Traveling alone is trending, according to a recent report from American Express, with 69% of survey respondents planning to take a solo trip in 2024. It’s no wonder: When you travel the world alone, you don’t need to juggle anyone else’s schedule or preferences. You can go where you want, when you want and follow your heart when choosing activities once you’ve arrived at your destination. Solo traveling can be a great way to meet new people, relax or explore your hobbies (think: a cooking class in the South of France or a wellness-focused destination).

But of course, if you’re looking to plan a trip for one, you’ll want to consider a few factors, such as how easy it is to get around—since getting lost on your own can be stressful—as well as how fun it is to explore and relax alone in the destination. Taking all this into consideration, here are the five best places to travel solo, and why we think these destinations fit the bill.

1. Dublin, Ireland 

If you love history, literature and having a pint in a pub, and you’re eager to explore a city in another country that’s rich with culture, Dublin is a wonderful option. It’s a safe, walkable city—with easy-to-navigate public transportation if you opt to journey out of the city center—and its residents are friendly. Ireland’s capital offers culture galore, including museums, galleries and music. And while you’ll want to bring along a rain slicker, all that drizzle leads to lush green parks.

Why we chose Dublin as a place to travel solo 

  • Ease of getting there and around: From New York City, a nonstop flight to Dublin is under seven hours. Once you get from the airport to Dublin, most attractions are in the city center, meaning you can get by without a car or even public transportation, unless you want to take day trips or explore destinations further out in the city. 
  • Safety: Of course, Dublin is a city, so you’ll want to take standard safety measures, like being on the lookout for pickpockets and not wandering into deserted neighborhoods. But overall, the U.S. Department of State has given Ireland a Level 1 travel advisory, indicating that travelers should simply exercise normal precautions. The country is ranked third on the 2023 Global Peace Index from the Institute for Economics and Peace. 

2. Tokyo, Japan 

Let us count the reasons to travel alone to Tokyo: It’s quite safe, you’ll get to visit somewhere that’s very likely to be different from your home, and many hotels and restaurants are geared toward individuals. For instance, there are hotel rooms for solo travelers, and it’s common for people to sit alone at restaurants—either at a counter or a table. Additionally, there’s so much to do. Even riding the world-renowned train system is an adventure. Plus, there are cherry blossoms, fish markets, onsen (aka hot springs), temples and more to explore.

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Why we chose Tokyo as a place to travel solo 

  • Language: If you don’t speak Japanese, the thought of visiting Tokyo may feel intimidating. While it’s true that most residents there do not speak English fluently, many of them can communicate in English to a certain extent, and technology including translation apps on your smartphone, makes the language barrier less daunting. The capital city is also a huge tourist destination, so English signs are common, as are pictures of food on menus. Before you go, aim to learn some basic polite words and phrases. 
  • Safety: The U.S. travel advisory for Japan is at the lowest level, with visitors advised to just take normal precautions. 
  • Ideal for female travelers: Crime rates are low in Japan. If you’re a woman traveling alone, know that Tokyo offers women-only train cars during peak travel times, and you can generally walk around safely and unbothered. That said, foreigners may get a bit of unwanted attention, so exercise caution, particularly late at night. 

3. Reykjavík, Iceland 

Visit Reykjavík—and if you’re lucky, you’ll see the northern lights. But even if those colorful rays of light don’t appear in the sky, there’s plenty to see and do, including geothermal spas, museums, a vibrant music scene and many places to eat and shop. You’ll be able to walk to a lot of the main attractions, though cabs are readily available. It’s also easy to rent a car or bike to get around. Iceland itself is easy to get to. Flights are generally budget-friendly and the flight time from NYC is about six hours. 

Why we chose Reykjavík as a place to travel alone 

  • Friendliness toward travelers: Tourism is a major part of Iceland’s economy, so people in Reykjavík are accustomed to visitors. But this isn’t just a transactional friendliness: You can expect warmth, smiles and kindness from the residents you encounter. Plus, Iceland is the number one ranked country on the 2023 Global Peace Index
  • LGBTQIA+-friendly: Iceland is considered a tolerant, welcoming destination for the LGBTQIA+ community. Reykjavík’s annual pride event attracts over 100,000 people, and even outside of that event, the city has a flourishing LGBTQIA+ culture. 
  • Lots of options: You can opt for a relaxing experience with geothermal springs, or you can go on a whale watching trip, visit a museum, hear live music and entertain yourself in countless other ways.  

4. La Fortuna, Costa Rica  

Gorgeous and scenic Costa Rica offers beaches, jungles, adventure and pura vida. The Central American country is welcoming to tourists, and has many friendly residents who speak English. If planning out an itinerary feels overwhelming, there are plenty of companies that can arrange one for solo travelers. But you can also figure it out by yourself, taking a bus, rented car or shuttle from the airport to La Fortuna. Once you’re there, you can visit Arenal Volcano National Park, enjoy time in a hot spring, go for a hike or ride a horse.

Why we chose La Fortuna as a place to travel solo

  • Ease of tourism: Costa Rica is a tourist-friendly country. That means that although Spanish is the native language, English is commonly spoken. (But as always, it’s best to learn key phrases in Spanish before arriving.) Similarly, while the country’s currency is the ​​colón, you can pay in dollars, though it might lead to an exchange rate that’s not in your favor. 
  • Adventures galore: Ziplining, whitewater rafting, rope swings and hanging bridges are just some of the delights available for solo adventure seekers. 
  • Safety: Do note that the U.S. Department of State has given Costa Rica a Level 2 travel advisory, encouraging visitors to practice increased caution due to crime. Still, savvy travelers—who know not to showcase expensive items, wander in isolated areas or be unaware of their surroundings—should feel comfortable visiting alone. 

5. Montreal, Canada 

If a trip across the ocean to Europe feels out of reach, consider a visit to Montreal, where the official language is French and the city has the moniker “Canada’s Culture Capital.” Foodies and culture lovers will find a lot to love about this locale. Some noteworthy museums include the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal and the Canadian Centre for Architecture. Plus, the city is full of murals and galleries as well as upscale restaurants and low-budget treats, such as Montreal bagels and poutine. Outdoor fanatics might want to rent a bike to explore some of the city’s gorgeous parks, including Parc Jean-Drapeau (a site used during the 1976 Summer Olympics) and Mount Royal.

Why we chose Montreal as a solo travel destination 

  • Safety: Canada is generally considered a safe country and Montreal does not have a high crime rate. As with any city, take sensible precautions. Montreal’s public transportation is also easy to use and safe.
  • A haven for foodies and culture lovers: There’s so much to eat and observe in this city, including gardens galore. Most activities—visiting museums, shopping and walking through parks, to name a few—do not require a companion to be fulfilling.

Photo by carlesmiro/Shutterstock.com

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