There are fewer things in life that are more thrilling, romantic, and inspiring than traveling to a foreign place alone. “Foreign” doesn’t necessarily have to mean stepping foot on a new country’s soil. It can also mean traveling within the boundaries and territories of your home state or nation. In fact, that just might be the confidence boost you need to appease your unending wanderlust and prove to yourself that you’re capable.
It can be said that there’s a nagging anxiety, or insecurity rather, attached to solo travel. The constant, “What if such and such happens?” or “Will I be safe?” or “What if I get lonely along the way?” can be tough internal voices to shake. It’s important to remember that nearly every woman who has ever traveled alone felt the same anxiety and asked herself the same questions. It’s also important to remember that by traveling alone you inherently open yourself up to new opportunities and meeting new people along way. Once you quiet that anxiety and you’re ready to step out of your comfort zone, the next important question to ask yourself is, “Where to?” It’s also the most exciting question to answer!
To help you decide, MISSBISH compiled our top 6 destinations to travel to alone this year. Get ready to pack your bags and embark on your most memorable journey yet. We can’t wait to see where 2017 takes you.
(P.S. Don’t forget to grab a journal. You’ll want to document your trips.)
It’s true when they say New York City is the city that never sleeps. That’s what makes it so incredibly special. At any given time, you’ll have access to just about anything and everything your little heart desires. And you’ll find yourself surrounded by hundreds of new faces, each one more interesting than the last. With endless dining options just a stone’s throw away from practically anywhere you stand, NYC is a foodie’s dream vacation. In fact, there are approximately 24,000 restaurants in Manhattan alone. If you love live entertainment, NYC boasts the best of the best music venues, on-and-off Broadway shows, comedy, and more. You can practically stumble into a show with minimal planning. For fashionistas, you should already know NYC is the mecca of shopping in the US. Oh, and museums. Here, the culture options are unmatched. All that said, one of the true beauties of NYC is that you don’t need an itinerary. If you arrive with an open mind, you can truly get lost (the good kind of lost) and explore for hours until your feet start to hurt from all of the walking. That reminds us, make sure to wear comfortable shoes.
When to visit: Unless you love snow or humidity, NYC really shines in the spring and fall.
Don’t forget to: Venture beyond Manhattan to one of the outer boroughs like Brooklyn or Queens. If you’re feeling extra ambitious, walk across one of the several bridges to get there.
BISHONTHEGO Tip: Always make sure your Metrocard is accessible and loaded with money. There’s nothing worse than furiously digging through your purse or pockets as the train arrives — and then missing it.
The Pacific Coast is nothing short of breathtaking. Nestled between San Francisco and Los Angeles, and along the Pacific Coast Highway, you’ll find the oasis that is Big Sur. It’s the kind of place that attracts someone who’s looking to trade noise and lights and crowds for nature and peace and stars. It’s especially perfect for the solo traveler seeking to reflect. Although the area has gained popularity among tourists, Big Sur is still a sleepy destination that boasts yurts for accommodations if you’re feeling adventurous, farm-to-table fare, miles of hiking, the iconic Henry Miller Memorial Library, and McWay Falls which majestically flow out into the crystal blue-green ocean. We’ll also let you in on a little secret: The Esalen Hot Springs offers public night bathing - clothing optional - from 1-3 a.m. with a reservation. Just image soaking in the baths (as they’re called) under a twinkling starlit sky.
When to visit: Big Sur gets nearly 300 days of sunlight each year. Peak season is April through October, but the best time to travel is September until November.
Don’t forget to: Tour the historic Hearst Castle. It’s just a short drive south beyond Big Sur. You may even spot elephant seals on the shoreline along the way.
BISHONTHEGO Tip: Treat yourself to dinner and drinks at Nepenthe during sunset.
We’d be remiss not to include a solo travel-friendly tropical getaway. St. Maarten is one such getaway. This Caribbean island is divided into a French side (St. Martin) and a Dutch side (Sint Maarten). Unless you speak fluent French, you may want to opt for the Dutch side, which speaks primarily English. There’s a good chance that you’re already familiar with St. Maarten. If you’ve ever seen photos of KLM planes landing astonishingly close to beachgoers, that’s Maho Beach. While Maho is especially touristy and crowded, it’s absolutely worth watching the planes descend upon the runway just a few feet above your head. To complement your lazy beach days, latch on to an intermediate coastal hiking tour where, if you’re lucky, you'll spot iguanas sunbathing on the cliffside rocks as well as collect ancient fossils and shells. At night, make your way into the historic capital of Philipsburg for shopping and dining options along its quaint cobblestone streets.
When to visit: Literally any time of the year. That being said, the best time is May and June or between November and mid-December. You risk hurricane season in September.
Don’t forget to: Ask a local about how the island’s French-Dutch boundaries were originally determined. The story is pretty funny.
BISHONTHEGO Tip: If you want to shed the bikini in favor of no tanlines, St. Maarten offers several secluded topless and nude beaches.
Arguably one of the hottest (or coolest, given its climate) go-to spots right now, Iceland is just about as dreamy as it gets. This tiny country is one of the most volcanically and seismically active places on the planet. And with endless picturesque and untouched locales, you may find yourself in total solitude, not another person in sight for miles. Between glaciers and waterfalls, the Blue Lagoon and that abandoned Sólheimasandur plane wreckage, Iceland is replete with adventure and Instagram-worthy Kodak moments. And, of course, it's well-known for being an excellent location to experience the Aurora Borealis (or Northern Lights) almost year round. Last but not least, if you’re really into music festivals, Iceland plays host to a number of them including Secret Solstice, Iceland Airwaves, and Bræðslan Music Festival making trip planning even easier.
When to visit: During the summer, you can experience a phenomenon called Midnight Sun. Temperatures are warmer during the summer as well. July and August are ideal for hiking. February, March, September, and October are considered solid months to view the Northern Lights.
Don’t forget to: Pack like you would for a winter ski trip and throw on layers that can easily be removed.
BISHONTHEGO Tip: If you intend to explore the countryside, you’ll probably be driving. A lot. Check your gas tank before hitting the open road.
With the official swearing in of President Donald Trump, we won’t blame you for seeking a Canadian retreat. Vancouver is one of the most bustling and ethnically diverse cities in Canada. It’s also an ideal destination where you can partake in urban culture while still gaining immediate access to all of the outdoorsy activities that your inner Henry David Thoreau can handle. Among Downtown’s towering, gleaming skyscrapers you’ll find a blossoming restaurant scene, which is well-known for Asian and seafood cuisines; as well as art galleries, design shops, and boutiques. Gastown, the city’s oldest neighborhood; and Yaletown, the hippest nightlife district, can also be found there. Beyond city limits, hiking and kayaking are preferred activities. Just make sure to stop and take a deep breath of Canada's fresh, crisp air while you’re there.
When to visit: Summer is the busiest time of the year, but it’s also the nicest (read: sunniest). Consider the fall season as well, before it starts to snow. If you love winter sports, January is the coldest month.
Don’t forget to: Check out the Jimi Hendrix shrine on Homer Street. It’s free!
BISHONTHEGO Tip: Public transportation is easily accessible and a great way to get around. Day passes cost no more than $8 USD.
If you’ve yet to visit Asia, consider Thailand your gateway country. Tourism is alive and well there, and it’s significantly easier to get around than other Asian countries because many locals speak (enough) English. Although the flight to Thailand from many US locations may set you back $1,000+ depending on when you travel, everything else, like dining, shopping, accommodations, and massages, is beyond cheap. You may find that you’ll actually save money by living in Thailand for a couple of weeks. Depending on where you’re traveling from and given the time differences, you’ll need at least 10 days to make Thailand worthwhile. To make the most of your trip, consider breaking it up into locations like Bangkok, an island, and Chiang Mai. One of the most exciting times to visit is during the country’s Songkran New Year festival in April when all of Thailand’s rich history and culture come to life in a spectacular series of events, including the world’s largest water fight. While you’re there, be sure to visit at least one of the nearly 40,000 Buddhist temples, shop one of the five floating markets, pamper yourself with as many cheap massages as possible, and take a Thai cooking class.
When to visit: This depends on which part of Thailand you’re visiting. High season starts in November and ends in February, when the weather is generally temperate. In the north, dry season is between November and May. Rainy season is June to October. And temperatures are cooler in January and October.
Don’t forget to: Ride in a tuk tuk, Thailand’s version of the rickshaw. It’s a unique and quick way to get around.
BISHONTHEGO Tip: Haggle with vendors while you’re shopping. They’ll generally always come down on price.
Photos by: Jana Hoffman