Set off on an adventure of a lifetime…by yourself

Travelling solo might be daunting, especially for women, but it can also be one of the most exhilarating experiences of your life. We celebrate International Women’s Day with an insider’s guide to solo travel for women. Follow our tips and set off on an adventure of a lifetime…by yourself!


Best long-haul trip for foodies: Bangkok, Thailand

Solo travel for women - BangkokFoodies will fall in love with Thailand
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Bowls and bowls of pad thai doled out fresh – which foodie wouldn’t fall in love with Thailand? It’s a great destination for veggies and vegans too. For a fancy boutique dining experience in Bangkok, treat yourself by heading to Bo.Lan (Songkram Sukhumvit 26), 15 minutes’ walk from Prompong Station. The food here is a complete sensory experience whether you choose from the à la carte menu or the fixed balanced meal option. Another favourite with locals is Klang Soi (Soi Sukhumvit 29). For some street food extravaganza away from the tourist crowds, head to Sukhumvit Soi 38 (get off at the Thonglor BTS Station), a small but fantastic night market whose popularity is steadily on the rise. From duck noodles and pad thai to the best sticky rice and mango in town, the food here is varied, delicious and extremely affordable.

Best short-haul trip for foodies: Bologna, Italy

Julia Roberts ate her heart out in Italy so why shouldn’t we? The list of things that originated in Bologna is endless, from tortellini to balsamic vinegar to Parma ham. Surrounded by Milan, Florence and Venice, Bologna is often skipped out, which makes it a great alternative to the tourist hotspots. If a completely splurge-worthy experience is what you’re after, head to Ristorante Pappagallo (via della Mercanzia 3): the dishes are extremely creative, the waiters friendly, and the ravioli with foie gras to die for. To top it all off, you can’t be in Bologna and not indulge in some good old gelato. The lines outside Gelateria Gianni (via Montegrappa 11) will make it incredibly easy to spot this well-known ice-cream parlour. Give yourself enough time to choose from the multitudinous flavours, from traditional favourites like strawberry or chocolate to unique combinations with equally unique names like Inferno (white chocolate, red cherries and wafers) or Divina Commedia (pistachio, nutella and hazelnut).

Insider tips: Love food but worried you might be in for a shock when you step on a scale back home? Just remember to walk, dance, swim and cycle as much as you can. Weigh Away is a slim scale perfect for travelling. Also pack some bismuth subsalicylate (BSS), the active ingredient in Pepto-Bismol, before you go. It will come in very handy in mild cases of food poisoning. Nothing mars solo travel like falling sick when you’re all by yourself!


Best long-haul trip for spiritualists: The Himalayas, India

Solo travel for women - Spiritualist travellerYoga retreats are perfect for spiritualists
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The Himalayas are the perfect getaway for any spiritualist traveller looking for tranquillity. This is also amongst the safest regions in India for solo female travellers, although prior experience as a solo traveller is recommended. The Himalayas have a variety of ashrams (rustic retreats), yoga retreats and world-class spas. Ananda Spa is a spa and yoga retreat in the midst of nature, with world-class facilities, classes and private lessons. Rooms start from about £300 a night but there are more affordable packages available. For those on a different quest and looking to do some volunteering, there are several ashrams in the Himalayas that welcome volunteers with open arms.

Best short-haul trip for spiritualists: Southern Tunisia

Recently coming into its own as a fabulous destination is Tunisia. For a solo female traveller, Tunisia is not one of those extremely daunting places but some previous experience will again prove helpful. If self contemplation and pure peace and quiet are what you are after, then head to Dar Hi in southern Tunisia. Located in the historic centre of Nefta, you’ll feel miles away from the catcalling and unwanted attention that you might have experienced while getting there. Choose from a host of hammams, massages and delicious organic food. The architecture is modern and complements the surrounding landscape. If you are tired of relaxing (yes we realise that’s an oxymoron but it can happen to the best of us), Dar Hi also offers a range of activities, from cooking lessons to camping in the desert to exploring the medina. Rooms start from £280 a night.

Insider tips: Before you embark on a potentially life-changing journey, research is a must. If you’re after a calming getaway, do not immediately think that checking into a yoga retreat is the solution. While yoga can have relaxing and calming effects, it can also be very physically straining. If you’re off to countries such as India or Thailand for a relaxed spa/retreat experience, be prepared to face the chaotic world outside of the retreat and to embrace it just as another part of your holiday.


Best long-haul trip for party girls: Rio De Janerio, Brazil

Solo travel for women - Party girlBrazil and Greece are great party destinations
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Think carnivals, sequins and dancing all night long. Clubs are open all night long in Rio de Janeiro and the Cariocas (Rio locals) love partying as much as the tourists. Top clubs to head to are 00, housed in a planetarium; Fosfobox, on the popular Copacabana stretch; and Casa da Matriz, a club in a two-storey 19th-century mansion. It’s not advisable for foreigners, especially women travellers, to head out to favelas (shanty towns) on their own, but there are now favela tours which include walking around the favelas and clubbing.

Best short-haul trip for party girls: Ios, Greece

The crowd in Ios, Greece, is young (mostly in their mid-20s) and the parties can be ridiculously crazy. Ios has no great ruins or extravagant monuments and it’s not a very big island either, so the only thing that can be on a party lover’s programme is to party. The party season runs from mid-June to early September but you’ll have to book hotel rooms in advance. For solo travellers, Francescos is a great option, with pub crawls and meet and greets which makes it really easy to meet new people. The hostel is located close to all the clubs and is not too far from the beach. Far Out Village offers a wide variety of accommodation options and is bang on the beach, but as the name suggests is a tad far out. A club/pub/party spot out of the many that deserves a special mention is Slammer for its hammer-on-the-head beer nights.

Insider tips: Know your limits, keep an eye on your drinks and get to know other women in your hotel so that you can head out and head back together. A great hangover cure is the Milk Thistle Liquid Extract (they also come in capsule form) from Holland and Barrett or Chemist Direct.


Best long-haul trip for nature lovers: Northern Islands, Fiji

Solo travel for women - FijiThe islands of northern Fiji are a nature lover’s nirvana
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Vanau Levu and other islands of northern Fiji are a nature lover’s nirvana and you will not tire of the variety of flora and fauna-oriented trips on offer. There is something to cater to everyone’s tastes whether it’s diving, surfing, skydiving, hiking or just relaxing in lush green-blue surroundings. Divers will love Rainbow Reef between Taveuni and Vanau Levu, while the Bouma National Heritage Park in Taveuni has some wonderful hiking trails. The region’s outstanding mountains, rainforests and waterfalls are all relatively accessible, with several tours and trails catering to beginners and experienced hikers. Stay at the Koro Sun Resort for adventure sports and activities with extremely knowledgeable guides.

Best short-haul trip for nature lovers: Wadi Rum, Jordan

With an increase in the number of budget flights to Jordan and the 200th anniversary of Petra’s rediscovery, this year is the perfect time to visit this wonderful and fascinating destination. Considering the turmoil that its neighbouring countries are unfortunately embroiled in, Jordan is an extremely safe country to travel in, even for solo females. The people are extremely friendly, and heading to the deserts of Wadi Rum and lying under its blanket of sparkling stars could possibly be one of the best experiences of your life. Travelling through the deserts of Jordan is an experience all adventurers will love, and there are several exciting ways to do it, from riding on horseback to camel safaris or jeep safaris. The trip can be as long as you like starting from day trips, but nothing compares to spending a night in a Bedouin tent with delicious meals cooked for you. The deserts are easily accessible from any of the major cities and there are several reliable local tour operators running great tours.

Insider tips: Being a woman, camping or hiking alone in the middle of nowhere is not always the easiest task, so a girly survival bag is essential. Remember to include adequate sanitary paraphernalia, toilet paper, insect repellent and a torch. Mrs White's Unstung Hero has a gorgeous citrus fragrance and repels every sort of bug imaginable. It also doubles as a perfume, which saves on suitcase space.

If you’re going to remote destinations, always tell someone where you are – if you’re a British citizen, register with the Foreign Office’s ‘Locate’ scheme so they can help in case of an emergency.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.