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If you haven’t already, we recommend you check out our Solo Travel Guide, where we detail the preparation and logistics of solo traveling for women. Now, we’ll be exploring the best international destinations for women solo travelers based on affordability, safety, things to do/see, and the quality of their accommodations (like public transportation, ease of travel, hotel/hostel availability, etc.).

Iceland

Although it’s not the cheapest option, it’s certainly one of the safest and has one of the best returns for your dollar. Ranked by NATO as the safest country in the world, Iceland also boasts a more egalitarian culture around gender norms. Catcalling and petty crimes are much less likely in Iceland as compared to the U.S. or the U.K.

Iceland is known for its picturesque, almost dream-like landscapes: its glaciers, volcanoes, mountain ranges, and waterfalls are among its most famous features. With roughly 376,000 residents, Iceland is sparsely populated (with ~35% of that population concentrated in the capital, Reykjavík). Because of the spread of its residents, Iceland’s public transportation system isn’t as developed as other countries; renting a car is recommended. A car also gives you access to both the North and South coasts, where different natural attractions are. The South coast has the breadth of Iceland’s attractions, though.

If you’re excited by the outdoors, want to see the Northern Lights in-person, or want to explore an exceptionally safe and relatively unpopulated beauty, Iceland is calling.

Ireland

Known for its convivial locals, Ireland is a generally safe and hospitable destination. Because the language of Ireland is English, there isn’t the issue of a language barrier like there would be in other countries. The safety of the country, generally, is exceptional: Northern Ireland and tourist attractions are the likeliest places for petty crimes, like pickpocketing or theft. On the whole, Ireland is repeatedly ranked as one of the safest international destinations.

The public transportation system in Ireland depends on your location within the country; much like the United States, there are exceptional systems in place in urban settings (like Dublin, Cork, and Killarney). However, if you’re interested in reaching more rural areas, you might benefit from renting a car. Unlike Iceland, we don’t recommend renting a car unless the rural destinations are at the top of your list; the transportation infrastructure is strong enough that it makes perfect sense to use.

Ireland holds appeal for the city-lovers, nature-trekkers, and literary-nerds alike. It has a rich cultural and literary history, with some of the most famous contemporary authors having Irish origins (W.B. Yeats, Jonathan Smith, James Joyce, etc.). We recommend stopping into pubs, speaking with the locals, and enjoying a Guinness.

Croatia

Oftentimes grouped with Italy or Greece as a top European stop, Croatia is a wholly underrated solo travel destination. It offers island-hopping, much like Greece or other Mediterranean countries, but is much less crowded and much more cost-effective.

Although Croatian is the country’s primary language, many forms of media reach Croatians in English; most locals have at least a working proficiency. Again, a language barrier is unlikely here. Croatia is considered a safe country, especially for solo female travelers. In the more touristy areas (and in the more tourist-laden times of year), pick-pocketers and scammers are more likely to target people. However, if you’re aware of your surroundings and pay close attention to the situation of your belongings, you should be fine.

Croatia has fantastic bus and ferry services, both on the mainland and on its islands. Similar to Ireland, if you’re especially interested in visiting remote, rural areas, we recommend a car rental; if not, the public transportation is exceptionally reliable (and cheap!).

Zagreb is Croatia’s largest city, and is situated near the Adriatic Sea and the mountains. There are ample opportunities to ski/hike/enjoy the beach/stick to urban attractions. Because of the breadth of the landscapes and the lower likelihood of overcrowding or unethical tourism, Croatia is the perfect destination for one of your first solo trips!

Thailand

If you’ve never been to Asia, Thailand upends the Western imagination of “faraway places” in a productive way. With friendly locals, superb public transportation, and an established “tourist trail,” it’s very easy to navigate and to meet other travelers.

As a plus, there are several travel agencies in most populated areas. If you want to reach another island or city, the travel agency will find the most efficient route and buy all of the necessary tickets (say, a train, a bus, and a ferry) for you, so all of your logistics planning is mapped out. Most locals also have a working proficiency in English, and many of the country’s signs and maps have respective English translations.

Here’s what Adventurous Kate, who’s solo traveled Thailand multiple times, has to say about it: “I always say, “First time in Asia? Go to Thailand!” It’s the perfect introduction to the continent. Asia can feel overwhelming if you’ve never been before. Even my friends who are very experienced travelers were nervous for their first trips to Asia. And everyone who did their first trip to Thailand said something along the lines of, ‘I don’t know what I was worried about!’”

Thailand is a stunning and culturally opulent destination that isn’t European. It’s a hotspot for delicious food, meeting other travelers, and stunning cities and beaches.

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