Traveling while female and solo is on the rise. If you want to balance adventure and personal safety, where to go when traveling solo? What are the best trips for solo female travelers right now? Our correspondent Jillian Tangen has rounded up 10 of the best luxury vacations for women traveling solo.
Solo travel is on the rise, especially for women
Fortunately for all of us, solo travel today is no longer defined by your relationship status or whether or not you have a like-minded group of friends. Instead, more and more people are choosing to leave their loved one behind and are heading out on vacations on their own. Women in particular are embracing this travel trend, using solo trips as opportunities to do what they want, when they want, while indulging in some hard earned me time.
And why shouldn’t they? According to research, mothers still shoulder 65% of child care work. Plus, there is new evidence suggesting that women are judged more harshly for the tidiness of their homes than men are. So needless to say, ladies definitely deserve a vacation on their own every now and then.
Aside from peace and quiet, a vacation on your own can boost your confidence, help you to learn new life skills, help to forge new friendships, provide a sense of empowerment and finally give you the freedom to do what you really want to do instead of what others want to do.
tips for women traveling solo
Perhaps you love the idea of travelling on your own, but are concerned about safety, loneliness or even boredom. Fear not, because we’ve found 10 solo female friendly travel destinations that will wash those worries away.
Plus, we’ve come up with a few pointers to help you stay safe and organized along the way.
1. Get smart about your destination.
Do research ahead of time on local laws and customs. Also familiarize yourself with maps and the places you want to explore so you don’t end up walking around with your head down staring at Google Maps. Stay at a hotel with a good concierge, and ask lots of questions before you set out on what’s worth seeing, how to get there, and if there are any safety concerns to know about. We once checked into a hotel at midnight on a brilliant starry night when traveling solo, and we really wanted to go for a walk. The concierge was invaluable in directing us to a safe place for a stroll and some fresh air, even at that hour.
2. Share your itinerary.
You might think, I have a smartphone, why would I need to do that? But in the event of poor cell service or problems with charging, sharing your expected rough whereabouts is smart planning in the event of an emergency.
3. Use the cloud.
While it’s important to keep paper copies of everything, try to keep a copy of all important docs like your passport/ID and insurance card in the cloud. That way no matter where you are, you can access critical information.
4. Exude confidence.
Walk with purpose and enjoy yourself. And don’t be afraid to ask business owners for assistance if you need it. Any traveler needs to practice having situational awareness. If something about your surroundings doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Trust your instincts.
5. Keep your smartphone at the ready.
We are huge fans of digital detox vacations, and putting the phone down so you can experience life. But in the case of solo travel, your phone can be your lifeline. So keep it charged and within easy reach.
the best luxury vacations for women traveling solo
So now that you know how to prepare, where should you go? Here are our picks of some of the best trips for solo female travelers – 10 favorite female friendly travel destinations. Here, you can experience some freedom and independence. And of course, satiate your wanderlust – at least for a while.
Thanks to it’s midnight sun, comfortable temperatures and lots of outdoor attractions and activities taking place, Norway is a great option if you’re talking about the best trips for solo female travelers. If you visit Oslo you can take in the capital city’s museums like the Munch Museum, vast parks such as the Vigeland Sculpture Park, outdoor restaurants, shopping or even take a tour of the Oslo Fjord by boat. If you are looking for something that covers a little more ground, book a spot on Hurtigruten Cruise from Bergen to Kirkenes where you can cruise through the country’s famous fjords on a multi-day adventure, stopping at numerous ports of call along the stunning coastline to hike, kayak, dog sled and more.
With gorgeous mountain views, meadows on meadows and tons of beautiful flowers, Switzerland is one of the most picturesque countries you can visit. It’s also one of the best vacations for women traveling solo. If you visit during the winter, a trip to the Alps is a must, but if you are more of a summer traveler you can’t go wrong in Zurich. From quiet, peaceful parks like Rieterpark, to quirky shopping areas in refurbished industrial sites, there is much more to this city than finance – though we highly recommend a trip to the Money Museum. For accommodations try The Dolder Grand located just above Zurich in stunning natural surroundings, but not too far from the city center. With an award-winning spa, a two-Michelin-star restaurant and beautiful views, it is a perfect environment for travelers looking for relaxation.
Nearly anywhere you go in Canada you’ll be surrounded by some of the most breathtaking landscapes your eyes have ever seen. Not to mention that Canadians have a reputation for being the friendliest people in the world, which is very helpful when travelling solo.
While you could opt for the European charm of Montreal with its Gothic architecture and decadent cheesy dishes like poutine, we love the Hong Kong-esque skyline and Asian inspired cuisine of Vancouver. The city is also home to outdoor adventures like the Capilano Suspension Bridge and Grouse Mountain for hiking. Alternatively, you could always stick to food and shopping with a visit to Granville Island or a trip down Robinson Street. After that you can unwind at the legendary Rosewood Hotel Georgia which boasts one of the most beautiful indoor swimming pools in the world.
4. A Cruise.
While it’s not a specific destination, a cruise in any part of the world is a great travel experience for solo female travelers. (Full disclosure: our CEO is on the board of the parent company of Norwegian Cruise Lines). Onboard you can enjoy the convenience of an itinerary and secure accommodation, not to mention you only have to unpack once while getting to see multiple locales. Why not try a trip from Hong Kong to Ho Chi Minh City with Crystal Cruises where you can experience Hong Kong and it’s iconic skyline, then set out to explore the wall-enclosed imperial city of Hue and the duality of Ho Chi Minh City, a city that is ancient yet dizzyingly modern. And according to Crystal Cruises, almost 25% of their cruisers are solo explorers so you will be in good company.
These is something to please everyone in Spain. From art museums and beautiful architecture to delicious food and stunning beaches. In Barcelona you can visit Parc Guell which doubles as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and features modern architecture, sculptures and mosaics designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. Continue your Gaudí tour with a visit to La Sagrada Familia before moving onto the Picasso Museum. Be sure to stop by La Bouqieria, the oldest market in the city for a bite before retreating to the luxe minimalist style Hotel Arts.
6. New Zealand.
If you are looking for some adventure head to New Zealand. It’s one of the best vacations for women traveling solo. Want to hike a volcano? Head to White Island. Looking to bungee jump and ride in a jet boat in the same afternoon? You can make it happen on the South Island. And why not, New Zealand is the original home of bungee jumping. When you are ready for some down time and a taste of Sauvignon Blanc, head to the Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand’s prime wine country, near the city of Blenheim. There you can stay at the quaint but luxurious Marlborough Lodge and enjoy wine from the adjacent winery, as well as some quality time floating in the pool as you plan your next thrilling adventure.
7. US National Parks.
Who here hasn’t seen or read Wild and been inspired by Cheryl Strayed? Admittedly though, most of us aren’t able to go 2,650 miles over the course of 5 months on the Pacific Crest Trail on a solo outdoor adventure. Instead, one of our picks for the best trips for solo female travelers is a bit less rigorous. Head to Yosemite National Park and stay at the Majestic Yosemite Hotel. There you can take in awe-inspiring views of (and hopefully trips to) Yosemite Falls, Glacier Point and Half Dome. We love Jackson Hole, where you can stay at Amangiri and tour both Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone in easy day trips. And if that’s not your taste, there are 59 national parks located across the United States to explore and some 193,500 miles of trail to walk.
One of the best vacations for women traveling solo is in Japan. With its neon lights and a dizzying whirl of activity, not to mention the language barrier, you might think Tokyo would be an overwhelming spot for solo female travelers, but it is far from that. With extremely polite people and a very orderly way of living – including a smoothly run and easy to follow transportation system – Tokyo is not difficult to explore. And with mouth-watering gyoza, flavourful okonomiyaki and spicy curry hot pots, it’s also a great spot for foodies. And even better for solo travellers? Dining solo here is very common. In fact, many eateries have dedicated communal tables for solo diners so you will never feel self conscious about being alone (or ordering that second bowl of ramen). If you can, snag a table at Den, which holds two Michelin stars and the 2nd place spot on Asia’s 20 Best Restaurant list. And when you are ready to unwind after a busy day of eating? Head to the Aman Tokyo for a little bit of urban sanctuary.
London is high on our list of the best trips for solo female travelers. Stay at The Beaumont in Mayfair, where you’ll be treated like a treasured guest. From there, the city is yours to explore on foot. Shopping, museums, high tea, art galleries, bookstores, music, summer tours of Buckingham Palace, even a trip to Windsor Castle. You will run out of things to do long before your trip ends. And there are lots of restaurants that are used to solo diners, so you can experience London’s varied cuisine with no limitations.
Whether in winter or summer, Aspen is an ideal destination for a solo female traveler. If you ski or snowboard, you’ll find great powder and opportunities for lessons or group skiing along with plenty of time for solitude on solo runs. The apres-ski scene is welcoming and there are excellent dining options (our favorite is Cache Cache). The Aspen Art Museum is stunning and a must-visit. In summer, there’s hiking, kayaking and all manner of outdoor fun to be had. If you stay at The Little Nell or the St. Regis, you’ll also find great spas for your precious “me time.”
that’s where to go when traveling solo
Those are our picks for some of the best trips for solo female travelers.
So, what do you think about travelling solo? Are there places you would recommend that we missed? If you’re still unsure about going it alone, just remember: the world is too big to wait around for someone else to head out on your next adventure with. And most importantly: you deserve it.
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Jillian Tangen is the Head of Research at Dandelion Chandelier. Formerly, she was a Senior Research Analyst at McKinsey & Co and Analyst at Shearman & Sterling. She is an avid fan of Nordic design, having owned an independent lifestyle store and sales agency focused on emerging Scandinavian design. Jillian lives in NYC and is married with three young children. She loves cross country skiing, the New York Rangers, reading, travel and discovering new brands.