There’s no denying that women are fast becoming the driving force behind the global travel industry. According to Mariette Du Toit 2018 recent statistics show that two thirds of travellers are women and, according to the US Travel Association, more than 11% of adult leisure travellers are solo females. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that 80% of all travel decisions and 92% of travel purchases are made by women too.
On the other hand, women also continue to dominate the entrepreneurship scene in tourism, so it’s only a matter of time before we see changes happening in more official structures too. For this to happen women themselves will have to drive this agenda and bring about the change needed. It is about time. After all, the future really is female!
If you’re itching to get away from it all, a solo trip might be just what you need: time to think, explore and relax on your own terms. Here are 8 destinations ideal for solo travel:
Beautiful weather, plenty of history, and vibrant music culture make Cuba a favourite destination for solo travellers. Find solitude in the Cuban countryside or on the legendary beaches, and when you want to meet people and socialise, sign up for a salsa dance class.
Don’t forget to take advantage of the free walking tours of Havana, which take place every morning and afternoon. Wi-Fi in Cuba is not so easy to come by, so make the most of this by switching off your devices and fully immersing yourself in the people and culture. It’s a good opportunity to practice a bit of Spanish and make friends.
2. Sri Lanka
If it’s serenity and soul searching are what you’re after, then Sri Lanka’s forests are home to some world class yoga retreats like Ulpotha. It is a place where you can seek sanctuary surrounded by rice paddy fields. Sri Lanka’s lush landscapes and architectural wonders will give you plenty of food for thought during your solo trip.
Bring your hiking shoes and plenty of storage space on your camera. This tiny island country offers a surprising array of experiences, from backpacking in the misty mountains to elephant watching in the national parks.
With amazing wildlife, unique culture and some truly mind-blowing landscapes, there’s no question that you will enjoy travelling in Tanzania as a solo female traveller. The sheer diversity of this country – from the plains of the Serengeti, to the beaches of its coastline and even the soaring heights of Kilimanjaro – makes it an utterly unique place to travel.
It is ideal if you’re adventuring alone because many of Tanzania’s top attractions will see you paired with other travellers (i.e. joining safari groups, dive trips or hiking excursions) which means making friends and sharing the experience is a given.
Last but not least, Zanzibar is an absolute must and I recommend allowing yourself at least six days on the island to really soak up the historic capital of Stone Town before hitting the beach for some epic chill time! You can fly direct to Zanzibar via Mango Airlines.
Iceland is one of the world’s safest countries for female solo travellers. You can spend some time whale watching along the coast – eleven species of whales are regularly spotted year-round! Visit the ice caves at Vatnajökull Glacier, and if you visit between October and April, you may be able to see the legendary Northern Lights. If you want to experience some of Iceland’s spectacular sites with like-minded travellers, hang around in Reykjavik, the northern most capital of the world, for the first few days to make some friends. English is widely spoken so you can also chat to the locals for recommendations on what to do and see on your trip.
There are many tours you can join on your Icelandic adventure, whether you’re into hiking up glaciers or photographing otherworldly landscapes. Your trip to Iceland wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the famous Blue Lagoon, where you can bath in milky blue geothermal pools, indulge in a luxury spa retreat, or experience an in-water massage, whilst surrounded by rocky volcanic landscapes.
Portugal was voted as the fourth most peaceful country in the world, according to the Global Peace Index, making it a perfect spot for female solo travellers. It is also one of the more affordable countries in Europe, with an easy-to-use public transportation system. The sunny cobblestone streets are perfect for unwinding and rejuvenating.
If you stay in Lisbon, consider to include into your itinerary a trip to Sintra where you can visit three major castles in one historic city. If relaxing on a beach, beneath the Mediterranean sun is more your thing, head to the stunning stretches of sand along the coast of the Algarve. Highlights include Praia da Marinha in Lagoa (often seen in lists of ‘Europe’s best beaches’) and Praia de Vale Figueira in Carrapateira (to escape the crowds).
Known for its safe and respectful culture, Japan is an ideal destination for a solo female traveller. Both petty and violent crimes are incredibly rare; in fact, Japan is one of the safest countries in the world. Choose Tokyo, Osaka, or Kyoto as your home base, and enjoy exploring.
Indulge in fresh seafood and sushi, and it’s very common for Japanese women to eat alone in cafes and restaurants. Although Japan is a developed country, it can still be a culture shock for first timers, with most signage in Japanese and a culture far removed from our own. Sometimes as a solo traveller you can feel isolated. But with a bit of research you make it one of the most unforgettable and enriching experiences of your life.
Namibia is currently a safe and politically stable country with intriguing wildlife and spectacular desert views. If you’re a female solo traveller with a taste for adventure, this is a destination made for you. With one of the oldest deserts in the world and a sparse population, this is the perfect place for travellers seeking solitude and contemplation.
Renting a car is a good way to see the landscapes of Namibia, but distances between towns can be vast so stock up on food and water, and know who to call if you break down on your road trip. If you would prefer to spend your solo travels meeting new people, sign yourself up for a safari or desert tour.
8. Tahiti, French Polynesia
If the goal of your solo trip is to completely relax and unwind, you won’t find a better destination than Tahiti. With endless spa options and long stretches of white sands, it’s the perfect place to switch off and escape reality.
For a truly relaxing solo holiday, consider booking a room on an island cruise. On a Tahitian cruise, you can explore the islands without having to manage the details of your own travel, accommodation and meals. Snorkel and swim in crystal clear waters by day, and dine under the stars by night. For adventure, Hop on a short flight to one of the many surrounding islands, such as Fakarava, with its untouched landscapes and crystal-clear lagoons. Or book a once-in-a-lifetime scuba diving trip in Tahiti, where you’ll get to swim with sharks, manta rays and sea turtles.