Are you considering taking a trip? After traveling to almost 30 countries solo, I’ve compiled a list of the top places to visit for first time travelers. These destinations have been chosen based on safety, ease of public transportation, and the ability to make friends and meet new people. Let’s get into it!
10. Cusco, Peru
Peru is one of the most naturally beautiful countries in the world. Cusco is an adorable little city, full of history and culture. Plus, it’s the main hub for transport to Aguas Calientes, where you can see Machu Picchu.
9. Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica
This little beach town is full of hidden gems – from secret beaches that you can find via hired bicycle, to healthy cafes featuring amazing pancakes, to great little places to meet new people over coffee or cocktails. One of my favorite memories in Puerto Viejo is accidentally stumbling upon the most beautiful beach I’ve ever seen – and I found it completely deserted. It was all mine for a few hours, where I just sat in the water and listened to music.
8. Hong Kong
Hong Kong is an excellent place to go if you are looking for a culture shock. The signs are in Chinese, the culture is very different than Western culture, but it’s still a relatively safe place for tourists and pretty easy to get around. Visit Victoria’s Peak for an epic view of the city, take a boat ride, or wander around and eat your way through the city.
7. San Francisco, California
Of course one of my favorite places on Earth, San Francisco is full of life, character, and happiness. Take a picnic and hang out in Dolores Park for the day, watching kids blow bubbles and groups of friends cheers over champagne. Visit the Academy of Science for a fun and educational day, or head to the Marin Headlands for epic views of the Golden Gate Bridge.
6. Prague, Czech Republic
This city is stunningly beautiful. The architecture is incredible, the people are friendly, and the language is enchanting. Prague is still one of my favorite cities to date.
This city is an incredible blend of nature and metropolitan. Interspersed between massive buildings, you’ll find the Supertree Grove, which will make you feel like you’ve fallen into the movie Avatar. I highly recommend checking out the free botanic gardens and take the trip out to Veganburg for an epic vegan feast.
4. Copenhagen, Denmark
Copenhagen will always hold a special place in my heart as it was my first stop on my never-ending around the world trip. Copenhagen made me fall in love with it’s old buildings, super friendly locals, and uber safe atmosphere. It’s also one of the highest rated cities for equality between men and women.
3. Bali, Indonesia
Not that you need another reason to visit Bali, but I cannot recommend it enough for first time travelers. Bali is safe, fun, and tropical. I love Bali because there is something for everyone here – you can go out and party if you like that, or you can eat healthy food and go to yoga classes every day. If you’re visiting Bali, I’d highly recommend checking out a yoga retreat.
2. Melbourne, Australia
Melbourne is one of the raddest places on the planet. It’s been rated the world’s most liveable city for SIX YEARS IN A ROW. I love it so much that I made it my home for six months. Melbourne is full of friendly people, easy to use public transportation, and loads of eateries, dance clubs, markets, and festivals. There is always something going on in this city!
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Chiang Mai is a magical place. Though it can be overlooked by the standard tourist visiting Thailand (the Thai islands usually get all the attention), Chiang Mai is a destination not to be missed. Chiang Mai has an excellent expat scene, but the locals are friendly and engaging as well. Grab a beer on the roof of Maya mall, overlooking Nimmanheiman Road, or take a tuk tuk up to the temple at Doi Suthep. Chiang Mai is an excellent place to take a day trip to visit an elephant sanctuary, or check out Doi Inthanon. Check out my Ultimate Guide to Chiang Mai if you’d like to know what to do there.