Solo travel has all kinds of benefits, of course.
You don’t have to compromise with others on where to go, what to do, and how to explore. You have the opportunity to relax and recharge your batteries without having to let another person get in the way of your downtime. And you can step out of your comfort zone, as while travelling solo can be a little scary at times, you will discover untapped levels of potential within yourself when you’re forced to do things alone.
However, travelling alone also has its downsides, and the biggest one is loneliness. When you are a stranger in a strange land, and you have nobody to share your joys or worries with, homesickness can quickly set in. You might start to miss the conversation and company of your family and friends, and you might start to feel more than a little depressed when you’re away.
Still, if your heart is set on solo travel, don’t let the fear of loneliness put you off. Here are some tips that we hope you find useful.
#1: Learn the language of the country you are visiting
Thankfully, many people abroad are versed in the English language, so a conversation with others might not be too hard to come by. However, it is still worth learning the lingo, as not only will you impress the locals this way (you won’t come across as just another lazy tourist who hasn’t bothered to learn the language), but you will also have more opportunities to chat with those who don’t speak English. You might even make a few friends while you’re away too. So, take a class, download the language app at https://www.duolingo.com/, or look for language tutorials online. You don’t need to be completely fluent, but knowing some of the language is better than knowing nothing.
#2: Stay in touch with people at home
You might be thousands of miles away from them, but that doesn’t mean all contact has to be lost. If you can find a wifi connection, you can Skype or FaceTime your loved ones, chat on social media, and check any mail that has been sent to you with a virtual mailbox. Check out https://physicaladdress.com, for example. Contact your phone provider too, and ask them for details on any cheap data plans for phone calls from abroad. By staying in touch with your friends and family, you are going to feel less isolated, and when they start waffling on about the mundane things they do at home, any feelings of homesickness you may have had might quickly go away!
#3: Embrace your alone time
Being alone doesn’t have to suck, so make the most of your travels. Distract yourself with scenic walks, daring adventures, and a little bit of holiday shopping. Enjoy the time you have to rest and relax with a good book, a fruity cocktail, and a healthy snack from the local store. And take time to remember why you wanted to travel alone in the first place and be grateful that you have the opportunity to do so. By taking these steps, you will then be less likely to wallow in your feelings of loneliness and despair, and you will be less reliant on the company of others to fuel you.
#4: Choose your travel arrangements wisely
When planning your travel arrangements, don’t take up those options that are going to leave you feeling isolated. You could choose trains that have communal tables, for example, and you could book a stay in those youth hostels or B&B’s where other solo travellers may be staying. You will then have the option of talking to other people if you need to, and you might also have the opportunity to pick up a few travelling companions too. So, be sure to add these suggestions to the planning tips we gave you here; https://www.kirstyleanne.com/, as you might not have to suffer from loneliness at all.
#5: Book yourself onto an organised tour
If you’re travelling long-term, you could break up your solo travels with a week here and there alongside an organised tour group. And when you’re visiting places of interest, you might have the opportunity to tag along with a group organised by a local tour guide. So, consider both options when you’re travelling from A to B in the places you have decided to visit.
#6: Connect with other travellers
We have already alluded to this in our previous two points, but there is more you can do. So, rather than staying in your hotel or hostel of a night time, you might want to experience the nightlife in popular tourist bars. You could join the relevant social media travel groups and reach out to other solo travellers. And you can also use https://www.meetup.com/ to find and connect with those travellers who have set up meeting points to mingle with like-minded others. There might be an endless stream of people for you to meet up with, so commit to research by going online, either before you leave for your travels, or when you have already embarked upon your adventure.
#7: Learn how to talk to strangers
Now, we have pointed you towards a few ideas for meeting other people, but if you’re on the shy side, you might struggle to open up in conversation with complete strangers. Still, travelling is all about stepping out of your usual comfort zones, so rather than retreating into your usual shell, make the effort to talk to other people. There are a few suggestions at https://solotravelerworld.com/ on how to do this safely, so have a read and then look for other articles online for ideas.
We hope these suggestions were useful to you, but let us know what you think. And if you have any other words of wisdom for our readers, be sure to share them with us.
Take care, thanks for reading, and enjoy your travels!