If you’re still making up for lost time in the travel department, you’ve probably thought of every type of destination possible, from beach escapes to wilderness hideaways and maybe even a bustling metropolis or two. But if your future plans don’t yet include a getaway for you and only you, it might be a good time to reconsider your bucket list. There are so many rewarding aspects to traveling alone, and some of the best solo trip ideas for 2022 provide ample reasons to go ahead and book that ticket.
Of course traveling with loved ones has its merits: Someone to share your experience with, to help you find your way if you get lost, to validate your impulsive souvenir purchases, and — let’s be honest — to take the perfect vacation pic for your Instagram feed. But getting out of your comfort zone and being your own travel mate could be one of the greatest memories you ever create. Without the crutch of another person, not only can you enjoy the sense of self-sufficiency and accomplishment, but you truly choose your own adventure without having to compromise.
Digital creator and travel enthusiast Kira West is no stranger to the concept of exploring new locations on her own, so who better to ask for advice for your future solo journeys? The Chicago-based creative and entrepreneur (West also has her own jewelry collection, MadeByKwest) jet sets from the Midwest to the Maldives and everywhere in between — and she has the travel guides to prove it. Because she’s already been there, done that, she knows firsthand what it takes for a destination to be particularly friendly to solo travel. And she’s happy to share what she’s learned along the way.
Ready to plan your own adventure, sans travel companions? West has got you covered. Ahead, find 11 of the spots she suggests trying in 2022. Who knows? Your own Eat, Pray, Love moment could be just a plane ride away.
In the mood for a Mediterranean getaway? West says skip tourist-y Santorini for Milos for a more off-the-beaten path experience. “Greece overall is great for solo travel but this is a more low-key option than Santorini which makes it more affordable and approachable,” the travel enthusiast explains. While in Milos, you can meander down the streets of the village, decorated with white and blue buildings, take a dip in the ocean, and even do some cave exploring if you’re feeling especially adventurous.
Puerto Escondido, Mexico
“An hour away from Mexico City by plane, Puerto Escondido is a little known oasis in Oaxaca that is one of my favorite places to go,” West explains. Not only is it accessible, but the lush coastal town has great options if you’re looking for a luxe place to relax and spend some quality solo time. “I love Hotel Terrestre and Hotel Escondido, I’ve stayed at both and they’re such hidden gems,” she adds. The famed local fare in Oaxaca is another advantage to traveling here. Want more tips? Don’t miss the expert’s newsletter about this destination.
Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala
For a destination that’s steeped in rich history and culture, this Guatemalan city is tough to beat. “There’s so much to do around Antigua, such a welcoming community and so affordable,” explains West. While you’re here, explore the restored Spanish Baroque architecture, and if you’re an outdoorsy type, go on an Acatenango Overnight Hike where you’ll overlook an active volcano.
Romania’s capital city may not immediately spring to mind when thinking of places to get away, but West has recently added it to her list due to its epic sightseeing, including some unforgettable architecture like the Parliamentary Palace, the Romanian Athenaeum, and the Bucharest Russian Church to name just a few options. “I’m planning a trip there later this year and it’s another hidden gem that has so much to offer especially in the summer,” she tells TZR. “Solo travelers should do their research since there’s a lot to see also outside of the main city of Bucharest.”
If your solo goals involve making friends with the locals, Dublin could be a great option, thanks to its pub culture and notoriously friendly inhabitants. “I did Dublin solo and it was fun,” West confirms, but suggests adding on a little day trip. “Take a bus to Northern Ireland and get out of the city to see all of the awesome things Ireland has to offer, like the Cliffs of Moher.” A few other stops within the city include Trinity College Library (a must for book lovers), St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and Glasnevin Cemetery. And if you’re craving some fish and chips, Leo Burdock is a famed spot to grab them.
Not all European metropolises may seem super conducive to solo travel, but Sweden’s capital is known to be welcome and easy to navigate. Plus it offers a great balance of historical sites/culture and modern amenities. One caveat? “Stockholm is super expensive solo,” West shares. “It’s a good one to split, but you can easily do it solo safely.” One way to save a few bucks is renting a bike to get around town. On two wheels, you can navigate to and from the many museums in the city or visit a neighborhood cafe for Swedish breakfast (or fika if you’ve made some new friends in town).
According to West, this archipelago off the coast of East Africa isn’t just for honeymooners. Solo travelers can create their own romantic moments during scenic hikes filled with flora and fauna (popular trails include Copolia Trail, the Glacis Trois Frères Trail, and the Vallée de Mai Trail), sunbathing on white sand beaches besides clear waters, and exploring the local markets.
Looking to travel within the US? Don’t miss out on the southern hospitality. “Savannah is a great city that isn’t talked about enough,” West explains. This historic destination is also known for its fantastic food scene (try Mrs. Wilkes for soul food if you don’t mind waiting in line or The Grey for a historical setting with contemporary cuisine), artsy vibe (thanks to the highly respected Savannah College of Art and Design), and supernatural reputation. If going on a ghost tour alone doesn’t scare you, there are many to explore via streetcar.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Sticking with the south, New Orleans is a great option if you’re in the mood for a little more action. But as West explains, there’s so much more than the nightlife here to explore, from historic sightseeing to shopping (don’t miss Magazine Street for a walkable stretch of cool and quirky boutiques), and of course some of the best restaurants in the country (Commander’s Palace, Galatoire’s, and Cafe du Monde, to name only a few). “I went earlier this year and there was a lot outside of Bourbon Street that I loved,” she says. “It’s a popular destination I think people don’t do solo enough.”
If a meditative desert moment feels like your ideal solo vacation, Tucson has a lot more than the majestic saguaro cacti to behold. Yes, the state parks are not to be missed, but there are also some pretty pampering digs, including the new Citizen Hotel, which boasts a 5,000-square-foot wine cellar. Or have a signature prickly pear margarita at Reforma for a little more local flavor. Oh, and don’t skip out on the raspados, Mexican shaved ice treats that can easily be found at food trucks around town.
San Luis Obispo, California
In lieu of Napa’s more traditional wine hub, consider the more casual Central Coast for a solo getaway. “There’s so much to do, such great wine, and just a lot outside to enjoy,” West explains. For a quirky stay, book a room at the kitschy Madonna Inn where there’s no shortage of pink and glitter. When it’s time to take in the local wineries, book one of many tasting tours so you can make the rounds safely. For unforgettable sightseeing (and some pretty epic photo ops), swing by the scenic Hearst Castle while you’re in town.