Bet some of you REALLY sick of waiting on others to get their shit together so you can travel right? I know those ones still. So now you're in this situation like, 'can I go there alone? am I going to be safe? is my self-imposed curfew going to be when the street light turn on?'
Relax. I got you. I've been traveling alone for almost 12 years now and I've managed to make it out in one piece.
The first thing I will mention before going into this list is, if you are sick of your friends trying to get their funds together, get time off work etc. etc. etc. I made a blog post with a manifesto on how to go about traveling alone that you can read here. Also, I made a whole post about your biggest tool when traveling alone (and it can definitely apply to groups as well) - trusting your gut while traveling.
Now let's get into this list!
All five weren't necessarily somewhere I did travel to alone, however, I would definitely return to them alone at any given time.
#5: Somewhere super close, CHICAGO!
Before you start with the nonsensical media-only-fueled notions of Chicago - zip it. The amount of times I have endured the 'omg you're going to Chiraq?' questioning is ridiculous at this point. I love Chicago. I have traveled there with a friend, I have traveled there alone twice and I love the place so much I even brought my boyfriend there last year for his 30th birthday. Not a single person I know that has actually stepped a foot in Chicago had anything negative to say about it. (Minus my friend Martha, who didn't like Harold's chicken. Disgrace.)
I found the mid-westerners to be incredibly nice and cordial. There was a couple of occasions where I was staring down at my Google-maps directions and a stranger would come up to me on the street and ask me if I'm lost and then offer their own directions. In the bars and restaurants I found locals to be really welcoming and nice to talk to. When I was at some breakfast place near my AirBnB two years ago for the NFL Draft, one of the servers sparked a conversation about NFL with me. I ended up sitting there for an extra hour with three other patrons AND that servers just talking NFL.
Do not let the media dictate your opinions of Chicago. Go there, eat some pizza, go to the million sports events they have, go walk down the Magnificent Mile, make some friends at the bars (or on Tinder?) and yes, go to the South Side to get some Harold's Chicken with mild sauce. Heck, lay down on a glass floor and have other tourists take pictures of you on it like I did in the header for this piece.
#4: Somewhere super friendly, ST. MAARTEN!
This is the only place on this list that I didn't travel to alone. I mean, the second I find a cheap flight back there I would gladly go there alone ASAP. This island was warm, fun and you just felt really good being there.
Between the really nice staff at every establishment we went to eat or drink at, to the amazing drivers and just overall friendly locals - I can't imagine a friendlier place. When I saw 'The Friendly Island' as a licence place I was like OKAAAAAAAAAAAY this is the place for me. As soon as my friend Lorren and I landed in St. Maarten one of the first cab drivers we had was so friendly and hospitable that when he found out if was my birthday the next day, he offered us a free ride to and from the nightclub we were going to. NO charge. When we went out the following day, he was there to pick us up and also to drop us off. Just as a kind gesture to some tourists.
Also, we made a friend on the beach in Philipsburg who was so cool he actually gave us a tour of the entire island (French + Dutch), got us into a nightclub for free, oh, and did I mention? Randomly let me drive his car because 'you said you didn't know how, so figured it's a good time to learn.'
Would be back on that island as soon as I can. The generosity and hospitality there is nothing like I have ever seen before. Well, except for my #1 place if you keep reading :).
#3: Somewhere super touristy, CROATIA!
I guess for this country I would be a little biased, having spent a lot of time during my childhood there and having family that still lives there. But how could you not love and feel completely safe in a place like Croatia? It's incredible there.
For any woman trying to enjoy beaches (ALL BILLIONS OF THEM IN CROATIA it feels like), get good food and just mingle with nice locals and tourists alike - Croatia is your spot. I've been to Croatia alone and although I'm fluent in the native language there, English would have been perfectly fine as well. The place has become a tourist haven so everyone speaks English, along with, German, French, Italian.... it is totally normal to meet people in the service industry in Croatia who speak 5+ languages.
Croatia is so safe that they have nude beaches. Yes, you could go full buck nekkid and no one will even blink an eye at it. As someone coming from the suffocating censorship and body issues of the North American continent ESPECIALLY, you will feel liberated in Croatia. All body types and ages prance around on some of the nude beaches. Living the good life, no tan lines.
#2: Somewhere hella far, SINGAPORE!
I went to Singapore alone and was out wandering the streets at 2am on Christmas, drunk and eating tacos. What else do you need to know? Can a place possibly feel ANY safer than that?
Singapore is the cleanest city I have ever seen. From their airport, to the transit system and to their incredible downtown waterfront. Doesn't matter what time of day it is, there is young people everywhere walking around and enjoying life. Not bothering anyone and in fact, asking you to join in THEIR shenanigans instead. There was just so much to do as a lone traveler in Singapore that it almost felt like they were catering to my Snapchat feed. Everything was impressive. Everything was beautiful. Everywhere felt safe.
I wouldn't suggest chewing gum or spitting on their streets if you'd like to keep your sense of safety, but otherwise it is a great place to roam alone. Just remember when you go to bring lots of money as the cleanliness and luxury you feel in that city definitely will cost you more.
#1: Somewhere exceptionally hospitable, CUBA!
I have been to Cuba on numerous occasions with family, a boyfriend and alone. This is by far the country I feel safest in when visiting. From the people I made friends with there, to the staff at various resorts and casa particulars, to even the customs agents at the airport. For an overall sense of being welcome and safe - Cuba tops all the countries I've been to.
When I would travel to Santiago de Cuba alone, I would be out at all hours of the night. On several occasions I would ask the motorcycle taxi drivers to give me a ride into the center way past midnight. I would sit in a bar alone and just people watch from 1am to 3-4am in the center. I loved those moments.
I realize some women complain about Cuba not feeling safe for them because of the men giving them too much attention. For me personally, I don't mind the attention. I've learned to block it out. It just never bothered me as much as it does other people and I am not here to tell them how to feel. I just know that not one man that ever whistled or yelled 'que linda!' at me ever took it past that point. Whether I was out in the market, at a baseball game, at a nightclub or on a beach. I always feel safe when I am in Cuba. If you are a woman trying to embark on your first solo trip - this would be an awesome place to start.
Tell me readers, what country did you feel safest in? Leave a comment.