Travelling by yourself gives you the freedom and flexibility to do what you want, when you want, without having to worry about others’ expectations, agendas or dramas. It also encourages you to meet new people and gives you some important time alone with yourself. Here are our picks of the best holidays for single travellers.
Thailand’s island of Phuket is a good choice both for single travellers needing a true escape and those looking for love (or at least a holiday fling). There are plenty of resorts here to suit either type of traveller, but for the best of both worlds, check out the Millennium Resort Patong Phuket, where you can find a relaxing haven (think the Escentika Spa, two outdoor pools to lounge around or in and ultra-comfy rooms) amid the lively, nonstop energy of Phuket’s Patong. And who needs a travelling companion when your concierge can help you with sightseeing arrangements or car rental for your Thailand explorations? Between beach time and unforgettable nightlife (live music at the Timber Hut is a must), check out some of Phuket’s colourful and historic temples and take in a popular Muay Thai (Thai boxing) match.
Anchorage, Alaska, US
Credit: The Lakefront Anchorage
Get ready to take some fantastic selfies in Anchorage, Alaska. With the rugged and majestic Chugach Mountains, five nearby national parks and 60 glaciers within 80 kilometres of the city, your backdrops will be nothing short of spectacular. And don’t be surprised if you get photobombed by some of the native wildlife, which includes moose roaming the city. Or take a daytime cruise and keep your eyes peeled for otters, whales and puffins.
If you love the great outdoors, active pursuits abound here year-round. In summer, cycle, walk or run along the roughly 400 kilometres of trails within the city limits, or go hiking, rafting, fishing and kayaking in the national parks. In winter, choose from cross-country skiing, dogsledding, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and more.
What’s more, expect warmth and hospitality from the locals during your visit.
Wellington, New Zealand
Credit: Positively Wellington Tourism
English-speaking and generally safe (assuming you’re exercising the common sense that should be a given for all travel), Wellington is easy to navigate and ideal for the lone traveller. Given the city’s vibrant coffee culture, it’s the perfect place to pick out a different cafe every morning to quietly read the paper and plan your day while you sip your cappuccino. (Try Vista and The Larder in the Miramar suburb.) During the day, don’t miss a peaceful and educational wander through Te Papa, New Zealand’s national museum and art gallery. There are also a number of picturesque waterfront walkways and coastal walks, on which you can ponder the meaning of life – or simply where you want to eat dinner that night. And you have plenty of options, as Wellington is a favourite with foodies. Head to Cuba Street to truly tempt your tastebuds. Start with a pre-dinner drop at Matterhorn, where the wine list boasts more than 70 varietals by the glass, then head to Logan Brown for a delicious dinner in a former bank building. Away from Cuba Street, try Martin Bosley for gourmet food with a panoramic view and Dragonfly and Osteria del Toro for Asian and Italian specialties, respectively.
You may be on your own, but you’ll never feel that way in this fast-paced, bustling city. Indeed, one of the great joys of travelling alone is the people watching, and teeming Shanghai does not disappoint in this department. You never know what colourful characters you’ll encounter on the city’s raucous streets, from street hawkers and performers to farmers and fashionistas. For the best of people peeping, head to Fuxing Park; the shopping hub of Nanjing Road, the busiest street in Shanghai; and the famous Bund riverfront boardwalk. Surrounding the Bund are architectural styles as varied as the people you’re checking out: Baroque, Gothic, Renaissance, Romanesque and more.
If you do need a respite from the throngs, head to the Yu Garden in Shanghai’s Old City. In Chinese, “yu” means “peace and health”, and this spot aims to provide just that with a break from the hustle and bustle.
However, if you want more people watching by night, there are none more entertaining to watch than Shanghai’s acrobats. Acrobatic shows take place most nights, so be sure to catch one while you’re here.
Minneapolis, Minnesota, US
Mall of America. Credit: Kasey Clark
With the recent addition of a light-rail system and its network of skyways that link Minneapolis’s downtown buildings without you having to go outside (especially convenient during Minnesota’s frosty winters), it’s never been easier to get around this friendly Midwestern US city on your own. Soak up some culture downtown at the celebrated Walker Art Center and Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Hop on the light rail to the Mall of America, the largest shopping centre in the US, for some retail therapy (with no one there to rush you or tell you that doesn’t look good on you). While you’re there, grab a stool at the bar for a bit of American comfort food at either Crave or Twin City Grill – if you’re on your own, the affable bartenders are usually up for a chat or, if you’d rather be alone with your Kindle, they’ll take that hint too. Try to catch a show at the Guthrie Theater while you’re in town.
Nature lovers and solo travellers in search of a bit of solitude and quiet contemplation will love taking advantage of Glasgow’s more than 90 scenic parks and gardens. Don’t miss the walled garden, the horseshoe garden and the sunken garden at Bellahouston Park, less than five kilometres outside the city centre.
If you’re keen to meet some of your fellow travellers and get to know a bit more about what makes Scotland great, what better way to make new friends than over a wee dram of Scottish whisky? Visit Glengoyne Distillery – there’s direct bus access from Buchanan Bus Station in the city centre – for a tour and, of course, a tasting!
At night, it’s hard for the lone to be lonely with the warm and welcoming live music scene you’ll find in the city’s pubs. End the day on a quiet note – and perhaps with another whisky – amid the Victorian splendour of the Millennium Lounge at the Millennium Hotel Glasgow. Enter the Millennium Giveaway for your chance to win a 2-night complimentary stay at any Millennium hotel in the United States! Ten winners will receive a free stay with complimentary breakfast at the US Millennium hotel of their choice.