Traveling alone is probably not the first thing you think of when you hear "vacation." But
solo travel has had a renaissance in recent years, especially for women: It's a chance to sit in the driver's seat, flex your independence, experience a new place, and get to know yourself a bit better.
Plus, there are so many inspiring places with breathtaking sights, delicious food, and awe-inspiring views, that it's becoming more and more appealing to travel unaccompanied with a custom tailored itinerary in one hand and an HD iPhone camera in the other.
While the holidays are typically family-heavy events, there's no shame in taking a little you time to explore on your own. Think you’re ready to take the plunge? Ahead, we've rounded up 30 places ideal for traveling solo this holiday season.
Whether you're exploring the winding streets of the
or admiring the city's lush parks and idyllic plazas, there's no shortage of architecture and culture to explore in Barcelona. If you're into nightlife, you can follow up a packed day of sightseeing with a cat nap and still have plenty of time before dinner and drinks, as locals don’t usually eat until 9 p.m (at the earliest).
A city that truly celebrates individuality, Berlin is a haven for solo travelers. With dozens of trendy
to choose from, it's also an excellent choice for anyone looking to get a taste of Europe on a budget.
From magnificent museums to
, planning a vacay in Berlin is like reading one of those “choose your own adventure” books. There’s something for everyone, so use your newfound freedom to plan your itinerary exactly the way you want.
Quebec City, Canada
Quebec City is North America’s only remaining walled city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Solo travelers will feel like they’ve been transported back in time to the 18th century. Though its charm is palpable, the city’s plethora of winter sports, from dog sled rides to ice skating and skiing, also draw in crowds. And if that’s not enough adventure to satisfy you during your stay, for a one-of-a kind experience, bundle up and stay the night at the iconic ice hotel,
Hôtel de Glace
Super-simple to navigate by train, bike, or on foot, Copenhagen is one of the easiest places to explore solo. Whether you’re admiring the stunning colorful architecture on a canal tour, tasting the local cuisine at
, or riding the world's tallest carousel at Tivoli Gardens, it’s hard not to enjoy yourself in the “the happiest city in the world.”
Costa Rica, Central America
Instead of spending the holidays indoors, why not translate your holiday spirit into volunteer work? Real Gap Experience offers
sea turtle conservation trips
throughout December and January where you can release tiny baby turtles into the sea, help construct a turtle hatchery, and meet new like-minded people. If turtles aren't your thing, Costa Rica also has tons of yoga retreats to reset you spiritually and physically.
Home to one of the world's best New Year celebrations, Edinburgh is seriously exciting during the holidays. Starting on December 30, Edinburgh's giant street festival,
, kicks off with a massive parade that continues for three days, jam-packed with concerts, street parties, and dancing. This spectacle draws visitors from more than 60 different countries, so it's a great chance to mix and mingle with locals and tourists alike.
Sightseeing tours are a great activity for solo travelers, and Egypt has no shortage of historic artifacts to explore.
Festive King Tut
, a nine-day group tour over the holidays and New Year's that explores the area's ancient temples and tombs, is a once-in-a-lifetime excursion that puts vacation days to good use.
Need a multifaceted solo trek? Start in Hanoi, Vietnam's capital, and work your way through the country's many sights. Take a Vietnamese
junk boat cruise
through towering limestone islands in Halong Bay, shop for handmade clothes in Hoi An, explore the highlands by motorbike in Sapa, or unwind on the beaches of Ke Ga. This country has the perfect mix of historical sites, cosmopolitan cities, and relaxing beaches to round out a solitary expedition.
Hong Kong is one of the safest cities in the world, a.k.a. ideal for solo travel. You can work on your haggling skills at the local markets, fill up on delicious dim sum, visit ancient temples, try your luck at the Happy Valley Racecourse, or take in the stunning views from
, all in a single day.
A haven for outdoorsy types, Reykjavik, Iceland's capital and largest city, boasts unparalleled natural beauty. You could spend a whole week going on scenic tours here, but two of the must-see spots are the
, a geothermal spa, and the Golden Circle crater.
Thanks to stellar and extensive public transport, it's easy to bop around various areas of London. During the day, visit Buckingham Palace or the
, and at night, hit up charming holiday markets, where you can sip mulled wine, peruse local shops, or ice-skate. London's thriving pub scene is another nighttime activity enjoyed by locals and tourists alike.
Photo: Courtesy of PXHere.
Los Angeles, California
Home to the Runyon Canyon Park, Disneyland, the Dodgers,
(Los Angeles County Museum Of Art), the Grove shopping center, and Griffith Park, Los Angeles is a massive activity hub. Plus, you're also just a 15-mile drive from the beach town of Santa Monica, and a 30-mile jaunt from beautiful Malibu.
The stunning city of Marrakesh is an architecture buff's dream. It's overflowing with culture and inspiration, and you could spend all day shopping for rugs, jewelry, lanterns, and other souvenirs in Marrakesh’s souks and bazaars, or exploring the city's mosques, palaces, and
. Or if you're feeling adventurous, hitch a ride in the desert via camel or ATV.
For those who don't want to shell out the cash to fly to Europe, or just want to avoid airport security lines, Montreal is the next best thing in North America. This insanely charming city seduces you with its
and old-school cobblestone streets.
Bonus: If you’re feeling up for short day trip, the magnificent Niagara Falls are only a few hours away.
Munich is a brilliant city to visit all year 'round, but is especially charming during the holidays when the Christmas markets are in full swing. By day, you can tour castles, palaces, and markets, and hit up Munich's famed beers halls at night. If you're an art buff, be sure to check out the
, home to several well-known art museums and galleries housing iconic masterpieces by Renoir, Monet, and Van Gogh.
The Himalayas, Nepal
Home to many of the world's highest peaks, including Mount Everest, Nepal is the perfect place to go hiking this holiday season. Many companies offer
of the breathtakingly beautiful landscape.
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is a fun, eclectic respite from standard holiday tradition. It's a true paradise for foodies, and you need to try some of the classics — think jambalaya, gumbo, beignets, and po' boy sandwiches. Other highlights include Frenchmen Street for live-music enthusiasts and spooky
New York, New York
From Broadway shows to holiday markets, museums, and
of shopping, there's plenty for a solo traveler to do in the city that never sleeps. If you're into nightlife, New York's
and club scenes are some of the best in the world.
and cultural institutions to the Gold Coast's sandy beaches and inland hiking trails, there’s something for every kind of traveler in Queensland. If you’re looking to escape cold winter weather, the holidays are the perfect time of year to visit Queensland, as Australia’s summer runs from December to February. So don’t forget to pack your sunnies for this solo trip.
San Francisco, California
Though San Francisco is one of the most expensive cities in America, it’s definitely possible to execute a successful solo trip here on a budget. Want to avoid a rental-car charge? Cable cars are a fun and cost-effective way to traverse the city. Aside from the obvious Golden Gate Bridge landscape, another must-see is
San Francisco’s Chinatown
. It's the largest Chinatown outside of Asia, a bustling maze of streets and alleys filled with dim sum joints, bakeries, and karaoke bars.
There are many things to see during a solo trip to the home of Starbucks and the iconic Space Needle — and plenty of coffee to keep you awake while you’re at it. Want to try different foods? Pike Place Market is one of the oldest continuously operated public farmers' markets in the United States, and a great way to sample some of Seattle’s best cuisine. While you're there, check out the
Market Theater Gum Wall
, a solid Instagram opp located right under the market in Post Alley.
St. Lucia, Caribbean
The holiday season can be one of the most stressful times of year, so why not treat yourself with a solo trip to St. Lucia and escape all the chaos? There are many luxury resorts and spas throughout the island perfect for pampering, so you're guaranteed to relax, unwind, and reset heading into the new year. If you’re feeling adventurous, the island’s volcanic beaches, reef-diving sites, and
are ripe for exploration.
With charming Christmas markets and bountiful holiday spirit, Stockholm is a great place to travel in December. The city's many palaces, museums, and galleries stay open in the days leading up to Christmas, so there's plenty to see and explore for history buffs and art lovers alike. If you're a thrill-seeker, visit the
, a massive spherical arena that you can travel over via glass gondola.
One of Australia's largest cities and a popular destination for backpackers, Sydney is jam-packed with urban and outdoor activities ideal for the solo traveler. With temperatures in the mid-70s during the holidays, you’ll be able to take advantage of Sydney’s gorgeous
or Royal National Park’s stunning cliffs, rock pools, and trails. Another must-see is the iconic Sydney Opera House, which boasts over 40 shows a week.
Japan's capital city is a fascinating blend of modern and traditional. From neon-lit skyscrapers and historic temples to
and sushi restaurants, there’s so much for the solo traveler to explore. Plus, many smaller surrounding cities like Kyoto, Osaka, and Sapporo, are accessible via bullet train.
Red Mountain Resort, Utah
Perfect for resting, relaxing, and renewing this holiday season,
Red Mountain Resort
is an ideal winter getaway. It offers so many different health, wellness, and fitness retreats (plus a full spa) that it’s easy to re-energize here. And if you’re looking for a bit more adventure, the surrounding areas boast plenty of hiking and biking trails.
Las Vegas, Nevada
A fun and carefree vacay spot for solo travelers, Las Vegas is an epic way to spend your holiday. Think world-class shows, delicious food, and people-watching along the Strip. For a desert take on the Christmas tree, head to the festive
cactus garden at Ethel M Chocolates Factory
, which features 300 different species of cacti glowing with half a million lights.
Home to Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Mozart, Beethoven, and Sigmund Freud, Vienna is brimming with culture and history. In addition to its numerous museums and galleries, Vienna boasts over 20 must-see
that offer punch, chestnuts, seasonal gifts, and handcrafted goods.
Washington, D.C., is home to over 100 free attractions, ranging from the
National Gallery of Art
to the Jefferson Memorial, all of which are enough to keep a solo traveler busy for days. A city ripe with history and culture, Washington has a variety of historic neighborhoods with distinct personalities, ranging from quaint, charming Georgetown to bustling, music-centric U Street.
hosted by Annie Georgia Greenberg.
hosted by Annie Georgia Greenberg.