Are all your family and friends super stubborn and don’t want to get off the couch to go travel around the globe with you? Or did they lose their passport the day before you guys were about to leave the country? Well, whatever the situation is. I’m sure there were times in your life where you were left to plan for a vacation yourself. Though intimidating, traveling alone can be so enriching to the soul and allow you to befriend the part of you that you’ve never met before! Of course, some countries are solo travel friendly, while others not so much. So, where should a first time traveler go? Well, here I am today to share with you the top 5 best places to travel alone that as long as you are pretty comfortable with English!
Where Should A First Time Traveler Go?
Ok, I know a lot of you automatically think of the movie “The Hangover Part II” when you hear the word Thailand or Bangkok. However, real-life Thailand is nowhere as crazy and dangerous as the movie portrays. Actually, having been to Thailand as a solo female traveler, it is one of my favorite countries in Southeast Asia. Not only is the food extremely delicious and cheap, people are so nice and will be eager to help you directions if you ever need help finding directions. And if you decide to stay in a hostel, (I highly recommend using HostelWorld to search for the best hostels in your area), most likely you will end up making friends with other solo travelers in Thailand, since Thailand is known for being the “backpacker’s hub”.
If you are more of a chill person and would prefer to go at a slow pace. For Example, exploring Thailand through visiting temples as well as getting cheap massages and manicures. Then I would recommend the city, Chiang Mai, which is situated in the North of Thailand. But if you have tons of energy and would like shopping or partying (be safe though!) with your new friends at the hostel. Then I would recommend Bangkok as your main spot. And lastly, if you’re trying to get your vacation tan on and sip mimosas by the beach. Then for sure, head to Krabi, Koh Phi Phi, Krabi, and the endless number of beaches nearby.
If Someone asked me, “Where should a first time traveler go?”
My first answer would be Tokyo without a doubt.
Ahh, Tokyo! Who doesn’t want to go to Tokyo! I have to say, Japan is definitely one of the most polite, organized, clean, safe, and modern countries in the world. Safety is probably the last thing you have to worry about when you travel to Tokyo. (Of course, I am not at all endorsing nor encouraging you to walk alone in a small dark valley at 3 am in the morning). I personally have gotten lost a few times when I was in Tokyo due to my awful sense of direction. (pretty ironic since I travel solo all the time). Once, this adorable grandpa walked me all the way to my destination because he did not know how to explain it in English and did not want me to get lost. Ugh, so cute!
Tokyo’s metro system could seem a bit intimidating at first, but it is extremely easy to navigate. I recommend getting a Suica card, which a prepaid smart card that allows you to use most public transport (metro, trains, buses, monorail) in Japan. And you can always reload the card if you run out of money.
On top of the awesome transportation system, there is plenty of things to do in Tokyo. Almost too many things to do. The best thing to do before you go to Tokyo is to list out things you want to do every day that you’re there. And research the metro routes to get there and develop a good “plan of action”. So that you won’t end up spending too much time on the metro going from one side of Tokyo to the other side of Tokyo.
Try to explore places that are in the same area each day. For example, it would be nice to go shopping in Shinjuku and Shibuya one day, and then move on to go see the Tokyo tower and explore the anime lover’s favorite district, Akihabara, the next day.
Also, if you’re interested in exploring Tokyo through Go-karting. Make sure to apply for an international driver’s license before arriving in Japan. Even though the Go-kart tours are on the more expensive side, it is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I think everyone should try.
Related Post: 25 Things To Do In Tokyo (The Ultimate Bucket List)
NEW YORK CITY
New York City is known for its crazy traffic, extreme cold weather in the winter while extreme heat in the summer. However, it is also a city built for a solitary person. Tons of people live in New York alone. And so of course, there are tons of activities designed for solo travelers as well. I wouldn’t say that New York is as safe as Tokyo, so please use your common sense and be aware of your surroundings. But it is definitely not like Barcelona or Rome where you have to be very careful about pickpockets.
So, the million-dollar question, what do you do in New York City? Well, where do I start? Just by thoroughly exploring Time Square and Central Park can take you up to a whole day. Let alone if you want to go check out some tasty and instagrammable food places like Vinnie’s Pizzeria, Dominique Ansel Bakery, Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer. And the must-try, Pick-A-Bagel.
But if you ever get tired of walking around NY city, do a quick NY City Double Decker bus tour to experience all the highlights of New York, like the Charging Bull of Wall Street, the Statue of Liberty, the Flatiron Building, as well as the Empire State Building all at once. And of course, you can also opt for the cheaper option of taking the Metro.
If you’re going to be in NY for a week, I recommend getting the weekly Metro pass which is around $33 dollars, since you have basically unlimited swipes for a week, and it’s so much more worth it than spending $2.75 every swipe.
Downtown New York is definitely one of the most tourist and solo travel-friendly places I’ve been to. The metro system is super straight-forward and easy to navigate. And as someone who suffers from an incredibly awful sense of direction, I’m proud to say that I’ve never gotten lost while in New York. Haha!
Berlin, Germany. Known for its incredible mix of business, captivating street art, beautiful historic culture hipsters, and of course, one of the best places for EDM clubs and parties. Berlin is definitely a rare find. And if you’re interested in all of the above, then I would highly recommend that you give Berlin a try.
The great thing about Berlin is that almost everyone speaks great English. And so you generally won’t have to worry about communication issues or cramming in German phrases before you go. Also, Berlin boasts some of the coolest and cleanest hostels I’ve ever seen. For example, the Circus Hostel. Which has an onsite microbrewery and a bar that serves craft beers. Also, if you’re worried about traveling the city on your own. The hostel provides free walking tours as well as other city tours to help you navigate the city without having to worry too much about designing your own travel itinerary.
But if you would prefer to navigate the city on your own and go at your own pace, taking the train would be a faster and more efficient way to explore many parts of the city. Check out the Official Site of Berlin for more detailed information about ticket prices. But usually, one-way tickets are around 3 Euros (slightly more expensive than countries in Asia). But if you buy a day pass or a 7-day pass, considering how much you would be using your pass, it would be well worth the money. I sound like an overprotective mother when I say this haha. But I repeat… when in Berlin, beware of pickpockets and pay attention to your surroundings at all times. Better safe than sorry am I right or am I right?
Taipei, situated in the beautiful country of Taiwan as well as the birthplace of BOBA TEA! I feel like not a lot of people think of Taipei when it comes to traveling. Which is quite unfortunate because it is such an amazing city! To not only explore but also indulge yourself in some amazing Taiwanese delicacies like the infamous Stinky Tofu!
The biggest perk of Taipei is that 7-ELEVENs are EVERYWHERE! And I’m not talking about the gas station level of 7-ELEVEN, but the fancy and luxurious version of it. Convenience stores will quickly become your favorite place to go to in Taiwan. If you don’t believe me, check out this video by Strictly Dumpling where he explores the amazing 7-ELEVEN in Taiwan. But apart from eating, also make sure to check out Taipei 101. It used to the tallest skyscraper in the world until it was exceeded by Burj Khalifa in Dubai.
Taipei, just like Tokyo, has one of the cleanest and safest Metro systems in the entire world. On top of that, English signs are everywhere. So you never have to worry about understanding the complicated traditional Chinese characters they use. Depending on the length of your stay, I recommend that you check out Metro Taipei’s website to see what tickets and travel passes would be your best fit. Singles pass tickets usually vary from 60 cents to 2 dollars.
Book Your Accommodation:
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld if you’re more of a budget traveler like me! I always use Hostelworld to book my hostels since they provide super detailed-reviews. If hostels are not so much your thing, use Booking.com since they always offer the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels.
I hope this post was able to answer the popular question of “where should a first time traveler go”. If you have any other concerns or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below or shoot me an email. I would love to hear from you! And lastly, travel safely and always strive to live your best life!
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