Why you should travel alone in your 20s. A male solo traveller walks through a rice paddy in Bali, Indonesia.

15 Cool Places & 20 Dire Reasons to Travel Alone in Your 20s

Life comes at you fast when you are in your twenties. Most of your friends are going to college or starting a career. But taking some time to solo travel might be the best decision you ever make. So, let’s take a look at why you should travel alone in your 20s.

You should travel alone in your 20s because you will likely not have enough time or energy when you’re older, with a family and a career. Plus, when you’re in your twenties, travelling alone can help you to make friends, find love, think about your future, and become more self-confident and knowledgeable.

For me, travelling solo in my twenties changed the course of my career, my love life and my home life.

In this article, I’ll list the 15 best places to travel alone in your 20s and 20 reasons why you should travel alone in your 20s. I’ll also share my top 5 tips for travelling alone in your 20s.

Is it your first time travelling alone? Find more solo travel tips on Nomadic Yak!

15 Best Places to Travel Alone in Your 20s

Solo female traveller in a hammock by a waterfall.

I have two recommendations if you want to travel alone in your 20s:

  • Travel for at least a month;
  • Include more than one country on your itinerary.

You should take longer trips when you are younger because you have more time and freedom, better health and can travel for cheaper (see the section below).

As such, this list of the best places to travel in your 20s mostly consists of regions that you should backpack over several weeks or months (rather than individual countries). 

Alternatively, see my list of the best places to solo travel – where I ranked all 193 countries in the world!

Cheap and Budget Friendly – Best Places to Travel Alone in Your 20s

1. South East Asia

Solo female traveller walking into a temple in Bangkok, Thailand

Best Countries: Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar, Indonesia, Philippines

Daily Budget: $25-75+ USD

Suggested Duration: 1-3 months

A classic trip for solo travellers in their 20s on a budget – party on Khao San Road in Bangkok, raid the ancient temples of Angkor Wat, try spicy street foods in the steamy streets of Saigon and meet monks in the misty mountains of Laos!

2. Central America

Two Mexican women dressed in huipil dresses on the street corner.

Best Countries: Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama

Daily Budget: $30-75+ USD

Suggested Duration: 1-2 months

A budget-friendly backpacking destination to travel alone in your 20s (particularly if you only have to travel from the USA) – hack through the jungle to discover Aztec temples, board down the side of a volcano and dance away the Day of the Dead in Mexico City!

3. South America

Solo female traveller standing overlooking Machu Picchu, Peru.

Best Countries: Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile 

Daily Budget: $25-$75+ USD

Suggested Duration: 3-6 months

Your 20s is the perfect time to travel on the cheap throughout South America – adventure along the Amazon River, uncover Incan culture high in the Andes, shake your backside at Rio Carnival and ride with the gauchos before wolfing down an Argentinian steak!

Singles Holidays – Best Places to Travel Alone in Your 20s

4. Western Europe

Solo female backpacker overlooking the Amalfi Coast, Italy.

Best Countries: UK, Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland

Daily Budget: $80-250+ USD

Suggested Duration: 1-3 months

Home to the City of Love and Viewtiful Venice, single travellers in their 20s will adore Western Europe  – sneak a kiss on the Eiffel Tower, find romance in Berlin’s underground rave scene, snuggle up in a snow globe in Sweden or act like Audrey Hepburn on your Roman Holiday!

5. The Caribbean

Swimming pigs on a beach in The Bahamas.

Best Countries: Cuba, Bahamas, Jamaica, British Virgin Islands, Saint Lucia, Curacao, Aruba

Daily Budget: $75+150+ USD

Suggested Duration: 1-2 months

Escape the lonely winter and find a summer fling in The Caribbean – sexy solo travellers in their 20s can sail and snorkel amongst the Virgin Islands, salsa dance in the streets of Havana, swim with pigs in the Bahamas and frolic in the white sands of Trunk Bay!

6. Eastern Europe

Overlooking the Hungarian Parliament on the Danube River in Budapest, Hungary.

Best Countries: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Moldova, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Albania, Kosovo, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia

Daily Budget: $50-100+ USD

Suggested Duration: 1-3 months

Singles in their 20s can enjoy a European holiday without the hefty price tag – party in Prague, bathe in Budapest, cruise the Croatian coast, enjoy a candlelit dinner on the Danube River and shred the slopes of Slovakia!

Bucket List – Best Places to Travel Alone in Your 20s

7. Australia

Two kangaroos on a beach in Australia

Best Countries: Australia

Daily Budget: $75-250+ USD

Suggested Duration: 3-6 months

A bucket list trip for every British and European backpacker in their 20s – swim with turtles on the Great Barrier Reef, soak up the sun on Bondi Beach, uncover the Outback at Uluru and catch the leaping crocodiles near Darwin. But is Australia safe to travel alone?

8. India

Tourists and locals riding elephants in Jaipur, India.

Best Countries: India  

Daily Budget: $20-50+ USD

Suggested Duration: 1-3 months

If you want to delve into an exotic culture, India is a bucket list destination to travel to in your 20s –  peruse the palaces of Jaipur, road trip into the Ladakh mountains, rave on the beaches of Goa and drown in the colours of the Hindu celebration of Holi.

9. Japan

Overlooking a temple and volcano in Kyoto, Japan.

Best Countries: Japan

Daily Budget: $50-200+ USD

Suggested Duration: 1 month

As one of the more expensive solo trips on this bucket list, Japan might be one to save for your late 20s – stumble upon mystical Shinto temples and shrines, take in the tech around Tokyo, wander alongside geisha in Kyoto and shred powder in Niseko.

Adventure – Best Places to Travel Alone in Your 20s

10. Central Asia

Nomad holding his Golden Eagle for hunting in Mongolia.

Best Countries: Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan

Daily Budget: $35-75+ USD

Suggested Duration: 1-3 months

Travel alone into lands where few other solo travellers venture in their 20s – peer into the Gate of Hell, stay with nomads in a yurt, trek into the towering mountain ranges and admire the almighty architecture in little-known cities like Ashgabat and Astana.

11. Southern Africa

Bull elephant on the plains of Kenya, Africa.

Best Countries: South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zambia, Mozambique, Angola

Daily Budget: $45-100+ USD

Suggested Duration: 1-3 months

Adventure across Southern Africa in your 20s and you’ll be the envy of all your friends – stalk lions and elephant on a wildlife safari, swim in the Devil’s Pool on the edge of Victoria Falls, paddle through the Okavango Delta and stand atop the shifting sands of the Namibian Desert.

12. North Africa

Camels overlooking the Great Pyramids in Giza, Egypt.

Best Countries: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Jordan, Israel

Daily Budget: $25-100+ USD

Suggested Duration: 1-3 months

Your 20s is the perfect time to backpack the dry desert landscape of North Africa – stargaze amongst the towering dunes of the Sahara Desert, climb into the dark depths of the Egyptian Pyramids, photograph the carved city of Petra and uncover 4,000 years of history in Old Jerusalem.

Road Trip – Best Places to Travel Alone in Your 20s

13. New Zealand

Mount Taranaki - New Zealand solo travel destination.

Best Countries: New Zealand

Daily Budget: $75-250 USD

Suggested Duration: 1-3 months

The adventure capital of the world is an awesome place to road trip alone in your 20s – marvel at Maori culture, bungee jump into raging rivers, soak in the thermal spas of Rotorua and sail the scenic waters of Milford Sound. Find out exactly how much to budget for a New Zealand solo trip!

14. British Isles

Kilchurn Castle on a lake in the Scottish Highlands, Scotland.

Best Countries: England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Northern Ireland

Daily Budget: $50-200 USD

Suggested Duration: 1-3 months

A road trip through the British Isles is perfect if you want to see a lot in as little time as possible – cruise through historic country towns, wind your way through the Scottish highlands, motor along the cliffs of Moher and swerve through Snowdonia. 

15. North America

Solo male traveller walking toward a waterfall in Yosemite National Park, USA.

Best Countries: United States of America, Canada 

Daily Budget: $50-200 USD

Suggested Duration: 3-6 months

If you have a whole lot of time and a bank account full of savings, a road trip across North America is a dream road trip to take solo in your 20s – cruise the California coast, climb through the Rocky Mountains, cross the wide-open Canadian countryside and nudge your way through the traffic in New York!

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Ad Banner: Best Places to Solo Travel
Find your next adventure on my list of the best places to solo travel – all 193 countries scientifically ranked!

Why You Should Travel Alone in Your 20s

1. You won’t have enough time after your 20s

A father carries his child on his shoulders. The image text reads, 'A family, career and mortgage mean you won't be able to travel alone after your twenties.'

It might not seem like it, but when you’re in your 20s you have little to worry about – at least in comparison to your 30s and 40s. 

Most twenty-year-olds don’t have to worry about holding down a career, supporting their family, raising their kids, or paying a mortgage.

When you’re young, have to make the most of your spare time, lower cost of living and extra energy – just a few of the reasons why you should travel in your 20s!

2. You will make lifelong friends

Four travel buddies link arms around one another whilst watching the sunset in the hills. The text reads, 'Make lifelong friends from around the world.'

You will already have a tonne of friends if you’re fresh out of high school or university. But most of them are probably from your hometown or local area.

One of the reasons why you should travel alone in your 20s is because you will make a whole heap of lifelong friends from all around the world. 

These are people that you befriended because you share genuine interests – not just because you happen to live in the same town or go to school together.

And the best part is, many of these international friends will offer you a place to stay, should you ever visit their home country!

Suffer from solo travel social anxiety? Become a popular pilgrim with my 9-Step Guide to Making 100s of Friends When Travelling Alone!

3. You might find your soulmate

A female and male traveller sit together overlooking Sri Lanka. The text reads, 'Many singles find love when travelling alone.'

Most solo travellers tend to be single. So, travelling alone in your 20s can be a great way to find love and learn about the opposite sex. 

When two solo travellers share a romantic flame, they tend to end up travelling together for a little while.

Romance makes solo travel even more fun – but it can be heartbreaking to say goodbye. At least until you next see one another.

Did you know that 75% of solo travellers have sex during their trip – discover my 8 secrets about backpacking hookups and travel sex!

4. You can consider your career

A journal surrounded by a map, camera, photos and pencil. The text reads, 'Take time to think about what you're good at, what you enjoy and what the world needs.'

When you’re in your 20s, you’re either in college or at the dawn of your career. But at such a young age, it can be almost impossible to tell what you want to spend the rest of your life doing.

Taking a break between finishing school and starting your career might be the best thing you ever do. But don’t waste that break.

Whilst travelling alone in your 20s, think about your future career and:

  • What you do and don’t like doing;
  • What you are good at;
  • What other people are doing to make money;
  • What the world needs.

5. You become more socially confident

Four male solo travel buddies sit on a mountainside, laughing. The text reads, 'When you meet new people every day, you get very good at socialising.'

Becoming more charismatic is another reason why you should travel alone in your 20s.

With all the people you’ll be meeting and new friends you’ll be making, it’s only natural that your social skills will develop rapidly when travelling solo.

Every day, you’ll be breaking the ice and opening up conversation with other travellers and locals. Even if you want to solo travel as an introvert, you’ll soon grow comfortable talking to anyone about anything.

Worried about socialising? I share 30 tips in my article: is travelling alone lonely?

6. You become more self-confident

A female traveller smiles in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. The text reads, 'Overcoming the challenges of solo travel makes you more self-confident.'

Beyond becoming more socially confident, you also become more self-confident when you travel alone in your 20s. That is, you become more confident in your ability to overcome challenges and achieve your ambitions.

Whether you’re throwing yourself off a bungee bridge in New Zealand, eating fried scorpions in Thailand or rafting down a crocodile-infested river in Africa – overcoming your fears and anxieties whilst travelling alone will help you grow into a more interesting and powerful person.

If you never try new things, you’ll never know what you’re capable of doing!

Worried you’ll seem strange travelling solo? Read my article, is it weird to travel alone?

7. You are young and healthy

A woman with tattoos frolics in a rock pool at the base of a waterfall. The text reads, 'You have more energy and stamina for solo travel when you're young.'

When you are young, you tend to be healthier than you’ll ever be again. This is one of the major reasons why you should travel alone in your 20s.

The older you get, the harder you’ll find it to hike Machu Picchu. Or sleep comfortably in a hostel dorm. Or sand surf in the Sahara!

If you don’t fulfil your dreams of solo travel now, you might find you are incapable in the future. 

8. You can travel on the cheap

A pile of foreign currencies in cash. The text reads, 'You are more willing to travel on the cheap when you are in your 20s.'

The older you get, the more comfort you seek. After your twenties, you will want to stay in private accommodation and eat at nice restaurants (especially if you have a partner and kids).

It’s easier to save money when you travel alone in your 20s. You’re happy to stay in hostels and eat street food most of the time.

With the money you save, you can travel further and see more of the world!

9. You can get student discounts

A pink piggy bank. The text reads, 'If you get a student discount, you can put your savings toward more travel.'

If you’re a student, you can save even more money by making the most of student discounts.

Many attractions around the world offer student discounts of anywhere from 10-50%. So, it really pays to carry your student card when travelling alone in your 20s!

10. You don’t have to wait for your friends

A male solo traveller stands beside his scooter in Thailand. The text reads, 'Don't waste your twenties waiting for your friends. It's more fun to travel alone.'

You dream of travelling around the world but your friends can’t get themselves organised? Their inability to plan is holding you back?

Go solo and travel without your friends from home. Don’t let them hold you back any longer!

Travel alone in your 20s and you can enjoy ultimate control over your itinerary. No one else gets to dictate what you do and when you do it. And you’ll make a tonne of new friends along the way!

Wasted time isn’t the only downside of group travel – prepare for these 25 problems when travelling with friends!

11. You will learn about the world

A female travelling alone looks over Petra, Jordan. The text reads, 'You will become educated in world history, geography and culture.'

When I was in my early 20s, I thought I knew everything I needed to know about the world. The truth was, I knew very little – particularly when it came to history, geography and different cultures.

If you go travelling alone at 20, you will learn so much about the world and be far more knowledgeable than those who never travel at all. 

This newfound knowledge makes you a more interesting person and can even help you in your career. At the very least, you’ll dominate your local pub quiz!

12. You will learn about yourself

A female solo traveller sits on a mountain top admiring the sunset. The text reads, 'When you leave home and challenge yourself, you discover who you really are.'

At age 20, I also thought that I knew all about myself – who I was, who I wanted to be, what I enjoyed, and what I was good at.

But it was only when I started travelling alone at 21 that I discovered the real me. I wasn’t a shy introvert. I didn’t want to become a lawyer. I didn’t want to live in one country my whole life. I was good at speaking to strangers.

Self-discovery is a lifelong process. But perhaps the biggest reason why you should travel alone in your 20s is that you start to discover who you really are.

Suffer from mental health issues? Find out about solo travel and depression.

13. You gather interesting stories

A group of women cheers their wine glasses. The text reads, 'Entertain people with your solo travel stories.'

Ever feel like a bit of a bore? Does everyone else at the party have better stories than you?

When you travel alone in your 20s, you experience some crazy moments and gather hundreds of interesting, frightening and funny stories.

Upon your return, you’ll be able to keep your family and friends entertained for hours with tales of your solo travel.

Worried you won’t have fun when travelling alone? See my article, is solo travel boring?

14. You will regret it if you don’t

An old man holds his head in his hands. The text reads, 'You will be bitter and resentful if you don't get to travel alone in your 20s.'

There’s a really important reason why you should travel alone in your 20s – you will regret not doing it when you get older. And regret will make you bitter and resentful.

As mentioned above, you get busy as you get older and do not have the time or ability to travel alone. You don’t want to get to a stage where you regret never travelling alone and having fun when you were younger.

Travelling alone in your 20s is literally a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. You are only in your twenties once – so, solo travel whilst you can.

15. You don’t have anyone telling you what to do

A female travelling alone holds her hands up in excitement beside a river. The text reads, 'Get your first taste of independence away from your family, boss and professors.'

After you finish high school, you get your first taste of independence. You find a job, go to college and maybe even move out of home. But you’ve still got people telling you what to do – your boss, your parents or your professors.

Travelling alone in your 20s is one of the only times in life that you get to experience true independence. 

When you travel solo, no one tells you what to do and when to do it. The accommodation you stay in, the places you visit, the things you do, the people you befriend – it’s all up to you!

Want to travel with a friend? Think again – is it better to travel alone or with someone?

16. You can party as much as you like

A festival crowd with young people cheering and dancing. The text reads, 'Enjoy partying, clubbing and bar crawls whilst travelling alone in your twenties.'

There’s no better time to party than in your twenties. You’re energetic, surrounded by other youngsters and recover faster from a hangover.

So, it should be no surprise that you do a lot of partying when you travel alone in your 20s. You’re constantly drinking, dancing and going on bar crawls with other travellers that you have met.

As you get older, you won’t want to party as much when travelling. So make the most of your youth and have fun!

Reduce the risks of travelling alone by following our 30 solo travel safety tips.

17. You will be sexually liberated

A woman's hands slide a condom onto a banana. The text reads, 'Many solo travellers are single and enjoy a healthy sex life.'

Between 70-90% of solo travellers are single. And when you have a lot of young single travellers partying together and sharing accommodation, you can expect a few sexual encounters.

If you travel alone in your 20s, you will likely meet one or two other travellers that you get along really well with. You may even feel a romantic connection, which can lead to sex.

But remember to always practice safe sex when travelling alone. Men should include condoms on their male solo travel packing list. And ladies should include their preferred method of contraception on their female solo travel packing list.

18. You’ll appreciate your family and home more

A mother and daughter laughing together. The text reads, 'Missing home whilst travelling alone can improve your familial relationships.'

When you are young, you can’t wait to get away from home for a little while. You dream of escaping your nagging parents and annoying siblings.

But when you travel alone in your 20s, you learn to appreciate your family home. 

You miss the comforts of the home that you know so well. You show gratitude for your comfortable bed, clean bathroom and familiar settings.

And you miss your family and the support that they provide. In fact, many solo travellers improve their relationships with their parents and siblings after a little time away from home.

No one to travel with? Take the 15-question quiz: should I travel alone?

19. You can create cool social media content

A smartphone with three apps on the home screen: Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. The text reads, 'You can spend more time perfecting your photography and editing when travelling alone.'

Travelling alone in your 20s is one way to get your Instagram and TikTok popping. As you travel the world, you will fill your feed with awesome sights and experiences.

Plus, when you travel solo, you get to spend as much time as you like taking the perfect shot and editing your images. You don’t have anyone nagging you to hurry up.

But remember, there are many advantages and disadvantages of travelling alone. One of the cons is that it can be hard to take photos of yourself.

Get used to asking other people to take your photo. Alternatively, take a selfie stick and get good at snapping yourself.

Struggling to come up with Instagram captions? See my list of the 100 best quotes about traveling alone!

20. You will have the adventure of a lifetime

A male backpacker travelling alone looks over a mountain range. The text reads, 'Everyone needs to experience adventure at least once in their life.'

The main reason why you should travel alone in your 20s – because it is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure that you will never forget or regret. 

No one knows how long they’re going to live. So make the most of the time you have now, whilst you’re young. 

Start ticking items off your bucket list. Make your dreams a reality. And live life to the fullest.

Solo travel is always more fun than group travel. Find out why in my article, is travelling alone fun?

How to Travel the World in Your 20s on a Budget: 10 Tips

A male solo traveller crosses a rice paddy in Bali, Indonesia.
  1. Go travelling alone at 20 or 21

It is best to start travelling alone at 20 or 21. This gives you time to consider your career after leaving high school or college. And the earlier you discover your passion for travel, the more time you have to travel alone throughout your twenties.

  1. Use these solo travel safety tips

Lots of people question, is solo travel safe? You face unique dangers when travelling alone. For example; getting too drunk on nights out, being scammed or getting lost without someone to help you. Reduce the risks of travelling alone with these solo travel safety tips.

  1. Make the most of your holidays

University and college students get to enjoy long breaks between terms and semesters. Make the most of these holiday periods and go travelling alone. Once you start a career, you have much less time for solo travel.

  1. Apply for an exchange or volunteer program

If you are studying at a university or college, look into whether your institution offers an exchange program so that you can study overseas for a semester. Even if you aren’t studying, you can volunteer for overseas projects and programs.

  1. Apply for a working visa

Look into whether your country has international agreements in place that make it easier to get a work visa overseas. For example, Commonwealth Countries such as the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have programs that make it relatively easier for citizens to get travel and work visas.

  1. Use search filters to find cheap and comfortable hostels

The best way to save money when travelling in your 20s is to stay in hostel dorm rooms. But if you insist on privacy, many hostels also offer affordable private rooms.

Use a comparison site like Hostel World to find cheap but comfortable accommodation. Sort the results by “Lowest Price First” and add a filter: “Review Score: 7 or above”

There are also filters to help you find hostels that are fun and sociable – find them in my 9-step guide to making 100 travel buddies!

  1. Share transport to save money

Use public transport like coaches, buses, trains and planes when travelling in your 20s on a budget.

Alternatively, buddy up with other travellers in your hostel and split the cost of private transport. Uber is best because it has an in-built feature for fare splitting.

You should also look into whether your destination offers regional or city-wide travel cards. Tourists can use these cards to receive discounts on public transport and entrance to local attractions.

  1. Find cheap restaurants nearby

Use Google Maps and filter the search results by “Price” to find cheap local eateries when travelling in your 20s.

Better yet, you can save a tonne of money by buying groceries and preparing meals for yourself in your accommodation. Many hostels provide a kitchen area with stove tops, toasters, microwaves, kettles, pots and utensils.

  1. Make the most of your student card

Many budget travellers in their 20s will have a student card from their college or university.

If you do have a student card, you can show it at attractions around the world to receive free or discounted entrance.

  1. Don’t just choose the cheapest travel insurance

Always shop around for the best price on travel insurance but don’t just go for the cheapest option. Read the policy carefully to ensure that you are covered for the various travel activities that you plan on partaking in (e.g. motorbiking, scuba diving, etc.)

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Discover 5 more of my personal secrets to save money when travelling alone!

Summary – Why You Should Travel Alone in Your 20s

Why should you travel alone in your 20s? Because as you get older, you will likely start a career, get a mortgage and start a family. This may mean that you won’t have enough time, money or energy to travel alone after your twenties.

There are also many benefits to travelling in your twenties, including making lifelong friends, finding love, partying, becoming more self-confident and knowledgeable, and taking time to think about your career.

Perhaps worst of all – you may live a life of regret if you never take the chance to travel alone in your 20s.

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Find More Solo Travel Tips on Nomadic Yak

Nomadic Yak Solo Travel Logo Circular
Find more solo travel tips and destination guides on Nomadic Yak!

There are many reasons why you should travel alone in your 20s. 

And there is a lot of advice on Nomadic Yak to help you get started!

Nomadic Yak helps solo travellers to plan journeys that are adventurous and authentic.

Every article is written by me, Harry. I’ve travelled to 40+ countries over the last 5 years – alone.

On Nomadic Yak, I’ve provided all the information you need for first-time solo travel.

You’ll also find 100s of solo travel tips on how to save money, make more friends, build a social media following and much more.

Plus, you can use my solo travel destination guides to discover international sights and attractions that few other travellers get to witness.