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Who says you have to wait for friends or family to plan an epic adventure?
More women are

traveling solo than ever. In fact, a survey by OnePoll and Travelex found that nearly one in four travelers prefer traveling alone—and most of them are financially secure women over the age of 30. But with a wide world out there and airline tickets just a click away, it can be overwhelming for women to decide on the best solo travel vacations that are safe—and won’t break the bank.
When I finally came out of a post-breakup stupor a few years ago and decided I was ready to travel alone for the first time, I looked to the recommendation of another woman: Elizabeth Gilbert. It sounds cliché, but for years her memoir Eat, Pray, Love served as a life raft for me whenever I was feeling down—I’ve read it so many times, my copy is tattered, coffee stained, and dog-eared. (And, yes, I’ve also re-watched the movie starring Julia Roberts more times than I can count.) So when I was choosing the best solo travel destination for me, there was something comforting about knowing another single woman had walked this path before me. (It was also a handy excuse to give to my parents, who were concerned I could end up getting kidnapped.)
So I booked a flight to Rome, Italy, the eat in Gilbert’s story. It was an uncharacteristic move; typically, any trip I’d been on required weeks of juggling schedules with friends or family and endless group chats about who was going when and where. But making plans on my own was liberating, and it was the first glimpse at the type of freedom I would experience during my five days of exploring Rome and Florence alone, with my map in one hand, gelato in the other. The trip changed my life, and most importantly, taught me that even when I’m feeling lost—quite literally, as I often found myself in the maize of Italian streets—I can count on myself. That map is now framed in my apartment.
But because one can only re-read Eat, Pray, Love so many times, I wanted to turn to a few other real women and travel experts for their recommendations on the best solo travel vacations—the places they believe all women should experience on their own at least once in their lifetimes. Read on, be safe, but most importantly: Bon voyage.
Oneika Raymond is a travel expert and the host of Travel Channel’s series Big City, Little Budget and One Bag and You’re Out. She literally makes a living…traveling. (I know, dream job, right?!) When deciding where you may want to travel on your own, she suggests asking yourself the following questions: Are there lots of things to do, see, and experience? Is the destination relatively safe? And Are there various opportunities to meet other locals or tourists? "Having the option to connect with others can curb potential feelings of loneliness," she says. Here are her favorites:

"In this region of China, there are so many things to do and see. It’s also very easy to navigate, given that the city—a former British colony—is bilingual. It’s also very cheap and extremely safe and a great place to meet people. Fun fact: I met my now-husband while I was living on my own in Hong Kong!"

"This is a well-established tourist destination which makes finding your way around and picking which sights to see super easy. Arranging tours and transportation is a breeze. Plus, the weather is amazing. If you go, don’t miss the opportunity to hike to the top of Table Mountain!"
"This is beautiful country that’s all about pura vida. It’s also a country that, over the years, has become built on tourism, which means the locals are both friendly and totally used to you. Plus, they accept American dollars, and it’s easy to rent a car and take yourself on long, glorious road trips."

"I know this one is expected, but there’s a reason everyone loves the City of Light. You can never get bored in Paris, and the fact that it’s so frequented by tourists makes it the perfect kind of place to head on your own. In fact, you’ll likely meet other solo travelers! But either way, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy the city’s romance all by your self."
Kimberly Wilson is the founder of upcoming women of color healthcare platform HUED—and the entrepreneur is also an avid traveler who has been to 45 countries in her lifetime, many of them all on her own. She recommends:

"If you’re a solo traveler interested in history, food and culture, Charleston is a must. It’s a vibrant, friendly, and safe Southern city. And the best part? The flights from most cities are often less than $200 round trip, so for me, it’s great for a quick getaway on my own that won’t break my budget."

"This island has beautiful—beautiful!—beaches, plus spiritual temples, luxurious massages, and inexpensive food and accommodations. I mean, what more can a girl ask for? The might explain why a lot of solo female travelers—including Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat Pray Love—come here."
"Like Arianna mentioned, Rome will definitely check the box for the ‘eat’ of any eat, pray, love solo journey. But from delicious food to fashion and historic monuments, you’ll be enthralled by all that this city has to offer. And if you’re a single, solo woman, you might even experience your own fair share of Italian romance…"
Jakiya Brown gave up her high-paying corporate job to indulge in her wanderlust and travel the world—on her own. Now that she’s been on the road for more than two years, she has plenty of experience navigating new places as a solo traveler. A few destinations she vouches for:

"Senegal has been named one of the top places to visit in 2019 by Lonely Planet, National Geographic, and The New York Times. I think that’s because there is something for everyone here, whether you’re 22 or 75 years old. If you’re looking for culture, beach, music, or local cuisine, you can find it on any corner. And once you learn a few phrases in Wolof (the local language) and French, you’ll easily be able to communicate with locals. Dakar specifically has an abundance of hospitality, and the art scene makes for one unforgettable solo travel experience."
"From cozy traditional restaurants to wine, welcoming locals and coastal views, Portugal is easily a top place to travel solo. Getting around is convenient on your own; there are plenty of options including car rentals, trains, Uber, and apps like Blabla car. You can also visit castles, enjoy stunning sunsets, and see different landscapes—all in a span of only a few days, without breaking the bank."
"The holy city is an easy one hour ride from Tel Aviv. It’s also walkable, and offers plenty of tours where you can meet other international solo travelers."
"This seaside town is accessible by bike or foot, and it’s an oasis with adventure, historical ruins, and breathtaking white sandy beaches. Solo travelers can skip the commercialism of Cancun and enjoy a more upscale yet peaceful experience in the jungle. And if that’s not enough to sell you: There’s no shortage of tacos and margaritas."
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