One-person travel destinations?
November 28, 2010 7:38 PM   Subscribe

What would be a good one-person vacation or travel destination?

I have two weeks of vacation time that I have to use, but my wife just started a new job, and has none. So I'm looking at vacationing alone this year.

So, where to, then? I'm thinking not some place romantic like Hawaii, it will just make me want her there. But I do like warm, tropical environs, particularly since it will be in the winter; we went to Thailand last Christmas and it was great.

On the other hand, it needn't be exotic, necessarily. It could be in the good ol' US of A. But ideally it would be some place where it's easy to meet other people, so I won't have to be alone the whole time. Some place with good food would also be a big plus.

And although it'd be perfect for one person, I'm not really into the retreat thing.

With those criteria, any ideas, MeFites?
posted by mikeand1 to Travel & Transportation (19 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
I hear Amsterdam is really great solo. Most people speak English, and if you stay in a hostel you are bound to meet interesting people to explore the city with.
posted by two lights above the sea at 7:44 PM on November 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Go on an Earthwatch expedition! There are projects all over the world, including warm climates like Central & South America. Most are for about 2 weeks and your fellow volunteers will likely be singles/solo travelers like yourself.

I've been on four (each solo) and have met the most wonderful people and had such unforgettable experiences. You'll be helping to fund and to collect crucial data on research projects usually involving an endangered or threatened species while having a fun time as well. Check it out. Feel free to MeMail me if you want more info.
posted by ourroute at 8:03 PM on November 28, 2010 [5 favorites]

South America; it's summer there and it's unbelievably easy to meet people. Peru, maybe? Buenos Aires would be fun but when you're there you'd probably think "man, I wish my wife were here with me"
posted by sandmanwv at 8:03 PM on November 28, 2010

You can go anywhere you want, solo.

Some places are more expensive, solo. Others aren't as fun. And there might be places your wife really wants to go, so it would be mean of you to go without her.

But generally, I'd say make a list of everywhere you've ever wanted to travel. Budget it out. Apply the above conditions. Then go wherever.

You could always stay in a hostel - that way you'd meet people wherever you decided to go. Though I guess it would rule out more resorty type destinations like Jamaica. But there are hostels virtually everywhere.

If you think you would feel uncomfortable traveling alone, you could also book into a tour group, or maybe just ask a friend to come along. Applying the cost of a tour and/or the places your prospective travel buddy wants to go to the above criteria, of course.
posted by Sara C. at 8:06 PM on November 28, 2010

i went to london (mostly) solo, and had no problems since i got to go through museums and galleries at my own pace. although i didnt do it too much, it seemed fairly easy to meet folks in pubs in the evenings.
posted by fillsthepews at 8:20 PM on November 28, 2010

Is warm a preference or a requirement? Something like a ski vacation could be really good -- there's something to do and keep you busy, and skiiers are a social bunch and easy to grab a beer with. It could be, but doesn't have to be, somewhere far away -- anything from Vermont to Colorado to Canada to Europe could be fun.
posted by J. Wilson at 8:28 PM on November 28, 2010

Response by poster: Warm is a preference, but not a requirement. I've never been skying in my life, but hey, there's a first time for everything I guess. I'll put it on the list.
posted by mikeand1 at 8:42 PM on November 28, 2010

Response by poster: ^^ Ski, not sky.
posted by mikeand1 at 8:43 PM on November 28, 2010

Could you look at this as an opportunity to learn or indulge a hobby your wife might not be into? Doing something can help give focus to a solo holiday, whether it's looking for misericords or building with Habitat for Humanity or learning to joust or whatever. That kind of travel is really fun and often rewarding.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:43 PM on November 28, 2010 [3 favorites]

Echoing Sara C, anyplace with a hostel is going to be an easy place to meet people.
posted by MillMan at 9:03 PM on November 28, 2010

I think fillsthepews comment about museums is quite pertinent. If you like going to museums, going alone can be great. I always go at a different pace from my companions and it drives me crazy sometimes. Washington DC has piles of museums and almost all of them for free, and then there are the monuments! If you were into shopping I would suggest a NYC window shopping/real shopping expedition, something I also tend to prefer to do on my own. I think the places that have piles of sightseeing spots will be the best for you--relaxing vacations seem to be the ones I'm more interested in spending with people, while sightseeing I want to be able to go around to all of the different spots on my own at my own pace. I live in Japan and find Japan to be quite an excellent place to travel around solo, but I also speak the language fluently.

As for meeting people, I have found that couchsurfing can be quite excellent for finding people to meet up with, even if you don't want to stay with them. Especially abroad, if you find American expatriates on couchsurfing they're often more than willing to spend an evening or a day with you if they're free!
posted by that girl at 9:57 PM on November 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

I also came in to say Earthwatch expedition! You can pick somewhere warm. :) I went on an archaeological dig with them and it was the single best vacation I ever took -- it was fascinating AND super-relaxing (since I was tired all the time from physical labor and I made no decisions myself).

I also really enjoyed being solo in Ireland, easy to meet people and chat. But that would be wet and cold this time of year. :)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 1:52 AM on November 29, 2010

I wanted to second Japan as being a great place to travel alone. People, especially in the cities, are used to doing things alone and seeing others doing things alone. Even going to a restaurant alone, you won't get any pitying or confused looks. On the other hand, it is easy to meet other foreigners, it is easy to get involved in a night-out because everyone is drinking, and especially in Kansai region (Osaka, Kobe) people will come up and want to talk to you because they want to practice English.

Though there is great winter weather (and not so humid and bone-chilling as in the northeast), sports, and sighs, most of the main island is quite temperate even in the winter. Go in the summer and it'll be hot and humid.

The food is *so* good. It only starts at sushi (one dollar a plate).

Besides Japan, I recommend couchsurfing. I like it better than hostels because you can meet locals and really learn about what there is to do and see. In the end, it is like you have an opportunity to really get to know the place. There is even a MeFi group, so you could find other MeFites to stay with.
posted by whatzit at 3:40 AM on November 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Playa del Carmen (in the Riviera Maya) would probably be a good match for you. It's warm, has a beautiful beach, and it has lots of small hotels with all sorts of people, not just couples. Also, all the locals and the service people are super nice and always ready to start up conversations with tourists. Lots of small cute restaurants and cafes to take a book and have some good food.

Just make sure you look into Playa del Carmen, not one of the huge resorts on the Riviera. Oh yeah also I just remembered, a swedish friend of a friend went there alone last year, and had a great time.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 7:52 AM on November 29, 2010

Even going to a restaurant alone, you won't get any pitying or confused looks.

This is unlikely to happen anywhere that you travel. I've traveled alone all over the world and have never gotten such treatment.
posted by Sara C. at 8:38 AM on November 29, 2010 [2 favorites]

What about walking the last two weeks of the Camino de Santiago in Spain? Sun, exercise, sleeping in hostels, cooking with the other pilgrims... It's an incredible experience and can be at once both very social or very solo.
posted by gillianr at 6:50 PM on November 29, 2010

Machu Picchu is a tourist destination full of world travelers, including those from English-speaking countries. You could even do the four-day hike of the Inca Trail -- you would be doing that with people, and that's a natural conversation starter. Same deal for climbing Kilimanjaro. If you're in a group activity, the social aspect of the situation will take care of itself.

On the other hand, I picture a beach resort or cruise as couples and people looking to hook up -- not necessarily ideal to make and hang out with platonic friends.
posted by J. Wilson at 7:25 PM on November 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Along the lines of activity vacations, if you want something warm, what about a trek through the jungle? Brazil, Peru, elsewhere... getting thrown together with people in a shared enterprise just strikes me as fun and particularly good for a solo vacation.
posted by J. Wilson at 7:27 PM on November 29, 2010

i would opt to go to australia. get a nice car and drive around the coastline.
posted by janet bin at 3:12 AM on December 12, 2010

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