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Five Awesome Destinations for your First Solo Trip

Beginner-friendly and truly amazing destinations for solo travel!

a solo traveler in front of Monet's Water Lilies at MOMA, New York City

As an experienced solo traveler who’s been to a myriad of destinations (24 trips spanning 5 countries and counting!), a question I get asked a lot is how I choose where to travel.

There are many factors I take into account when choosing a solo travel destination: culture, food, available activities, safety, and my own level of interest being the major ones. The biggest questions you should ask yourself when choosing a solo travel destination are:

  1. Is it safe for a solo traveler? (especially if you present femme or gender nonconforming), and

  2. Do you think you’d have fun there??

That’s it! Those are the only two requirements! For the first question, you can check out This Post if you want to know how I determine if a destination will be safe for me as a traveler. For the second, that’s up to you! But if you’re looking for a little destination inspiration, here are my top 5 starter solo travel destinations! I’ll tell you why I loved them, and why I think they’re great for solo travel!

#5 - The Cuyahoga Valley, Central Ohio

What I love about it: Hidden smack dab between Cleveland and Akron, this area is the Midwest's best kept secret. There’s a whole National Park there for hiking, and it’s the only national park with no entrance fee! And when you’re done hiking for the day, the Cuyahoga Valley is an excellent wine region, dotted with wineries with stunning patios where you can while away your evenings.

Why it’s great for solo travel: This is such a friendly part of the country. I’ve been to this area twice and I have always made friends with the people at the other winery tables. This is the kind of solo travel destination that never once feels lonely. Plus, Cuyahoga Valley National Park is enough of a secret that it’s rarely packed, but sees enough visitors that you won’t feel like you’re completely alone on the trails. And, as an added bonus, the fact that this area is relatively unknown means it’s very affordable to visit, even if you’re footing all the bills yourself.

#4 - Seattle, Washington

What I love about it: Seattle has an incredible amount of variety! Cool neighborhoods, classy seafood places, Pike Place Market, oceanfront parks, a ferry you can take across the bay for wine tastings, mountains nearby if you have a rental car. It’s got it all.

Why it’s great for solo travel: All that variety! No matter what your interests are, you’ll find something fun to do in Seattle. It’s a great first-solo-trip city because there’s enough to do that you’ll never find yourself floundering to fill your itinerary, but it’s a small enough city to not feel intimidating.

#3 - Amsterdam, The Netherlands

What I love about it: Lots of major cities boast a beautiful riverfront. In Amsterdam the entire city is a riverfront! It’s a gorgeous city with a very relaxed culture and a little something for everyone. Amazing museums, boutique shopping, the best comfort food to ever comfort food… It’s an awesome place.

Why it’s great for solo travel: The entire city is completely walkable, so if the idea of figuring out public transit in a foreign country intimidates you, Amsterdam is the city for you. Plus, English is their national language, and while you’ll definitely hear Dutch being spoken, you’ll rarely (if ever) struggle to communicate. Overall it’s a great gateway city where you can adjust to flying solo in a foreign country without the stress of a language barrier and confusing train schedules.

#2 - Zion National Park, Utah

What I love about it: Friends, this park nestled its way into my soul and hasn’t left. The scenery is insane. The hiking is incredible no matter your fitness level. The little town of Springdale right at the park gates has everything you need for an amazing vacation.

Why it’s great for solo travel: You can probably apply this note to just about any National Park, but what makes the National Park System perfect for solo travel is the balance between nature and amenities. If you love solo hiking but not solo camping, there’s bound to be places to stay and delicious restaurants nearby. And even if you go hiking “alone” (which I honestly love doing because I get to set my own pace!) there will always be other people on the trail with you. This makes me feel safe and like I'm a part of a community. Plus there’s something magical about experiencing the grandeur of nature at its best completely on your own. It’s a deeply spiritual experience if you allow it to be.

Click here for all my Zion-specific travel guides!

#1 - New York City, New York

What I love about it: Whatever you’re looking for, you can find it in NYC! Theatre, museums, fine dining, cheap bagels that change your life, wild architecture, classic buildings, Central Park… literally anything you could possibly want out of a vacation you can find in New York City.

Why it’s great for solo travel: If the thought of traveling solo makes you self-conscious, NYC is the destination for you. It’s incredibly easy to be anonymous in a city this size. No matter where you are or what you’re up to, you sitting alone at your cafe table is not going to be the weirdest thing those New Yorkers set eyes on that day. Do you, live your best life, and no one will judge!

Which Destination Sounds Right for Your First Solo Trip?

All these destinations aside, remember that the most important thing about picking a solo travel destination is whether or not YOU are excited about it. Go with your heart! That’s what solo travel is all about!

Have you traveled solo? If so, what have your favorite destinations been? Or if you haven’t tried solo travel yet, where are you thinking about going first?

Nervous to take the leap? Check out this guide to making that first trip less intimidating!

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