If you hate bicycling, Amsterdam will change your mind. This friendly and upbeat city offers a welcoming environment for foreign travelers to experience Dutch culture. Choose from one of their colorful bikes to ride across the canals to see the flower market, Rijksmuseum, and coffeeshops. The city is home to many expats, digital nomads, and backpackers so you’ll have a relatively easy time making new friends in cafés, libraries, and bars. Rembrandtplein offers an array of cozy cafés for you to conduct any work or blogging that you might want to do during your solo trip. Stay until sundown and this area will quickly turn into one of the liveliest nightlife strips you’ll ever see—filled with bars and clubs to dance the night away. Do yourself a favor—hitting up the local dispensaries is a must.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Though sometimes overshadowed by Bangkok, a solo trip would not feel complete without visiting Chiang Mai. While the Old City is richly populated by temples, Wat Pha Lat is a special, peaceful jungle oasis away from any noise. For the Sticky Waterfalls, pack a bathing suit to climb up the rocks. If you’re looking for a memorable place to stay while there, the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary takes overnight reservations where you can help feed, take care of, and bathe with rescue elephants while learning about habitat destruction and other threats that these friendly and loving mammals face.
The countless creeks, riverbanks, hiking trails, and nature attractions make Austin a favorite for the outdoorsy type solo travelers. If you’re not able to get a reservation at Hamilton Pool, the pastel blue waters of Blue Hole Lagoon that look straight out of a fairytale will almost certainly make up for it. If you’re okay with being surrounded by college students on a night out, Sixth Street is the obvious place to be. But if you prefer your beer filling your stomach and some midterm-the-next-morning teenager splashing it on you, Rainey Street is a solid choice. While more laid-back than Sixth, Rainey is anything but quiet with its steady crowd of musicians, foodies, and tourists. Take an early dinner at Via 313 and hang around after hours to hear live music radiating from the bungalow bars and speakeasies.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Calling all foodies, this one’s for you guys! Tucked neatly along the bends of the Mississippi River, the Crescent City is the jewel of America yet feels distinctly un-American. The narrow, walkable streets of the French Quarter are perfect if you’re looking for the quaint, snug feel of a European Village without sacrificing the proximity to a major cosmopolitan center. NOLA food is perhaps the most unique and distinctive food in the country with endless options like po’boys, beignets, bread pudding, gumbo, jambalaya, crawfish, and more. On Bourbon Street, flashing neon lights and Hand Grenade cups (the signature NOLA drink) litter the street until morning. Partygoers here aren’t cliquey, so it’s likely that you’ll find an awesome new friend to grab a beignet with you the next day.
You’ll never find yourself alone and bored in Rome. The city moves fast, and so should you if you want to be able to fit The Vatican, Spanish Steps, Colosseum, and museums all in one day. Antonio Camponeschi’s Trattoria Tritone is a hidden gem for the best spaghetti pomodoro in Rome, plus a violin serenade as you dine—especially if you’re eating alone! Spend a whole day at the Villa Borghese, starting with a morning visit to the Borghese Gallery to see famous works by Bernini, and a lazy afternoon on the Villa grounds with gelato and a book. By day, you’ll be booked and busy running between museums, architecture, and a quick Aperol Spritz at a patio bar to prepare yourself for the vibrant night scene in the Trastevere neighborhood, where travelers from all around the world mingle and share stories.
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By Sarah John & Chizoba Anyaoha
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