It’s probably not news to you that I am a big advocate for solo travel. I have travelled alone across four continents (so far), and I have no plans to stop anytime soon. At the beginning, the thought of travelling alone and moving across the world by myself made me have an actual breakdown in a San Francisco hostel room.
Today, I don’t think twice. I don’t think you should let anything get in the way of you and your travel dreams. Yes, visiting places with friends is amazing. But so is visiting Brussels and spending a weekend with new people from different countries.
I basically have four boxes a place has to tick before I deem it solo travel worthy 😉 I have to feel safe and comfortable; it has to have some good attractions you can enjoy alone; it must have easy-to-navigate public transport; and the language barrier can’t be too much of a struggle. So, from North America to Europe to Asia to Australia, here are my 15 favourite solo travel destinations—tried and tested.
I wouldn’t say Dublin is my favourite place in the world, but it’s a great city to visit alone. Although I only took one bus during my visit, there were different transport options available. I also felt very comfortable walking around the entire city early in the morning and at night. There’s plenty of things to do in Dublin as well. You can base yourself in Dublin and do day trips to places like Northern Ireland, Cork and Galway too.
Where I stayed: Abbey Court Hostel
Read more: My 12 day Ireland and Northern Ireland itinerary
To be honest, travelling around Europe solo did make me nervous because of the language barrier. But I constantly see UK residents on Instagram hopping over to mainland Europe for the weekend. So I thought if they could do it, so could I. Amsterdam was the best city I visited in Europe in terms of the minimal language barrier. Every local who served me—whether it was at a shop or cafe—spoke amazing English and were so polite. I was honestly blown away by the hospitality and this is why Amsterdam is now one of my favourite cities in Europe. I also spent a lot of time walking around admiring the architecture and eating a lot of good food, which I need to write about ASAP.
Where I stayed: Generator Amsterdam
I’ve written previously how I was sceptical about visiting Las Vegas alone. But it turns out, travelling solo to Las Vegas is still a lot of fun. I walked up and down the Strip (even at night) and felt safe. Next, I went all out and hit the buffet. I also did two tours: a night tour with Big Bus and a day tour to the Grand Canyon. Yes, Las Vegas would be a lot of fun with your favourite people, but I am here to tell you that you can still enjoy yourself in Vegas alone.
Where I stayed: Hostel Cat
London is a fantastic place to visit solo, especially if it’s your first time travelling alone. The city’s public transport is fantastic—expensive, but extremely efficient. There’s also possibly too much to do in London. I have now spent about 10 days in the city and I still have SO many things left on my bucket list. I was staying near Tower Bridge and felt comfortable walking around here once the sun set too. I met up with a born-and-bred Londoner (who I’d previously met in a Vancouver hostel dorm room) and she said she’s never once felt unsafe walking around London after dark.
Where I stayed: Wombats City Hostel
Read more: Christmas in London
My home sweet (second) home. Even if I hadn’t spent over two years living in Vancouver, I would still recommend it as a top solo travel destination. Firstly, public transport is fantastic. Secondly, there’s lots of things to do. Thirdly, there are plenty of accessible day trip options, like getting the bus to wonderful Whistler.
Singapore is a great Asian destination for solo travel. The transport is excellent and the city is very safe. I felt totally comfortable visiting sights at night and walking back to my hostel from the train station. I also loved the different tourist attractions on offer in Singapore. Oh, and the cheap meals from the hawker centre near my hostel were the BEST.
Where I stayed: Dream Lodge
Read more: My favourite Singapore photos
I heard a lot of mixed reviews about Belfast prior to visiting. However, I wanted to see it for myself and see if what people were saying was true. In Belfast, I found a city with fantastic day trips and a very interesting (albeit sad) history. I felt safe walking the 10 minutes from the city centre to my hostel at night and had a great day exploring the city. Don’t always believe what you hear.
Where I stayed: Vagabonds Belfast
Read more: My Ireland and Northern Ireland itinerary
Oh, how I love you Portland. I have written a lot about Portland on the blog. It’s just such a friendly, beautiful and walkable city you must visit in the States. I have visited three times now and always find something new to do with every visit.
Where I stayed: HI Northwest Portland
In the end, I visited Brussels twice during my European adventures in 2017. Once again, it was another welcoming and walkable European city. The locals I interacted with spoke very good English and were also very friendly. Plus, there are so many cities within easy reach for day trips (I visited Bruges with girls I met in my dorm room). Don’t stay anywhere else, this guesthouse is the best!
Where I stayed: Sleephere Brussels
Read more: 26 things to do in Brussels
If I was to do the expat thing again, Edinburgh would be the city I call home. I loved its gorgeous brick buildings, free attractions and pub offerings. I also only walked around Edinburgh, because both the New and Old Towns were easily accessible from my hostel. Yes, why I did do a heck of a lot of walking in Europe! If you have time, I also recommend doing a day trip through the Scottish Highlands.
Where I stayed: Budget Backpackers
The Canadian Rockies are still one of the most beautiful destinations I’ve visited—solo or otherwise. Banff is actually very accessible if travelling solo and without a car. It’s only 1.5 hours by bus from Calgary and you can walk or get the public bus to a lot of the town’s main attractions. I also did a tour to Lake Louise, which was as incredible as I hoped.
Where I stayed: Samesun Banff
Ljubljana makes the cut because it’s the place to base yourself to see Lake Bled if you’re a solo traveller. I found it quite seamless to get a local bus to and from Lake Bled, although I was anxious beforehand. In Ljubljana, everyone I met was very friendly: from the walking tour guide to the hostel receptionist. It isn’t overrun with attractions, so two days is a perfect amount of time in Ljubljana.
Where I stayed: Vila Veselova
Another place I was anxious about visiting solo was Tokyo. That city is a sensory overload! There were so many bright lights and people and noises. But I loved it and I hope to return soon, now that I’m based in Australia again. I felt comfortable walking to my hostel at night and the Japanese people I interacted with were all very friendly. The public transport is also fairly easy to use, as there are thankfully signs in English everywhere, directing you where to go. I also did a day trip to Mount Fuji, which was awesome.
Read more: My solo travel guide to Tokyo
Paris is synonymous with romantic escapes, but I’m here to tell you it’s a fantastic city for solo travel too. Although some French people won’t converse in English, I think you can get by just pointing at the delicious pastry you want. I also love Paris because there is just so much to see and do, like London. I used the Metro daily as well and found it easy to navigate, which helps in a big city.
Where I stayed: Le Village Hostel
Finally, I have to give a shoutout to Melbourne, my current home. Because in Australia, Melbourne is hands down the best place to visit alone. There are plenty of transport options and too many things to do (like, my list is still long and I’ve lived here for nearly two years). Go to brunch, visit St Kilda, spend a day wandering around the city’s many laneways and go on a day trip. I promise you’ll love it.
Read more: If the links above aren’t enough, check out where to photograph Melbourne’s skyline.