Eli Orzessek finds the answers to your travel questions.
After taking my first solo trip to Japan last year, I discovered I really enjoy travelling by myself. I'm thinking about doing another trip alone next year — do you have any suggestions of unique destinations for a solo traveller?
Japan really is a great destination for solo travel — I went there alone myself a couple of years back and loved it. There's so much to see and do and just being able to follow your own whims is so rewarding.
If you're looking for another Asian destination, I'd highly recommend Taiwan. I did a trip there in 2015 and although I went with a group, I feel it would also be a great place to explore by yourself. It's very safe, full of interesting history and culture, as well as delicious food. The night markets will blow your mind. And as a bonus, most people there spoke English — so it's easier to communicate than in Japan.
Taipei is an awesome city to start with, but if you're keen on nature, head out to Taroko National Park in Hualien County — the scenery is truly incredible, with forests and dramatic marble gorges.
I also found Berlin to be a great place to explore on my own — especially if you're into city holidays. It's an exciting city with plenty of history — and it's also easy to get around and very cheap, particularly if you stay in Airbnbs. It looks a bit rough around the edges, but I found it to be generally safe — you just need basic street smarts, as you do in most big European cities.
I've also asked my contact at Flight Centre, who just returned from her own solo trip, for a suggestion — and if you're keen to hit the beach, this could be good for you.
She spent some time in Central America and says if you're wary about travelling there solo, about a mile west of the Belize Barrier Reef there is a small, relatively safe island called Caye Caulker — a little piece of paradise with a laidback Caribbean vibe. Belize is also the only English-speaking country on the continent and the people are very friendly.
She says: "The island is made up of only three streets, which make it easy to explore on your own — by foot or bike. The food is mouth-watering, and the rum punch perhaps the best you'll ever have. The entire island is made for solo travellers, with an easiness that ties in well with the island's "Go Slow" motto.
"If you want to meet new friends, there's a full moon party at KOKO Kings once a month but the biggest hangout is the daily joining (of basically the entire island) for sunset at "The Split". Most of the island gathers here to grab a drink at the Lazy Lizard Bar."
If you're into hiking, she also recommends the Quarry Trail in the Andes as an alternative to the Inca Trail, which can be crowded.
"I had the soaring green peaks to myself and my eight new hiking buddies. No other 'tourists' were seen during the three day hike," she says.
"Near the 'bottom of the world' between two oceans and sprawled across two countries, the W hike in Torres del Paine National Park Patagonia is also a beaut spot. You can venture solo on this hike and meet travellers along the way at the campsites or refugios (hiking hostels), or you can join a group hike."
If you're looking for a different experience, you could always try a cruise — many lines now have single-occupancy cabins ranging from standard comfort to all-out luxury. It's all up to you really — there's a cruise to suit everyone and it's a great way to explore multiple destinations.
Readers respond: On currency in Croatia, John S wrote to share a cautionary tale.
"Of interest in these countries was the inability of smaller merchants/restaurants to accept a NZ debit card. Not an issue with hotels, however certainly a problem, with Croatia being the worst," he writes.
"It is important to question as to a card being acceptable at the beginning of the transaction or meal, although again we were duped, I believe, on one two occasions when the machine 'broke down' during the evening and on the second occasion there was 'no internet'."
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