Traveling solo and single is a whole other ball game than traveling as part of a couple or family. And that can be a really exciting ball game, too. If you’re solo, the only mood you have to live with is your own. And if it’s not your best and brightest moment, you don’t have to put on a brave face for anybody. So, what are the best destinations for solo travelers?
"Travel is not a spectator sport. The whole point of a journey is to be engaged by your new, unfamiliar surroundings, and the best way to do that is to expose yourself to the people, places, and experiences your destination offers—without the buffer of the same folks (or even just the same person) you hang out with at home," says Eleni Gage, travel journalist and author of The Ladies of Managua.
"All too many of us know this from experience—you could be in the most stunning place in the world, but if you’re with someone who’s obsessing about work or analyzing every detail of their recent breakup, you’re going to get sucked into that drama and Rome will live on in your memory as the place where she got that email," says Gage.
This can be true if you are solo and happy to stay that way, but it can also be an exciting way to travel as a single. "When you don’t have a language in common with someone, you have to pay more attention to each other’s nonverbal cues. If you’re both motivated to reach an understanding (whether because you’re buying a scarf, asking for directions, or trying to communicate a great truth), you each have to look a little deeper to see each other’s inner essence," says Gage. You'll have to lower those defenses and be real. And you may end up making a much faster, deeper connection than you would have at your neighborhood watering hole.
But where are some places that are awesome to travel if you are single? We compiled a pretty epic list.
1. British Virgin Islands
Believe it or not, the Caribbean is not just for couples and honeymooners. "Islands like Tortola and St. Thomas have great nightlife and some famous beaches that attract groups of singles from all over. People are friendly and, especially if you are island hopping, you’ll find it’s easy to make friends and yacht-hop all day," says Perrie Hartz, Associate Editor at Fodor’s Travel. There are also famous “full moon” parties at Bomba Shack, a rustic beach bar on Tortola, which go all night and are known to attract revelers from all over the world.
Accessible only by boat or helicopter, Biras Creek is an intimate spot for solo travelers to relax and get away from the family crowds (the property doesn't allow children under 6). Choose from a personalized spa treatment with aloe vera from the onsite garden, or group activities ranging from snorkeling and lobster catch and cook, to morning yoga class. Biras also offers six hiking trails (beginner to advanced), complimentary walking sticks and beach cruisers for exploring the island, a Boston Whaler Map or boating enthusiasts to explore via complimentary Hobie Cats and Boston Whalers, and a dedicated horse program featuring six rescued Paso Fino horses.
2. New York City
It seems like a no-brainer, and it is. There is always something to do in New York, and so many bars and clubs that choosing one place to go out at night is the hard part. Go during the summer when rooftops and open-air breweries are open, suggests Hartz. There are also a few boats that turn into cocktail bars that have become hot daytime spots for singles to relax and hang out in the sunshine. For a break from the concrete clutter, cross the bridge into Brooklyn. Areas like Park Slope are minutes from Manhattan and offer beautiful tree-lined streets, an authentic neighborly atmosphere, and delicious regional cuisine options that will top anything you find in Manhattan.
The Spanish know how to party, and they do it ALL. NIGHT. LONG. Make sure to take a “siesta” before embarking on a night out in one of the liveliest cities in Europe, says Hartz. Barcelona attracts people from all over the world—and a huge percentage of them are traveling alone or in friend groups—so it is a perfect place to meet other singles and dance the night (and morning) away.
4. Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Mexicans have migrated from all over the country to come and work in this popular tourist destination which makes for some interesting dynamics amongst "locals" and tourists, says Bayyina Black of The Planet Blaster. Playa has a great foreign expat community and it's vibrant lifestyle is very inviting. Because Playa is just an hour away from Cancun many of the accommodations and amenities foreigners are used to are readily available. Playa also has several Facebook groups with thousands of members and lots of information both in Spanish and English. There's ALWAYS something going on in Playa and someone to hang out with.
5. Santa Fe
Santa Fe is acclaimed as one of the most beloved cities in America and a charming choice for single travelers who seek a wellness getaway that combines the rare blend of peace and serenity with options for adventure, exploring ancient and modern culture, visiting historic sites, and experiencing signature cuisine. The city is also a uniquely multicultural. Four Seasons Rancho Encantado offers singles and solo travelers easy access to the thrills of New Mexico with the on-site Adventure Center. The center opened in late 2014 and is an accessible option for solo guests to learn about the many adventures - both cultural and adrenaline-driven — that northern New Mexico has to offer while meeting new friends along the way. Guests can sit down with one of the 12 adventure experts and customize an excursion tailored specifically to their interests and time. Solo travelers might try an outing at the unexcavated Native American villages of Tsankawi, a snowshoe trek through the Aspens, or a Rio en Media hike to waterfalls. Solo visitors are also always invited to pull up a chair at the communal tables of local restaurants such as Café Pasqual's, and share a meal with friendly local and travelers from all walks of life.
From mingling on the pristine white beaches or enjoying the invigorating and energizing city life, Oahu is the ideal place for a singles getaway. Whether traveling alone or with friends, an endless array of activities and new experiences await. Enjoy the thrill of embarking on a zipline tour on Oahu's North Shore, to club hopping in downtown Honolulu or lounging in one of Oahu's bars while being serenaded by a local band, endless opportunities for meeting new people are just a plane ride away. An ideal place to vacation, Oahu serves as a host to many visitors from around the world. Often referred to being a "melting pot," Oahu offers the unique experience of being able to meet people from a variety of states and countries. Experience the "aloha spirit" first hand and take a refreshing vacation to indulge in the culture that is unique to Oahu.
7. Scottsdale, Arizona
To most, Scottsdale is perceived as a sleepy resort destination that offers leisurely getaways for the discerning traveler. In the past few years, however, it has seen an explosion in nightlife, with hotels and music/club venues taking front and center in the heart of the rapidly expanding Scottsdale Entertainment District. It has been juggling this "Beyond Vegas" theme...along with the city becoming commonly referred to as the "South Beach in the Desert"...creating a unique juxtaposition that makes Scottsdale all the more interesting for the wide variety of activities they offer to appeal to singles. W Scottsdale is one of the anchor properties in the entertainment district with one of the hottest pool scenes and nightlife spots for singles and anyone looking for a night out on the town.