Home » The 6 best destinations for solo travel

The 6 best destinations for solo travel

written by Vicky Philpott September 26, 2016

Travelling alone doesn’t mean you have to travel alone. One of the best ways I’ve found to explore a country during my two years of solo travel is to join a tour group. Travelling solo in a group means you still get to feel like a wild adventurer exploring the world (because you are) but you’ve got instant friends, the safety of a tour guide and, sometimes, a better price too.

Solo-travel-countries---VickyFlipFlop-2

Me flying solo at Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Some destinations are better than others when it comes to travelling solo. With 60 countries in my passport, here are the six that I think really stand out for the solo traveller.

1. Tanzania

Solo travel --Tanzania

Bouncing across the plains of the Ngorongoro Crater on the back seat of a Land Rover, camera in hand, with lions on one side and wildebeests on the other is an experience that’s hard to beat. Anyone with a past or present love of the Lion King will get a buzz from seeing the stone formation in the Serengeti said to have inspired Pride Rock. With two big safaris here, you’re in with a good chance of seeing the famous Big 5.

The excitement and anticipation of a safari is a great way to get to know your fellow passengers – you won’t feel like a solo traveller for long. A tour is the cheapest way to get the best experience. And it’s always nice to have the security and assurance of a reputable company when you’re in the middle of the Serengeti surrounded by lions, rhinos and elephants, right?

tanzania-trip

2. The Philippines

Solo travel --philippines

The Philippines is a great place to travel alone. It’s probably the friendliest country I’ve ever been to – locals genuinely smile at you as go about your day. The fact that English is one of the official languages here means you can easily follow up with a chat too. After I’d been travelling Asia for so long with no conversation skills, that really was quite special.

Made up of 7,107 islands, the Philippines isn’t the easiest place to get around. If you’re tight on time when you’re planning, or while you’re there, booking a tour could help.

Party places like Siargao and Boracay are great for meeting other backpackers, while the quieter towns like Bohol and Coron offer the perfect opportunity to get to know the locals too.

3. Japan

Solo travel --Japan

When people ask me my favourite country, which is at least three times a week, my standard answer is usually ‘Japan’. Love Japan. Love it.

In six weeks I went to both the Sapporo and Otaru Ice Festival, spent two weeks exploring as much of Tokyo as I could, saw Geisha girls in Kyoto, saw robots, space, visited a few lesser known towns on the way up north to the incredible ski and bathed (naked, as is traditional) in the onsens.

Much of my travels in Japan involved me trying to match up the symbols on my map with those on the signs, but it was all an adventure. I have such good memories of exploring Japan on my own – I felt totally safe the whole time. Apart from when I took my life in my hands launching myself off the mountains of Niseko, all in the name of skiing of course.

4. Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos

Solo travel -Thailand

The Indochina route is a classic for a reason. I haven’t actually been to Cambodia or Laos, but I know hundreds of people whose first foray into travelling followed that well trodden route. Vietnam is hands down one of my favourite countries, and it was also my first dip into Asia.

It’s so easy to travel Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos alone. If you’re anxious about solo travel, this welcoming quad of great food, other backpackers, religious sites, cool things to do and easy travels is a great introduction to the incredible world beyond your desk.

5. The USA

Solo travel --USA

I’m just back from three months of travelling alone up the centre of the USA, from Texas, to Louisiana, to Alabama, Tennessee, Illinois and finishing in Minnesota. It was so easy to do at the time – but it did take a lot of planning in the run up. Choosing the hotels, routes, modes of transport and even restaurants was all exhausting, as there were just so many options, as well as staying safe.

There are so many cool places to go in the USA, but with the distance it can hard to tick off a few in a short amount of time. I’d recommend taking the time to really experience each location, rather than whizzing through. You can always go back!

united-states-trip

6. New Zealand

Solo travel --New-Zealand

New Zealand is one of the safest countries to travel alone in. The stats prove it. With more sheep than people life is pretty chilled out here. I joined a tour, and I’m sure that if I didn’t have my fellow passengers egging me on, and about half the team doing it, I never would’ve done my sky dive. One of the most incredible and liberating things I’ve ever done in my life. Sometimes peer pressure can be a good thing!

New Zealand is well set up for solo travellers, with plenty of hostels, transport options and other backpackers, although you might find it a little more expensive – especially if you’re hot off the plane from South East Asia. Make sure to visit Hobbiton, the actual set where Lord of the Rings was filmed and this is the country to do a bungee too!

Ready to roll solo? Lots of our travellers do it. Check out all our info on solo travel with Intrepid.

Or fancy trying Europe solo? Check out the 5 best countries in Europe for solo travelers.

Written by VickyFlipFlop. Follow more of her adventures at vickyflipfloptravels.com

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74 comments

Fly Addict May 23, 2020 - 11:18 pm

I actually have some fans on a Facebook page related to this stuff. I’ll share your post with them and see what they have to say. I’m sure they’ll love it though.

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nha trang today April 28, 2020 - 5:26 pm

I love New Zealand, the place and food selection is great, pricey for high end restaurant but still can find cheaper eats in markets. July is the good time to visit. We went in September and we saw them two nights in a row. The people are friendly.

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Seema February 8, 2020 - 7:30 pm

Even Bali is good for solo travel

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Bong Junior October 14, 2019 - 5:25 pm

Thank you for including Philippines on your list. Have you been here in Cebu?

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Otaye June 6, 2019 - 2:13 am

I have been in Malaysia then in Thailand as solo traveler but I didn’t feel alone ,now lam planning to visit Myanmar ,Cambodia ,Vietnam,alone ,I think to be in the south of Asia countries you will never be bored by any one ,they are almost smiling welcoming people.

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Ahmad Abdou April 21, 2019 - 4:01 am

sometimes it is lovely to travel alone but the real beauty of traveling is to travel with your friends.

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JA February 1, 2019 - 9:30 pm

Would disagree with Japan, I backpacked there solo in 2012 and although it is a beautiful country with incredible places (definitely a place that you should visit at some point), it is an incredibly expensive country which affects backpacker accommodation and nights out. One of the big things I noticed there was that people tended to downgrade accommodation there, so that hostels were filled with couples and groups who you wouldn’t normally expect to find in hostels, this made it incredibly difficult to meet people to go exploring with. If you are going to do Japan you need to be very well prepared, research the hostels extensively and save extensively as well, cooking in the hostel is a must on a shoestring as meals, while at Western Europe prices, are usually half the portion size.

In it’s place I’d be tempted to add Nepal, yeah it’s a crazy busy place (unless you have been to India), but the backpackers are the friendliest, the landscape is stunning and once you’ve chatted with other people and hostel staff, it’s pretty easy to get around. Hiking up to Everest base camp is still one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done, well worth it.

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Vlada October 5, 2018 - 9:24 pm

Travelling with a group is NOT travelling solo, Jesus-on-a-bicycle! it’s in the name – solo, alone! It’s for the people who do NOT want annoying people meddling underfoot, who like doing things on their own. And your choices are weird, IMO. Africa is one of the worse places to travel solo, as not only it’s not supersafe, local transport can be a bit confusing (at least in Nairobi it was), but a lot of activities are much cheaper in group. I even had to join up with couple of people for Masai Mara, despite the fact that I actually much prefer being on my own – hence solo traveller. USA is expensive, ok, not everyone is poor like myself, but even so, it’s much easier to travel in a car and long-distance travel in a car is doable alone but somewhat easier with company. It’s a list of your fav countries, not best places to travel solo – and you start the article with an advice to join some group! What a misleading title.

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Cebu Tours May 5, 2018 - 12:59 pm

I love how you include the Philippines for your list. It is indeed true that Philippines can be considered as a nice place to travel solo since here in the Philippines you will still feel like you’re not alone since the Filipinos are so hospitable and kind and also polite.

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Shreya January 9, 2018 - 7:58 pm

I am also a solo traveler. I love traveling too much. I know how it feel to travel alone.

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robert lujan November 22, 2018 - 5:29 am

I have traveled much of the world alone . I worked for 50 years , now I travel . I am not much of a smiler but when I travel I force myself . It disarms you it disarms people around you . So I meet interesting people along the way . Planning Istanbul – Athens good luck , Roberto

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dancetraveller January 3, 2018 - 4:43 pm

You are never too old or too young to travel! I’m at 105 official countries now. We started out camping summers as kids when mom would throw us in the back of the station wagon. Slept in parking lots, friends’ driveways, relatives backyards & sometimes a field or bus station! Cheap, we had a blast & I’ve seen nearly every state & province. Went on every school band/choir/language exchange, couch surfed & worked through 7 years of university, took 2 years off then got a real job 🙂 but still travel. Take my kid now, she’s 13 & has been all over the world, speaks 3 languages, I speak 6& can get by in 3 more so paves the way but all you need is the desire. Lots of solo tips out there. Nothing wrong with group tours if they’re good value & take you where you want to go. I’ve done several Intrpid, G Adventures, Contiki, Gate 1, Globus, all great for meeting people & making contacts. After working hard for 17 years I work part-time now, travel 3-4 months a year & wouldn’t change a thing. I have one rule for destinations (no war zones), don’t drink around people I don’t know, ask locals re safe taxis/street food/dangerous parts of town, do your research (half the fun!), get your vaccines, take a medical kit & don’t drink the water. Otherwise, anything goes! As a woman, I trust my instincts. Had a few close ones when I was young but have had some awfully goid adventures!!!

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Scott G January 27, 2018 - 9:45 am

Love your post. I’ve been doing the same as a 49-yr-old single father (they are 23 and 20 now!) My biggest question to you is your opinion on the best way to learn a language. I feel silly not speaking anything but English, save for the little bit I learn prior to visiting another land. For some reason the easiest one I was able to get by with was Romanian. Who knew.

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Linda Rolf January 30, 2018 - 7:19 pm

English is really the universal language, so for most countries you probably don’t need to know much in the language of your host country. That said, the local people really appreciate it if you learn some words and phrases in their language. You could use a phrase book, check out some resources from the library or take a class at a community college or online. I have found that learning other languages (or bits and pieces of them) really made traveling more interesting and fun. Don’t be afraid to speak in the new language, that is how you will learn. I usually learned from a combination of phrase books and talking to local people.

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Beth February 4, 2018 - 1:15 am

Scott
Try an evening class supplemented with soap operas (look up ones good for that language) and the Usborne internet linked language books for beginners. Try to do a bit several times a week.

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Kay December 27, 2017 - 12:00 pm

I’m thinking of booking a trip, I’d like to travel across America perhaps with a group but don’t want to rough it too much eg put tents up every night!, I’m a well travelled 63*year old woman… Any ideas?

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Jo + December 23, 2017 - 9:08 pm

I agree with the everywhere and anywhere comment – while I (an older woman travelling alone) am careful (don’t visit anywhere during elections!) anything is possible. I can recommend Malawi, Nepal, Ecuador … three countries that are off the main tourist trail, but welcoming to everyone.

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Paul October 22, 2017 - 1:21 pm

“here are the six that I think really stand out for the solo traveller.” OK, call me pedantic, but there are nine……….

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Claire July 7, 2017 - 9:25 am

Thanks for the article! I was really excited when you mentioned Japan, as I have just booked to go on my first solo trip! I’m really excited to see the ice festival as well as experience the culture. It’s been my dream since I was in grade 8, and I’m so excited to make it a reality!

Vietnam is an amazing place to visit, so easy to travel around. We paid way to much a few times, but learnt quickly to see what things should actually cost… the funniest time that turned into a great experience was accidentally booking a party boat for the Halong Bay tour… We still had a great time, and loved the views.

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Carol Leisch July 8, 2017 - 2:30 am

HI Claire My daughter teaches in Tokyo and has been to the ice festival Remarkable and so much to see/do. Just wear layers and go with the flow!

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Anonymous January 14, 2019 - 7:16 am

I am heading to Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam in Feb as solo traveler at age 62. Going as budget backpacker staying at hostels.

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Mila May 13, 2017 - 11:52 am

I just came back from 3 days visit to Cancun, Mexico. I traveled to 50 countries and most of the time solo. Last month I had the privilege to visit Cairo Egypt. To see the pyramid and to go inside is unbelievable.

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Carol Leisch July 8, 2017 - 2:32 am

OH MILA did you stay in Cancun? at the end of July my daughter and I are heading to ISLA mujeres/Playa and new to us HOLBOX

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judy May 1, 2017 - 9:43 am

I’ve travelled on my own a lot and always found it a worthwhile experience. Being in a group means you are shut away in your own little bubble whereas if you are on your own you open yourself to the culture and people much more. I’m always a bit scared before I start but have never really had a bad experience. Of course I am careful and don’t take unnecessary risks and I take care to respect the country and culture I am in. So go out and have a good time. Remember you only live once. One more thing, I have found that in certain countries (e.g. the Middle East) you get treated with real respect as you get older- I’m now 65. For once its a bonus to have white hair!

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Maria August 11, 2017 - 6:16 pm

Looking for a white haired companion for some of my futures trips. I live in London.

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Sally September 19, 2017 - 2:15 pm

Yes I have white hair!
FromCornwall then Cyprus for 3 years now Melbourne for 46 years.
Many countries visited in between.
Kids flown the nest beds vacant if you want in xchange for one in London next year???

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Anonymous April 17, 2017 - 7:38 am

I love Iceland, the food selection is great, pricey for high end restaurant but still can find cheaper eats in markets. June is the good time to visit but you will not be able to see Aurora Borialis. We went in September and we saw them two nights in a row. The people are friendly.

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Anonymous February 27, 2017 - 9:37 pm

Im going on my first solo tour to Vietnam and Cambodia on March 27. Im wondering if anyone else is going on the same tour. Never traveled solo before and havent been overseas. Im pretty brave!!

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Carol jean May 24, 2017 - 12:58 am

Great choices for solo travel great people and wonderful food and so easy on the budget do enjoy!

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Wayne June 14, 2017 - 2:33 am

Don’t miss Hoi An. It’s a sweet town.Good tour with hoi an easy riders attention Leo

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Mark February 22, 2017 - 8:59 pm

Just about to go on my first trip with Intrepid, going solo and really looking forward to Vietnam. I have also booked Cambodia in September. Now looking at my next trip….probably going to be India. Any other good suggestions for a novice?

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Anonymous June 19, 2017 - 5:21 am

India is great…keep an open mind. Do not drink the water unless it’s bottled water and do not eat street food. Stay at the Oveodosis India Hotel Chain…the best.

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Anonymous July 8, 2017 - 2:46 am

Cambodia is fantastic even though quite humid. Angkor Wat is a perfect spot to reflect and meditate. Last Xmas I enjoyed Phnoem Penh and various island. Great peop-le and great prices!

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Lauren February 22, 2017 - 5:52 am

This is a great article! I have yet to travel alone (except for work) but I couldn’t agree more about New Zealand! It’s an amazing country and very traveler friendly.

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Solo lady traveler February 18, 2017 - 10:41 am

Just go whatever the heck you want. I am… Things work themselves out and surprises make it fun:)

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Kathy February 14, 2017 - 6:38 am

This will be my fifth year of travelling alone and can highly recommend Cala Llonga in the south of Ibiza,not the clubby part. A beautiful bay,lovely sandy beach which is cleaned every night. Ibiza town is just a short bus ride away as are the two fabulous markets. The hippie market and Las Dallias. There are lots of live music evenings in the surrounding bar/restaurants. Cala Llonga is only two and a quarter hours flight from London then a twenty five minute taxi to the resort. I have always felt very safe there.

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Yves March 9, 2017 - 1:27 am

I would like to meet someone to go with.
If interested get back with me.
Thanks
yvesmhubert@gmail.com

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Dee February 11, 2017 - 1:46 am

Ohh!A solo traveller here,US born and half raised due to military family movements.Japan,yeh small town of Yokushita ,Tokyo so much to see.I think South Africa should make a list,all I ever had about the country was totally wrong.people there are very welcoming and pleasant.Just mention you’re a foreigner looking for places to go.The folks in your hotel Bnb would organise transportation to all sorts of places with the people they trust.The country itself has different climate change like the USA.Please,just do not travel there around End May to mid July,the winters over there won’t serve you peace during those months.The country is so extremely developed than many developed country.

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Barbara February 10, 2017 - 2:50 am

Where does an 83 year old lady go on her own?

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James Shackell February 10, 2017 - 4:45 pm

Hi Barbara, we applaud your attitude! There are a number of destinations that might suit your needs. Probably the best place to start is our customer service team. You can find their details on this page. Let them know the dates you’ve got in mind, any destinations you’re keen to see, and they’ll help pick an itinerary to suit you.

Hope that helps. Enjoy your trip!

James

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Vickie August 21, 2017 - 5:44 pm

Do you have any tours to Jordan? I am pushing 70. But still getting around pretty well, and I am a woman. Thanks

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Rebecca Shapiro August 22, 2017 - 3:18 am

Hi Vickie! Great to hear from you. Yes, we do indeed have trips to Jordan. Please feel free to check them out here: http://intrepidtravel.com/jordan – if you have any questions at all about them then don’t hesitate to email me at Rebecca.Shapiro@intrepidtravel.com 🙂

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Vickie August 22, 2017 - 9:28 am

Thanks so much!! Not sure if I can make it this year but I will start planning for next year. Thanks so much!

Rebecca Shapiro August 23, 2017 - 2:37 am

Amazing! Just shout if you need any help planning!

Anne Schmidt May 15, 2019 - 10:36 pm

I just got back from solo tripping in Jordan with an Intrepid driver to get me around from Amman to Petra. Best thing I’ve ever done. Not first solo travel but first solo as a 40+ woman. Can’t wait to see where I go next!

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Fran February 13, 2017 - 3:42 pm

Hawaii

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Anonymous February 28, 2017 - 1:55 pm

Every where and anywhere!

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Sharon March 7, 2017 - 4:16 am

I wonder the same thing. I like to cruise but most of my friends don’t want to go on trips except with family. I have always liked to travel and did so with my husband when he was alive — but now?

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Norma April 9, 2017 - 1:29 am

Hi Sharon. I always wonder how it’s like to travel solo. Eventually I will try that, but For now, I think to travel with a friend will take me out of my comfort zone. I am also single and my dream is to travel the world and like you said my daily friends and family are not always able to pack and go. Inteprid has so many exotic places to go and to explore. I would like to take that trip to Tanzania or the famous Falls in Argentina or maybe New Zealand or Peru. I’ll be glad to travel with you.

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Gavin Winney May 25, 2017 - 1:56 am

Hi Sharon,
I have decided to go on a Caribbean cruise next March 2018. I have never travelled on my own before and am very nervous/anxious about the trip. I have booked a single cabin with a balcony and fly out from Manchester to Bridgetown the beginning of March for two weeks. I am also considering on going somewhere warm and relaxing in June 2017 also. Being 61 I am not a party animal and prefer to look at the architecture and countryside but also have an enjoyable time while there. Good luck and I hope I can find someone with similar tastes as me.

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Denise December 27, 2017 - 10:27 pm

I love to cruise too Sharon-but single supplements are expensive!!! I am a 66 year old female (non-smoker)- and still active, so a cruise buddy would be good.Been to Japan with a group (3rd time coming up in March)-and love Italy so often go with Flavours (they do cooking, language, painting and Pilates holidays)

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Anonymous April 20, 2017 - 12:28 am

barbara. for you, i don’t recommend Andalucia, south of spain. beautiful but so many steps, rocks and steps and uneven footing. i’m. only 72 and wearied of it before i left. viet nam rooms were all up many flights of stairs, but otherwise flat. getting with a tour group helps because they will handle your bags!

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Anonymous May 20, 2017 - 9:59 am

Barbara.. Did you go on a solo trip yet?

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Wayne Emde February 10, 2017 - 1:58 am

One of my sons lives in Japan, so it has been a regular destination for ten years. I buy a Japan Rail Pass and use it for solo trips and have never felt unsafe. And, if you’re looking for a life altering experience, walk the ancient pilgrimage path that circles Shikoku – 1200 km to the heart of old Japan – small fishing villages, farms and of course the 88 temples that link the path. I also joined an Intrepid group tour around southern India a couple of years ago which offered many challenges but more rewards.

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Anonymous February 10, 2017 - 1:47 am

While I agree with most of the locations suggested, I have a question about Philippines . Remember two Canadian were beheaded last year or so after being kidnapped in a resort in Philippines?

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Anonymous February 21, 2017 - 4:57 pm

The Philippines is anonymous , those 2 were in a specific area of country where rebels are so stick to well traveled

places.

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Anonymous April 23, 2017 - 12:04 pm

I’m a Filipino based in the US. Philippines is safe and friendly. Just don’t go southern part like Zamboanga. Tourists usually go to Bohol, Cebu and Palawan. It’s still a safe place than other parts of the US. Try watching #becomingfilipino in YouTube. Safe travels to you.

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Glenda February 5, 2017 - 1:24 pm

Tiffany, Iceland is one of THE most interesting, friendly, absorbing places to visit … I visited in October, driving a hire car around the country. My next visit is planned for February 2018 in the hope of photographing aurora.
Enjoy!

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Anonymous February 1, 2017 - 8:43 am

Great selections – looking to do south east Asia for my 30th in December – flying solo so the group tours is definitely on my list to do.

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Simi January 22, 2017 - 8:40 am

I love to travel but going solo scares me. Where can i find the group information. Would love to see Dubai.

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Dianidee March 2, 2017 - 4:05 pm

Hi Simi, I do have same feeling as you. I traveled solo too but sometimes a bit scary.
Try contacting the travel agent.

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Anonymous January 22, 2017 - 7:52 am

I did a 10 day trip to Tenerife in Canary Islands after Christmas and it was so enjoyable. I stayed at hotel central to all the tourist spots and did a few day trips. The best solo holiday trip ever!

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Marta zapata January 4, 2017 - 8:45 am

And you should add India also

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Kris March 10, 2017 - 11:57 pm

Where in India ? I am interested

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Anonymous January 1, 2017 - 2:21 am

These look like great destinations! Where can I find a good site about travel alone for a female senior citizen?

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Rudy December 30, 2016 - 9:57 am

I was about to ask the same question like Tiffany has just asked. I’m going to Iceland on june but I’m not so sure how the foods situations are. I would appreciate if you could give something about it. Thanks

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Kay January 22, 2017 - 8:13 am

The food is excellent, just very expensive.

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Glenda February 5, 2017 - 1:21 pm

Rudy, the food i Iceland is is excellent … I stayed in hostels and just bought “ordinary” food and prepared it myself. I did eat out a couple of times and enjoyed that … no more expensive than you choose it to be!!! Glenda (Australia)

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Marge February 6, 2017 - 6:48 am

In Iceland eat where the icelanders eat. Stay away from the high buck tourist traps. They have every food imaginable. Ask a local bartender or wait staff where they would go after work.

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Anonymous February 11, 2017 - 6:11 am

Food is pricey but so is everything else, your on an island….18 bucks canadian for a pint….get ready

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Anonymous December 16, 2016 - 1:12 am

You should add Iceland to this list.

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tiffany December 21, 2016 - 10:02 am

Is there a better time of year than other to go to Iceland? What’s the food situation? I’m vegan and always thought they may not be vegan friendly. I had never thought of traveling to Iceland but now it’s sounds like a possible really cool trip.

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Amanda February 21, 2017 - 5:34 pm

June is a great time to go to Iceland, it didn’t get dark out for the full 3 weeks I was there. I have traveled to 20 countries and Iceland was one of my favourites!

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J July 4, 2017 - 10:16 am

I travelled Iceland in June & the sun never really dropped from the sky! One day we drove almost 24 hours without realising, stopping at every intriguing place on the way. From springs to canyons and glacial lagoons! Plus hitchiking is common and safe, so we met some incredible people on the roads.
We stayed in an Airbnb, cooked some evenings and took packed lunches on road trips. Then it made our treat of eating out even more special and utterly worth the cost, we ate at neighbourhood bistros rather than downtown.
The people are friendly, seafood is a must and the landscape is mind blowing. Do it.

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