Embarking on a solo journey across the world, I didn’t expect just how easy it would be to meet other single twenty-something-year olds from every corner of the globe. Surprisingly, in many cases it was easier to meet new friends when I was alone, meaning I was both more outgoing and less intimidating to approach when I was traveling as a solo dame.
From all of my travels, I can recommend the 12 places below for any single twenty-something-year-old seeking to connect with like-minded young people looking to dance the night away, go sightseeing, surf the day away (or simply watch and drool in my case) etc. The best advice I can give is to turn this post into action instead of a daydream and see for yourself just how easy it is to find mates in Australia, salsa partners in Spain, and beer pong partners in Dublin if you just take the leap of faith and go for it.
12 Bali, Indonesia
If you haven’t seen the movie “Eat Pray Love” starring Julia Roberts, it’s time to watch it to pregame your immediate departure for Bali. The small, drivable island of Bali is full to the brim with attractive surfers and charming expats ready to take you out for a nice trip on their casual yacht. Check out Uluwatu for long-haired surfers who take their skateboards around the quiet roads as their only way of transportation. Find a more relaxed time in Ubud, amongst the rice patties and temples lining the small downtown area.
11 Goa, India
Goa is hands down the best place to get a bang for your buck in an off the beaten path travel destination. This hidden gem apparently isn’t so secret at all. Upon arriving in Goa you’ll find yourself amongst established expats, backpackers on a budget, and worldly solo travelers on their 20th trip to the Indian subcontinent. Despite what some tell you, traveling to India as a solo traveler isn’t dangerous in the slightest as long as you’re smart, especially in the South of Goa. Check out Palolem beach for the best silent disco parties in the world. Head to Kranti Yoga for the occasional yoga class, yoga holiday or full on teacher training course.
10 Budapest, Hungary
Eastern Europe’s a bargain compared to the rest of Europe, and has developed its own alternative underground scene over the past few decades. For history buffs the free city tours are amazing, plus you can meet a couple new friends to join you on one of countless pub crawls that night. Popular “ruin bars,” exist in old World War II bunkers, where you can see the damage on the walls, now lined with trippy artwork. Find a friend to take the overnight train to Prague, Czech Republic with you.
9 Gili Islands, Indonesia
Indonesia’s picturesque Gili Islands really do look like the photos. You’ll have to pinch yourself when you see the different shades of neon blue and turquoise water, visible from almost any point on the small islands. The ocean’s full of sea turtles, coral reef, and gorgeous humans from every corner of the world. The Gili islands has some of the best snorkeling and diving in the world. Gili T is infamous for its wild party scene, as the bars that don’t close until the sunrise. Gili Air is more low-key for yoga enthusiasts or those looking for a break from Gili T’s constant celebrations.
8 Melbourne, Australia
Melbourne’s the spot for world travelers in their twenty-somethings to finally settle down and make some money. The minimum wage is approximately $20 in Australia, giving beach bums a perfect place to settle down and get a bartending gig or another service job for a few months at a time. For those into Insta-worthy sunsets and street art, this hipster city in the land down under is for you.
7 Barcelona, Spain
If New York is the city that never sleeps, Barcelona is that and more. The city that never sleeps (and only siestas) is famous for its vibrant nightlife, laid back Spanish culture with a twist and its beaches full of half-naked models and bachelors. Budget travelers can easily find cheap Airbnbs and hostels close to the main strip. Barcelona is the perfect place to meet other singles and dance the night away. Check out La Boqueria for fresh fruits, vegetables and traditional Catalonia food.
6 Dublin, Ireland
Dublin’s beer scene isn’t the only thing this Irish city has going for it, but it sure is a major bonus. The Guinness factory is always home to a good time, lined with young, interesting travelers from around the world. The locals are particularly boisterous and easy to get an in with. Maybe a Dublin local will even take you around the country to see his or her hometown, and get a taste of the lush greenery surrounding the city.
5 Koh Phangan, Thailand
The full moon party in Thailand is just one of those things you have to do before you turn 30 and commit to a significant other. The free for all is full of hyped up party goers ready to dance the night away. The best part is it happens every month, without fail, on the full moon. Explore the rest of Thailand’s islands which all have their own taste of beach paradise, yet equally as full with friendly singles and small groups of travelers.
4 Lagos, Portugal
This little town in southern Portugal’s Algarve region is many study abroader’s absolute favorite place in Europe. The south of Portugal boasts incredible beaches with perfect weather for laying out, taking a boozy boat trip and connecting with other young people. In Lagos, it’s as easy as ordering a beer to make another good friend. You’ll immediately feel at home after getting a taste of the warm, traditional Portuguese culture while getting a glimpse of the past through visiting old churches and castles nestled into the cliffs.
3 Santa Teresa, Costa Rica
The “pura vida” (pure life) makes Costa Rica a place that many find themselves staying for weeks, months and even years when they initially came just for a short vacation. Lost Boyz Surf Hostel is a new establishment already famous for it’s gorgeous staff and owners – all with hair more impressive than most girls I know. Although most will look at you cross-eyed if you ask them their routine in Santa Teresa, it’s boiled down to “surf, eat, chill, surf, eat, maybe yoga, eat, beer, party.” Repeat. PURA VIDA!
2 San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua
This hillside beachtown on the Pacific coast of Nicaragua is full of budget hostels and cozy boutique hotels. Less expensive than Costa Rica below, Nicaragua is perfect for the interests and budget of the typically twenty-something-year-old.
1 Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
If you’re feeling extra ambitious, take on Rio during the country’s wildest festival. Carnival takes place every year for one week around the month of February up until Ash Wednesday at noon, the beginning of lent. Brazilians have a reputation for their party stamina, and they surely don't take festivals lightly. Rio is for travelers who are on board with the moto – “If you’re going to go, there’s no reason not to go all out!”
Feeling down, bored, or even more dangerously complacent in your day to day life? As for myself, after growing up in Suburbia and moving to New York City (still my favorite city in the world) I decided to go for it and journey around the world as a solo-twenty-something-year-old. Although Paris, Rome and London are great – they aren’t optimal cities for those of us in our twenties traveling alone, figuring out our next gig and seeking to meet other like-minded travelers our age.
I urge you to ask yourself this question: What’s the worst that could happen if you followed your dreams? If the situation is not that bad, it may be time for you to stop waiting around for that friend or boyfriend to get on the wagon with you, and set off for the world alone! Based on the experiences of my own travelers and the countless others I’ve met - these 12 locations are great launch pads for a solo trip of a lifetime.