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5 Destinations for Solo Travelers

Find the best locale for you based on your favorite type of vacation

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As a veteran travel writer, I take most of my reporting trips solo. Occasionally, I’ve felt conspicuous (as at a couple’s resort in Jamaica), but mostly I savor my freedom to indulge in successive museums in London or have gelato for dinner in Italy.

​Traveling comfortably as a solo traveler starts with safety. I also consider ease of transportation. Being able to speak the local language or going to places where English is a common second language (which I’ve experienced from Singapore to Vienna) factors in.

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​Mindful of these criteria, here are five solo travel destinations to consider for 2023.

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For city lovers: New York City 

You never feel alone in New York City. The metropolis boasts a strong singleton culture, and it’s common to find solo people walking around Central Park, riding the subway and dining out. With the extensive subway system, travelers can get around efficiently, and Google Maps’ public transportation directions allow visitors to navigate like locals. Solo travelers may have a better shot at a spare discount ticket to a Broadway show from the last-minute seller TKTS (I saw Hadestown from the fourth row at a fraction of what neighboring seatmates paid).

Where to stay: In Times Square, indulge in the luxurious suites at The Chatwal. Or save by booking in the Flatiron District at the arty Freehand New York.

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For Europe lovers: Switzerland 

Switzerland has everything attractive in Europe — history, culture, natural beauty and culinary appeal — as well as easily navigable transportation; a preponderance of English speakers (the country of four official languages prides itself on multilingualism); and a variety of attractions, from cosmopolitan Zurich to the lakeside Lavaux wine district, scenic train rides and Alpine thrills. To see it all, purchase a Swiss Travel Pass, which grants access to nearly all forms of transportation, from trains to ferries, and more than 500 museums.

Where to stay: In the heart of the Swiss Alps, splurge at the Ermitage Wellness & Spa Hotel, with therapeutic pools and nature guides, or save at the more affordable chalet-style Solzano, with a spa and views of the 13,015-foot Eiger mountain.

spinner image rabbit ears rock formation during sunset in steamboat springs colorado
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For mountain lovers: Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Steamboat Springs — a walkable Western town surrounded by national forest and more than 150 hot springs — makes it easy to pull off a solo mountain escape. Shuttle bus service connects the Yampa Valley Regional Airport to nearby Steamboat, where you won’t need a car, since the town buses, which travel to Steamboat Ski Resort, are free. You can walk to trails, restaurants, galleries, shops and the Old Town Hot Springs. Enjoy the powder while downhill skiing, horseback riding, fat-tire biking, cross-country skiing and dogsledding.

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Where to stay: The modest and convenient Rabbit Ears Motel on the main drag includes breakfast and discounted hot springs tickets. At the base of the ski resort, the upscale Steamboat Grand boasts a heated outdoor pool, a spa and a poolside bistro.​

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For beach lovers: Virgin Gorda 

Slow down fast on Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands, a quiet and friendly beach idyll. It’s easy to reach via ferry from nearby Tortola or from St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Only about 4,500 people reside on the 8-square-mile island, which means visitors are welcomed with “where are you from” curiosity at local bars, restaurants and shops. And it’s breathtakingly beautiful, especially at The Baths National Park, where a series of granite boulders in the turquoise shallows create hidden swimming pools. 

Where to stay: Virgin Gorda’s standout luxury resort, Rosewood Little Dix Bay, offers a half-mile stretch of powdery beach and a pampering spa. Stretch your budget and mingle with locals at the family-owned Fischer’s Cove Beach Hotel & Restaurant.

spinner image a woman hiking near seljalandsfoss waterfall in iceland
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For nature lovers: Iceland 

Straddling a rift where two tectonic plates meet, Iceland exposes inner Earth via volcanoes, hot springs and geysers. The northern lights and the midnight sun will make you feel confident in a nation that ranks highest for safety on the Global Peace Index. From the capital of Reykjavík — where cafés, bars and shops crowd bustling pedestrian streets — take guided excursions to the attractions of the Golden Circle, including Thingvellir National Park and Gullfoss waterfall, catch a whale-watching cruise or hop a bus to the geothermal pools of the Blue Lagoon.

Where to stay: For a central location in a historic building modernized in Nordic style, check into the affordable Kvosin Downtown Hotel. Upgrade to the new waterfront Reykjavík EDITION for floor-to-ceiling windows and a rooftop lounge.

​Traveling on your own? Read our AARP Smart Guide to Travel.

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