It’s one thing to travel, but quite another to venture out and explore the world by yourself, unaccompanied.
Here Marika Martinez from Women’s Own Adventure – specialists in small group tours for solo travellers – shares her favourite destinations to discover independently.
Travelling by yourself has both advantages and disadvantages, but by far the best part about travelling solo is the feeling of freedom.
You are free to choose when, where and what.
You don’t need to seek anyone’s approval nor do you need to negotiate with others on what you wish to do.
Travelling solo also helps develop self confidence.
The experience pushes you out of your comfort zone and equips you with a sense of self-reliance that you often don’t get in day-to-day life, so you feel comfortable eating alone in a restaurant, joining a tour on the spur of the moment, navigating a new transport system and even catching a late night show on your own.
It’s also rewarding to simply know that you can go out and explore by yourself.
I experience the most incredible things when travelling independently and I love the sheer joy of being totally selfish in what I decide to do.
Here are some of the best places to visit by yourself…
Take an Antarctic cruise from Ushuaia in Argentina to this arctic wonderland at the end of the earth.
Most of the cruise ships leaving from Ushuaia allow single travellers to share a twin cabin with another single traveller of the same sex, without having to pay an extra single supplement.
They cater to single travellers and you will find that meal times are very social occasions where people from all countries mix and mingle in a different seat each time.
The conversations are lively and interesting and the daily activities from the ship allow more opportunities to bond with people.
Here you’ll experience a landscape that is unlike anywhere else on this planet, as well as daily skiff excursions, landings and plenty of wildlife viewing.
Tip: Take the polar plunge
Vancouver is an especially safe and beautiful city with a laidback feel.
Summer is full of sunshine and the city comes alive with music.
It’s easy to get around on the public transport system and the harbour is buzzing with seaplanes that can take you into the wilds of Canada.
There are many options for day or multi-day trips, nature trails and wildlife viewing starting in Vancouver.
Tip: Take a rail journey through the Canadian Rockies
Tropical scenery and cultural diversity makes Hawaii a great choice for any traveller, but making it even better for solo travellers is its easy transport system and even better shopping.
You can catch the local bus from Waikiki Beach to Hanauma Bay for an idyllic day of snorkelling among vibrant tropical fish, visit Pearl Harbour, hike through lush rainforests or join a sailing tour.
Everything is within easy reach and easy to organise.
Tip: Join a tour to snorkel with giant turtles
As the land of Fire and Ice, Iceland is a country of contrasts and is an adventure-lover’s playground.
You can base yourself in the modern capital of Reykjavik and take day trips to almost any part of this diverse country, as distances are not great.
Iceland’s landscape is truly breathtaking with its boiling mud pools, spurting geysers, vast glaciers and behemoth waterfalls – no wonder it’s loved by artists and photographers around the globe.
Better still, you won’t need to battle the crowds here as Iceland is the least densely populated country in Europe.
The summers here are surprisingly warm, and the midsummer days are especially long, when the sun dips down to the horizon but never sets.
Tip: Spend a day at the beautiful and therapeutic Blue Lagoon, an experience not to be missed
Ah the Emerald Isle – it’s as picturesque as it is green.
You may be lucky enough to have sunny days here, but even in the rain it’s a gorgeous travel destination.
Each little village you pass though is prettier than the next, with exquisitely painted houses and manicured gardens and hedges that line the spotless streets.
Irish people are especially friendly and helpful, and they’re rather partial to chatting the ear off a lone traveller.
Evenings can be spent at any local pub listening to Irish folk music, where you can guarantee you’ll meet someone to talk to.
The cities of Dublin and Galway are particularly easy to get around with lots to see and do.
Tip: Cycle along parts of the Wild Atlantic Way from Westport with a standard bicycle or an e-bike
From the historical centre of Rome you can begin a sumptuous journey for the senses throughout Italy.
Every part of this country is different and has so much to offer from shopping, hiking and history to of course food and wine in Italy’s beloved Tuscany with Florence regions.
You can spend several days walking from village to village along the Cinque Terre, explore the chic Amalfi Coast, enjoy the canals of Venice, take a cooking class in Puglia and discover Pompeii.
Happily, trains are a quick and efficient way of getting around the country.
Tip: Sip a cocktail while listening to music in the outdoor Piazza San Marco in Venice
Just across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand is as safe and friendly as it is downright stunning with a diverse landscape ranging from snowy mountains and gigantic bays to sprawling vineyards.
You can feel perfectly comfortable hiking in the wilderness on your own as the support system and flexibility in New Zealand’s National Parks is fantastic.
It seems this whole country is geared towards ensuring travellers enjoy their time, which is especially good news for those exploring it solo.
Tip: Explore the Marlborough Sound by boat, then hike along the Queen Charlotte Walk
Solo travellers will especially love the region of Catalonia, the capital of which is Barcelona.
The city’s metro system is efficient and easy to navigate, while the new intercity high-speed train is a pleasure to travel on, complete with a carriage where you can purchase tapas and drinks.
Even better however is the food from this region, which is best sampled by a variety of tapas.
While in the area, be sure to visit Gaudi Park, Gaudi House and the stunningly beautiful Sagrada Familia.