Inspirational trips for solo travellers

BEST FOR ADVENTURE: SOUTH AMERICA
With mountains to climb, rivers to raft, ancient ruins to uncover and jungles to explore, South America is the ultimate adventure destination. Don’t let its size daunt you – whether you’re looking to do a big trip or a short haul, South America is more conducive to solo travel than you may think. 

Logistically, it makes sense for longer-term travellers to follow the Gringo Trail, the classic route that encompasses the continent’s most popular destinations from north to south (and vice versa). This lends to plenty of opportunities to buddy up with other travellers heading in the same direction. At the very least, you’re bound to bump into the same people more than once along the way.

South America has one of the world’s best hostel networks, many of which can organise tours and transport for you, which makes it easy for solos to ease into the destination when they first arrive. While Spanish is the national language in all but three countries (Guyana, French Guiana and Suriname), English is more widely spoken these days, and locals are overwhelmingly friendly.

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Consider taking preventative medication to thwart altitude sickness, which is a particular risk in Bolivia (especially if you fly into La Paz, which sits above 4000m).

BEST FOR NIGHTLIFE: BERLIN, GERMANY
Berlin is 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.

Some say you are more likely to get into Berghain, the city’s most famous nightclub, if you queue on your own, while Berlin’s summer beer gardens offer great opportunities to make new friends over a few steins. 

But there’s more to this gritty-glam metropolis. Join a walking tour or set out on foot to visit key sights, from the Brandenburg Gate to the Holocaust Memorial, before losing yourself in Museumsinsel (Museum Island). The city is packed with alternative sights, from street art-emblazoned alleyways to abandoned buildings, quirky cafes, cool boutiques, weekend flea markets, and a growing food cart scene to explore.

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If you’re planning to do a lot of sightseeing, grab a Berlin WelcomeCard (visitberlin.de), which provides free public transport and up to 50% off attractions and tours.

BEST FOR A CITY BREAK: PORTLAND, OREGON, USA
One of America’s coolest cities, Portland has all the cultural advantages of a major city, but the feel of a small town. Also one of America’s greenest cities – literally and figuratively – it’s a top spot for conscientious solo travellers looking to take a more sustainable city break.

With more than a dozen urban wineries, not to mention a microbrewery and coffee roaster at every turn, Portland is a drinkers’ paradise. But there’s plenty more to this bastion of counterculture, from a museum dedicated to vacuum cleaners to an urban herd of goats you can visit in the Lents District. Hugging the Willamette River, Portland might be Oregon’s largest city, but this compact metropolis is easy to get around on foot, via the city’s excellent public transport network, or by utilising Biketown, Portland’s bike-share system. 

And while the city is famous for its artisan restaurants, it has more than 500 food carts available at any given time, which makes mealtimes so much fun for solos. Most carts stay put in groups dubbed ‘pods,’ making it a snap to sample several at a time. And did we mention Portland’s tax-free shopping?

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Portland is one of America’s rainier cities, but there are plenty of interesting places to escape the drizzle. Check out the Shanghai Tunnels (shanghaitunnels.info), where in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, local men were kidnapped and sold to passing ships as slaves. 

Reproduced with permission from The Solo Travel Handbook, ©2018 Lonely Planet