Among adventure-craving millennials, solo travel is becoming the new way to break free. Unaccompanied excursions are up almost 10 percent since 2013, according to recent data from Millward Brown, and a Topdeck Travel survey reveals that nearly 30 percent of millennials traveled alone in 2016. Chalk it up to Instagram’s college-age travel bloggers stoking our impulse to seek out new horizons—and to platforms like Airbnb allowing us to act on that impulse without waiting for a friend to sign on.
We asked 26-year-old professional wanderer Jack Morris, who quit his day job at 21 so he could focus on exploring the farthest corners of the world, to recommend some destinations that offer both breath-taking sights and other attractions uniquely suited to the solo traveler—from meditative hikes to private beaches. (With 2.4 million Instagram followers and brands including Disney and Belkin sliding into his DMs, Morris can be our travel guide any day.) Read on to find your solo summer adventure, be it a beach hang in Bali, a romp in the Rockies or something in between.—Nicole Theodore
For the best island-hopping, I recommend Greece. Santorini has iconic white buildings and a town called Oia that’s a popular sunset spot. Everyone thinks Ios is a party island—and it is—but it’s also a big place to explore; you can go cliff-jumping into crystal clear waters or take a scenic drive around the whole island. Mykonos is famous for its white-and-blue houses; you’ll feel like you’re on a movie set. If you want to check out a Greek island off the beaten path, try Zakynthos (pictured above). It’s an easy flight from Athens and should definitely be at the top of your list. In the north of Zakynthos you’ll find Navagio, otherwise known as Shipwreck Beach. Drive to the top of the cliff and walk around—it has one of the best views I’ve ever seen. But Milos, about 60 miles northwest of Santorini, is hands-down my favorite Greek island. It’s quiet and peaceful, and you can tour aimlessly on a motorbike, discovering cool shit.
Walk with the animals
Kenya was a unique and special experience for me—it was my first time in a place filled with so many wild animals roaming through their natural habitat. And it’s perfect for solo travel: You’ll never get tired of driving around not knowing what you’ll see next. Make sure to book a room at Nairobi’s Giraffe Manor, a boutique hotel where your roommates are actual Rothschild giraffes.
Lakes for days
This destination will be closer to home for most of you but no less amazing. When I worked with the Montana Office of Tourism, most nights I would drive into the Rockies to find the perfect spot to watch the sun go down. During the day, Glacier National Park’s Lake McDonald, with its colored-stone lake bed and mountain views, is a must-see. The highlight of my time in Montana was a trek to Cracker Lake—a huge, extremely blue (and beautiful) lake in the northern part of the state.
Many people head to Southeast Asia on their own, so it’s a great place to meet like-minded travelers. Visitors often take in Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Bali, Vietnam, Laos and Indonesia on a single adventure, but if you have to pick just one of those locations, make it Bali. I’m probably biased—I live there—but it really does have it all: amazing cafés, beaches, landscapes, culture and a carefree vibe to match.
I once drove through Morocco, which is mostly desert, in a battered old car that shook when I got it up to 50 miles per hour. I’d be driving through sandstorms or rain, and the windshield wipers would stop working. It was actually a lot of fun. I recommend starting in Marrakech and renting a car. Camping in the desert was the highlight of my Morocco trip—I bedded down outside my tent and fell asleep under a clear sky with seemingly infinite stars. About 350 miles north of Marrakech is Chefchaouen, also known as the Blue City, where you can check out blue-washed 15th-century buildings. Along the way don’t forget to stop in Casablanca for some Humphrey Bogart vibes.
A wonder of the world
A lot of people have misconceptions about Jordan because it’s so close to Syria, but the country is safe and Jordanians are unbelievably friendly. You’ll meet a ton of people, but it’s best to make your own adventure. Visit Petra, Jordan’s famous archaeological site in the southwestern desert, at night. Its Siq (entrance) and Treasury are lit by hundreds of candles. Relax and listen to Bedouin music while enjoying the view of one of the seven wonders of the world.
Swings and stairs
I’m not a big hiker, but Adam’s Peak in Sri Lanka is incredible. It takes about four hours—up thousands of stone steps—to reach, but once there you’ll experience incredible mountain views. When I visited I watched 75-year-old women climbing all the way to the top to perform rituals. Sri Pada (“sacred footprint”), a six-foot rock formation at the summit, is believed by many to be the footprint of Buddha. If you’re looking for something closer to sea level, check out the rope swing over the ocean in Unawatuna, on the southern tip of the island.
No shoes, no stress
This island off the northern coast of Madagascar is paradise. Getting there from the States is expensive, but if you have a bit of money and want to clear your mind, it’s the place for you. It’s also a barefoot island: The minute you get off the boat, you put your shoes in your bag. Constance Tsarabanjina, the small resort there, has a few luxuries but is kept very natural. The 25 villas are well spaced, so it’s private. You can walk around the entire island in about an hour. Definitely on the to-do list: snorkeling and diving. The water is the clearest blue and home to astounding wildlife and reefs.