8 perfect destinations for the first-time solo traveler

Do you ever want to stay at a local Airbnb, but your travel partner wants to stay at a five-star resort? Have you ever found yourself on a tropical holiday, relaxing by the beach with a margarita in hand, only for your travel companion to start itching to go zip lining or bungee jumping? There are certainly many perks of traveling with friends, family or loving partners. However, nothing quite compares to stepping out of your comfort zone and traveling on your own. Solo travel has become increasingly popular over the past several years, as more and more people fall in love with the idea of globetrotting party-of-one style.

Vietnam is a Southeast Asian sliver of adventure, paradise, beauty, delicious eats, nature and more. It’s a country that truly has it all. Ask any avid traveler what their favorite nations are, and Vietnam is bound to be included in that list, for good reason. Vietnam is safe, cheap, beautiful and full of adventure.

Hanoi is a perfectly chaotic city where motorbikes buzz through the streets from all different directions. Try some Bun Cha at Bun Cha Huong Lien, a restaurant visited by both President Barack Obama and Anthony Bourdain. Here working women pour you large bowls of a fishy broth with clipped noodles, herbs and pork. Wash it all down with a beer at Train Street. Head to Ha Long Bay to see one of the new natural wonders of the world. When you’re ready for a city escape, head south to Da Nang, Vietnam’s hippest beach town, where expats from all over the world relax.

When discussing different destinations around the world, it’s easy to group them into one of two categories: safe and unsafe. This can perpetuate negative stereotypes, and it’s important to keep in mind that every traveler’s journey is subjective. However, when it comes to Iceland, it would be hard to argue that it’s even remotely unsafe.

Iceland is absolutely, hands-down, one of the safest place on earth. You’ll likely meet several solo female travelers, as well as LGBTQIA+ travelers, because of the country’s inclusive and equitable societal standards. Downtown Reykjavik has a booming LGBTQIA+ scene. Also, walking alone at night isn’t as much of an issue if you choose to visit in the summer, because, around the summer solstice, it’s daylight (or twilight) 24 hours a day. Iceland is so safe that it’s been said there are more horses on the island than police officers.

As for the landscape, it’s true that Iceland is like another planet. You’ll be greeted with geysers, waterfalls, glaciers and volcanoes. If you’re feeling adventurous, try scuba diving between the tectonic plates that separate the North American and European continents. Keep in mind that Iceland is a bit more expensive than your average destination, so a downfall to traveling solo to this destination is not having anyone with whom to split the cost.