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Best Solo Female Travel Destinations by Continent

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2 weeks ago

It’s hard to believe, but there used to be a time in my life when I would feel anxious at the thought of going to a movie or a dinner by myself. Nowadays, I confidently book one-way tickets to places where I don’t know a single person and don’t speak the language.

From Colombia to Afghanistan, I’ve now visited over 50 countries solo – and it’s made me who I am today. 

The freedom and independence that comes with solo travel is unmatched. But, as you can imagine, some places are far more challenging than others, especially for women.

I’ve drawn on my personal experience as a solo female traveler in designing this list of best solo female travel destinations on each continent – and if you follow our tips, you’ll always feel safe and confident, and you’ll never get bored.

Why travel solo?

Growing up in a conservative Indian family, traveling as a woman alone was discouraged. Then, one day, I found myself wanting to go on a trip but I had no friends who wanted to join. I was about to abandon my plans until I realized that the only thing standing in the way of me hopping on a flight and going solo was fear. So I booked it.

In the end, I was so happy I went against the grain. I felt awkward at first, but I made lots of friends at hostels, gained confidence and got to know myself better.

It’s difficult to fully explain how empowering it is to learn that you are capable of navigating the world on your own; to learn that you don’t have to wait around for someone else to go on an adventure and see the world. And, most importantly, to learn that you can go anywhere on the planet as a solo female traveler and you’ll be able to figure it out.

Choosing a destination

The downside of solo travel is that safety is more of a concern for anyone, and especially for women. Luckily, you can mitigate risk by choosing your destination carefully.

Not every country is created equal. Some places are much easier and safer to navigate for solo female travelers. Crime levels, ease of transportation, attitudes toward women, and tourism infrastructure are all useful criteria for evaluating where to go. Most people think you need to limit yourself to western Europe but that’s far from the truth.

There are safe and fun destinations on every continent so don’t limit yourself! Without further ado, here’s some inspiration for your next solo adventure.

1. Asia’s Best Solo Female Travel Destinations

Japan

Japan is one of the world’s safest countries so you can explore all the sushi boat restaurants and kabuki baths your heart desires without fear.

The Japanese are universally famous for their politeness and people are generally friendly, welcoming and helpful. Not only is violent crime rare, but petty crime like stealing is also less common (though it is not a theft-free utopia as some Youtubers make it out to be, so don’t let down your guard entirely). 

Japan also has one of the most efficient and reliable public transportation systems in the world, so you can get around easily using bus, train, and subway services across the country. 

When I traveled to Japan, I absolutely loved the privacy of capsule hotels and when I felt like being social, I joined a food tour and made some amazing friends.

Thailand

If you want a more budget-friendly destination in Asia then look no further than Thailand. From stunning islands and waterfalls with world-class diving to its rich Buddhist culture and amazing cuisine, I fell in love with Thailand. And you’ll be sure to meet other tourists and backpackers when you’re there so you won’t be lonely.  

Thailand has a low crime rate and great tourism infrastructure – a fifth of the country’s economy is tourism so there is a strong incentive to keep travelers safe and happy. There is even a tourism police you can contact by dialing 1155.

Harassment from locals is usually low which is another reason why Thailand makes the list of best solo female travel destinations.

2. The Americas’ Best Solo Female Travel Destinations

Central and South America aren’t generally known for low crime but some countries are statistically much safer and have the tourism infrastructure in place to make them candidates for best solo female travel destinations.

Peru

Lima is a foodie paradise, the Andes are stunning, Machu Picchu isn’t overrated, and llamas are magical. Need I say more? Of all the South American countries I’ve visited, I think Peru is my favorite! I felt safe walking around the capital city and Uber was easy and affordable. You can safely travel around the country by bus, flights are not too expensive and there are even women-only Inca trail treks

El Salvador

Once the murder capital of the world, El Salvador has recently transformed into the safest country in the western hemisphere after Canada. I even hitchhiked all around the country and felt super safe.

There isn’t much English, so language barrier may be a problem. Salvadorans are really friendly and helpful and the country is tiny so you don’t need too much time to see it all. The highlight is definitely the stunning coastline

3. Europe’s Best Solo Female Travel Destinations

Many countries in Western Europe can be good candidates for solo female travel largely given how great the infrastructure is and how easy it is to meet other travelers. That being said, I’ve heard of many people having their belongings stolen in cities like Rome and Paris so keep a watchful eye on your belongings.

Denmark

Denmark is one of the safest and happiest countries in the world. It’s an often forgotten destination in Europe but it has amazing architecture and a fascinating Viking history and natural beauty. It even has a quasi-anarchist community called Freetown Christiania sitting in the middle of its capital city, Copenhagen, though this is one area of the city to exercise increased caution.

The world’s best restaurant, Noma, is in the heart of Copenhagen but it will close forever at the end of 2024 so this will be your last chance to check it out.

Portugal

Portugal has really risen in popularity lately. If you’re looking for a more affordable destination, this little southern European country on the Iberian Peninsula is perfect.

There’s the fun capital city of Lisbon with yummy seafood, the wilderness of the Azores, medieval romantic castles and fairytale-esque towns like Sintra in the mountains. If you’re nervous about meeting people, don’t be. In Lisbon, you’ll find many vacationers and digital nomads all over. Also, fun fact, women in Portugal live more than six years longer than men!

4. Africa’s Best Solo Female Travel Destinations

Africa tends to get a bad reputation but it’s a big continent and there are many places I’ve traveled to where I’ve felt quite safe.

Tanzania

This East African country was recently named Africa’s leading travel destination by the World Travel Awards. And it’s not hard to see why. It’s home to Mt. Kilimanjaro, one of the world’s seven summits, the tropical spice island of Zanzibar, and some of the best wildlife on Earth. Not to mention it may have inspired arguably the greatest Disney animated film of all time, The Lion King.

It’s also one of the safest countries on the continent and one of the fastest growing economies. It’s one of the most peaceful and politically stable African countries with no wars since its independence and, despite having over 130 ethnicities, ethnic conflict is rare.

Ghana

This was the first foreign country I ever traveled to and it still holds a special place in my heart. This tiny country in West Africa has a colorful culture and friendly, welcoming people. There are many foreign nationals living and wandering around Ghana and I felt safe when I was on my own. 

I’d recommend dressing modestly to keep away any unwanted attention (which I would recommend in many countries). You may encounter awkward marriage proposals here and there, especially if you’re Caucasian but it was mostly hilarious. Also be especially cautious of scammers when you arrive at the airport. When I traveled there, Uber didn’t exist, but these days you can easily order one when you arrive and make your way around Accra without hassle.

If you make it out to this little West African country, some activities include surfing at its deserted beaches, tracking elephants at Mole National Park, visiting castles and forts used during the slave trade and enjoying the lively music and arts scene. The country has been experiencing an economic boom recently so it’s a great time to check it out!

5. Oceania

I haven’t personally traveled to this part of the world, but New Zealand and Australia are popular places to visit among solo female travelers and have all the ingredients for being great destinations. They have low crime, harassment and progressive attitudes towards women. The caveat is that they aren’t on the low end in terms of cost.

6. Antarctica

Statistically, this is by far the safest continent for women. You can’t exactly have much crime when penguins are your only permanent residents, right? 😂

Assuming you’re not an extreme athlete going for a world record, you’ll have to join a group and there are even all-women expeditions you can join like this one.

Tips for staying safe

Don’t get complacent. Although the countries I mentioned are friendlier to solo female travel, no matter where in the world you go, you should always take precautions. Here are five basic tips I try to follow to maximize safety.

1. Don’t wander around at night by yourself

It goes without saying that nighttime is the least safe time to be outside alone!

2. Don’t drink or at least try to limit your alcohol consumption

We all know that alcohol impairs your judgment and makes you more vulnerable. So avoid it! And if you do find yourself wanting a drink, don’t let the creepy guy in the back pay for it. Foot the bill yourself.

3. Trust your gut

Whenever I’ve had bad situations, I usually ignored a nagging feeling that something wasn’t right. Don’t ignore it. And on that note, don’t be afraid to be rude.

Especially when I was younger, I stayed in conversations or said yes to having someone take a seat at my table even though I really wanted to be alone simply because I felt bad. It’s okay to politely decline. If they insist, it’s your right to assertively say no. In some cultures, behavior I considered to just be polite was actually a signal to men that I was interested.

4. Keep money and cards in different places

If your purse gets stolen, keep some spare money back in your room or in another bag. Keep digital copies of your passport.

5. Don’t wear flashy jewelry

The caveat is that I do find that wearing a fake wedding band is a fantastic way to keep men away or use as an access when you want to say no!

Leave a comment with any tips you have for fellow female travelers so we can all help each other travel better as a community.


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