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Planning a big solo trip, where should I go?

I hope to travel in late Oct / Nov and will be travelling solo. I don't mind joining a tour group for a week or so at the destination and am more interested in people, culture, art, nature and scenery than sun or great beaches. I'm open to literally ANY destination(s) but it must be safe for a solo traveller. I will have 2-3 weeks to travel. Toying with Guatemala, Ecuador, Argentina or east to Vietnam or Cambodia. Would really appreciate any advice.

25 Answers

top answer by
Jared from Sydney

Completely different and much closer, I would highly recommend Iceland. You'll find nowhere safer and more stunning than the small island nation. Travelling solo for 2-3 weeks would really get you immersed in the culture and natural splendour of the place. Icelanders are friendly and you can easily make friends on the road.You could discover sleepy little fishing villages, climb some glaciers and stay in amazingly scenic cabins. Plus at that time of year you might catch the northern lights! I've written a little about Iceland here. 

Update! - full Iceland itinerary can be found here!

Alternatively, New Zealand has amazing things to see and do!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Iceland (country)
  2. New Zealand (country)
6 thanks

answered by

Maria, if you find yourself in South America, I highly recommend finding time to visit Peru.  I can recommend a small group travel organization by the name of Overseas Adventure Travel (out of Boston, USA), because it goes beyond typical group travel and becomes more experiential (e.g. stopping impromptu, picking potatoes with farmers in the Sacred Valley of Peru at 3600 m altitude, sharing Chicha [corn beer] with farmers), and they use guides who are locals with near-impeccable English skills.  Moreover, the Sacred Valley of the Incas with Cusco as its base and Machu Picchu as the draw is a MUST for anyone! Macchu Picchu is truly everything it was cracked up to be, but moreover, the other places absolutely blew me away:  Ollantaytambo, Pisaq, etc. The Sacred Valley deserves a week for itself. Lima, the capital, is a rather typical large city in Latin America (islands of affluence surrounded by the gritty city), but there are worthwhile spots there.  I will definitely make my way back to Peru one day, and I can't recommend it enough.  Safety is based upon common sense--check out a Lonely Planet guide for tips on traveling in Peru.  

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. South America (continent)
  2. Peru (country)
  3. Sacred Valley of the Incas (attraction)
  4. Cusco (city)
  5. Machu Picchu (attraction)
  6. Lima (attraction)
4 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Haroun from Tanzania

How about Tanzania? Meet remarkable people,Volunteer,Learn Swahili,Take a safari,get some traditional blessing from the Masai warrior Leader,Take a bus ride  from Moshi to Dar es-Salaam and Explore,Try the local cuisine,collect items, precious stones,get a boat to Unguja and relax on white sandy beach.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Tanzania (country)
  2. Moshi (city)
  3. Dar es-Salaam (city)
  4. Unguja (attraction)
3 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Quinn from Hanoi

Regarding your trip plan I would like to recommend to do the following itinerary

1st Stop: Ho Chi Minh City, Mekong Delta
( South of Vietnam )

2. Hue & Hoi An (Ancient city of Vietnam ) - Da Nang - Nha Trang (Best Beach area of Vietnam located in Mid of Vietnam.

3. Hanoi ( Capital of Vietnam - Plenty tour to do in here with many villages and places to explore ) - Halong Bay Vietnam ( best place in the whole country - a must visit place) - Sa Pa District ( Up north to the mountain - best choice for trekking and getaway from the city ) - Hoa Lư District & Tam Coc (Another Ancient Capital of Vietnam)

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Ho Chi Minh City (city)
  2. Mekong Delta (region)
  3. Hue (city)
  4. Hoi An (city)
  5. Da Nang (city)
  6. Nha Trang (city)
  7. Hanoi (city)
  8. Halong Bay Vietnam (attraction)
  9. Sa Pa District (metro area)
  10. Hoa Lư District (metro area)
  11. Tam Coc (attraction)
3 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Mark from Adelaide

Certainly I wouldn't have any hesitation in going to Argentina. I did a much longer trip that included a National Geographic cruise down the western coast of Costa Rica and transited the Panama Canal. I followed that with a solo 2 week trip through South America. I started in Rio de Janeiro for a few days and then flew to Iguazú Falls (stay in one of the hotels in the national parks to get access to the park after the day trippers have left, I stayed at the hotel on the Brazilian side). While there I also took a day trip with a driver to the Jesuit Missions in Argentina. I then flew to Buenos Aires for a few more days before taking the ferry across to Colonia del Sacramento and onward to Montevideo Dept

In each city it is well worth organising a one on one walking tour with a local guide, use TripAdvisor to seek them out. They will take you into places that you might not feel comfortable going on your own and expose you to more of the local culture. This was especially true of my photography tour into La Boca in Buenos Aires where we visited the volunteer fire station.

Given dates in October and November you might also consider going to Patagonia (Argentina) and take a short cruise through the fjords in Chile and/or out to Cape Horn

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Argentina (country)
  2. Costa Rica (country)
  3. Panama Canal (attraction)
  4. Iguazú Falls (attraction)
  5. Buenos Aires (city)
  6. Colonia del Sacramento (attraction)
  7. Montevideo Dept (state)
  8. Patagonia (Argentina) (metro area)
  9. Chile (country)
  10. Cape Horn (attraction)
  11. Rio de Janeiro (city)
3 thankscomments (2)

answered by

Cambodia and Vietnam is very doable in 2-3 weeks and destinations where you will be totally safe. You have lot's of good tours on offer there with companies like G Adventures and Intrepid travel, just to mention a couple of the well known international group tour operators.

Both Vietnam and Cambodia are really interesting in terms of culture and adventure and the food is fantastic.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Cambodia (country)
  2. Vietnam (country)
3 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Oleg from Liverpool

hi, Maria

my advice will be 2-fold. if you are an adventuros type, then buy a means of transportation somewhere in Mexico and go South. Or any country in Central America where the prices for second-hand cars a more accessible. Any car will suffice as long as it will securely endure a several thousand kilometers trip on relatively quality road surface. This way you'll save the bus fare money and will be able to stop wherever you please.

Most of the countries in the region have that Panamericana, which is the Pan-American motorway, it is high quality and if you would like to veer off it, you'll always find a road decent enough and with historical sites / places of interest nearby. go down south as long as you please, make sure you or your car blend with the environment just fine - nothing flashy is enough. prices of petrol are low enough there,the accomodation will pleasantly surprise you, too. the food, drinks and ... miscellaneous are very much affordable and mostly of varieties. Learn some Spanish, make sure you know how to ask 'may I? and good / bad / I like it / do you like it - kit, where are you from. people mostly stick to these conversational destinations anyway.

if the car / money / time take you to as far away as, say, south of Peru - that will be a tour that you are likely to remember for ... a very long time. The car - have an add on the net that you sell it at a dump price at the final destination point. The air fare that you can find on the net should be affordable enough so that the money for the car should cover it.

(a lot) less economical, but, probably, safer is the trip to Spain and Portugal. Both countries provide travellers with variety of landscapes, cuisine, historical sites. The roads are excellent, accomodation depends on what you can / are prepared to pay, from students dorms to ... hilton, whatever. watch a football game and a bull fight, get to dance at a flamenco night, no matter how ungainly it might seem to you, dive into it. And make as much love as will be dished your way by the Biggest Friend of Us All, of course - on both destinations.

All the best,


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Central America (region)
  2. Peru (country)
  3. Spain (country)
  4. Portugal (country)
1 thankscomments (1)

answered by

Hello Maria,

I have traveled to Vietnam on my own several times. I was a woman in my 60's when i traveled there.

For culture, I recommend Hue and its surrounding hills with many temples, etc. The food in Hue is quite good in its small restaurants (you can get recommendations from locals) and an inexpensive but clean hotel is Than Thien (The Friendly Hotel). You could mention my name, Judith Mann if the owner is there as I helped him with a few things. Its best to hire a guide because of the distances between sites. Hope you are comfortable on the back of a motorcycle for this. You can contact my friend, Mr. Hao Nguyen Van. You can contact him through FB. Enjoy! p.s. I have published a book that will take you off the beaten path all over Vietnam that you can find on Amazon, "Spirit Realms of Vietnam" Volume 1; Volume 2 for context essays.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Vietnam (country)
  2. Hue (city)
  3. Than Thien (hotel)
2 thankscomments (1)

answered by

I have travelled solo extensively and feel safe all over the world except in certain parts of the Middle East. For the things you are looking for, here are some thoughts:  cruises, especially riverboat cruises, are excellent ways for solo travelers to see a lot of culture quickly, safely, and with minimal stress. Many have trips that waive single supplements for solo travelers, and those which have open seating at meals will be the easiest on which to meet other travelers. You might consider Uniworld's riverboat cruises (they also do Asia which will have warmer weather than Europe that time of year) or Lindblad's Galapagos cruise followed by Machu Picchu or other South American destination. Companies will usually give a discount to returning travelers so if you combine cruises (two 8 day cruises for example) you can often find good savings. Good cruise lines go out of their way to make solo travelers comfortable (solo traveler receptions, dinner at the captain's table, etc) so you are able to meet people easily. 

Three weeks is enough to an extensive tour of China. If you start in the north and work your way south you should have beautiful weather all the way. 

I also love Southeast Asia. Laos and Cambodia are particular personal favorites, but all of Asia is fascinating and relatively safe. Vietnam is also quite interesting. You could easily do a large taste of all three countries in 3 weeks. 

Since you seem interested in South America, maybe consider Chile which has extraordinary landscapes (Atacama Desert Minerals S.A. to Patagonia (Argentina)), interesting cities, great food and lovely, friendly people. I don't know how large your budget is, but if you have room for some luxury check out the Explora hotels. They're terrific for single travelers and they give you a high end all-inclusive experience in interesting remote areas of the country. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Machu Picchu (attraction)
  2. China (country)
  3. Laos (country)
  4. Cambodia (country)
  5. Chile (country)
  6. Atacama Desert Minerals S.A. (attraction)
  7. Patagonia (Argentina) (metro area)
2 thankscomments (1)

answered by

Camiño de Santiago!!!!! Just amazing!!!!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Camiño de Santiago (hotel)
2 thanks

answered first by
Jaykant from Bharatpur

Rajasthan and Kerala are safe for solo travel and as per your desire.


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Rajasthan (region)
  2. Kerala (state)
2 thanks

answered by
Jeff from Brooklyn, New York

Do yourself a favor and visit Cuba.  It's not like other places, and the people are friendly and loving.  Plus it's so safe you won't believe it.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Cuba (country)
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answered by
Khyati from Nagpur

Maybe Rajasthan, India. Its great in Indian winters.

You can witness art, culture, people, scenery.

With many ancient Hindu Palaces, the Great Indian Thar Desert, you can do a desert safari and also Ranthambore National Park which has the highest density of tigers in India.

It would be safe for a solo traveler being a woman, just try and be dressed up little Indian (covered legs and arms)

Jaisalmer - known as the Golden City

Jodhpur - Known as Blue city

Jaipur - known as pink city

from Jaipur you can even visit Taj Mahal

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Rajasthan (region)
  2. Taj Mahal (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Richard from Costa Rica

 How fortunate of you to explore our lovely mysterious planet. I heartily recommend Costa Rica as it is very irish friendly and popular with women solo too. There are also quite a few irish here as working in english lends itself to that here. As a traditional tourism culture the Ticos are accustomed to enjoying casual company with new friends over pints and fried potatoes anywhere anytime, having a secret love of english language conversing and learning from genuine foreigners.

 The country is small enough to get a good experience in a short time with many dramatic and well groomed wilderness areas. There are high remote mountains, active volcanoes and hot springs and enormous undeveloped areas with friendly indigenous tribes like the Terraba people. The classical europeanized central valley is developed with its grand architecture, production and government areas and suburbs with many activities.

There are many small outlying communities dependendant on visitors for fruit, cheese and nut sales as well as locally grown coffee and chocolate considered the finest in the world.

Of course there are amazing  adventures awaiting the brave soul like jungle treks and canopy or waterfall rappeling and ziplines superman style to boat tours of rivers full of wildlife including monkeys, crocodiles, parrots and sloths as well as gorgeous beaches and quaint working fishing communities with exquisite fresh foods from the sea to savour just an hour away from the city scape and the main airport.

The country has great bus transportion all over for relatively cheap fares or flying is also an option. Four wheel drives are for rent all over too and you may even rent motorcycles.

There are a lot of tourist related infrastructures available including the best hospitals and dental care facilities many rivaling the best countries in the world. Hostels of high quality and apartments for rent for modest prices, (work stay programs and caretakers or temp opportunities can be found scanning Craigs List) also make your stay possible for extended comforts anywhere in the country. See my blog for more info and pictures.

Erin go bragh

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Costa Rica (country)
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answered by

Maria, I pretty much go everywhere solo (except I'm taking a tour to Turkey this fall...).  I'm sure you've seen most of Europe, but have you thought of the US?  Alaska in the summer is gorgeous;  Maine & the Maritime Provinces of Canada are gorgeous;  our National Parks are really something else (I was just up in Yosemite... stunning!).  Otherwise Cambodia & Angkor Wat; Singapore; have you been to Iceland?  Its practically in your back yard.  I loved it there, & the people are so nice!  Ecuador is supposed to be nice... lots of expats from many countries live there, so it can't be dangerous.  Costa Rica is lovely.  Whatever you do, have fun & don't worry... people are usually pretty nice the world over.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Alaska (state)
  2. Maine (state)
  3. Cambodia (country)
  4. Angkor Wat (attraction)
  5. Singapore (country)
  6. Costa Rica (country)
1 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Steve from Southampton

I spent three weeks going through Vietnam & Cambodia as part of a 5 week journey taking in Thailand & Malaysia as well and thoroughly enjoyed it. It pretty much ticks all the boxes of things you say interest you and, on the whole, the people are lovely. I'm a pretty poor blogger but did complete my account on this part of the trip.

The inspiration for my intinerary came from

though I ended up using all modes of transport, not just trains

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Vietnam (country)
  2. Cambodia (country)
  3. Thailand (country)
  4. Malaysia (country)
1 thanks

answered by
Kris from Havana

Hi, Cuba is a very safe, interesting, friendly, affordable & safe place to tour alone or with a group! Happy to help you plan a trip, I am Cuba Specialist for 15 years! Kris Kurtossy

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Cuba (country)
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answered by
Helmut from Sao Paulo

I am currently travelling along the ruta dos emocoes in Brazil's wonderful north, with my wife and our 6 year old daughter. Check out places like Jijoca de Jericoacoara and Parque Nacional dos Lençóis Maranhenses. It IS as stunning as it appears to be from the pictures on the Internet. You could move on then from Sao Luis to Belém and down the Amazon to Manaus.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Jijoca de Jericoacoara (metro area)
  2. Parque Nacional dos Lençóis Maranhenses (attraction)
  3. Sao Luis (city)
  4. Belém (city)
  5. Manaus (city)
1 thanks

answered by

Australia! Sydney, Port Douglas, Kangaroo Island and Melbourne.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Sydney (city)
  2. Port Douglas (attraction)
  3. Kangaroo Island (attraction)
  4. (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Lily from Israel

Hi Maria,

If you're looking for a destination which combines interesting people and places with beautiful scenery, you should come to Israel.

If you like hiking, you can take the Israel National Trail which is an excellent way to see our beautiful country. I know many people who took the trail by themselves. If you need any help during your hike, you can use the trail angels, people who are voluntarily help hikers by bringing water supply and offering their homes (you can have dinner with them and sleep there as well). You can read about the trail in the following links:

If  you need any help, you can to me. You are also invited to stay with my family for a weekend.



Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Israel National Trail (attraction)
1 thankscomments (1)

answered by

Is anything SAFE anymore?   I really liked the Australia Outback myself.  Saw real Aborigines and had my picture taken with the Medicine Man ...he was pretty scary and authentic

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Australia (country)
1 thanks

answered by
Elizabeth from Boynton Beach

Maria, I would be careful if traveling to Guatemala or Ecuador as a single woman. I have traveled to Guatemala to do volunteer work for an NGO, and I found the people to be sweet and extremely hospitable in the small town where I taught. However, the woman who ran the center, an older formidable Guatemalan, was kidnapped in broad daylight at gunpoint. A couple of the NGO's directors also had similar stories. After I did my week of service, a friend who had family there arrived and we spent a second week traveling with her family to Antigua, a beautifully preserved colonial city, Lake Atitlan, Tikal, and back to Guatemala City. We stayed at their home in a nice section of town where the father of the family actually employed two gentlemen with weapons to follow behind his children's car in a separate vehicle whenever they went anywhere because of kidnappers. Guatemala also has one of the highest homicide rates in the world, at 34 per 100,000 inhabitants, according to U.N. figures. Don't misunderstand me. It's a beautiful country with a rich living Mayan history. Read "I, Rigaberto Menchu." (She won the Nobel Peace prize in 1992). It's well worth a visit--IMHO--accompanied or with a group. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Guatemala (country)
  2. Ecuador (country)
1 thankscomments (1)

answered by

 Northern Italy if you haven't been.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Italy (country)
1 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Elizabeth from Boynton Beach

BTW, I've traveled three times with this company to Greece & Turkey, India & Nepal; & Peru.  What can make or break a trip like this is the guide. The guides on all three trips have been exceptionally talented individuals who truly belong in the hospitality industry. The other thing this company does well is logistics. You will see what is worth seeing in a particular country because the the itineraries are well thought out and tickets to major attractions are purchased ahead of time to avoid lines. Of course, they take you out to cornball restaurants with "native dance performances" (I swear I've seen the same show in Nepal, Athens & Cusco.) That and the shopping excursions are not obligatory. Plan ahead and do something else. SmarTours.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Greece (country)
  2. Turkey (country)
  3. India (country)
  4. Nepal (country)
  5. Peru (country)
  6. Athens (city)
  7. Cusco (city)
1 thanks

answered by
Pawan from Delhi

Well, India can be a good option for you. It has all the places related to your travel interest and also safe for solo travelers.

In 2-3 weeks you can cover a good part of India and as per your interests.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. India (country)
1 thanks

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