Even though I'm in a relationship, I love to travel alone. And you can do that pretty much anywhere if you're savvy enough. But as most women who travel alone could tell you, certain places are more accommodating than others of women who are there by themselves, especially those with no interest in dating or meeting anyone there. Since I've traveled alone a lot myself, I know how scary and isolating it can be when the locals are trying to take advantage of you, as well as how rewarding it is when you make genuine friends.
"I think a lot of women are afraid to travel solo because they’ve been told it’s not possible or it’s not safe," Hostelworld’s head of product and design and travel expert Breffni Horgan tells Bustle. "Don’t let that stop you. If you’ve done your research, planned wisely, and set your mind on traveling, you will succeed and it will change your life. Everyone tells you that traveling will make you more confident, that you’ll find yourself, that you’ll be creatively inspired. That’s all true, but only if you take a chance on solo travel and embrace the challenges that will inevitably pop up along the way."
Here are some places that are ideal for solo women travelers, especially those who are in monogamous relationships or, for whatever other reason, not looking for romance.
1. Houston, Texas
I personally love Houston for its bustling music scene, quirky bars, and friendly people. From Day for Night to For the Community, you can find a music festival there any time of year if you're looking to meet people. And if you work while you travel, you'll feel at home in artsy cafe/bars like Brasil Cafe and Double Trouble. The weather's nice enough to sit outside throughout the year and ideal for walking around Market Square, the Downtown Historic District, the GreenStreet shopping center, and other tourist attractions. To be in the middle of it all, you can stay in the super swanky Hotel Alessandra.
2. Miami, Florida
You might think of Miami as a place for singles to go wild, but it's also a place for reflective solo walks on the beach, unique food and shopping, and visits to some of the country's best art galleries and museums. For easy access to these activities, the Gates Hotel in South Beach is a quick walk to the beach and the modern art museum The Bass (or just admire the mini gallery by De La Gallery's Jorge De La Torriente in the hotel itself) and has great Mexican restaurant called Agaveros Cantina. Or, if you want to live it up, enjoy drinks by the pool and top-notch Japanese food at the Nobu Hotel, where you can also spend a day getting special Japanese spa treatments. For a fun solo day trip, head over to Little Havana for authentic Cuban food and old-fashioned shops like El Titan de Bronze. Or, go to the artsy Wynwood neighborhood and take a photo at Miami's most Instagrammed place, Wynwood Walls.
3. Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Amsterdam deserves its reputation as one of the most progressive cities in the world, as well as one of the most gender-equal. Along with boasting an impressive assortment of coffee shops (of both varieties), it has beautiful scenery, with canals winding through the city that you can explore by boat, and lots of tourist attractions including the Anne Frank Museum and the Van Gogh Museum. Oh, and there's a whole art museum dedicated to cats. The Lloyd Hotel is a great place for women traveling alone to stay because it was designed with female solo travelers in mind, with windows between the floors to brighten it up so guests don't have to wander the halls in the dark. It also happens to be near Odessa, a clubhouse and event space on a boat. If you're looking to splurge on a luxurious trip, you can stay at the beautiful Pulitzer, which overlooks a canal in the city center.
4. Berlin, Germany
With more and more people from all over the world moving to Berlin, travelers will feel right at home there. In fact, I hear more English spoken there than German. If you're a fan of clubbing, you should definitely check out famous clubs like Suicide Circus, Watergate, and Berghain (though beware, the Berghain line is long and most people don't get in). If you're working while you travel, Mitte has some of the nicest cafes (my favorites are East & Eden and St. Oberholz). Or, venture to the hip neighborhood of Kruezberg and stay at the music-themed Nhow hotel, right by the graffitied remnants of the Berlin wall. You can get a guitar, keyboard, or DJ equipment sent to your room to live like a real musician. Another area to explore is the upscale neighborhood around the Berlin Zoological Garden, the oldest zoo in Germany. You could even stay at the luxurious and thematically appropriate Hotel Zoo.
5. New York, NY
No matter what your interests are, there's nothing you can't find in New York. If you're an art fanatic, tour the galleries in Chelsea. If you love shopping, stroll around Soho. If you're into theater, see a Broadway show (and visit the half-price ticket line if you don't want to pay full price). If you want authentic international food, you can take your pick from Chinatown, Little Italy, Little India, Korea Town... the list goes on. The Yotel in Hell's Kitchen is an awesome place to stay for a great location near Times Square, good food, and a high-tech design, including checkin machines, luggage robots, and beds that slide up onto the wall to save space.
6. Stockholm, Sweden
If you're looking for someplace that's safe, clean, organized, and easy to get around, you can't get much better than Stockholm. The people are friendly, and coffee fanatics will love it because there's an Espresso House or Wayne's Coffee seemingly every few feet, though you should also try to make it to Johan & Nyström Konceptbutik or Coffice. Window-shop around the city's hipster neighborhood Sodermalm, and head to a club like Trädgården or Debaser at night. Birka Hostel has both individual and shared rooms for as little as $13 a night, but if you don't want to do the whole hostel thing, the Haymarket Hotel is centrally located and surprisingly affordable. A word of caution, though: I'd recommend going in the summer. It gets depressing in the winter, with lots of snow and very little sunlight.
7. Rome, Italy
Rome boasts some of the world's friendliest people. When I went there, I went to the wrong hostel, and the man who owned it helped me find the right one. Another night, I got lost, and two random women volunteered to drive me back to my hostel. The other cool thing about Rome is that you are constantly walking around amid ruins from thousands of years ago. The Colosseum and the Pantheon are are particularly breathtaking. And the food is as amazing as you'd expect. To this day, I'm having just as much trouble remembering where I stayed there as I seemed to during my visit, but here's a list of highly rated Rome hotels on Trip Advisor.
Traveling alone might be nerve-wrecking, but it's always the most nerve-wrecking things in life that you get the most out of. And if you find the right places and take the right precautions, you can get out of your comfort zone without actually risking your safety.