Traveling is an indispensable way to discover things about the world that you would have otherwise never known.
Whether you travel for the food, the museums, for nightlife, or a little of everything, each new destination brings forth a wave of newness that is unmatched by anything back at home.
Travel tells us a lot about ourselves and our travel mates — how we react under pressure, if we can still read a paper map, and how well we can keep conversations going without having constant cell reception.
But what about traveling solo?
The benefits of traveling alone are huge. Not only will you be able to call all the shots — from where you eat to how early you wake up! — but you’ll be relying solely on yourself to get by, whether that means following road directions or trying to communicate in a language that’s foreign to you, it’s all on you to ensure your trip goes smoothly.
If you’re a naturally shy person, the lack of constant companionship also means you’ll make room for new friends by putting yourself out there. Pretty much anywhere you go while traveling will also have some other solo travelers around, meaning that you’re in an environment where people will already be more receptive to conversation starters.
The most important part of planning a solo trip is the destination itself, so we’ve put together a list of the top destinations that make for great solo travel. Whether you’re looking for fast paced city exploration or something a little slower to really refresh your mindset, here’s where your solo adventures should begin:
Arizona may be one of the most underrated destinations in the US, offering spectacular red rock scenery and evergreen vegetation that is unlike anything you’ll see in rest of the country.
Arizona is also home to the Sedona Vortex. What is a vortex? Well, according to VisitSedona.com, “Sedona vortexes are thought to be swirling centers of energy that are conducive to healing, meditation and self-exploration. These are places where the earth seems especially alive with energy. Many people feel inspired, recharged or uplifted after visiting a vortex.”
While all of Sedona is considered to be a vortex, if you’re looking to feel especially recharged after your trip, the four best known vortexes to look out for are Airport Mesa, Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock and Boynton Canyon.
Nestled into the Canadian Rockies, Banff, Alberta has made a name of itself for being one of the most beautiful destinations in North America. From the breathtaking mountain views at Lake Minnewanka, to the gondola at the base of Sulphur Mountain, dozens of spectacular sites await.
Banff also offers a generous handful of wellness destinations for travelers looking to recharge in nature. For centuries, people have been flocking to Banff to bathe in their mineral rich hot springs, which can be beneficial for everyone from those with skin conditions to those looking to clear their mind. The Banff Upper Hot Springs are open to the public and offer an unparalleled healing experience.
Ganges River, India
While a solo trip to India may sound like a daunting task, a wellness cruise through the Ganges River can actually be the ideal combination of relaxation and adventure. The Uniworld “Sacred Ganges” cruise spans twelve days — taking you from New Delhi to Kolkata. While on the ship, you’ll spend your days participating in the cruise’s Wellness Program, doing rooftop yoga and meditation sessions, testing your hand in the kitchen with healthy cooking classes, taking fitness classes and learning about holistic living.
If your goal for your solo trip really is just to relax while reflecting upon everything you have to be grateful for and everything you want to achieve once you return home, a serene river cruise along the Ganges is the ideal environment.
For a totally different solo travel experience, try spending a week or so in Asia’s most bustling metropolis. There’s something innately calming about being in the middle of a city where no one knows your name and where no one speaks your language. It offers a sense of peace — of silence and inner clarity, that goes beyond even that of a nature retreat.
If you’ve come to relax, don’t worry: Japan offers a natural hot spring bath — the onsen — that is unique to the country thanks to the abundance of volcanoes in the vicinity. Nippon Onsen Research Association counts over 3,000 onsen spread around Japan, including Tokyo. Niwa no Yu is one of the best onsens in Tokyo, and unlike some of the natural onsens in Japan, it was actually created by drilling into the earth.
Who wouldn’t want to spend a little time soaking up all that Champagne has to offer? Just a few hours outside of Paris, Champagne really is the destination for white wine lovers. From a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage protected Chardonnay vineyards to Musée de la Vigne et du Vin, here’s where to come if you’re seeking a wine-fuelled adventure.
Once you’ve had all the sparkling wine to suit your palate, head to Champagne’s first-ever wellness destination, Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa. This reimagined wine-country retreat is housed in a 19th-century Post House, offering guests treatments such as innovative facials and tranquil massages. If you’ve come to simply zen out on your own, the vineyard-heavy views will help you do just that.