It well may be received knowledge that it’s better to travel with a mate, so you can share the experience, but just exactly what experience is that? Capitulating to their demands, doing stuff you’re not interested in and cutting short the stuff you really want to see?
Half the joy of travel is feeling completely free to jump on a train at a moment’s notice, to eat or dink exactly what and where you want, to check out live music or an obscure museum and meet new friends wherever you go. Going it alone forces you to discover more of what’s underneath a city, and throw yourself into it wholeheartedly, with no distractions.
Check out our list of the best places to visit on a single ticket.
1. BERLIN, GERMANY
Berlin is a sexy, stylish, friendly city with a fascinating history, rich architecture and thriving art scene. It also knows how to throw a party. Drop the inhibitions at Tegel airport (or Brandenburg when it FINALLY opens) and head straight for former power plant Berghain. Quite possibly the wildest club night anywhere in the world, what happens in Berghain, stays in Berghain.
BEST FOR: The parties
2. AUSTIN, USA
Currently home of the SXSW music and film festivals, Austin is a uni town populated with young, fun cool kids and has avoided the urban sprawl of much of America’s cities, with a vibrant centre. Well worth heading to during festival time, there’s over 2000 gigs this year and squillions of flicks, it’s the easiest way to loose yourself in the moment.
BEST FOR: The festivals
3. HANOI, VIETNAM
Who needs company when you can pig out instead? Hanoi is world-famous for its street food, so get in amongst it at let your feet and belly do the wandering. While you’re at it, you can check out the creepy-cool propaganda art all over the place too. Avoid the obvious and stick to the footpath vendors
BEST FOR: The food
4. SANTIAGO, CHILE
Sandwiched between the Andes and the Pacific Ocean the thriving metropolis of Santiago provides some pretty sterling views as it is, but take the whickety-whack funicular up to Cerro San Cristobal park and it’ll blow your mind. Stunning views, public pools and the iconic (literally) Virgin Mary statue make this the perfect place to lose yourself.
BEST FOR: The views
5. AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS
Letting your inhibitions go is a great way to make new friends, and Amsterdam and its liberal policies are world-renowned for that very reason. Park yourself in a café with a good book and say ‘hi’ to your neighbour, or take a ride around through the buzzing Vondelpark. Don’t forget to see the Anne Frank and the Van Gogh museums for some culture while you’re at it.
BEST FOR: Letting loose
6. HAVANA, CUBA
The best way to see Cuba is by staying with the locals who’ll be super-keen to show you round Old Havana and its 500-year-plus history. Another piece of history you’ll need to get amongst is the Cuban cigar. Forget the museum and its sealed glass cases – get stuck straight into a box and enjoy with a Mojito.
BEST FOR: The cigars and cocktails
7. KYOTO, JAPAN
An ethereal place steeped in history, with over 1600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto shrines, Kyoto is the best place to explore the Geisha culture, weeping cherry trees and indulge in the mystery of the 15th rock at Ryoan-ji, where no matter how hard you try, you can only ever see 14 rocks at any one time, symbolising the never-ending journey towards completeness.
BEST FOR: Finding yourself
8, GUANACASTE, COSTA RICA
With azure beaches cloaked in rainforest overlooked by volcanoes, this has to be one of the most beautiful spots in the world to get away from absolutely everyone, except the other folks doing the same. Hire a hammock for $5 and watch the surfers do their thing while you do nothing more strenuous than turn the page.
BEST FOR: The beaches
9. LONDON, ENGLAND
Oh London, how we love you, let us count the ways. Too many, really, but one of the best things to do when you’re flying solo in this great old cray-cray city is tour around its countless free museums and galleries, from the kooky contemporary art of Tate Modern, to the ancient statues of the British Museum to the oil paintings old and new in the National Portrait Gallery. Then you can skip over to Soho to look at queens of a very different sort.
BEST FOR: The free stuff
10. MONTREAL, CANADA
Canadians are a lovely people, as are the French, so the beauties of Montreal are rather obvious, combining both with a flare for living the life that’s insatiable. It’s a great place to leave the world behind and make the most of Old Port’s cobbled laneways or head downtown and gawp at the glittering skyscrapers. It’s a six-hour drive to NYC too.
BEST FOR: The best of both worlds, old and new.