I went on my first solo trip when I was 19 years old. Due to a ferocious passion for street food and island hopping, I decided that Thailand was number one on my list. It turned out to be the most chaotic solo travel starting point. The next four months was one of the most unpredictable, stressful, and rewarding periods of my life.
As a child, I travelled to Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, small islands in the South Pacific, Malaysia – my mother’s home country – and widely throughout Australia – my home country. When the time came, I felt ready to have adventures of my own because of my early experiences with travel and because of the encouragement I received from my parents and older brother.
I understand that not everyone has these opportunities or is surrounded by these pro-adventure attitudes, but there is no wrong time to see the world on your own (except during the height of a pandemic).
In the eight years since my Thailand trip, I visited New Zealand, The Philippines, Austria, Italy, Greece, South Korea, and more. I was fortunate enough to meet other women who shared their solo travel stories with me, from a 30-year-old Manchester woman who decided to backpack around Europe before making Paris her new home to a Kiwi grandmother who powered through remote long-distance hikes in New Zealand’s South Island.
I don’t regret my Thailand travels, but I will admit that solo travel doesn’t need to be this much of a whirlwind. Through careful planning, research, learning from the experiences of other women, and selecting the right destination for you – it’s different for everyone – your first solo trip can be a breeze.
20th-century British travel writer Freya Stark said: ‘To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the most pleasant sensations in the world.’ Many years later, her words still hold true. Whether you have just finished high school or you have recently entered retirement, I would recommend travelling solo at least once in your life.
Before you book those tickets, you probably have a few questions. You might be wondering, where is safe for solo female travellers? Or how do I safely travel solo? Well, we have you covered. Here are a few places you might like to consider as your first solo travel destination.
The best destinations for first-time solo female travellers
Italy: the mountainous north
Italy is one of the best European destinations for solo female travellers. The extensive public transport system makes it easy to get around – on my trip, I took trains from the isle of Sicily up to the mountainous north – and on the whole, Italy is a safe country for solo female travellers.
I loved travelling solo throughout Italy because of the friendly locals. It was easy to strike up a conversation with people, even though I spoke very little Italian. Many were curious as to why I had chosen to travel alone, and because of this, seemed eager to give me recommendations on anything from their favourite coastal towns and family-run wineries. It was a win-win.
Even if you’re a bit shy, the delicious and varied cuisine will always keep you company. Just pull up to a local trattoria, order a carafe of wine, tuck into a buttery ravioli, and live la dolce vita. You are never truly alone with rich Italian carbs by your side.
One of the most popular tours with solo female travellers is The Italian Dolomites for Solo Travellers. The Dolomites is one of the most picturesque places I’ve ever been. I went in the summer. The glacial peaks, rolling green hills, pristine lakes, and storybook rifugios were like scenes from classical paintings. Here is a short video recap of my trip. As you can probably guess, I’m already planning my next hiking trip there.
On the tour, you can form life-long friendships with other adventurous solo travellers, venture through alpine towns, drink delicious wine, and relax by one of Italy’s most stunning lakes. It’s Italy the way it should be: stress-free.
Croatia: a sun-drenched reward
If you’re taking the plunge on your first solo trip and you think you should be rewarded with some sweet sun rays, you can’t go past a holiday in Croatia. It’s a popular destination for solo female travellers over 50, however, it offers a range of accommodation options to suit every individual. If you’re on a budget or you’re keen on meeting fellow solo travellers, Croatia has a wide range of high-quality hostels. If you prefer a bit more privacy and comfort, there is a range of luxury waterfront hotels, family-run guesthouses or unique airbnbs to choose from.
To fit more into your solo Croatia trip, consider a tour with Newmarket Holidays. The Dubrovnik, Montenegro & the Dalmatian Coast for Solo Travellers will get you over to the reaches of the Makarska Riviera, the walled city of Dubrovnik, and the island-city of Trogir. Other highlights include a trip to Montenegro, one of Europe’s most unspoilt countries, and Croatia’s Krka National Park.
India: sunrises and safari
Europe is a fantastic starting point for budding solo female travellers, however, India is the place for adventurous solo travellers willing to venture far from home.
The safest way for first-timers to experience India is on a tour. The Tigers & the Taj Mahal for Solo Travellers tour is a thrilling chance to see the Golden Triangle: the cities of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur.
Solo travel is about creating those ‘pinch me’ memories. After this trip, you will be able to count watching the sunrise over the majestic Taj Mahal as one of them. If you’re a nature enthusiast, this India tour will be right up your alley, with a two-night safari in the world-renowned Ranthambhore Park. From the open-air vehicle, you will be able to spot striped hyenas, sambar deer, sloth bears and tigers. If you’re lucky, you might even see a leopard.
If you prefer your holidays with a side of relaxation, you can round out the trip with a night in a luxurious jungle resort.
Top tips for solo female travellers
Join social media groups for solo female travellers
Social media is home to many resources for experienced and budding solo female travellers. Some supportive online communities include:
I have found these Facebook groups to be really useful in planning my solo trips. When you join, you can swap stories and photos, ask for travel advice, or even find a travel buddy for a future trip. It makes the world feel a lot smaller.
Join a tour for solo travellers
The idea of heading to a foreign country without your usual comforts or company can be understandably daunting. But it helps to remember that you’re always stronger and more resourceful than you think. Solo travel is the ultimate opportunity (and training ground) to discover what you’re made of.
If jetting off for a spontaneous solo hike in South America or following the Eat Pray Love journey to the absolute letter isn’t quite for you, I would recommend hopping on a solo tour. In 2020, Newmarket Holidays launched a range of tours catered to solo travellers.
If you’re interested in solo tours but curious about whether you will have time for yourself during the tour, or perhaps you’re wondering what the age range of the other travellers is, we’ve got you covered. In another blog post, Newmarket Holidays product manager Joanna Roberts weighs in on some of our customers most frequently asked questions about solo travel.
If you have any further questions – or suggested destinations! – regarding the solo tours offered by Newmarket Holidays, feel free to reach out over email, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. To check out more solo tours, visit the website.