Destinations

8 places every woman should travel to by herself

Have your own Eat, Pray, Love moment...

By Amber Manto
Holidaying with the family is one thing, but sometimes you need to have a break from it all (sorry, hubby). No, we're not talking about an OS girls' trip or weekend away, more a holiday were you get to reconnect with who you are as a person. Just like Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love, getting lost can help you find yourself again.
However you do have to consider a few extra things when going solo such as safety, language barriers (after all, you'll have no-one to help you decipher that menu) and a female-friendly culture. With that in mind, these 8 destinations - chosen by travellers who have been there and done that - will help you get your zen back without putting you too out of your comfort zone.

1. Kyoto, Japan

When it comes to safety, you can't go past the cultural delight that is Japan. Despite its population size, it has one of the lowest crime rates in the world.
"I walked around the streets with the equivalent of AUD$2000 in my handbag after getting cash out and at no point did I get that uneasy feeling," says solo traveller Miranda Banks. "In fact, at one point I accidentally left my handbag in Kyoto's busy train station bathroom and came back 20 minutes later to find it still sat there."
Although all of Japan is a safe haven for Westerners, Miranda recommends Kyoto as the place to go as you'll get an authentic taste of old-world Japan including temples, tea ceremonies, Geisha girls and the most breathtaking cherry blossoms (if you go during their spring).
Miranda’s top tip for female solo travellers heading to Kyoto: "Unlike Tokyo, you won't find many (if any!) English-speaking people here so download a language translation app that works offline and be forever grateful."

2. Sri Lanka

With golden beaches extending all the way around the tear-dropped shaped island, Sri Lanka is the place to go to for serious relaxation.
"For the solo traveller, Negombo is a good place to start as it's the closest beach resort to the international airport so you can fly in and flop at Negombo whilst you plan your onward adventures in Sri Lanka,” says Jayne Gorman, Girls Tweets World travel blogger and Skyscanner contributor.
Jayne’s top tip for female solo travellers heading to Sri Lanka: "It's a very safe place to travel as a solo female but because public transport is limited, hire a driver to get around the different locations - ask your accommodation to recommend someone reliable."

3. Bali, Indonesia

Inexpensive, close to home but far away enough that the cultural differences are significant, without it being overwhelming. That's Bali in a nutshell. Walk the rice fields, lay on the golden sands or make a new friend in the monkey forest. Bali has become more Westernised over the years so you'll enjoy the comforts of home (no guarantees you won't come across a squat toilet though).
"Bali is made up of several neighbourhoods, which all offer something different, so it pays to do some research in advance to discover the right location for you," says Jayne, who recommends booking a recommended driver once you've settled on place. Public transport is sparse so your driver can act as both your personal chauffeur and tour guide.
Jayne’s top tip for fellow female solo travellers heading to Bali: "Once you’ve decided which area (or areas!) you’d like to be based, a great way to make friends on your solo trip is to book yourself on a wellness retreat."

4. USA

When it comes to dipping your toe in the international solo traveller pond there isn't anything easier than America. Same language, same cuisine (although super-sized), and the general familiarity of home but with enough difference and history to make it feel like you're not in Kansas anymore (unless you actually are in Kansas). Not to mention, the shopping. Oh the shopping! If you're a little nervous, stick to the regular tourist route - LA, San Francisco, Vegas and New York - and you'll be fine.
Miranda's top tip for fellow female solo travellers heading to the USA: "San Fran might be pretty during the day but at night it can be (or at least feel) quite dodgy, especially areas such as the notorious Tenderloin district. So I'd suggest you never walk the streets alone after dark, just to be on the safe side."

5. Hayman Island, Queensland

The small, privately-owned island - which is part of the Whitsundays - isn't just for love-up couples and honeymooners, it's also just a great place to get in some quality R&R. Best of all, it's like going to an exotic island but actually isn't not too far from home.
"Sitting in a poolside cabana while attentive waiters serve up tropical cocktails and endless supplies of hot fries with the cutest mini jars of mayonnaise and tomato sauce (a divine combo, in my opinion); setting out for a kayak to get those muscles moving (a workout in nature is way better than being stuck inside a gym); heading back in for a dip and obligatory Insta-worthy shot in the infinity pool – THAT, what you're feeling right now, is what heaven feels like," say travel writer Sarah Friggieri.
Sarah's top tip for fellow female solo travellers heading to the Hayman Island: "Lather sunscreen all over, but particularly on your arms and the front of your legs, before you hit the kayak – if you're out on the water too long, the rest of your vacay will be ruined. Set some money aside for a scenic helicopter trip to Whitehaven Beach – you will kick yourself if you miss out when you're so close."

6. Fiji

You might often think of Bali when you think of islands near Australia but Fiji is only four hours from Sydney direct and has some of the most breathtaking scenery your eyes will ever witness (promise).
"If you choose the right resort (my favourite is Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort), you'll be met by staff with a friendly 'Bula!' at every turn, experience a spiritual awakening when you embark on a village visit or help build a kindergarten, and may even find the love of your life – just be sure to wear a frangipani behind your left ear to let the world know you're available," advises Sarah.
Sarah's top tip for fellow female solo travellers heading to Fiji: "Pack some colouring books and pencils to give to the kids of local villages. Don't freak out when you see children splashing about in the main pool – just follow the path to adults-only zone Vahavu, a double-deck pool complete with a swim-up bar."

7. Iceland

"One of my favourite solo travel destinations is Iceland," says obsessive traveller Jenna Howieson, who's lived in The Netherlands, Vietnam and USA and is now living the dream working in Corporate Travel at Skyscanner. "The country is extremely safe, friendly and easy to navigate. To explore outside the colourful capital city of Reykjavik, it's easiest to rent a car and drive the open roads past waterfalls, glaciers and craters."
Jenna believes every woman can and should travel alone as it's empowering, liberating and an opportunity to prove to yourself just how capable you are. "I love travelling alone because it gives me the freedom to do exactly what I want with my time. I can get up early and explore all day or have a lazy day napping on the beach, depending on the mood I’m in. You can eat what, go where and when you want and I also believe that travelling alone opens you up to the idea of meeting new people."
Jenna's top tip for fellow female solo travellers heading to Iceland: "Stay in hostels and you will no doubt find other solo female travellers on your journey around this increasingly popular destination."

8. Outback Australia and beyond

Nothing better than your own backyard and is you're really nervous about doing it on your own then a trip through Oz will help calm your nerves and get you ready for the moment you get your first solo passport stamp. Plus there's actually plenty to do.
"I started from Uluru, where I spent one of the most amazing nights of my life in a swag next to a fire, looking at the stars that I had never seen so bright before," says solo traveller Naiba De Bona from Skyscanner. "After that I went to Darwin and joined an adventure trip in the Kakadu National Park before moving to the East Coast where I travelled from Brisbane up to Cairns, stopping to enjoy the amazing natural paradise of Fraser Island and the Whitsundays."
HAPPY TRAVELS! Get out there and go make some memories.