There has never been a better time to book travel than now. Information is readily available at your fingertips, from Instagram posts spotlighting inspiring locales to the latest travel apps helping you snag the hottest deals. But what if you’re a woman who’s tired of waiting around for family and friends to book the trip of a lifetime—would you still go?
If you’re like many who consider solo travel daunting, you’re in luck; we’ve tapped six serial travelers who share their picks for some of the best female-friendly, solo-appropriate locations to consider for your next getaway.
When you’re looking for a sophisticated getaway to take all on your own, there’s nowhere better to touch down than Londontown. In my opinion, London is one of the few places in the world where everyone, regardless of where they’re from, can feel right at home. If you’ve never been before, spend your days seeing the sights.
Get your culture fix by touring Buckingham Palace and the Tate Modern Museum; strolling through Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park; taking a boat ride down the River Thames; visiting Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus; shopping on Oxford and Regent Streets; or hopping on the London Eye to get a bird’s-eye view of the English capital.
At night, see “Wicked”—it’s been playing at the Apollo Theater since it first opened in London in 2006—or go a little more traditional and catch a Shakespeare classic at the Globe. With so much to do and see in London, you’ll need to stop for some hearty food and drinks in between.
Have afternoon tea at the iconic Harrods’ Tea Room; dig into spicy Indian food at Dishoom; pop into pretty much any pub for classic English comfort food like shepherd’s pie or fish and chips; and order a gin martini at Connaught Bar, which makes its own handcrafted gin and was voted No. 2 on “The World’s 50 Best Bars” list in 2019. London locals are famously friendly, too, so it’s not weird to eat, drink or explore the city by yourself. You can walk everywhere—and you should.
Where to stay: Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard London—it’s the highest hotel in the city, giving you an unparalleled view.
Her favorite travel app: If you’re the type of traveler who needs to have all your flights, rooms and experiences laid out in one master itinerary, definitely download TripIt.
Her packing essential: My phone—to capture the memories!—and hand sanitizer.
Jennifer Agress is a Miami-based writer and editor who loves good food, a spicy cabernet and traveling every chance she gets. She primarily writes about food and travel, and her work can be found in Fodor’s, Forbes, msn.com, INDULGE Miami, Recommend, Thrillist, Time Out, Preferred Travel, Gio Journal and more. When she’s not on a plane, she’s likely plotting her next adventure.
Mexico City, Mexico
Mexico may get a bad rap in the media, and while some stretches are heavier in terms of crime and corruption, the capital city is one of the safer to visit—especially for women. On a recent trip, I hopscotched my way from one buzzy bar to the next, exploring some of the more-talked-about restaurants popping up around town. I dined solo for lunch at the counter of Amaya, where chef Jaír Téllez brings a taste of his Baja flagship—and family’s natural Bichi wines—to the industrial-style space in the Colonia Juárez neighborhood, where 19th century French mansions are opening up to some of the city’s coolest bars and cafes.
“What is happening in gastronomy here is spectacular,” says 11th generation tequila maker Juan Domingo Beckmann, CEO of Jose Cuervo and creator of Maestro Dobel tequila. “We have so many incredible chefs bringing their talent to the table and reinventing Mexican cuisine. I’m so impressed with the ways they are paying homage to Mexican traditions by taking our ingredients and flavors to a whole new level.”
Stay near Polanco on the city’s main tree-lined avenue, Paseo de la Reforma, at the 240-room Four Seasons Mexico City. Fresh off a $14 million renovation, the hacienda-style hotel unfolds around a beautifully manicured courtyard (you’ll definitely want to linger here over breakfast), making it truly feel like an oasis in the center of a pulsating city.
Keep that theme going with a taste of tranquility at the spa, where ancient techniques, calming quartz stones and Mexican mezcal come together for the most blissful of massages. You don’t have to go far to find one of the city’s top bars, either. Fifty Mils ranks among the world’s 50 best and tells the story of Mexico’s wealth of ingredients through each craft cocktail’s perfectly curated sip.
On traveling solo: Send an itinerary and contact numbers to a friend or family member, so they can check in if they don’t hear from you. Always know the location or number of the U.S. embassies and consulates in the destination you’re visiting.
Her favorite travel app: Airbnb. I’ve booked everything from sailboats to villas in countries around the globe—sometimes even the day I’m traveling.
Her packing essential: A bathing suit. You never know when there will be a pool, sauna or Jacuzzi tub.
Lane Nieset splits her time between Paris and South Florida and covers travel, lifestyle, wine and food for publications such as National Geographic Travel, T: The New York Times Style Magazine, Travel + Leisure, Vogue and Food & Wine. She is also a contributing author to the Fodor’s Florida guidebook.
With more than 650 drinking establishments, including brewpubs and traditional Irish bars, and more than 40 breweries nestled inside city limits, it’s not surprising some liken Dublin to a landlocked booze cruise. If fermented yeast is your passion, then Dublin’s your Huckleberry, but there’s much more to do here than tap your inner zythophile.
In fact, Ireland’s cultural and cosmopolitan capital is better described as a bucket-list destination, steeped in rich literary and political history and dotted with majestic churches, museums and libraries fronted by jaw-dropping architecture. As evidenced by its dynamic music, dining and after-hours scenes, the city possesses an innate fondness for craic (pronounced “crack”), an English word loosely meaning fun and good times, as well as Americans, so don’t be taken aback if a Dubliner invites you to tag along to hear a live band or go on a pub crawl (trust me, it happens).
Recently ranked as one of the 10 most livable cities for Europeans, Dublin is also a haven for holidaying singles. One of the best ways to explore the Instagrammable surrounds and cultural treasures, including the ancient Book of Kells housed inside the Trinity College Library and the venerable Natural History Museum locals have dubbed “the Dead Zoo,” is by hiring a private guide or joining a small group tour (Little Gem Tours and Tours By Locals are good picks).
Traveling in likeminded company has additional perks, such as adding to or altering pre-set itineraries, which might mean taking a detour to the eclectic Temple Bar district to visit Darkey Kelly’s Bar & Restaurant, or swapping a bus ride for a leisurely boat cruise along the River Liffey, an idyllic waterway that carves a path through the city’s center.
While finding a hotel room sans a single supplement can be challenging, a posh perch is not. The Shelbourne is my personal favorite. Suffused with old-world glamour, this 200-year-old property overlooks St. Stephen’s Green and counts royals and world leaders among its guests. If time allows, snag a corner table downstairs in The Lord Mayor’s Lounge for an hour of people watching and treat yourself to a classic glass of Champagne or afternoon tea featuring wow-worthy comestibles served on fine china.
On traveling solo: I always carry pepper spray. I also recommend signing up for STEP (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program), a complimentary service that sends alerts and travel advisories about the country you’re planning to visit.
Her favorite travel app: TripScout. This free iPhone app produces customized itineraries you can create ahead of or during your trip and features recommendations by destination insiders, as well as “what’s hot” hidden gems.
Her packing essentials: A type G outlet adapter, an umbrella and an ATM card for euro withdrawals.
Easter Island might sound like a far-fetched destination to dub as one of my top recommended places for solo female travelers, but I’ve been to more than 100 countries solo and Easter Island was by far one of my favorite places. It’s admittedly not easy or convenient to get to, as it is located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, but once you get there, it’s like stepping into a Nat Geo documentary.
The island is tiny, so it’s extremely easy to navigate on your own by renting a car, or you can even join a tour if you don’t want to go alone. People are very friendly there (but you may want to brush up on your Spanish) and also more than happy to tell you about their history. Once you see what the local Rapa Nuis look like, you definitely won’t regret being there solo. There are a few hotels, even a couple really nice ones, but Airbnb is the easiest and most affordable option.
On traveling solo: If for some reason you feel super uncomfortable, or as if someone is following you, my go-to is to immediately start pretending to talk on my phone, and act as if I’m meeting someone nearby. I’ll even say “Do you see me? Oh yeah! OK, I’ll start heading to you!”
Her favorite travel app: Skyscanner for flights because it has a really awesome “flexible” tool. For years I’ve decided my next destination based on what comes up as the cheapest flight when I put “anywhere” as my destination. I call this “Flight Roulette.”
Her packing essentials: A TRTL neck pillow for flights, a black Lululemon vinyasa scarf that doubles as a black out curtain and a self-filtering water bottle because everyone needs to drink a lot of water but also stop using single-use plastics.
Alyssa Ramos is a self-made, award-winning travel blogger, influencer and entrepreneur who specializes in adventure travel and bucket-list experiences. She has been traveling solo for six years across all seven continents, more than 100 countries and has completed several bucket lists such as the Seven World Wonders, Seven Wonders of Nature and climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. Alyssa is originally from Jupiter, Florida, but lives in Los Angeles and will soon become an expat in Bali.
The bartender at the Country Club Lima Hotel’s English Bar shook a pisco sour and slid the frothy beverage in front of me. At first sip, it was clear that of all of the reasons to travel to Lima, Peru, pisco sours should be high on the list. So should ceviche, causa and lomo saltado. Although solo travel to South America can be daunting for women, that wouldn’t deter me from taking a five-hour flight from South Florida to indulge in authentic Peruvian dishes.
Lima felt as safe as any massive city, meaning you have to be aware of your surroundings and do your research in advance. Of the 43 districts in Lima, I spent most of my visit in Barranco, an artsy neighborhood set along the Pacific Coast with similarities to Miami’s Wynwood. Urban murals decorate the outsides of most buildings, which house hip bars and coffee shops, and sometimes hide those hole-in-the-wall food stalls that serve some of the best leche de tigre in town, like Canta Ranita. North of Barranco is Miraflores, an upscale district with attractions including a pre-Inca mud-brick temple called the Huaca Pucllana, and the iconic sculpture El Beso, which depicts artist Victor Delfín kissing his wife. There’s also the opportunity to go paragliding off of Miraflores’ cliffs. On most days, the sky is filled with colorful kites holding brave passengers.
While those who’ve flown above have undoubtedly witnessed the best views in Lima, a close second might belong to guests at Cala (set between Barranco and Miraflores). The outside balcony offers waterfront views and the acoustic sounds of waves lapping the rocky beach below.
On traveling solo: Join a Facebook group for American expats in the country you’re visiting. The people living there will offer better insider knowledge than a Yelp page; you’ll get some intel on places to
avoid and the overall social climate; and you might even find someone willing to take you around town.
Her favorite travel apps: I track all of my future flights using Hopper, which lets me know when to book for the best price. I also love HotelTonight for making last-minute reservations at luxury properties for, at times, more than 50 percent off the usual nightly rate. And, the more you use the app, the greater the discounts you can unlock.
Her packing essential: My international phone plan.
Alyssa Morlacci is a lifestyle journalist who has contributed to publications including Los Angeles Magazine, LALA Magazine, Time Out, Here Magazine, Flamingo Magazine, Gulfshore Life and Jupiter Magazine.
Italy is a romantic destination, but it’s not limited to the kind of relationship we immediately think of. On a trip to Milan, Italy, I indulged in carbs to my heart’s content, fell in with love with Italian craftsmanship and savored Milanese afternoons enjoying biscotti and espresso.
As I waited to check into five-star hotel ME Milan Il Duca, I watched as a fashion editorial shoot take place. I listened as the photographer directed the model in Italian. “Bellisima!” he repeated. It was exactly the kind of experience to be expected from one of the fashion capitals of the world.
In addition to beautifully appointed rooms, the hotel has a rooftop that is among the best places to enjoy aperitivos and take in views of the Milan skyline.
As a woman who loves fashion, a solo trip to the Armani Silos exhibition space is still among my favorite outings. The breathtaking structure houses Giorgio Armani’s creations from 1980 to the present. It includes 400 outfits and 200 accessories over 40 years. After visiting the exhibit I was reminded that many of the world’s most renowned designers are Italian: Versace, Zanotti and Ferragamo, to name a few. There is no shortage of places to shop in Milan either. Italian leather shoes and handbags are designed with an attention to detail impossible to pass up.
On traveling solo: There are parts in Los Angeles (where I live) where I wouldn’t want to be alone at night. I try to keep this in mind when I’m traveling. I have to remind myself to be aware of my surroundings in areas that seem questionable.
Her packing essential: I always travel with antibacterial handwipes from Whole Foods.
Eliza Krpoyan is a luxury lifestyle journalist. Her work has been published in print and online including on MyDomaine and Byrdie. Her most recent trips landed her on an art tour of Japan, a wellness retreat in the Maldives and an exploration of Melbourne, Australia. Eliza hopes to visit Africa soon.