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Because you can't spend all day every day journeying around IgoUgo, editors round up the highlights: members' notable trips, newest reviews, favorite destinations, contests, and more. Have a question or idea? Let us know!

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Solo Travel Tips: Where To Go & What To Do

Solo Travel Tips: Where To Go & What To Do Photo

Photo by buzz_1919

Posted on February 25, 2008 in Travel Tips

Solo travelers are in good company at IgoUgo: our members sing the praises of go-it-alone adventures. And while it’s possible to have a great trip by yourself anywhere, we found ten places where members have had particularly rewarding solo experiences. Then, to further help you pick your destination, we found ten places where couples can’t stop gushing about the romance—so singles might want to steer clear. And with the last morsel of our solo-travel trifecta—members’ top tips for traveling alone—you’ll have a fabulous time with your party of one no matter where you end up.

Earlier this month, Reuters published IgoUgo’s top 10 places to fly solo, covering IgoUgo members’ appraisals of such great solo destinations as Malta and Panama (pictured above). Pick a continent or an island; we think you’ll find a spot that interests you on the list.

If you want to strike out on your own to an entirely different place, though, just remember that some spots are known for their amorous environs. If dodging hand-in-hand couples isn’t your preferred activity (just read the member quotes!), you might want to avoid:

1. Venice
“A city of romance and relaxation, with food to die for. I cannot emphasize enough how great St. Mark's Square was at night. What an experience, and so romantic—just phenomenal. This is definitely a place I would recommend and definitely a place for couples.”

2. Quebec City
“Hubby & I revisited this romantic city again to celebrate our anniversary. The only ‘walled’ city in North America, this city, with its European charm and tradition, is one of the most beautiful cities in the world.”

3. Santorini, Greece
“Santorini is a truly spectacular and rather undiscovered island conveniently close to home (the UK). The caldera creates a dramatic backdrop to one of the most romantic places in Europe.”

4. Las Vegas
“Las Vegas' gambling image has been overshadowed by romance. Prior to this, I came for business conventions and couldn't wait to leave. However, this time, with the newer themed casinos/hotels and venturing beyond the city's perimeters, I found myself musing about the next trip out here.”

5. Aruba
“Memories of our wonderful week on this island still roll across my mind like the endless waves on the beach. I'll never forget the night we ate at The Pirates Nest, on an open-air deck on the beach. It was like a dream, the sun setting, a gentle breeze blowing, and the drinks and food were excellent. As we toasted each other on 25 memorable years together, we knew we had come to the right place for the occasion.”

6. Bazaruto Island, Mozambique
“When the time came, we walked to the main building and were led down to the beach where a single table had been set up. A vase with bougainvillea hung from the umbrella. More flowers decorated the table and a lantern provided light. We had decided to see sunset from our chalet, so it was now dark. And even though we couldn’t see the ocean, we could see and hear the waves lapping on the shore and feel the ocean breeze.”

7. Poconos, Pennsylvania
“In addition to the beautiful room, there were lots of activities for visitors. Personally, we did not participate in many of the activities (especially since it was our first weekend without our son in five years).”

8. St. Lucia
“My husband and I took our one-year anniversary trip to the Ladera Resort in St. Lucia. This resort is like a tropical hideaway deep in the rainforest on top of a cliff. It has the most incredible views. The guests were primarily honeymooners in their 20s and 30s.”

9. Isla de Margarita, Venezuela
“My trip to Margarita Island was like a dream. Beautiful beaches and the resort was wonderful. I would recommend it to anyone who wants a romantic getaway.”

10. Suzhou, China
“Comparisons to Italy are frequently made in regards to Suzhou. It has been called The Venice of the East because of the numerous canals that ring the city center. We took a nighttime cruise along the main canal, and although there was no gondolier singing operetta, it was a relaxing and romantic way to end the day.”

Once you’ve zeroed in on your destination, pack these tips for solo travelers with you:

1. Choose your destination wisely
pippin says: “Maybe because Vallarta is relatively inexpensive, there seemed to be more students and single people there, as opposed to the ever-present army of honeymooners you find in places like Cancun. Everywhere I went I found myself in conversation with people from around the world. As a solo traveler, I felt quite at home and quickly got acquainted with fellow travelers.”

2. Do your research before your arrival
susan 54 says: “Before leaving for Florence, I spent a lot of time on the Internet and plotted my trip, reserving lodging and tickets ahead of time so I didn't feel stressed upon arriving. My host was wonderful to me, suggesting sites to visit (including a nice concert at San Miniato church) and good, cheap places to eat. He organized also a private full-day trip to Siena and San Gimignano.”

3. Tell someone where you’re going
MilwVon says: “Generally speaking, as a women who does travel a lot on my own, I always make sure my family has my detailed itinerary and that I keep in touch via cell phone at least twice daily. I also find that I'm pretty open to making new friends when traveling alone and have been included in their activities, but only if I feel comfortable and safe.”

4. Adhere to local customs for your safety
Sharon says: “For solo female travelers, be wary. Dress conservatively (no short-shorts and tank tops!) and treat touts firmly but politely, and you should be fine!”

5. Choose accommodations that welcome solo travelers
SkewedStyle says: “The common area is a great place for meeting people. They have plenty of comfortable chairs and ashtrays and satellite TV, so you can watch English-language shows and movies. I definitely enjoyed my stay here. Nice, affordable, and I met some great travelers.”

6. Avoid establishments that cater to groups
virgoleanne says: “I love Thai food and had read some great reviews of this establishment. What I didn't know is that they aren't the best at catering to customers dining solo. I felt uncomfortable during my entire lunch.”

7. Use your single status to meet other travelers
nmagann says: “Single travelers are more approachable, and not just by locals. I was in a restaurant to celebrate my birthday by splurging on an umbrella drink, and a couple at the next table sent me a drink and I wound up joining them. Same thing in New Zealand. I've met some great people traveling and keep in touch.”

8. Join locals in everyday activities
Tavia says: “Hands down, jogs along the beach were the best way I had to interact with folks who live in Rio, and to really take part in a local activity. Hey, you don't have to speak Portuguese to know a thumbs-up means you're looking good in your stride!”

9. Banish loneliness with an organized tour
wanderluster says: “Why not join a small-group adventure tour? They often attract solo travelers—married or single—and are based on either mutual interests or destinations. Interested in photography? Consider a photo tour that combines cultural exploration and wildlife viewing. Or consider Intrepid or GAP vacation tours. Or just research an area, learn the language, and go on your own. I've done all, and each was rewarding in its own way.”

10. Indulge in your favorite things
Idler says: “The lovely thing about taking solo holidays is that I can do precisely what I want. So, in Vienna, I chose to spend three nights at the opera, followed by an evening at the Musikverein. Mind you, this was after attending three performances earlier in the week in Munich.”

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