Want to find out the top destinations for solo female travel? I’ve talked to some incredible women who have travelled the world and asked them their favourite places to travel solo. I’m going to share their top choices, and why they choose each country. If you’re planning a solo trip, this post will help you decide where to go!
Travelling solo for the first time can be a daunting experience. In this weekly Solo Female Travel series I’m going to share tips from experienced travelers to inspire you and give you the confidence to book the trip of a lifetime. I’ll share safety tips, general advice, words of wisdom, and tips on how to meet people when you travel solo. By the end of the series you should be ready for your first solo trip!
The Top Solo Female Travel Destinations
Unsurprisingly, the most-visited destinations among the women I spoke to were in Southeast Asia, Western Europe and Australasia. These are super-popular regions for travel anyway, and the results are likely skewed by the fact that these are the regions I’ve travelled to and written about, and the fact that most of my contributors are Irish! But which countries stood out as everyone’s favourite?
The Top Solo Female Travel Destination: Thailand
Thailand is in the top spot as both the most-visited country and most-selected as people’s favourite destination! I can’t say I disagree – I absolutely love that country for its food, beaches, nature and people.
Gráinne Kelly, 23, appreciated how safe she felt there, and the great range of things to do:
Thailand was definitely the easiest. There was a level of safety that I didn’t find in other countries that I’ve been to before, and a great level of accessibility everywhere. Little things like WiFi access being widely available, constantly meeting other travelers, and some great reviews of hostels on HostelWorld, made everything seem a little safer, and a little more familiar. Plus, there is PLENTY to do solo: getting lost in temples, market shopping, relaxing on the beach… everything you could do with someone, yet perfectly acceptable to do on your own!
I also found that in various hostels, and hotels/resorts, they have great options for day trips in the local area, or further afield, so you don’t have to worry too much about getting lost on your own, planning out everything by yourself, and just sticking with yourself the whole time. Jumping on a “day tour” of certain temples, elephant sanctuaries and the like, meant I was meeting like-minded people every day, solo travelers, couples, groups, friends, everything, of all ages, all nationalities.
Kate Finegan, 26, loves the local people and the fellow travellers she met in Thailand:
Thailand has hands down the friendliest, most open and welcoming people. Literally everyone is in the same boat.
Grainne, 30, also loved the Thai people and how convenient it is to be there:
Thailand is amazing & filled with the most friendly locals you will ever meet … because it is so touristy it’s definitely a great starter trip for going solo. It has everything you could need in shops, network for your phone & wifi is available almost everywhere & there are only a few places where you won’t find an ATM so money is never an issue. I also broke my phone in PhiPhi & was able to walk straight off the boat to a phone repair shop.
Rebecca, 25, found Thailand easy to get around as a solo traveller
I would say for ease of getting around and travelling alone, Bali and Thailand were the easiest. Its amazing how geared up their transportation links are for travellers.
Australia came in a close second place in both most-visited and most-favourited lists. It’s easy to see why – for native English speakers, Australia is extremely easy to navigate and offers spectacular nature and unique wildlife in a country that (for Irish or British travellers at least) feels a little bit like home.
Shonagh Mulhern, 24, found Australia very backpacker-friendly and easy to travel through:
I found Australia extremely easy to navigate as a solo traveller. The native language is English so that always helps in times of panic… So the fact that it was an English speaking country was massively advantageous. I would say for the most part I also felt very safe. Australia is also consistently in a ‘high’ season for backpackers. If traveling a known backpacker route, such as the South Coast as I did you will always be sure to meet like-minded travelers along the way.
The hostels, shops and activities in Australia are also very backpacker friendly. They don’t mind if you walk in with sandy flip-flops or are rocking the hobo-chic look. They are all for the most part very accepting of the nomadic lifestyle. Also, many hostel owners, receptionists and bar people are also travelers themselves. So when asking them for help, advice or knowledge on the area they are happy to help and will more than likely ask you a few q’s about where you are from so they can learn also.
Ciara Gunn, 32, found a sense of community in Australia’s hostels:
I was in my early 20s and it was my first solo trip. I started staying in Sydney in a hostel and working, everyone in that hostel was the same. At that stage I got comfortable and did the east coast, ended up making so many friends along the coast. Honestly was so inspiring meeting so many people from different countries.
Fiona Smiddy, 28, had a similar experience:
Australia is great because there is such a defined backpacker route. Hostels are very communal and set up to meet people.
Another Southeast Asian favourite, Vietnam’s low cost of living and amazing food put it in third place.
Michelle Eccles, 27, loved the Vietnam vibe:
It just had a better vibe around the place and made so many more friends. Nowhere near as touristy as Thailand and just so many things to do. And such a big country. Perfect for travelling solo as you’ve loads to do and will be kept busy. Also all the nightbuses were a great opportunity to meet new people.
Kiera, 34, loves Southeast Asia in general, and Vietnam in particular:
For solo travel I find Asia the easiest to navigate and to make friends. My favourite country there is Vietnam. The people are friendly and accommodating and everything was so simple to organise.
I find it much easier to make friends when travelling in Asia. I don’t know if it’s because it’s more relaxed but I find it harder to make friends when travelling in Europe. I think it can be easier to do solo travel in cheaper countries because you are not worried about blowing your budget. I always feel I have enough in case there was an emergency.
Lauren Crisafi, 32 , found Laos a great place to meet other travellers.
Not a lot of people travel to Laos, and those that do are usually going to the same places, so everyone is open and trying to meet friends and the people of Laos are some of the nicest people you will ever meet. Most things you will do in Laos are group activities or are cheapest with a group (tuk tuk rides to lagoons, waterfalls, etc) so it’s really easy to just ask to join a group. Almost all activities in Laos can also be booked through your accommodation even at a hostel, so if you aren’t confident doing everything on your own, there are places it can be done for you
Other Favourite Solo Female Travel Destinations
People named favourites from all around the globe, on every continent. Here are some more highlights:
Fiona Lawless recommends Malawi:
If you want to get off the beaten track and try somewhere different, Malawi. The Warm Heart of Africa, often called Africa for beginners, is English speaking, very safe, easy to get around and offers national parks, beaches on an amazing lake, villages only accessed by boat and becomes a country that people return to again and again.
Laura loves Nepal & Myanmar:
I just felt so at ease and safe. There wasn’t one point where I felt wary of anything. They’re incredibly beautiful countries and people. They are also the 2 countries I’m going to make sure I get back to.
Fiona Smiddy found Colombia easy to travel around, even without speaking any Spanish:
There is lots of information online to plan routes and you don’t need a car so aren’t reliant on organising transport with others. I don’t speak Spanish but managed to communicate with only a smile and hand signals where needed.
Fiona Cushley, 31, recommends Cape Town as a destination for solo female travellers. To stay safe here she recommends joining a tour bus.
Cape town is filled with tourists, it’s become such a popular spot. It’s pretty cheap to eat and drink as apposed to Ireland. The weather from like Sept-March/April is amazing. A bit chillier in May when I first went there. Scenery is breathtaking! Vineyards everywhere, you could get to a stunning vineyard within 20 minutes from the city! Airbnb is the best for there. You can find a stunning apartment in a good location for a decent price! Camps Bay and Green point are 2 places I would recommend to stay or Woodstock is an up and coming place now.
A tour company I booked with were Kiff Kombi Tours. They were so much fun! Really cool vehicle, fun happy vibes, good music on the tours, everyone was lovely and the tours they do are very reasonable and you’ll get one for everything you could possibly want to do in Cape Town!
Finally, I’m very happy that Amanda chose my home country, Ireland, as her (joint) favourite! I think if she searches her feelings, she’ll know the true winner 🙂
Definitely Scotland or Ireland because everyone was so stinking friendly. All the hostels I stayed in were hosting events and group things for people to do things together.
In each post of this series I’ll feature a different solo female traveller who has offered great advice and stories. For the first post I want to highlight Lauren, whose story is truly inspiring. Lauren is living proof that travel can turn a tough situation around and teach you confidence, independence and give you new purpose.
2 1/2 years ago I got out of a bad relationship and suffered a breakdown. I lost my job, my flat and most of my friends. I want to prove no matter how bad things get you can come back stronger and brighter. Travelling solo for me has made my soul shine again. I’ve never felt more stable and strong. If my posts just inspire one person to solo travel after battling their mental health it would make me so happy. I don’t want anyone to feel alone or like they can’t do something. Everyone has the power to do anything.
Loz’s Favourite Solo Female Travel Destination
Bali – I enjoy it as I felt safe and the locals really want you to be there.
Top safety tip
Carry a bum bag. I’ve never lost anything out of a bumbag!
Advice on meeting other travellers
Always stay in hostels – it’s the best way to meet people. I stayed the first few nights in a hotel and literally spoke to no one. I cried on the phone to my mum thinking I’d made the worst decision to come travelling. By the next day I was in a hostel with a group of strangers that are now some of my closest friends. As soon as you get in the hostel get chatting, hit the pool or chill out area, ask who wants to go for dinner. Food bonds people!
Thoughts on solo travel
Travelling will change your life. I’ve met so many amazing friends and souls that I never would have home. It grows you as a person and you will always have the best stories when you go home. In Gili T I got my hair bitten off by a goat in an Irish bar and my friend filmed the whole thing whilst getting drinks for us from a millionaire. Like how?!
We’re going to need to see that video, Lauren!
Coming up in this series, we’ll hear solo female travellers’ advice for those considering their first trip; safety tips for solo female travellers; and advice on meeting other people when you’re travelling solo.
Have you travelled solo and have anything to add to this post? Comment below or send me a mail to let me know your favourite country to travel solo. I will keep this post updated with your recommendations