In my opinion, for a place to be ideal for solo travelers, it has to have a few things: friendly people, great public transportation, lots to see and do, and a certain level of safety, especially on public transportation and in public spaces. Malta has all these qualities, in spades.
I was traveling in Italy when I decided that hopping over to this island country, just south of Sicily, would be a fun idea. Knowing nothing more than what I read off its WikiTravel page, I arrived in Malta with an open mind and no expectations, and was totally blindsided by the mosaic of cultures, the incredible scenery of both hilltop towns and cerulean seas, the depth of tangible history, and the good eats (mmm, pastizzi!). Plus, it ticked off everything on my checklist: the bus network is extensive, the beaches are incredible, and the scuba diving is first-rate. Although I’ve visited nearly 100 countries, only a handful have beguiled me into considering relocation, and Malta is one of them. —Cynthia Drescher, Contributor
New York City
As millions have before me, I not only traveled but moved to New York solo—I didn’t know another soul in the city when I boarded my flight from London. But there’s a reason so many have chosen to brave the same destination alone over the centuries. No one stands out in New York. Unlike a honeymooner-heavy retreat in the Maldives or so many other quieter places in the world that can leave solo travelers feeling self-conscious and lonely, no one will pay you the blindest bit of notice amid the city’s nearly nine million-strong population. Equally, if you want to connect with other like-minded humans, no city has more happening at once, everywhere, all the time.
If you’re going it alone, I’d recommend staying at the Ace Hotel in NoMad or the Hoxton Williamsburg in Brooklyn, both of which are awash with individuals on laptops or laid-back groups ripe for people watching, and each offer cool single or small rooms. In terms of activities, hit the streets and wander wherever your selfish will takes you in this incredibly pedestrian-friendly place, or book onto some group classes or tours—try Vayable.com or EatWith.com for peer-to-peer experiences led by locals. And, obviously, keep an eye on cntraveler.com for what to do in the city this month. No doubt, as with myself and most frequent visitors, you’ll soon feel like you’ve built up a strong one-on-one relationship with the city itself. —Becky Lucas, Digital Editor
There’s a lot about solo travel that can be overwhelming; you’re responsible for every decision, and you have to be hyper-aware of your own safety. But while traveling with friends can be twice as relaxing, it can also be half as rewarding; often, you end up gravitating towards fellow travelers, rather than locals. When you’re alone, it’s more likely that locals will gravitate towards you—in a good way.
In Bali, Hinduism and Buddhism are central to the culture of the island, and both generate a strong sense of community; so it’s no coincidence the people are warm, welcoming, and open-hearted. This became most apparent one afternoon when, visibly lost and a little flustered in Ubud, a grinning lady no taller than my armpit gestured to a shady spot on the floor next to her, and spent the next hour teaching me (without a word of English) how to make canang sari, the woven baskets filled with flowers that locals leave on their doorsteps as offerings for the gods every morning. It might not have been quite what I’d imagined when I’d pictured making new friends on my trip—but it immersed me in an essential ritual that Balinese Hindus practice daily, and I made a connection I might not have otherwise. —Anna Prendergast, Digital Editorial Assistant, Traveller U.K.
My favorite place to travel solo is Miami—to me, it’s the perfect last-minute weekend trip where I can get away from it all, with good weather most of the year, regular flight deals, and a short travel time to boot (it’s about a three-hour flight from most of the East Coast and Midwest). I also often find really good hotel deals there.
I’m partial to staying in South Beach, where I know I can get access to the beach, and the bike and running path that runs alongside it. That area has plenty of restaurants and bars to keep you entertained, but generally I just want to come to Miami to chill and hit the reset button. Between reading on the beach, I’ll fit in a museum visit (the Perez Art Museum isn’t far from SoBe), some shopping, and a visit to Wynwood, which always has cool stuff happening (next time I go I’m fitting in a visit to The Sacred Space, which encompasses a plant-focused restaurant, wellness classes and workshops, and a health shop). It’s such a friendly city that I never feel strange or like I stand out for being there alone, but at the same time, the weekend always goes by quickly because there’s so much to do—I hardly notice I’ve spent a few much-needed days on my own. —Corina Quinn, Senior Editor, City Guides
U.S. Virgin Islands
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