many parts of Asia are perfect for the solo traveler looking to settle into one spot and really learn the culture of a specific area because they are constantly looking for Native English speakers to teach in their schools. It is quite easy for a solo traveler to find a school in Seoul that will pay for their apartment, and give them a decent wage just to teach English. With so much to do in Seoul, spending an extended period here both working and exploring is an ideal situation for a solo working vacation.
Want to spend time alone, reading on a beach, eating fresh mangoes and coconuts, getting tan, and soaking in clear blue waters? Yeah, so do we. A perfect solo vacation would be on a beach in the South Pacific, relaxing all day. This is also the perfect spot for learning a new skill-surfing! With several surfing schools around the island, you’ll have no shortage of teachers to help you get set up for one of the best solo sports in the world.
7. Nairobi, Kenya
Offering the choice of both city and safari, Nairobi is diverse in many ways. Easily access a safari adventure, while remaining in one of Africa’s most metropolitan spots. A perfect place for a coffee-lover, with locally grown beans being ground all around you, it might not be the safest on the list, but it is one of the most economical.
During the summer and early fall, a solo traveler looking to volunteer on his or her trip, may be best suited to visit the island of Zanzibar. Its small size allows for projects ranging from education to wildlife conservation, and it has several award-winning volunteer programs in the area; so you’ll be safe.
9. Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Sometimes the best thing about solo travel is that you can wake up in the morning and just go do whatever you want without having to think about anyone else. Amsterdam is a great place to do this because it is so bike-friendly. So, wake up in the morning and grab a bike, ride and ride and ride around town stopping at whatever catches your eye- without ever having to ask someone else if they want to stop somewhere. Enjoy your freedom!
10. Cusco, Peru
Remember when we said a solo-trip is the perfect time for learning new things, expanding your ideas of what you can do, and making new friends? Well the city of Cusco is perfect for all those things. With awesome language schools to teach you Spanish, Cusco is also where most people start on their journey to complete the Inca Trail. Want to put your physical fitness to the test? Then go on the four-day hike at insane altitudes, that eventually leads to Machu Picchu. You will go with a tour guide and a group of about 10-12 other people. So while you will be walking alone most of the day and can spend time in reflection, each afternoon and night you will break bread with your hiking partners, and hopefully make some life-long friends.
“Emily Meadows is the author of Emily's Guide to Kraków. She currently resides part of the year in Ocean City, Maryland and the other part in Aspen, Colorado in the midst of her travels.”