My Completed Traveler’s Bucket List
My friends are always asking me what are my favorite places. That is hard to answer. The ones that stand out as lovely cities are listed on this page. I think I will write another about the most dramatic places I have seen. So it’s hard to write just one list. should write a list of my favorite beaches too. Here are some of Completed Solo Traveler’s Bucket List – Been there. Done that. Where I want to Go Again.
Checking Off Places on My Bucket List
As a Solo Female Traveler, there is no place that doesn’t look very interesting to me – its just finding the time to go.
1. Toronto, Canada
Located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario, Toronto has a rich history underneath a thriving city.
What You Should Do: Take a moment to escape the city life for a day and explore the Toronto Islands. Quickly hop a ferry and head to the collection of eight islands. They offer a welcoming green atmosphere beyond the cityscape that is Toronto. There are no cars on the island. It’s super easy to stroll or bike the city. It is very flat. And while in the city, check out the St. Lawrence Market — possibly one of the best in the world.
Cost: Prices in Toronto are comparable to that of L.A. or NYC, and while hotels can be pricey, they’re generally within walking distance to great city features.
Ease of Travel: The public transportation system is extensive and very affordable. Otherwise, walking and biking will suffice.
Potential Safety Concerns: Downtown Toronto is considered pretty safe. But some sites recommend that travelers avoid straying too far from downtown into the outer neighborhoods.
2. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Gorgeous mountains, pristine beaches, and a surplus of rainforests near a deep blue sea — Rio is one amazing city with an incredible beach! One of the gorgeous cities in the world. But it can also be one of the most dangerous. Take caution, but it’s worth a visit.
What You Should Do: Experience the landscape as much as possible. Go hiking on Sugarloaf Mountain and take in the glorious views. If you can, find a couple of fellow travelers and explore the downtown area. The churches, the historic buildings, and the ample amount of museums give you a surplus of ways to occupy your time. And before you leave, relax on one of the beaches. It will be unlike anything you have ever experienced.
Cost: Rio can be pretty pricey. Hotels near beaches or city attractions tend to be on the more expensive side, as to be expected. But seeing the sights and hitting up the trails and beaches is free (unless you hike to the very top.)
Ease of Travel: Rio buses are relatively cheap while also fast and frequent. They can be rather crowded, though.
Potential Safety Concerns: As mentioned earlier, safety is a primary concern. Crime rates are high in Rio. It would be ideal to find other people to accompany you out in the city.
3. Amsterdam, Netherlands
A city famous for its spectacular canals, colored houses, coffee shops, and vibrant culture is a solo traveler’s dream.
What You Should Do: Go to the beach! Despite the fact that Amsterdam is not on the ocean, the city created Blijburg, a man-made beach. This beach is on the artificial island of IJburg, and there is swimming, sunbathing, and beach parties galore. If you’re looking for a quieter atmosphere, check out Vondelpark. This park is right in the heart of the city and is a slower pace. See the great art museums – they are the high point of my visits to Amsterdam.
Cost: Amsterdam is a great bargain as far as European cities go, but hotel and hostel pricing can make it a bit pricey. They offer breakfast! You can easily find cheap options for your meals. You might not even need transportation, so that helps keep costs low.
Ease of Travel: You can walk and bike mostly everywhere in the city. Super easy to get around.
Potential Safety Concerns: Known as an exceptionally safe city. But, as with any city, there can be dangers of robbery, etc. Avoid talking to street peddlers.
4. San José City, Costa Rica
A city situated 3,690 ft above sea level. San José enjoys excellent temperatures year-round. Its location in the Central Valley makes it both breathtaking and convenient as a base for exploration. Bring fast media for your camera – there are a lot of butterflies everywhere.
What You Should Do: Visit the impressive collection of museums and take yourself back in time. Also, make sure to check out the open air markets to see the copious amounts of indigenous arts and crafts. Remember, don’t miss out on experiencing some of the best nature in the world, specifically the Volcan Poas.
Cost: Although San Jose is one of the most expensive cities in Central America, it’s still cheap by North American or European standards. Eating local will help keep the cost low.
Ease of Travel: It’s not advisable to rent a car. Walking and buses are the best choices. But transportation can sometimes be a hassle here.
Potential Safety Concerns: Fairly average. Take necessary precautions as always.
East Coast, USA
5. New York, New York, USA
The Big Apple, a city with so much to offer it’s impossible to see it all. But you’ll love trying.
What You Should Do: Visit Central Park, stroll through the West Village, admire the Empire State Building, and unquestionably treat yourself to a New York-style slice of pizza. If you have the time and the money, visit the Statue of Liberty. Pictures don’t quite do New York City (NYC) justice. We listed all of our must see sites, got a map marked them on the map, and walked Manhattan in a day. Yes, we did that. We checked off every place we wanted to see and were utterly exhausted. Then took the train and stayed at my friends home in Connecticut.
Cost: Finding a place to stay in New York City, will be your biggest expense. Food, attractions, and transportation are all pretty inexpensive. The subways are my favorite. I grew up in Connecticut and went there routinely. I love the city and the boroughs.
Ease of Travel: Incredibly easy to get around sans automobile. Public transit is one of the best and walking can suffice for certain areas as well.
Potential Safety Concerns: Stick to main streets after dark, but overall New York City is pretty safe. Take precautions as you would anywhere else. It’s a gigantic city, and things change a lot block to block.
West Coast, USA
6. Portland, Oregon (I have to add Seattle too because they are twin cities)
Portland, Ore., is situated on the West Coast of the United States near the meeting of the Willamette and Columbia rivers. It’s a city known for many things, its love of nature and bike commutes among them.
What You Should Do: Take a food cart tour. The land of foodies, Portlandia’s love their food carts. Try all kinds of local favorites for little money. After you’ve eaten all you can eat, take a walk through Forest Park and breathe in all the natural beauty that Portland has to offer. And if you’re craving something sweet, stop in for a doughnut and an experience at Voodoo Doughnut.
Cost: Relatively cheap with the occasional fine-dining experience that can be pricey. Food trucks and ease of transportation help keep costs low. You can also look into getting an attraction pass that will let you in multiple sightseeing sites for five days for around $30.
Ease of Travel: You can walk or bike to many places in the city and use reliable public transit for the rest. Straightforward and affordable.
Potential Safety Concerns: Overall, generally regarded as safe with a few neighborhoods that might be worth avoiding: Hazelwood, Old Town, Lents, and West Burnside Street. Also, if you’re biking, be careful crossing Sellwood Bridge, as there is little shoulder space.
More West Coast, USA
7. San Francisco, California, USA
San Francisco, the leading financial and cultural area in northern California. This city on a bay has a manageable size and a happy population.
What You Should Do: First and foremost, get brunch. Brunch is the meal in San Francisco (San Fran), lots with bottomless Mimosas. Take the Red Bus Tour – see the whole town, so you understand the history before you pick your favorite places to explore a little deeper. There’s a multitude of cafes and restaurant. You can’t go wrong with the food in San Fran. From there, head over to the Haight-Ashbury district to experience where the hippie movement was born. When I was younger, I hung out there from time to time. If nothing else, make sure you check out the Golden Gate Park. It’s breathtaking.
Cost: Can be considered a little pricey, but doable. Bring comfortable walking shoes and use public transportation to get places. Avoid expensive brunch spots by checking them out on Yelp first.
Ease of Travel: When walking gets to be too much, SF has an extensive bus, streetcar, cable car, and subway network to get you to your destination.
Potential Safety Concerns: The Mission District, sketchy, while perfectly safe during the day, can be an intimidating location at night, particularly on 16th Street and east of Valencia.
Most Sophisticated Life Style
8. Zurich, Switzerland
Zurich is known for its astonishing landscape and for being a world leader in the financial industry. Inspiration and beauty can is everywhere. Famous for Free Hugs and swans gently swimming down the river.
What You Should Do: Take a walk down Bahnhofstrasse. It’s a street that houses the wealthy, the famous, and underground bank vaults to boot. When you aren’t enjoying the impressive cuisine, spend time taking in the scenes around Lake Zurich. My most expensive lunch for two people was in Zurich for $200.00 Santa Maria, off Cannes was my next most expensive at $185.00 per person for a party of 8 – ouch!
Cost: As astounding and lovely as it may be, Zurich is tough for travelers on lower budgets. However, lodging will be the most expensive part. The rest is relatively affordable. The people are great and the trains are always on time, and people pick up hitchhikers because it is safe.
Ease of Travel: Fantastic public transportation, ability to walk and bike.
Potential Safety Concerns: Considered safe but take usual precautions.
9. Haiphong, Vietnam and Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
Ha Long Bay is a group of islands and waterways, with an unhurried air, deeply anchored heritage, and majestic rolling mountains. Remember the boarding areas to the cruises to the Bay are very very steep and are not handicap accessible.
What You Should Do: Go for a swim in Halong Bay. Halong Bay often has bioluminescence (that’s Latin for “living light.”) If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to experience this through a midnight swim. Also, make sure to take in the beauty of Du Hang Pagoda. Built three centuries ago, it remains a great experience. Vietnamese architecture and culture are fabulous. Their version of history is very different than America’s version of history.
Cost: Affordable! Experience the native cuisine and take in the sights for next to nothing.
Ease of Travel: Walking is preferred, but paying for transportation is easy, affordable, and reliable as well.
Potential Safety Concerns: Generally, safe. Take necessary precautions as you would anywhere else.
South East Asia
10. Seoul, South Korea
Seoul is one of the largest cities in the world but manages to offer a unique and unmatched experience for all visitors.
What You Should Do: Take a stroll through the picturesque Bukchon Village. In between two palaces, this neighborhood will keep you entertained with sights for hours. And make sure to take a hike on Bugaksan Mountain. The views are astounding. With the cuisine and the markets, there’s no shortage of things to do and see.
Cost: You can find things in nearly every price range — so if you’re looking to keep costs low, you’re set.
Ease of Travel: Easiest way to see Seoul is by subway, but taxis and buses are affordable and great options as well.
Potential Safety Concerns: Overall considered pretty