9 destinations for first time solo travelers
Deciding to take the leap and travel the world solo can be scary. Picking your first destination is even more difficult a task albeit a fun one. To help narrow your options, here are a few suggestions with supportive infrastructures for solo travelers to start you off.
Japan’s population doesn’t have a highly functional command in English, but in the major urban centers, you’ll find that English is prevalent on street signs, some restaurant menus, and train announcements. Without knowing a lick of Japanese, it is surprisingly easy to navigate the country as a solo traveler. On top of that, Japan has a reputation for being one of the safest countries, a culinary mecca of the world, and surprisingly budget friendly. It is a country rich with both ancient traditions and modern technology.
Australia and New Zealand
Talk about an adventure, solo traveler’s paradise. Australia and New Zealand are two places where one can take outdoor recreation by air (skydiving), land (hiking), and sea (diving). Take a few days to mosey through the big cities, but then get out. Join a hiking group, head to the beach, do some snorkeling, get an ocean view from the top of a mountain, or check out some rural farming. The possibilities for staying active are endless.
Thailand is the ideal first host to a solo traveler friendly S.E. Asian holiday. Adorned with cheap, plastic chairs and tables where delicious street food is served and devoured, the country is a chaotic feast for the senses and a goldmine for knockoff souvenirs. For some quality beach time or to try your hand at scuba diving, head to the coast or spend some time in the islands.
As a solo traveler, visiting Iceland feels like coming home to family. The people are extremely welcoming, generous, and relaxed. Iceland is a great place to dig deep into the local culture without feeling like an outsider, and the country is small enough so you won’t feel overwhelmed. No to mention, Iceland is home to some of the most scenic road trips and cleanest, crispest water in the world.
The flavor, simplicity, and price of food in Turkey alone are enough to draw in the curious solo traveler. The mixture of a Middle Eastern presence, European flavored architecture, and passionate people makes for an incredible ambiance that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. When in Turkey, take it slow. You’ll be pleasantly surprised what can come of a simple hello.
If you’re coming from America, Australia, or the UK and are looking for a change of scenery without drastic differences in culture, Ireland is the place to go. The major cities aren’t as fast-paced as London or New York, and the whole country is accessible by train. In fact, it’s not unreasonable to rendezvous in a city 2-3 hours away and return the same day. Plus, Ireland’s abundance of greenery makes for some great photography or backdrops for photo shoots.
Canada is one of the safer first world countries. With little crime, lots to explore and friendly people abound, the country is the ultimate playground for the solo traveler. Canada makes a great launchpad for a multi-destination trip or a great place to wind down afterwards.
Don’t let the sturdy language barrier deter you from visiting Taiwan. Even during peak season, the country isn’t as crowded as some of its neighbors. Just off the coast of China, Taiwan is a semi-secluded island with celebrations as festive as China, metropolitan areas as lively and bright as Seoul, and a plethora of night markets that will take your taste buds for a roller coaster ride. It would be best to visit this underrated destination before it becomes consumed by big business and skyscrapers.
Even though South Korea is fairly foreigner friendly and a popular destination to teach English as a foreign language, visitors won’t be spared the staring of curious onlookers. No need to fret. If you make the effort to speak a little bit of Korean (i.e. hello or thank you), people will warm up to you real quick. Additionally, just like its Asian counterparts, South Korea is one of the best places to take your taste buds on an adventure aka pointing to something on a menu and hoping for good results.
About this Guest Author
Kimi Sugiyama is a passionately curious world traveler, writer, and Adventure Coach at Wandering Souldier. After quitting her job in 2012, she took off to travel the world on her own and create a location independent lifestyle. She now works remotely all over the world, studying different cultures through food, people, languages, and all the adventures that come intertwined. You can follow Kimi on Twitter and on Facebook.
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