You can use WPML or Polylang and their language switchers in this area.

Travel Alone For The First Time – 21 Amazing Trip Ideas For Women

SWWW and Cholita in national costume, Lake Titicaca, Peru

Updated on May 2nd, 2024

Are you wanting to travel alone for the first time? Then look now further! Here are 21 amazing ideas for your first solo trip as a woman. Includes learning a skill, volunteering, yoga & fitness retreats & loads more to choose from.”


Anywhere…within reason. Of course, once the global travel bans & quarantines allow it again. I believe the world is our oyster & provides many opportunities for us to see & do whatever we dream of over the last few months in particular. I understand that for many, once the world opens up again, looking for something more organised may be your preference. There are loads of choices here, along with plenty more if you would like to be more independent.


With much of the world inaccessible currently, now is the perfect time to start preparing for your next trip. We all need something to look forward to right now. Planning a solo trip for the first time can be an incredibly daunting prospect. Many women are scared to travel alone & understandably when you hear some of the stories that are told by the media.

I was lucky. I spent many years exploring the world on my own in my 20s. After tragically losing my husband in 2014, I suddenly found myself alone again. I used the experience as a way to discover who I was, alone for the first time again in my 40s. As a result, I have confidence that the world is not as scary as some people would have you believe. If you would like more information, then check out my guide on Travel for Singles Over 40 or You can Subscribe Here to get regular updates & special offers from Sue Where? Why? What? along with a copy of my 201 Inspirational Travel Bucket List Ideas for FREE

But what if you are not comfortable taking the plunge & head off by yourself? Don’t panic! Here I can provide you with 21 solo travelling ideas.

For more on how to stay safe while travelling check out my 15 Top Safety Tips for Travelling Alone as a Woman.

Travel Alone For The First Time – 21 Amazing Trip Ideas For Women

Travelling alone does not need to mean being lonely. Far from it! Here, I share some of my experience & research to ease you into your first solo trip.”

Worried about being lonely? Check out my Top Tips for Combatting Loneliness as a Solo Female Traveller.

Learning a Skill

A great option for first-time solo travel is to try & combine it with a course & learn something at the same time. Here are a few ideas but for all the inspiration you need on Adult Learning Vacations, check out my blog post.

1. Language
Havana, Cuba, Cars

I have so far spent 2 weeks living with a local family in Havana & a week in a school in the Dominican Republic (DR) to pursue my desire to learn Spanish. I loved both experiences, my language skills improved beyond recognition & I made a lot of great friends in the process. It also enabled me to have a better understanding of the country I was visiting. After each course, I then had the confidence to go it alone & explore solo. I organised my courses through Apple Languages & they were excellent.

2. Dancing
Salsa Class, Havana, Cuba

On both of my language escapades, I combined my learning with dance lessons. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in the culture & make friends in the process. In Cuba, I learned salsa & in DR added merengue & bachata to my repertoire.

I was rubbish at all of them but had great fun discovering it! There is nothing like learning from the people who invented it. What about Tango in Argentina? Samba in Brazil? Flamenco in Seville? Or African Dance?”

To read a tongue-in-cheek guide of my experiences learning salsa, see Havana Salsa Lessons. Learning about Dance & Embracing Life in Cuba

3. Cooking
SueWhereWhyWhat with a Thai meal, Thailand

Many countries around the world are famed for their cuisine. I have taken a one-day course in Thailand in the past but why not consider a multi-day school to really improve your skills? All you need to do is pick a cuisine & do a bit of research.

4. Scuba Diving
Suewherewhywhat and a friend scuba diving in Australia

I have now taken my PADI Open Water course twice in Australia. The first time I was in my 20’s, then revisited it again 20 years later (as my experience had been so limited). Most locations that are good for diving will provide courses with certification. The course for me was 5 days long, including 2 days in the classroom & 3 out on the Great Barrier Reef. Here I completed the course & got to enjoy some fun dives without instruction. If you love it, you can usually tag on an Advanced Diving Course to take your skills to the next level.

SueWhereWhyWhat, sailing, The Solent, UK5. Sailing
SueWhereWhyWhat smiling in red sunglasses with her crew on deck in red top and sunglasses,taking part in the St.Thomas's Regatta, St.Thomas's, BVI. 6 Top Tips On Taking Part In Your First Sailing Regatta

I have always loved being on the water & felt the next step was to actually learn the skills required to take this further. I was recommended the RYA as the most well-recognised qualification to have. There are a number of places around the world that offer courses. I completed my Competent Crew course in the UK over a week on the water. However, there is lots of scope to take the course over weekends & go to warmer climes should you wish. I have broadened my experience since, sailing in Chicago, on an ocean crossing from Florida to The Bahamas & around the Caribbean.

Red hot yacht, Caribbean6. Photography

Photography lends itself perfectly to travel. Many companies now offer the opportunity to travel & develop your skills at photographing what you see along the way. This is now high on my list of trips for the next 12 months.

7. Painting & Art

If you have a penchant for art, then why not seek out like-minded individuals & learn your craft at the same time? Check out Responsible Travel as one example.

Cheetahs, Namibia

A volunteer holiday is an opportunity to give back in a meaningful, sustainable way while exploring the world on holiday. There are numerous organisations that can help you to hook up with a volunteering placement but bear in mind that most will cost money to participate. There are a number of organisations that specialise in volunteering overseas.

8. Wildlife or Marine Conservation
SueWhereWhyWhat & Meerkats, at N/a'an Ku sé Wildlife Sanctuary, Namibia, Africa

In Nov 2017, I spent 2 weeks volunteering at a wildlife sanctuary in Namibia. It was a unique experience where I was given the opportunity to get up close & personal with semi-wild animals. If you are an animal lover, then I would wholeheartedly recommend the experience. I organised my time in Namibia through The Great Projects.

SueWhereWhyWhat and young Baboons, N/a'ankuse, Namibia, Africa

During the 2 weeks, I walked alongside cheetahs in the wild & spent an afternoon in the enclosure with them purring loudly beside me as I measured & photographed their footprints.”

I was groomed by baboons, caught them as they jumped into my arms from a tree & walked while they wrestled over who was sitting on my shoulders. I was also bitten by a meerkat…but that’s a whole other story!

9. Using Your Skills To Volunteer

Are you a teacher? Nurse? Maybe have experience in administrative or construction work? Why not consider using your holiday to share your talents & passion to give communities a better & brighter future in the process?

If you are keen to really get your hands dirty, then why not consider construction or other similar volunteer opportunities?

10. Festivals
2 pictures one of hundreds of tents and one of SueWhereWhyWhat sitting on a camping chair in Wellington boots and sunglasses while volunteering for Oxfam at Bestival festival in Dorest, UK

During the summer of 2016, I was keen to attend a number of music festivals in the UK but lacking a friend who had the time or inclination to join me. Instead, I volunteered to become a steward with Oxfam & had an amazing time working & listening to some fantastic music in the process.

Go on a Tour
11. Multi-Day/Week Tours
Uyuni Salt flats in Bolivia

If you want to see the highlights of a country but have limited time, then extended tours are recommended. I have so far explored Bolivia with Intrepid Travel & Costa Rica, the Galápagos Islands & Peru with G Adventures. I’d recommend both organisations for a great experience with local guides & a focus on ethical & sustainable travel.

I have written a whole blog post on whether taking a tour or travelling independently is the best choice for you. Check it out here.

 12. Day Tours
SueWhereWhyWhat, Machu Picchu & Lake Titicaca, Peru

If spending weeks with the same people or constantly moving on isn’t your thing then consider finding yourself a main base & peppering time alone with tours of 1 or 2 days. When in urban areas I love to join the free walking tours which are available in most cities across the world. They usually last 3 hours & are a great way to orientate yourself to the new environment & gain a better understanding of the culture, as well as meet like-minded individuals.

Bodega Ruca Malen, Mendoza, Argentina

Or, why not try a food tour? Maybe wine tasting? Perhaps a safari for the local wildlife? Day tours also have a huge advantage when the logistics or transport options make visiting more challenging.

Wellbeing Retreats

Getting in tune with your mind, body & spirit is one of the best things to do while travelling alone through attending a retreat.

13. Fitness
Sunrise, Yoga, Viñales, Cuba

If you are looking to get fitter & enjoy a holiday at the same time, fitness retreats are the perfect option for your first-time solo travel experience. This kind of holiday, in particular, seems to appeal to females & is often the go-to option for women holidaying solo.

14. Yoga Retreats
SWWW Vinales Yoga Retreat, Cuba

If you want less pain & to get more in tune with your body in beautiful locations across the world then it’s hard to beat a yoga retreat. By their very nature, these are located in some of the most relaxing & idyllic destinations across the world. Don’t think they always have to include depriving yourself of life’s pleasures either. My retreats in Cuba have included mojito classes, salsa lessons & nights out.

Over the last few years, yoga retreats have been a key place where I have made friends on my travels and we have gone on to have adventures together. To read all about it check out my blog post HERE.

Find your “Tribe”

If you have an interest in anything then I am sure you can find like-minded individuals anywhere in the world. If you feel ready to indulge in a solo trip but are worried that you may find it lonely, then head for a passionate community & you will always have common ground to start a conversation.

The Quilotoa Loop, Ecuador
15. Hiking & Walking

If you are a keen walker or just want to explore an area on foot then all you need to do is aim for an area where people congregate to do the same.

The walking community in my experience is always friendly & welcoming. Everyone always likes to know where you have explored & happy to share their tips on where to go.”

A Woman standing in sun glasses in rocky scenery shrouded in misty clouds

If hiking alone is a concern, then that’s totally understandable. If you do want to try it then I advise you to only stick to busier tracks. For loads of tips & stories from my experiences then check out some of my posts on hiking solo, particularly the Quilotoa Loop in Ecuador. You could also join a walking group for a guided walk. I did this in Bulgaria & it was a fantastic day.

16. Sailing
Suewherewhywhat sailing Red hot yacht, Caribbean

If you enjoy sailing, don’t suffer from seasickness & are looking for a fun community, look no further. I have had some amazing experiences even though I would definitely not class myself as a sailor! Ideally, take a few lessons & head to a sailing club or the marina to admire boats & make friends. Regattas are a great place to start as the bigger yachts will often need extra ‘hands’ or ‘weight’. The serious contenders will have a well-honed team but there will also be many who are doing it for fun & welcome sailors with any experience.

17. Diving
Suewherewhywhat underwater in snorkel and goggles

Do you scuba dive? Maybe you want to learn? Or perhaps just keen to snorkel? If your answer to any of these questions is yes, then why not head to a destination which is renowned for its marine life? Again, like-minded individuals like to hang out together to share their stories, best sightings & top tips.

18. Go On A Cruise

I’ll be honest. Personally, I would rather stick pins in my eyes than go on a cruise! And that is before the whole pandemic experience highlighted the issues. It represents everything I don’t like about travel in the 21st Century. However, I do recognise that for some women it is a convenient option to go solo. On a cruise ship, you have plenty of companions, can see a number of different destinations & have easy access to food, drink & entertainment. The challenge is that by their very nature, cruises are set up for a minimum of 2 people so could end up being a more expensive option for singles.

19. Work Abroad
Massive Cruise ship in dock, Antigua

If you have time to extend your trip, then a great way of really getting to know a place is to live & work there. Many people I know have taken months at a time teaching English as a foreign language, TEFL. If you are older, then getting a general working visa for any country can be more of a challenge. However, with qualifications like TEFL, you can secure a job before you travel & they will apply for a visa on your behalf. All this makes the process much easier.

If you are keen to look into this further, then check out the job opportunities abroad for free with Jooble. They operate in 67 countries and gather vacancies from over 140,000 sources. Click the link above to see what they have currently on offer.

20. Ease Yourself into Solo Travel
Beaches at Nassau and Bahamas

If you are keen on taking on any of these suggestions but don’t feel you are quite ready, then don’t be put off. Why not book a few days in a destination before or after a tour, or course, or cruise to take some time on your own & see how you get on? If you do it at the end you will be more confident in the cultural aspects & therefore chances are more relaxed about going solo. Alternatively, why not stay close to home & go away alone for a weekend or a week to see how you enjoy the experience?

Before you go anywhere, check out my list of must-have travel accessories My Top 12 Essential Things To Pack For Travelling

21. Solo travel breeds solo travellers – Just Do It!
SueWhereWhyWhat, Australia and Hawaii

There’s no substitute or any reason to be scared of taking the plunge & just going it alone. Some of my most memorable travel experiences were when I’ve been solo. I always tend to talk to more people, learn more things & generally interact more.

In my opinion, the joy of travel is not where you go but the experiences you have & the people you meet along the way. Some of them are transient, some of them stick with you for a long time after you’ve parted.” 

Two Women in warm blue coats with their arms spread wide standing in front of a large sign post at the top of a snow covered mountain

Once you do go solo, some people you meet are looking for partners to travel with in the future. Over the last year, I have climbed Mount Kilimanjaro & taken a road trip in the USA. Both trips have been with friends I have made on separate yoga retreats & weirdly both in Cuba.

Two women standing in front of a large poster of a guitar with the word nashville on it

If you are in a situation where you are looking to travel solo but just nervous about taking the plunge, I hope I have given you plenty of ideas for some fantastic trips to take alone. There is lots more to come on all of these options so please watch this space over the coming months.

Interested to read more?

You can also Subscribe Here to get regular updates & special offers from Sue Where? Why? What? along with a copy of my 201 Inspirational Travel Bucket List Ideas for FREE! I hope you choose to join me on the journey.

This post may contain affiliate links. By using these, Sue Where Why What may receive a small commission. You will not pay any extra charges for this. My opinions, reviews & recommendations remain my own. For more information see my disclosure.

My Gallery

Travel Alone For The First Time – 21 Amazing Trip Ideas For Women

You might be interested in …


  1. Nr 6 photography, I would love to take a class or two in that area, I would love to get some knowlage on my camera 😀 I have done some photography in my life but I am so bad the technical stuff 😀

    1. Same! It’s on my list. I’ve taken a couple of 1/2 day & online courses but I still can’t quite work out how it relates to my camera. Was planning a course in the summer so fingers crossed it’ll get better. Sue x

  2. Love them all. For me, it was learning a language, Spanish. When I went onto travel solo with my new language skills in Central and South America the greater connection being able to communicate with the locals was an entire new experience compared to not having the language skills.

    1. Thank you, Justine, & I couldn’t agree more. I started learning Spanish for that very reason & think that’s why I have enjoyed my travels through this region so much. Being able to communicate makes travel so much more fun. Especially when going solo. Sue x

  3. I haven’t traveled alone yet, but I like reading up on the possibilities. My first choice would be a hiking tour. You have lots of fun ideas here!

  4. One volunteering activity that doesn’t cost you anything (except the transport to get to your destination) is Workaway. You trade 4-5 hours work per day, in return for accommodation and food (sometimes it’s all meals, and sometimes just a couple). There’s all sorts of activities you can do, and having done a few workaway assignments now, I’d recommend following your passion, and finding a volunteer activity you’ll enjoy doing, because when you do that, it doesn’t feel like work. There’s a small annual fee to join Workaway, but you get access to global gigs around the world, and it’s an ideal solo travel adventure opportunity.

    1. Thank you, Jay. I have read with interest a number of your Workaway posts & am definitely intrigued. It sounds like a fantastic ay to connect more with a place & also save a bit of money. Thank you for sharing! Sue x

      1. Yes it’s not only a great way to connect with a place and get an inside track on what to see and do in the area. But because you’re staying with people who have made the area their home, you get to meet people that usually wouldn’t mix with the tourists and travellers passing through. You really get a sense of the place, and even if you’re only in a place for a week, you really get to see it from a different perspective.

  5. You’ve had some excellent experiences and I love that you shared so many of those ideas here! I’ve done a little solo traveling myself, but am not as experienced as you. Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. Ecuador has been on my bucket list for awhile. I want to see all the animals on the Galápagos, while Logan wants to dive around the islands! I haven’t heard about Rabida Island and the incredible colored beach before! Adding that to the Ecuador bucket list for sure.

    1. Thank you, Chelsea & Ecuador has so much more to offer than “just” the Galapagos Islands. That said, Galapagos is a once in a lifetime experience & well worth it! Safe travels when you get there. Sue x

  7. It’s a great way to start your solo travel by joining group activities. I’ve been travelling solo forever, however, from time to time I join for instance walking tours. This way, I automatically spend some time with other people – and sometimes we even do more together later. Solo travel does by no means has to be lonely.

  8. What a brilliant read! I had no idea there were so many options available for travelling, and not just solo! I’m studying Spanish atm and now have my eye on language travel in Mexico ? Thanks so much for a great resource!

    1. Fantastic, thank you, Gabby. I’m really pleased to hear that I have inspired you. I’d love to go back to Mexico but next on my radar to study Spanish in classes is Colombia 😉 Sue x

  9. I loved all ideas and have not traveled alone yet. But good your post tempted me to go for solo travel and there are so many things to pick up. Cooking is a good idea as I love cooking and want to know different cuisines too.

  10. You are a true inspiration to so many of us! What a great motivational and informational list. You go girl!

  11. For me, learning to scuba dive was the perfect way to dip into solo travel moments. It was the ideal place to meet like-minded people with some of them becoming life long dive travel friends who still meet up with me for adventures some 20-something years later. My advice, pick something that you love from the list and do it!

  12. Loads of great ideas here, I particularly like the idea of learning a language or volunteering. I travelled solo quite a bit when I was younger but since having kids I either travel with them or occasionally a girls’ trip with a friend. One day I’d like to go solo again though.

  13. This is amazing Sue. So many good ideas here. I’ve travelled with my husband for years then went solo for 7 weeks in Japan and China in 2018. I found it pretty unsettling to not have him around, but in the end managed just fine. It gave me a great deal of confidence for my next trip. I think solo travel is like anything really – the more you do it the better you get at it

    1. Thank you for your comments Alison & I couldn’t agree more. I’m really pleased that you had a good experience & for me – it has been all about the confidence you develop when on your own. There’s nothing like that feeling of facing challenges & overcoming them by yourself. Safe travels, Sue x

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I accept the Privacy Policy

Buy me a coffee