9 best destinations for your first international solo trip

Apr 5, 2023

Traveling solo is a life-changing experience, especially for women stepping out of their comfort zone in a huge way for the first time!

As a female solo traveler, safety, ease of travel, affordability, language, cultural norms, and overall enjoyment are just some of the factors to consider when you zero in on a destination for your first solo international adventure.

I get it — it can be intimidating, but choosing the right destination can make all the difference! In this blog, I’m going to hit you with a rapid fire list of some of the best destinations for first-time female solo travelers.

Whether you want to explore bustling cities, relax on a beach, or immerse yourself in nature, it’s time to pack your bags— this list has something for everyone!

Here are the 9 best destinations for first-time female solo travelers. Let’s go!

Best places for female solo travel in 2023

Don’t forget— after you check out the destinations on this list, take a look at the 8 BEST travel safety products for women (most under $20 on Amazon!) in 2023. After choosing a destination, I think that feeling prepared is the most important thing that you can do to feel safe and comfortable— keep the confidence flowing with some of these creative travel safety gadgets!

1. Iceland

Iceland is a top destination for solo female travelers because of its stunning natural beauty, low crime rate, and advanced gender equality.

From unbelievable glaciers to black sand beaches, waterfalls, hot springs, puffins, and volcanoes, Iceland has something for everyone, including the famous Blue Lagoon!

It’s easy to get around, everyone speaks English (in addition to Icelandic, one of the most beautiful and interesting languages that you can totally understand if you know what you’re listening for!), and the locals are friendly and welcoming.

Reykjavik, the capital city, is a vibrant and safe city with activities for solo travelers that go beyond just visiting museums or exploring nightlife. This is an amazing city to roam the streets, grab a beer, and watch the sunset over Rainbow Street (pictured!). Then, head off into the greenest, most scenic countryside you’ve ever seen! Iceland is pure magic.

Visiting Iceland? I learned a lot and made some bonehead mistakes. Check out these 6 tips that first time visitors to Iceland need to know!

2. Maui, Hawaii

I probably don’t have to tell you that Maui is paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and solo travelers.

It’s world famous for its landscapes: cascading waterfalls, beaches (some with black or red volcanic sand), oceanlife, tropical gardens, beautiful fresh fruit, and seafood. It’s also exceptionally safe, laid back, and a real “choose your own adventure” kind of destination.

Maui in particular is a special place for humpback whale watching, snorkeling with sea turtles (they are literally swimming 10 feet off of the beaches), scuba diving, getting the world’s best mai tai, and driving one of the world’s most famous road trips, the Road to Hana.

Also for caramel banana macadamia nut pancakes. Do not sleep on the food in Hawai!!

The locals are friendly, the island is easy to navigate, and Lahaina is great destination for solo travelers looking for adventure sports. *Fun thing— I consider Maui my first big solo trip! It changed my life, so it has a special place in my heart. If you’re considering Maui (and you totally should!) learn the best time to visit Maui and check out these 8 practical tips for driving Maui’s famous Road to Hana.

Ready to book a flight? This is my BEST tried and true travel hack for finding the cheapest flights.

3. Canada

Canada is a vast country with plenty of opportunities for solo travelers. The country is known for its natural beauty, including national parks, lakes, and mountains. Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal are cosmopolitan cities overflowing with some of the world’s best museums and a unique food scene, while Whistler and Banff offer unbelievable natural beauty and wilderness- perfecting for skiing, hiking, sledding, camping, and getting the breath of fresh air you need!

After you navigate this list, be sure to check out my top 10 tips for first-time solo travelers.

4. Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a popular destination for solo female travelers looking for adventure, relaxation, and nature— pura vida, friends! This is the mantra of “simple life” that permeates every aspect of Costa Rican life.

The country is known for its beaches, rainforests, hot springs, volcanoes, and wildlife. The locals are friendly and it’s easy to get around. San Jose, the capital city, is a great place to start and has a ton of activities for solo travelers. Enjoy fresh produce, a surfing lesson, or hanging out at the beach!

Costa Rica is also a fantastic hotspot for digital nomads, especially because of their digital nomad visa, which lets you stay in the country for 1 year and is extendable!

5. Portugal

Portugal is a great destination for solo female travelers who want to experience European culture without breaking the bank. Portugal a real sleeper in Europe because newer travelers typically go straight for London, Paris, or Rome first. This are all amazing destinations, but Portugal has ALL the old world charm, cobbled streets, and amazing food at a cheaper price point.

This affordable European country is known for its stunning coastline, historic cities, and delicious food and wine. Lisbon, the capital city, is a vibrant and welcoming city with plenty of activities for solo travelers, such as visiting museums and exploring the food scene. On the coast, you won’t want to miss Porto, the Azores, or Algarve!

6. Australia

Australia is a vast country with plenty of opportunities for solo travelers. The country is known for its beautiful beaches, national parks, and wildlife. Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane are cosmopolitan cities with plenty of activities for solo travelers, such as visiting museums and exploring the food scene.

7. Ireland

Ireland is a great destination for solo female travelers who want to experience European culture and stunning natural beauty. The locals are friendly and welcoming, and the country is known for its historic cities and breathtaking landscapes. Dublin, the capital city, is a vibrant and welcoming city with plenty of activities for solo travelers, such as visiting museums and exploring the food scene. Plus, Ireland is a country with many workaway opportunities to make your travels cheap and affordable hostels!

8. Bali, Indonesia

Bali is a popular destination for solo female travelers looking for a tropical paradise. The island is known for its stunning beaches, lush forests, and unique culture. Because of Bali’s immense popularity, it’s got a great community atmosphere for female solo travelers to make friends and connect. It’s also quite touristy and developed, so it’s a good starting point for female solo travelers taking their first international trip, in particular, is a great destination for solo travelers looking for yoga and wellness retreats.

9. Japan

Japan is one of the safest countries in the world, making it an excellent destination for solo female travelers. The country has a rich cultural heritage, and the locals are welcoming and friendly. Tokyo, the capital city, is a bustling metropolis with plenty of activities for solo travelers, such as shopping, visiting museums, and trying out the local cuisine.

Looking for more? Be sure to check out:

Are you new here? Let’s be friends! I’m Sarah— a solo female traveler (& world’s okayest travel blogger) helping you travel the world, discover surprising destinations, & have a laugh getting off the beaten path. Scroll to the bottom of this page to sign up to stay in touch (I promise not to spam you- just to share the best travel hacks, guides, itineraries, embarrassing stories, and unmissable experiences)!

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