Check out these single-friendly spots.
If you want to travel alone, there are a few key factors to consider, from safety and accessibility to cost and hospitality toward solo sojourners. While solo travel can afford plenty of invigorating experiences, there are also necessary precautions to take, such as identifying places that cater to singletons and reaching out to locals prior to your trip to get the most out of your vacation. And though traveling on your own can simplify the trip-planning process and allow you to craft an itinerary that best matches your personal interests, budget and schedule without catering to others' needs, the dizzying number of single-friendly options to pick from can make pinpointing the right spot overwhelming. Whether it's the chance for self-reflection and cultural immersion or the opportunity to break out of your comfort zone that lulls you to explore on your own, here are top expert-approved solo-friendly places to check out this summer.
Whether you're a lit lover, a history buff or a Guinness enthusiast, Dublin is an easy place to feel at ease on your own. From joining free walking tours and retracing the footsteps of literary icons like James Joyce and Oscar Wilde to strolling vibrant Grafton Street and checking out the sprawling 27-acre St. Stephen's Green, there are plenty of intriguing (and free) things to do. If you want to mix and mingle with Dubliners, make sure to grab a pint and strike up a conversation at Temple Bar Square, a neighborhood overflowing with clubs, eateries, trendy art galleries and shops. Another Dublin draw? The reasonable rates. The city overflows with cost-effective boutiques and bed-and-breakfasts, affordable restaurants and inviting, low-key pubs. Flights are also a bargain this year, with Google Flights currently showing round-trip journeys from Boston's Logan International Airport to Dublin starting at $623 in June and round-trip flights from airports in the District of Columbia starting at $718 for the same time period.
Renowned as one of the world's safest and happiest countries on earth, Iceland is a particularly inviting region for the solo traveler. According to this year's World Happiness Report, Iceland clocks in as the third-happiest country on the globe. And if you're yearning to test your limits with exhilarating outdoor adventures, Reykjavik serves as an ideal launching pad for otherworldly adventures, such as soaking in the famous Blue Lagoon or taking a rustic horseback ride on an expert-led tour. Plus, there are plenty of affordable, all-inclusive tours geared toward intrepid trailblazers and serenity-seekers alike, allowing you to customize your trip to your preferences and goals. Even better, Google Flights currently lists round-trip flights from New York airports to Reykjavik starting at $516 in August and round-trip flights from San Francisco starting at $608 for the same period, making the city a choice destination for frugal solo jet-setters this summer.
With a high happiness rating (it's the eighth-happiest country this year, according to the World Happiness Report), and a far-reaching tourism market, New Zealand offers a stable infrastructure, making planning a trip alone smooth and stress-free. There are "not a whole of places that wouldn't be friendly to solo travelers," says Susan Eckert, founder and president of AdventureWomen Inc., a travel company that offers group-led tours for women across the globe. Still, New Zealand makes an excellent choice for thrill-seekers. This April, AdventureWomen is offering intrepid types the chance to traipse across its dramatic national parks (think: Arthur's Pass National Park) on a 14-day journey that includes hiking, sea kayaking, wine tasting and glacier exploration, among other pastimes. And though June to August (winter in New Zealand) is a less popular time to visit, you can easily save by planning an off-season trip to Queenstown or Auckland.
Eckert points to Cuba as another safe and exciting destination for solo travelers to experience on a group tour. AdventureWomen is offering a culturally driven tour of Cuba in May that includes exploring Old Havana and learning how to make a traditional Cuban meal with like-minded travelers. Meanwhile, the tour company Tauck is offering all-inclusive, seven-day People-to-People educational exchanges this summer starting at $6,311 in June and July. The trips take visitors to historic Havana and Ernest Hemingway's former home and include expert-led discussions on subjects such as art, literature, agriculture and baseball. If you would rather explore Cuba by sea, in May Carnival Cruises' newest brand, Fathom, will offer Cuba-bound sailings on its 704-passenger Adonia. Just keep in mind, prices will be based on double occupancy and are higher during the peak spring and summer travel seasons, with interior cabins starting at $2,710 in June.
Forget about steep single supplement fees, or the extra charges solo travelers are sometimes required to pay for sailing in double-occupancy cabins. These days, cruise lines are catering to soloists with singles-friendly cabins, onboard spaces and solo rates. Take Norwegian Cruise Line, which features 100-square-foot studios aboard its Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Epic and Pride of America ships. Beyond affordable rates, these staterooms also grant exclusive studio lounge access to encourage mixing and mingling with fellow cruisers. Pricing for all-inclusive, seven-day eastern Caribbean sailings in June aboard the Norwegian Escape start at $699. Meanwhile, Crystal Cruises is offering a promotion for solo travelers through April 29, 2016, allowing solo guests to book itineraries starting at $1,815 per person. Crystal's seven-day Hamburg to Amsterdam itinerary in July starts at $1,965 per person, cutting about $1,360 off the standard solo cruise rate.
With pedestrian- and bike-friendly areas, Amsterdam serves as a great spot for the solo adventurer, says Carol Margolis, publisher of Smart Women Travelers, a website for female travelers that offers expert and user insights for maximizing enjoyment and safety while traveling. Besides the city's inviting Dutch residents and low-key vibes, there are a wealth of free single-friendly attractions to explore alone, from the sprawling Vondelpark and the Van Gogh Museum to the Anne Frank House. Plus, in Amsterdam, it's easy to rent a bike and explore picturesque trails and the city's charming canals from behind two handlebars. Best of all, while summer ushers in hordes of visitors thanks to idyllic 70-degree Fahrenheit daytime temperatures and plenty of sunshine, this year, flight prices are remaining relatively low with Google Flights showing round-trip flights from New York airports starting at $607 in June and flights from Los Angeles International Airport starting at $703 for the same period.
District of Columbia
As far as single-friendly U.S. destinations go, Margolis points to pedestrian-friendly cities such as Boston, Chicago, New York City and the District of Columbia, as excellent bets. "When you can walk around, you can enjoy the essence of a city," she says. And while summer ushers in high humidity throughout our nation's capital, there are a wealth of impressive (and free) indoor and outdoor attractions to explore, including 17 Smithsonian museums, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial -- the newest addition to the National Mall -- and the National Gallery of Art. And getting around the city is a breeze, thanks to the city's affordable and far-reaching metro system and versatile ride-sharing options, including Uber, plus Capital Bikeshare, which features 350 stations and more than 3,000 bikes to rent across the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.
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