Travelling on your own can be daunting. But few solo holidaymakers ever regret it – especially if they were lucky to visit cities that are particularly friendly for those going it alone.
Lonely Planet is on a mission to help solo travellers get a better deal and a more satisfying experience when they go on holidays.
They are mindful that singles are often fleeced by extra accommodation fees and sometimes preyed upon in other ways, too.
One way the travel publisher is doing its bit to promote better treatment by tour operators of solo travellers is to encourage more of them, so they grow their clout and, through numbers, can make demands to overturn the discrimination they face.
Lonely Planet’s recently released book, The Solo Travel Handbook, has useful tips for a safe and fun holiday, plus inspirational stories of those who have gone alone before.
Among the chapters are descriptions of some of the world’s cities that are particularly welcoming of the lone traveller. Here is a selection:
Best for self-reflection: Ubud, Indonesia
This green sanctuary with its many-day spas is a magnet for those who need to ‘work’ on their soul. It is popular with many single travellers, so you won’t attract the prying eyes of the locals here, as you might in other parts of Indonesia.
The setting for the book Eat, Pray, Love, Ubud’s place among misty mountains, coupled with its array of organic food, makes it a ‘must-go-to’ destination for those who do not want to be judged. It is ideal for self-reflection and healing.
Best for nightlife: Berlin, Germany
Lonely Planet describes this European capital as the ultimate place to party. “It’s also one of the friendliest, most inclusive cities in Europe, making it a fantastic place to hit the town as a solo traveller.”
There is a view that you are more likely to get into the city’s most famous nightclub, Berghain, if you queue alone. There are night markets aplenty and they host an eclectic array of food stalls, so if you are loathe to sit alone at a restaurant dining table, these are the places to head to for an easy bite.
Best for convenient culture: Singapore
While this is among the most expensive of South-East Asian nations, there are ways to save money and get a bellyful of multicultural treats. Many of the museums and galleries are free, and if you truly want to immerse yourself in the diverse local cuisine, you can’t go past the dozens of hawker centres. Here, you can eat al fresco to your heart’s content. The locals flock to the centres, so you know the food is good.
Singapore is super safe, clean and compact, with extra efficient public transport, warm weather year round, and everyone speaks English.
Best for a city break: Portland, Oregon, US
Portland oozes cool and conscience. It is one of the safest American cities, according to Lonely Planet, which sings its praises for being more environmentally aware than most other places on the continent.
It has all the conveniences of a large city, but the feel of a country town.
Portland has more than 500 food carts that group themselves into pods, making it easy to sample a selection of meals in the one location.
Shopping is duty-free and if you enjoy outdoor adventures, there are wildlife sanctuaries and forests nearby.
Best for a tropical escape: Caye Caulker, Belize
A trip to this lush tropical island has to be timed correctly to avoid the hurricane season between June and November. But outside these months, Caye Caulker is a Caribbean paradise for solo travellers.
The atmosphere is laid back with stunning beaches, plenty of snorkelling, reggae bars and street food stands selling creole delights.
While it isn’t the cheapest place you will ever visit, tourists describe it as one of the safest areas in Central America.