By Elly Leavitt

Published on June 29, 2017

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Photography by HANDLUGGAGEONLY.CO.UK

Traveling with a big group has its perks—hello, room discounts and pitchers of sangria—but sometimes what you really need to unwind is a solo trip to a destination of your choice. You get to do everything you want to do without compromise, drama, or worries about someone stealing your sunscreen.

If you feel this way, you’re not alone: Airbnb reports a significant growth in the number of home bookings for individual travelers in 2017. Thanks to its Experiences feature, which allows people to book cultural activities to meet locals and other fellow travelers, Airbnb lets people travel alone without feeling too… well, alone. With activities like a paella cooking class in Barcelona or sunset yoga in San Francisco, traveling solo has never been more fun.

The home sharing site also released its ranking of the most popular destinations for individual travelers, and the results are a little surprising. Boasting as high an increase in bookings as 170 percent from 2016, most of this year’s popular locales are outside of your typical tourist hot spots (think: Paris or Tokyo). Want to see where other like-minded globetrotters are spending their time these days? Here are the trending destinations for solo travel.

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Photography by WIKIMEDIA

#10: Busan, South Korea

A unique mix of urban high-rises and wide sandy beaches, Busan is South Korea’s second most populated city. Soak up the sun and visit the boardwalk casino at Haeundae beach, shop for souvenirs at Shinsegae Centum City (the world’s largest department store), or catch the latest in the arts at the Busan International Film Festival.

 
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Photography by AIRBNB

#9: Charlotte, North Carolina, United States

Charlotte is much more than just NASCAR (though if that’s what you’re into, NASCAR’s Hall of Fame is located here). Spend an afternoon on the Avenue of the Arts to take in various art and cultural exhibits, then head over to any of the more than 30 breweries to take in the craft beer scene and befriend some locals.

Image from this Airbnb listing for a three-bedroom apartment listed at $150/night.

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Photography by JESSICA DAILEY

#8: Mexico City, Mexico

According to the Airbnb report, interest in Mexico’s capital has increased by 109 percent. Be sure to check out the city’s expanding culinary scene as much as you can—we recommend  El Moro Churrería for a churro you won’t soon forget— before taking in any of the many parks (Parque Mexico in Condesa is shown above) or museums the city has to offer. You won’t be at a loss for options: Mexico City has the second-highest number of museums of any city in the world. Even better, most of them are free.
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Photography by @JOCIEBOYD VIA INSTAGRAM

#7: Auckland, New Zealand

Auckland is prime for a solo beach getaway, so if you’re planning a trip alone for the summer get to booking ASAP. For the ultimate relaxing activity to complement your sunbathing and surfing, take a 30 minute ferry ride to Waiheke island and sample its world-famous wines.

Image by @jocieboyd on Instagram

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Photography by @BAXTIS VIA INSTAGRAM

#6: São Paulo, Brazil

São Paulo’s 128 percent bump in popularity may have had something to do with last summer’s Olympics, but the plethora of attractions in this city will have people visiting for years to come. Aside from a bustling restaurant and boteco scene serving all the local favorites, São Paulo is also a truly global metropolis that offers travelers exposure to a variety of cultures.

Image by @baxtis on Instagram.

 
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Photography by THEODORA.COM

#5: Johannesburg, South Africa

The country’s capital is rapidly becoming an up-and-coming travel destination in its own right rather than just a gateway to the rest of the country. Jo’burg is a fast-paced, uber-urban city peppered with history and culture to explore. Solo travelers can take a self-guided tour of the Constitutional Court (built on the site of an old prison that once housed Gandhi and Nelson Mandela) and visit the Cradle of Humankind, a World Heritage Site 90 minutes from the city that exhibits the evolution of humankind.

Image by theodora.com

 
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Photography by CAROLYN COLES / FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

#4: Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

Refreshing margaritas, deliciously authentic Mexican food, and gorgeous beaches: What more could you want for a relaxing solo retreat? We can’t imagine much more, but just in case you tire of beachside life there’s plenty to do. The caves in the Riviera Maya, as well as the city’s canals are seriously stunning, and if you want to learn more about local life you can always take cooking classes or go salsa dancing (try the Salon Salsanera Raices Latin dancehall).  
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Photography by HANDLUGGAGEONLY.CO.UK

#3: Cologne, Germany

With its picturesque architecture and rich historical offerings —don’t miss the cathedral and mass offering of museums— it’s easy to see why Cologne is such a hot spot for travelers. Wash down the culture and make some friends at the city’s famous beer halls in Altstadt and pick up some festive souvenirs for people back home at the Christmas markets.

Image by handluggageonly.co.uk

 
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Photography by THERESHEGOESAGAIN.ORG

#2: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

An alluring blend of old-world character and fast-paced modernity, Ho Chi Minh City (also known as Saigon) has everything from incense-infused temples and artisan markets to sleek bars and the ever-so-chic L’Usine. Explore both worlds at your own pace.

Image by thereshegoesagain.org

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Photography by MARIAMICHELLE / PIXABAY

#1: Cancun, Mexico

Airbnb reports a 170 percent increase in individual traveler bookings in Cancun over the past year, and it’s easy to see why. It may be the third Mexican destination on this list, but Cancun has its own distinct list of things to do that are perfect for those traveling alone. Walk through downtown’s tourist-free markets Mercado 23 and Mercado 28, visit the Museo Subacuático de Arte (an underwater art gallery unlike anything we’ve ever seen), and explore Mayan ruins. If you get tired of all that, one of Cancun’s pristine white sand beaches is never too far away.

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