There was a time in the not-so-distant past when the phrase “solo travel” was most likely to evoke imagery of Julia Roberts cycling wistfully down a grassy path in Ubud, or of Diane Lane dragging her suitcase toward a Tuscan villa. This cinematic (and perhaps a little idealistic) depiction of what it looks like to embark on a solo adventure has begun to fizzle out, and now, the notion of taking a trip with oneself isn’t gawked at, but rather, quite common.

There’s a certain sort of freedom that comes with travelling alone; the promise of complete autonomy, a flexible itinerary (or rigid, if that’s your bag), and the very real opportunity for a revelatory experience that simply isn’t on offer if you’re trekking around with a group. Perhaps you’re honouring a life milestone such as the loss of a loved one or a divorce – solo travel is great for healing. Or maybe it’s merely a desire to reconnect with yourself in a beautiful setting. Whatever the backstory, there’s a solo journey to meet you where you’re at.

A few considerations stand out when choosing a solo travel destination, beginning with whether you choose to curate your own itinerary or to let an agency do the work for you (there are pros and cons to both). Next, you’ll want to pick somewhere that offers a strong network of guides. “They are so key in imparting their expertise but also how to respectfully follow local custom,” Black Tomato co-founder Tom Marchant says. “This is part and parcel to being a conscientious traveller.” Also, an easy-to-use transportation system of trains, ferries, and buses is crucial, particularly if you’re not comfortable renting a car. And lastly, countries that are regarded as being welcoming are worth prioritising. “What unifies so many diverse cultures [that are] great for solo travel is they love to invite travellers into their world and their community and extended family,” Marchant says.

With this in mind, we rounded up some of the best places in the world to travel solo in 2024, including far-flung destinations rich in culture, sun-soaked locales fit for an outdoor excursion, and even a few retreats tailored specifically to parties of one.

Wellness treatments in Thailand

Escape to the Gulf of Thailand – and more specifically, to the lush island of Koh Samui. Characterised by its mountainous rainforest, hidden waterfalls, and pristine beaches, this destination is a feast for the senses. Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary & Holistic Spa recently developed a women’s health programme for wellbeing throughout all stages of life, from fertility to menopause. Travellers making the long journey for this Radiant Bliss package can expect a holistic plan that’s guided by a team of naturopaths, traditional Chinese medicine doctors, massage therapists, meditation mentors, among other experts. Spend your days alone savouring treatments like Ayurvedic massage and an acupressure facial with Edenesque scenery as your backdrop.

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