Travelling solo can be one of the most rewarding and enlightening experiences anyone can go through. Not only is a solo trip an opportunity to learn more about yourself, but it also gives you the freedom to explore the world the way you want to.
One important thing to bear in mind before embarking on a trip by yourself is that along with the highs of travelling solo, there might be times where you feel a sense of loneliness.
Loneliness is an experience many solo travellers have at one point or another. It’s also one we’re least likely to talk about.
Loneliness is a perfectly natural emotion that is more common than you think. Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do to prevent feeling lonely when you travel solo. The truth is, you don’t need to be afraid to travel alone.
A few tactics to help you deal with loneliness as it arises is all you need to make your solo adventure the most memorable travel experience of your life. Here are our top tips for travelling alone.
Embrace alone time
How many times have you longed for some alone time? When you travel solo, there will plenty of chances for you to enjoy some alone time. Whether you’re waiting for your next flight in an airport or exploring the streets of a foreign city.
When we live in a society that glorifies socialisation, it can actually be very uncomfortable learning to embrace being alone. At times, it can feel unnatural and isolating.
When you first start to embrace alone time, the most important thing to remember in the low moments is that you might be alone, but you’re not lonely.
Remind yourself there are millions of people on the planet who are single travellers, just like you. Remember that you have friends and family who love you and your choice to travel solo wasn’t due to a lack of options.
Yes, at this moment in time, you might be alone, but you’re not lonely. This is a temporary feeling. Enjoy it, embrace it.
Remember, it’s an investment in your personal growth
Being alone with your own thoughts can be an incredibly uncomfortable experience at first. Especially if you don’t have people and a crammed schedule to distract you. One of our top tips for solo travel is to remind yourself this is an investment in your personal growth. Time alone gives you the chance to reflect, learn more about yourself and change the way you live the rest of your life, for the better.
Mandy Hale once said “If you learn to really sit with loneliness and embrace it for the gift that it is…an opportunity to get to know yourself and learn how strong you really are...you will realise that a little loneliness goes a long way in creating a richer, deeper, more vibrant and colourful you.”
Stay in touch
You might be physically alone, but don’t let that trick you into thinking you’re a lonely person. Use this time to contact your family, friends and loved ones back home.
Solo travel is actually a great way to strengthen and invest in the important relationships you already have. Call your mum and best friend, write a letter to your grandparents, reach out to that friend you haven’t spoken to in a while. Not only will this cure your loneliness, but it will also make the person you reach out to feel important too.
Frequent local cafes and bars
When staying in one place for a while, my favourite thing to do is pack my book and head to a local cafe or bar. While I’m there, I’ll strike up a conversation with anyone who looks like a traveller or just friendly, even if it’s just the waitress serving me.
This trick is one of the easiest ways to build connections and make you feel less alone. When you find a cafe or bar that you vibe with the conversations will flow easily. You’ll meet other travellers, friendly locals, and get advice on what to do while you’re in that area. Not to mention, the staff will start to enjoy your regular visits.
Book through homestay.com
Homestay.com is gaining fast in popularity as the new way to travel solo - it’s like Airbnb’s groovy, laid-back cousin, employing the motto “live and let live.”
If you’re travelling alone, homestays are perfect if you’re over being alone in hostels and wanting a personal, authentic and caring experience.
Homestay.com is relatively new and offers an affordable way to travel, so as a bonus, you’ll likely save money. Solo travel can get lonely, and staying with a host who will feed you breakfast and show you around an unfamiliar city can be invaluable!
Don't freak out, you’re going to meet loads of friendly people
There is an element of needing to be discerning when talking to strangers or new people but in most cases, you have the chance to meet friendly and interesting people when travelling on your own. If you join EA Ski & Snowboard on a ski instructor training course, you’ll find that you’ll already have an interest in common with your fellow course participants.
Ask any solo traveller, and they’ll tell you the same thing: Though you’re travelling “alone,” you’re never truly alone. You will meet people at your hostel, on the bus, at different landmarks, at restaurants, on hikes. And people react to you differently when you’re by yourself; they approach you more often, they’re more eager to talk to you, and they’re more eager to help you.