Solo travel is one of the most rewarding experiences a person can have! But you may start to doubt that when you’re in a beautiful new place, wanting to tell everyone you know about it and you look around not recognizing even one face. Solo travel is a lot of things – intimidating, exhilarating, introspective – and the last thing I want it to be for you is lonely! So let’s dive into how to conquer loneliness during solo travel.
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Why travel solo?
Chances are if you are here anyway, you’re already a confident and courageous person ready to embark on their solo travels!
But just to start, I’ll talk briefly about why solo travel is incredibly rewarding and worth the plunge, even just once in your life, and hopefully offer some new perspective to think about.
Solo Travel gives you:
- You’re navigating the WORLD on your own, whether it’s for a couple of weeks or a couple of months, which is incredible and courageous.
- Heightened Sense of Self
- You already know who you are, but think about what more you could potentially become! You really grasp this once you travel solo, either in the moment or even when reflecting on your travel.
- New Perspectives
- Hands down, in my opinion, the best part about solo travel is making connections with people all around the world. Whether it’s with fellow like-minded travelers or with locals who show you a whole new way of life, it’s the best feeling in the world to make these personal connections!
And while solo travel has all these amazing benefits, that does not mean it’s always easy.
I’ll guarantee most of your time abroad you will be relishing in the moment of amazing experiences! But solo travel is, well, solo.
And solo can sometimes mean solitary and lonely.
So how do we conquer loneliness during solo travel? Let’s talk about things you can do before your trip to prevent feeling lonely and things you can do during your travels to curb any loneliness that creeps its way in!
The Planning Stage
When planning a solo trip, there are actually a few things you can do from the start to think about how you are going to mitigate when you are feeling lonely.
Ensure You Have Access to Communication
Make sure your phone is set up properly so you don’t have to worry about not having a way to communicate with someone.
- Arrange with your phone carrier to pay international fees OR, my suggestion, purchase a SIM card from the phone company where you are traveling to (this is usually cheaper!)
- Invest in a portable WiFi hotspot like Skyroam if you are really concerned about having access to a wifi connection (could be worth the investment depending on the development of the country you’re traveling to.)
- Have a portable charger, not only to stay in touch always but for safety! In the case of a bad situation, you don’t want to have a dead phone!
Stay With Friends or Family If Possible
When planning your trip, consider stopping in places where you know people!
This obviously isn’t always possible, but if you have relatives who live in foreign countries or friends you’re close enough to stay with, why not go visit a familiar face in the middle of your solo travel!
It can do wonders for your mood to meet up with someone you know and reconnect.
The Traveling Stage
Stay Engaged in Your Travels
I don’t find solo travelers have a hard time doing this. At the end of the day, that’s what we are traveling solo for! To see new places and to see new things within ourselves!
But, surprisingly, solo travel can also mean a good amount of downtime.
You aren’t necessarily jam-packing your days, especially if you are in it for the long haul because you’ll burn yourself out.
I’d just like to point out that sometimes you should be cautious of this downtime. Of course, everybody needs it to relax and reset, but as a solo traveler, those are the moments where all the doubts and the “miss yous,” creep in.
So stay engaged in your travels! Continue to push yourself to try new things. Maybe work on a new skill while you are traveling, like maybe starting a travel blog or working on your photography!
Whatever it is, don’t get complacent & stay in the moment!
There are actually so many ways to find friends while traveling that isn’t just “luck” of running into someone! (Of course, that’s always a fun way to start a friendship!)
But if something as organic as that doesn’t just plop right into your lap, consider these ideas for finding travel buddies or meeting locals while you are traveling!
TravSolo is an app specifically designed for solo travelers to interact with – you guessed it – other solo travelers! You can input where you currently are, create a profile with your interests, start chats with people, and organize meetups!
Tourlina is another app, but specifically designed for female travelers! It’s similar to TravSolo where you can interact with other travelers, but it’s nice that it’s specifically for female travelers in case you are feeling uncomfortable and would prefer to stick with other solo female travelers.
Contiki is a tour agency designed for young adult travelers (between ages 18-30ish.) They offer complete itineraries of trips you can book, or simply tours and excursions if you’re doing your own thing for most of your travels!
This is a great opportunity to meet like-minded travelers and actually have an experience with them right off the bat for you to bond over!
They also easy to work with in terms of paying for trips. Right now, you only have to put $99 down on a trip booking, so start thinking about your post-quarantine travels! Contiki could be a great transition back into trip planning!
Excursions and Walking Tours
Excursions and walking tours are pretty self-explanatory! Through hostels or websites like Airbnb, locals from almost every place around the world offer classes, tours, or adventure excursions.
And unless you’ve got a roomy wallet, most of them are combined with groups of different parties!
Again, it’s a great way to make a connection with strangers because you’re already starting off the prospective friendship by having a bonding experience together!
Stay in Social Accommodations
When I say social accommodations, I mean anywhere but a private hotel or Airbnb!
The main thing that comes to mind is hostels. Hostels are a favorite of solo travelers because they are inexpensive and you get to meet a ton of other people, just like you!
My favorite chain of hostels is Generator hostels because they are super nice and established, as well as have multiple social areas and tons of activities and offerings that promote socializing! You can book straight from their website or on Hostelworld.com.
There are tons of great hostels out there that are searchable on Hostelworld.com. Stick with highly-rated and lots of reviews for a hostel that’s safe!
If you were to have any concerns traveling to hostels, at least as a female traveler, check out my tips for female travelers staying in hostels.
You could also check out an option like Couchsurfing, where you can stay on someone’s couch for free and be hosted by a local wherever you are traveling!
Keep in Contact with Friends and Family Often
The one thing that I dislike about solo travel most is being somewhere that makes me want to pinch myself and thinking of how much a loved one of mine would love the place, too.
This is where solo travel gets hard for me, and I’m sure for many others.
I’m super close to my family especially, and missing them while I travel is hard! It’s honestly when I feel my loneliest.
So for that reason, keep in touch with your friends and family as much as possible.
Enjoy your journey, the new connections you’ll make, the self-growth you’ll obtain, but make sure to stay engaged with loved ones at home.
Send them pictures of what you are doing and call them often!
These interactions will do wonders to keep your spirits up in the times where you wish you were sharing an experience with someone close to you.
Dive into Books and Journals
Solo travel gives you a ton of time to think. Think about the past, the future, your mistakes, your goals – and that’s the kind of introspection that people grow from!
Those who want to embark on solo travel are a special breed.
You chase discomfort, you desire to constantly grow as a person, and you are continuously pushing to widen your perspective on a plethora of ideas. Not everyone is built for so much introspection!
But the introspection is vital to growing as a person. And with so much time to be with your thoughts, dive headfirst to explore them and conquer them.
I get very into reading and journaling when I travel solo so that I’m constantly expressing my thoughts. I feel as though I’m doing something productive for my soul!
Plus, it’s an activity you can do anywhere. Journal on a train, read a book at a restaurant if you’re dining alone; make your thoughts your travel companion in a positive and productive way!
Sign up for the Traveler’s Resource Library to get access to FREE travel journal prompts to help get you started!
This journal from Amazon is perfect to start out with – under $10, aesthetically pleasing, and perfectly organized for planning & journaling your trip.
Bring Your Headphones Everywhere
This last tip is the most practical of them all. I love to travel solo, but I also relish in the company of others.
That’s why I have headphones with me all the time. Take a call from mom? Perfect, just put in my headphones no matter where I am and I can connect with her.
Walking around the city by myself? Throw on a playlist inspired by that city and explore.
Want to just feel like you’re not alone? Throw on a podcast or your favorite YouTuber.
Headphones are a lifesaver for airports, long lines, and feeling just a little less by yourself sometimes!
Pro Tip: Remember that on flights, your Bluetooth headphones aren’t going to work for TVs on the plane and not all flights hand out wired headphones. Be sure to pack wired headphones in addition to your wireless just in case!
There are honestly so many other things to consider when you are planning your solo trip, that loneliness is not what jumps to mind.
This is exactly why I’ve assembled these tips!
What they don’t tell you about solo travel and what no blog post can prepare you for is that not everything will go as planned no matter how much organizing you do and it won’t always feel exhilarating to be by yourself.
The key is to see the beauty in the unplanned and master being alone without feeling lonely. Use these tips to keep your spirits up and power you through your adventure because I promise it will be worth it!
Thanks for reading! What tips do you have for feeling lonely while traveling solo?
I would love to hear your solo travel experiences in the comments!
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Let me know if you have any questions about solo travel in the comments or by contacting me and I’ll be happy to share the knowledge I have from my solo travel experience!