When researching your solo trip it’s worth considering what you want to get out of it so that you can make the most of your time away.
Maybe you want to dive in each ocean, trek every mountain, or experience sleeping under a desert sky. You could be used to all inclusive resorts and are looking for a trip to interact with locals rather than staying somewhere as a tourist. Maybe you’re heading to a country for the first time to visit a friend, a family member, or trace your roots.
It could even be something as simple as wanting to slow down the pace and really absorb where you’re going to be. Whatever your reason for going, having a sense of purpose for your trip will help give you some direction and ensure that you don’t miss out on anything.
If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, think about what you like to do at home. Are you a socialite who wants to party hard in each capital, or someone curious about cultures and tribes? Do you prefer beaches or mountains or love spending hours mooching around art galleries and museums? Maybe you have a longing to try spa treatments from all over the world or crave the adrenalin rush of extreme sports.
Do you want to immerse yourself within another language or learn about another religion? Maybe you have a fascination with bygone civilisations and a secret desire to see the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World.
Whatever you’re into, you can be guaranteed there’s something in this big wide world for you: from moose spotting or tornado chasing in Northern America to swimming with whale sharks in Mexico, do any of these activities inspire you?
Now that you've decided what you want to do on your trip, how do you decide where to do it?
Africa – Known for: Safaris, African tribes, World’s largest desert, beginning of civilisation, Serengeti, Big Five, Great Rift Valley, Swahili music, Victoria Falls.
Antarctica – Known for: Icebergs, cruises, Arctic wildlife, coldest place on Earth.
Asia – Known for: Culture, traditions, traditional medicine, temples, Himalayas, martial arts, yoga, rickshaws, spirituality, diving.
Australasia – Known for: Iconic landmarks, Great Barrier Reef, scenery, road trips, islands, adventure.
The Caribbean – Known for: White sandy beaches, islands, reggae, rum, dancing, steel drum music, tropical food, flora and fauna, marine life, diving, relaxation, cruises.
Europe – Known for: History, island hopping, cities, architecture, great nightlife, cuisine, skiing, old towns, Christmas markets.
Latin America – Known for: Rainforests, volcanos, Amazon, jungles, coffee farms, Spanish cities, Incas, Aztec ruins, Mayan culture.
Middle East – Known for: Deserts, Bedouin tribes, desert hotels, souks, sleeping under the desert stars, Shisha, Arabs.
North America – Known for: Iconic cities, road trips, train journeys, skiing, vast outdoors, wilderness.
Known for: Safaris, African tribes, World’s largest desert, beginning of civilisation, Serengeti, Big Five, Great Rift Valley, Swahili music, Victoria Falls.
Botswana – Okavango Delta, walking safaris, Chobe National Park. wildlife, Bushmen. Egypt – Ancient history, Wonders of the World, River Nile, diving, desert, Red Sea resorts.
Ethiopia – Wildlife and bird-watching, tribes, rock-hewn churches, festivals, culture, highlands, trekking, motorbiking.
Eswatini – Old Kingdom, culture, game parks, arts and crafts.
Gambia – Beaches, bird-watching, Baboon Islands.
Ghana – Gold mines, castle and forts, slave history, cocoa beans, music.
Kenya – Wildlife safaris, wildebeest migration, Masai Mara, tea plantations.
Madagascar – “The Island of Perfumes”, unique wildlife, lemurs, beaches, islands, baobab tress, national parks, limestone pinnacles.
Malawi – Landscape, witch doctors, sugar plantations, Lake Malawi, David Livingstone (world famous missionary).
Mauritius – Beaches, lagoons, coral reefs, markets.
Morocco – Souks, riads, mint tea, Atlas Mountains, Berber tribes.
Namibia – Namib Desert, ghost town, shipwrecks, tribes, townships, German towns.
Rwanda – Mountain range, Lake Kivu, fruit bats, mountain gorillas.
Seychelles – Islands, idyllic beaches, marine parks.
South Africa – Apartheid, townships, shark diving, V&A Waterfront, whale watching, wine regions, ostriches, game parks.
Tanzania – Game reserves, national parks, Mount Kilimanjaro, source of the River Nile.
Zambia – National parks, lakes, rivers.
Zanzibar – Spices, slave history, cobbled streets, stunning beaches.
Known for: Ice, cruises, Arctic wildlife, coldest place on Earth.
Known for: Culture, traditions, traditional medicine, temples, Himalayas, martial arts, yoga, rickshaws, spirituality, diving.
Armenia – Churches, Christian roots, gorges, mountains.
Azerbaijan – Skiing, futuristic architecture, mud volcanoes, fire mountain.
Bhutan – Ancient Kingdom, traditions, monarchy, Tiger Nest monastery, Buddhist culture.
Brunei – Museums, mosques, palaces.
Cambodia – Angkor Wat, Pol Pot history, Mekong River, rice paddies.
China – Chinese New Year, Great Wall of China, Terracotta Warriors, history, cheap shopping, monasteries.
Hong Kong – Nightlife, shopping, harbour, stunning skyline.
India – Clothes and fabrics, colourful and vibrant, tigers, diversity, spirituality, yoga, shopping, ghats, traditions, cremation ceremonies, cooking classes, curries.
Indonesia – Diving, Komodo dragons, fossils, volcanoes, surfing, islands, beaches.
Japan – Tea, Manga, technology, sushi, vibrant cities, Mount Fiji, temples.
Kazakhstan – Ancient Kazakh nomads, mountains, glaciers, rock canyons.
Kyrgyzstan – Alpine lake, Tien Shan Mountains, walnut forests, Osh Bazaar.
Laos – Culture, trekking, mountains, adventure, tribal villages.
Malaysia – Petronas Towers, tea plantations, wildlife, primates, hiking, heritage, islands, tribes, motor racing.
Maldives – Lagoons, stunning beaches, coral reefs, warm waters, diving.
Mongolia – Gobi Desert, nomads, gers, double-humped camels, Mongolian wrestling, archery, Genghis Khan.
Myanmar – Ancient ruins, temples, culture, hiking, floating villages.
Nepal – Mount Everest, trekking, Himalayas, markets, religion.
Philippines – Islands, diving, adventure, palm-fringed beaches, festivals, whale sharks, shopping, nature, flora and fauna, spas.
Singapore – Shopping, Raffles Hotel, nightlife, quayside, Sentosa Island.
South Korea – Coffee culture, outdoor adventure, nightlife, Korean ginseng, cuisine, K-pop music.
Sri Lanka – Tea tourism, Tamils, elephants, nature, greenery, Buddhism, hiking, wild cats.
Tajikistan – Pamir Highway, Mountains, Buzhashi (a Central Asian sport).
Taiwan – Mountains, forests, scenery, traditions, hot springs, walking, cycling.
Thailand – Hill tribes, full-moon parties, beaches, cheap cuisine, Buddhism, temples, monkeys, cooking classes, fishing villages, limestone karsts, diving.
Tibet – Himalayas, Buddhism, Dalai Lama, trekking, monasteries, monks. Turkmenistan – The Gate of Hell (Darvaza gas crater), desert, UNESCO cities.
Uzbekistan – Ancient cities, mausoleums, The Registan, The Silk Road.
Vietnam – War history, motorbiking, landscapes, lakes, Halong Bay, cuisine, Mekong River, hill tribes.
Known for: White sandy beaches, islands, reggae, rum, dancing, steel-drum music, tropical food, flora and fauna, marine life, diving, relaxation, cruises.
Anguilla – Cuisine, tranquility, coral reefs.
Aruba – Dutch island, shopping, beaches, spectacular sunsets.
Bahamas – Beaches, dolphins, stingrays, old pirate stronghold, jewellery, flamingos, slave huts.
Barbados – Cruising, historic buildings, lighthouses, nature, architecture, beaches.
British Virgin Islands – Paradise, full-moon parties, nightlife, sailing, water sports.
Cayman Islands – Islands, tourism, coral reefs, diving.
Cuba – Salsa, rum, culture, political history, home stays, live music, American classic cars, horse and carts, colourful streets, stepping back in time.
Dominica – Nature, tropical forests, hiking, Boiling Lake, jungle adventures.
Dominican Republic – Beaches, kite-surfing, cobbled backstreets, adventure sports.
Grenada – Spices, diving, hiking, rainforests.
Guadeloupe – French culture, Creole traditions, volcano, nightlife, sports, rum distilleries, waterfall.
Haiti – African roots, slums, voodoo, forests, fortress.
Jamaica – Coffee, reefs, Seven Mile Beach, waterfalls, outdoors, hiking.
Martinique – French, black sand, mountains, hiking, flora and fauna, rainforests, wildlife.
Netherlands Antilles – Dutch influence, diving, ostrich farm.
Puerto Rico – Mountains, beaches, harbours, forts, castles.
Saint Kitts & Nevis – Mountains, sugar plantations, fortresses, horse carriages, hiking.
Saint Vincent & The Grenadines – Volcanoes, shipwrecks, cobbled streets, reggae music.
Trinidad & Tobago – Tropical rainforest, calypso music, steel drums.
Known for: Volcanoes, lakes, nature, canals, coffee farms, Spanish cities, diving.
Belize – English speaking, jungle, big cats, diving, culture, zip-lining, caving, Mayan sites.
Costa Rica – Eco-tourism, cloud forests, wildlife, volcanoes, outdoors, coffee.
El Salvador – Surfing, war museum, rainforest, birdwatching, hiking, jungle, wildlife.
Guatemala – Mayan ruins, colourful towns, Lake Atilán, handicrafts, customs, Garifuna people.
Honduras – Islands, Mayan ruins, diving, Garifuna people.
Nicaragua – Spanish fortresses, cloud forests, lakes, volcanoes, Corn Islands.
Panama – Panama Canal, coffee, cosmopolitan capital, islands.
Known for: History, island hopping, cities, architecture, great nightlife, cuisine, skiing, old towns, Christmas markets.
Albania – Mountains, nightlife, colourful capital, interesting history, ancient ruins, beaches.
Austria – Architecture, Alps, Mozart, Baroque buildings, Alpine forests, skiing, waterfalls, scenery.
Belarus – Culture, architecture, city nightlife.
Belgium – Beer factories, chocolatiers, waffles, medieval city.
Bosnia and Herzegovina – War history, bombed buildings, forests, tunnels, waterfalls, monasteries, mountains, coastline.
Bulgaria – Crazy nightlife, Black Sea resorts, vineyards, skiing, old town, ancient Roman city.
Channel Islands – Seafood, hiking, bird-watching, harbours, rock climbing, coves, cobbled streets.
Croatia – Island hopping, old towns, beautiful coastline, partying, waterfalls.
Cyprus – Vineyards, partying, hiking, harbour, rocky coves, sandstone fortress, historic cities.
Czech Republic – Gothic architecture, cave monastery, skiing.
Denmark – Viking history, cool cities, castles, coast.
England – Medieval history, monarchy, countryside, spiritual sites, music, surfing, city landmarks.
Estonia – Medieval history, World Heritage city, forests, national parks, outdoors, hiking, bird-watching.
Faroe Islands – Folk songs, birdlife, hiking, traditions, grass-roofed houses, tranquility, outdoors.
Finland – Lapland, Santa Claus, saunas, midnight sun, winter adventures, reindeers, harbour city.
France – Cuisine, châteaux, Champagne, city landmarks, art, D-Day history, Alps.
Georgia – UNESCO World Heritage sites, seaside resorts, castles, cave cities.
Germany – Oktoberfest, castles, trekking, beer culture, war history, vineyards.
Gibraltar – Rock climbing, monkeys, botanical gardens, whale watching, water sports.
Greece – Island hopping, ancient civilisation, mythology, Mediterranean, tavernas.
Greenland – Indigenous people, scenery, Arctic wildlife, fishing ports, icebergs, fjords, hot springs, modern city.
Hungary – River Danube, architecture, Roman spas, diversity, mountains, rivers, nightlife.
Iceland – Icelandic horses, geothermal activity, glaciers, quirky culture, Northern Lights, midnight sun, fjords, Blue Lagoon.
Ireland – Hospitality, Guinness and whisky brewing, folk songs, traditions, rugged coastline, fishing villages.
Isle of Man – Motorbiking, walking, cycling, sea life, quad biking.
Italy – Cuisine, cooking classes, lakes, romantic cities, ancient history, architecture, shopping and fashion, coffee shops.
Latvia – Old town, dog sledding, nature parks, white beaches, medieval history.
Liechtenstein – Hiking, biking, skiing, castles.
Lithuania – Folklore, highlands, cobbled streets, artisans, ancient ruins, cycling, nature.
Luxembourg – Natural sites, hillside town, pastel houses, hiking.
Macedonia – Lakes, rivers, mountains, historical buildings, modern capital.
Malta – Mediterranean, islands, walking, ethnic diversity, Neolithic temples.
Moldova – Vineyards, farming, cave monasteries.
Monaco – Racing, casinos, designer shops, Riviera.
Montenegro – Beautiful bay, old town, skiing, rural tourism, adventure.
Netherlands – Windmills, canals, red-light district, arts, flowers, Van Gogh, museums, cycling.
Norway – Northern lights, midnight sun, nature, fjords, winter sports, picturesque towns, Viking history.
Poland – History, countryside, rivers, lakes, ancient city.
Portugal – Coastline, castles, Roman ruins, surfing, cobbled streets, Port, street art.
Romania – Transylvania, castles, pretty squares.
Russia – Architecture, train journeys, Cold War, Siberia, lakes, vast landscapes, eco- tourism.
Sweden – Viking history, shopping, midnight sun, ice hotels, winter sports, glaciers, rock climbing.
Scotland – Lochs, castles, bagpipes, traditions, whisky.
Serbia – Party boats, rivers, bridges, eco-tourism, bombed buildings, medieval castles.
Slovakia – Medieval, architecture, folklore, tradition, hidden towns, nightlife.
Slovenia – Lakes, outdoor adrenalin sports, castles, rivers, charming capital, caves.
Spain – Festivals, Costa del Sol, traditions, bull fighting, dancing, cuisine, hiking.
Switzerland – Stunning scenery, lakes, clean air, skiing, winter sports, hiking, outdoors, chocolatiers.
Turkey – Gateway to Asia, cuisine, architecture, Ottoman Empire, mosques, markets, Turkish coffee.
Ukraine – Chernobyl, underground caves, nightlife, Black Sea, Champagne.
Vatican City – Religion, museums, religious paintings, Sistine Chapel.
Known for: Deserts, Bedouin tribes, desert hotels, souks, sleeping under the desert stars, shisha, Arabic culture.
Bahrain – Culture, museums, mosques, history, temples, pearl diving. Iran – History, mountains, deserts, heritage, art galleries, mosques.
Israel – Religious sites, beach city, Dead Sea, historical sites, desert, Palestine, olive production, national parks.
Jordan – Dead Sea, red desert, desert castles, ancient cities, Roman ruins, religious sites.
Kuwait – Desert plains, shopping, marinas.
Lebanon – Skiing, art, archaeology, valleys, hipster capital, dark tourism.
Oman – Sand dunes, starry skies, landscape, fishing town, mountains, souks, port town, hiking, rock formations.
Qatar – Markets, souks, fort, beach resorts, desert.
Saudi Arabia – Desert, mountains, fortress, coastal town (but difficult to enter).
United Arab Emirates – Racing, beaches, cosmopolitan cities, skyscrapers, gold jewellery, shopping, opulence, mosques, desert adventures, pearl diving, marinas.
Yemen – Desert, old ruins, mountains, gorge, ancient town.
Known for: Iconic cities, road trips, train journeys, skiing, vast outdoors, wilderness. Bermuda – Pink beaches, cobbled streets, seafood, crystal caves.
Canada – Rocky Mountains, moose, bears, politeness, vast spaces, the outdoors, whale watching.
Hawaii – (part of the USA) Volcanic islands, blend of cultures, national parks, eco-tourism, mountains, forests, dancing, lava fields.
Mexico – Whale sharks, partying, Mexican coastline, great beaches, Mayan culture.
United States – Long road trips, cities, iconic music, Hollywood, casinos, Wild West, Native Americans, mountains.
Known for: Iconic landmarks, Great Barrier Reef, scenery, road trips, islands, adventure.
Australia – Aborigines, long road trips, cities, outback, Great Barrier Reef, diving, surfing, outdoor living, East Coast partying, amusement parks, wildlife, iconic landmarks.
Fiji – Paradise islands, water sports, traditions.
Cook Islands – Tribal, islands, jungle, nature, coffee plantations.
New Zealand – Stunning scenery, waterfalls, adrenalin sports, trekking, skiing, hiking, glaciers, geothermal activity, whale watching.
Palau – Islands, Jellyfish Lake, wrecks, diving.
Papua New Guinea – Tribes, islands, adventure, mountains, jungles.
Samoa – Volcanoes, islands, forests, waterfalls, diving, hiking.
Solomon Islands – Diving, snorkelling, islands, underwater volcanoes, sunken wrecks.
Tonga – Whales, volcanoes, rainforest, sinkholes, islands, eco-tourism.
Vanuatu – Active volcano, waterfalls, islands, tribes, ancient traditions, lakes, adventure.
Known for: Rainforests, Amazon, jungles, coffee plantations, Spanish cities, Incas, Aztec ruins, Mayan culture.
Argentina – Dancing, steaks, wine, ancient caves, trekking, whale watching, Iguazu Falls, stunning scenery.
Bolivia – The highest national capital in the world, salt flats, traditions, salt hotels, stunning scenery, volcanos, coloured lakes, flamingos.
Brazil – Iguazu Falls, World’s largest inland wetlands, carnivals, Amazon, wildlife, flora and fauna, beaches, one of the most beautiful bays in the world.
Chile – Easter Island, star gazing, vineyards, glaciers, hiking, beaches, desert.
Colombia – Andes, coffee plantations, Amazon, Caribbean coastline, dancing.
Ecuador – Wildlife, Galapagos Islands, jungle, chocolate, coffee, modern cities.
Falkland Islands – British, landscapes, sea life.
Guyana – Ethnic culture, eco-tourism, waterfalls.
Paraguay – Rural villages, jaguars, waterfalls, zip lining, UNESCO villages.
Peru – Mountain scenery, Incas, Aztecs, Machu Picchu, trekking, national parks, jungle, festivals, Lake Titicaca.
Suriname – Eco-tourism, Amazon, tropical forest, nature reserves. Uruguay – Beaches, cattle ranches, mountains, countryside.
If you're travelling on a budget you may prefer to travel to cheaper countries. Here’s a list of the cheapest and most expensive, which you may want to avoid if you're on a budget.
- Africa – Tunisia, Morocco
- Asia – Cambodia, Indonesia, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam
- Caribbean – Dominican Republic
- Central America – Nicaragua
- Europe – Albania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Poland
- Latin America – Bolivia, Honduras, Nicaragua
- Middle East – Jordan
- North America – New Orleans
- South America – Paraguay
Most expensive countries
- Africa – Angola
- Asia – Japan, Singapore
- Caribbean – St Barts
- Central America – Panama
- Europe – Denmark, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland
- Middle East – Dubai
- North America – San Francisco
- South America – Uruguay
Too many choices? Then create a bucket list of all the places you’ve ever dreamed of going to. Just remember that you won’t be able to do and see everything, as there will nearly almost never be enough time or money, but don’t let that stop you creating your dream itinerary.
Less Developed Countries
If you’re drawn to the unknown and enticed by countries that no one else you know has visited then consider less-developed countries or those not yet on the tourist map. Travel trends see new countries opening up as they become the new trendy hot spots and visiting these countries before tourism takes over means you can capture the charm and essence of a place in its infancy before it adapts its culture to a more western style approach.
But… developing countries seldom have an organised transport system, don’t operate on set times, and are more of a “I’m not too sure when or even if the next bus will come’” kind of destination.These countries may not have the tourism infrastructure in place but they will definitely be an adventure and some may even surprise you at how organised they are (or not as the case could be). If it’s your first time, maybe you’d feel more comfortable travelling someone more popular and on the tourist path.
Too much choice? Then create a bucket list of all the places you’ve ever dreamed of going to help you plan your trip. Just remember that you won’t be able to do and see everything as there will nearly almost never be enough time or money but don’t let that stop you creating your dream itinerary.