Traveling alone is a hot topic among today’s types of aircraft setups, and for good reason —changing the landscape, plus the dose of medicine that heals loneliness, maybe the healthiest option you can make.
And with high careers, families, and other obligations that take up a lot of time, it can be a challenge to find a companion who has the flexibility and the means to do it. Or maybe, like me, you just love to take the risk to experience the world for yourself. Either way, more and more women are packing up and going out to explore their own world.
The only obvious question next is, where? With the whole globe at the fingertips of tourists, there can be a lot of options. Here are six destinations and areas that offer the perfect combination of wellness options, delicious food, spectacular attractions, safety and the chance to find your inner discoverer.
Scandinavia and Central Europe
Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, the Netherlands and Germany are all great options for women travelling alone. They have a lot of interesting things to do, whether you’re a foodie on arrival at some of Copenhagen’s highly rated restaurants, a spa addict to one of Norway’s famous saunas or a design enthusiast looking for art and architecture in Stockholm. I had one of the best holidays of my life when I only went from vineyard to city to vineyard in Germany within 10 days. It’s even better by the fact that I can soak it all without anyone else contributing.
Monica Stott, who focuses on affordable luxury adventure at The Travel Hack, is a lover of city trips for women. “Any city is great for traveling alone because there’s so much going on and so many people around,” she says. You can take advantage of choosing exactly what you want to do without having to compromise.” Add frequent flights from the United States, low crime levels, reliable public transport, and a population with a high percentage of English-speaking people, and you have an area that’s well optimized for all types of female travelers — especially those who travel for the first time.
Adventure lovers need to look no further than Hawaii Island, also known as Big Island. The island has many climates that nourish lush fruit and produce all year round, so seasonal eating is easier than almost anywhere on earth. And if you’re a surfer, then the Big Island is known for being more hospitable to those who have conquered tons of waves. But there are still some options if you’re using a brand new anti-rash guard — check out the beginner-friendly Pine Trees Beach north of Kona Airport and Kahaluu Beach in Keauhou.
A highway travels around the perimeter of the island, convenient for acting as a pre-built road map. Start your journey in Hilo, in the clear blue, dusty, perfect starting point for exploring the still-erupting Kilauea and Kalapana lava flows.
Drive around the island, stopping at black sand beaches along the way, to get to the west, where there are beautiful sunny days and pristine beaches with high prices. The main town there is Kona, which is a good place to explore the do not-work volcano Mauna Kea at sunrise or sunset. (Don’t forget your camera!)
Southeast Asia is vast, stretching countries on the mainland as well as islands like Indonesia and Singapore – so where should you go first? Salt & Wind’s editor, social media, and trip manager Aida Mollenkamp put Thailand in the spotlight for its model society. She said: “They have a lot of respect for women in Thailand and people are one of the most beautiful people you’ve ever met.
Another women-friendly venue: Vietnam. Ten years ago I lived there, and I’ve been back ever since, always alone. The country’s geographical diversity is amazing — there are lush forests, aca inspirational mountains, bustling cities, and idyllic beaches. Complex food in the best way; it’s the kind of appetite only in a culture really obsessed with eating. It is also a country with a very low crime rate. Most incidents are in the field of a minor crime, which is something any tourist can deal with whether she is in the group or not.
Oaxaca has it all: beautiful beaches, mystical mountains, a rescue culinary culture, and rich indigenous and contemporary art. The city of Oaxaca, the state capital, is a good resting place. In the bustling city center, ancient stone churches are located by colonial buildings dotted with art galleries, restaurants, and small shops. The weather is always perfect, thanks to its southern location as well as its altitude, giving it a climate described as “eternal spring”.
Just outside the city are the ruins of Monte Alban, the vibrant Sunday market in Tlacolula, the stone waterfalls of Hierve al Agua, the carpet-making village of Teotitlan del Valle, and a series of mezcal palaces (AKA’s distilleries produce healthier-than-average wine). Spa lovers and those who want to learn a little deeper about indigenous culture should look to temazcal, a type of herbal sauna suitable for those who can handle cramped spaces. For those who venture alone who want to social or need a local guide, many of the excursions focus on food, crafts and mezcal.
Traveling to Oaxaca is generally safe for all travelers, but you should have a good understanding of yourself when visiting. Oaxaca is one of the poorest states in Mexico, making visitors a target of minor crime. Common sense will keep you safe, which is good advice for you no matter who you are and where you go. On September 7, the state of Oaxaca was hit by the strongest earthquake to hit Mexico in 100 years — so study the recovery process before you go, then help the region recover itself with the help of some much-needed pesos.
St. Lucia tourism is for health care, with no shortage of luxury resorts to choose from. BodyHoliday is one of the island’s top resorts, offering specialized classes from the on-site yogi Natascha Zeller. Ayurvedic workshops are held in association with the yoga program, which includes Ashtanga, Hatha, and Katti. This luxurious seaside hotel also offers a full range of fitness options, from horseback riding to scuba diving. Oh, and there’s another award-winning spa.
Located off the beach and into the Swiss Family Robinson-style canes is Viceroy Sugar Beach, which has a Rainforest Spa that bears its name by offering overland treatments in the forest canopy. The spa itself is scattered among several tree houses and treatments mainly from local ingredients such as bananas, papaya, pineapple and aloe vera. This island lifestyle is ideal for a solitary tourist who wants to unplug and St. Lucia offers plenty of opportunities to do just that.
According to writer and professional traveler Tara Povey of Where is Tara, Hong Kong is a place for women who roll around alone. “Navigation is surprisingly easy and there’s so much to see and do,” she said. “Everyone I know who has ever visited Hong Kong loves this city without being able to describe exactly why. The only way to find out is to visit! “
Along with Cangong, English is one of Hong Kong’s official languages, so you’ll easily experience the city’s art, cuisine, and attractions. It’s also well served by many daily flights and is a good center for the rest of Asia — just in case you’re inspired to continue your travel itinerary.