Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.Gustave Flaubert
For many of us, traveling solo is the ultimate act of independence. It's a chance to explore the world on your own terms, free from the constraints of companionship. But let's be real: it can also be pretty darn lonely.
If you're someone who's considering traveling solo, but the idea of being lonely on the road have you second-guessing your plans, never fear! There are plenty of ways to enjoy solo travel without feeling isolated. Here are a few tips for avoiding that dreaded feeling of isolation while you're on the road.
Don't be afraid to strike up conversations with strangers
You'll be surprised how many other solo female travelers you'll meet if you just put yourself out there. Talk to the person sitting next to you on the plane, or strike up a conversation with someone in line at the coffee shop.
If you're staying in a hostel, take advantage of the social events they often have. Or, try attending a meetup for travelers in your city. Be open to the idea of making new friends, even if it's just for a short while. Don't be shy! The more people you meet, the less alone you'll feel.
On my journey to Haarlem, I met a guy who was going to The Hague for a medical appointment. We talked about Dutch culture and he learned about Mexican culture. When the train to Haarlem was delayed, he was my life preserver.
Get lost on purpose
This may sound counterintuitive, but getting lost is actually one of the best ways to explore a new place. Once you've familiarized yourself with the basics of your surroundings, venture out without a map and see where your feet take you.
It forces you to talk to people and get directions, which can be a great opportunity to meet new people. And who knows? Maybe you'll stumble upon new neighborhoods and find hidden gems you would have otherwise missed.
I inadvertently boarded the wrong train and ended up in Potsdam. I clumsily boarded the wrong rail and decided to go to the last stop. What a happy accident! I enjoyed walking around Schloß Sanssouci and had an amazing schnitzel.
Make plans in advance
One of the best ways to avoid feeling lonely while traveling is to make plans in advance. That way, you always have something to look forward to. Join a walking tour, sign up for a cooking class, or look for other activities that interest you. This will help you meet like-minded people and ensure that you're not just sitting in your hotel room by yourself with nothing to do.
For example, if you're traveling to Paris, book tickets for a museum or sign up for a wine tasting tour in advance. That way, even if you don't meet anyone during your travels, you'll still have a great time.
I recommend using sites like Viator or CityPass to find tours and activities in advance. This is especially helpful if you're traveling solo because it can be difficult to find people to do things with on the fly.
No matter how independent and self-reliant we may be, there are times when we all crave companionship. This is especially true when we're undertaking a new and unfamiliar experience, such as traveling to a new country or city.
Make an effort to connect with locals
If you're staying in a hostel, introduce yourself to other guests and ask for recommendations on things to do in the area. When you're out exploring, stop and chat with shopkeepers, waiters, and anyone else you come into contact with. Learn the language, even if it's just a few key phrases. It'll make it easier to connect with people. Not only will this help prevent you from feeling lonely, but it's also a great way to get insider tips on the best places to go and things to see.
I remember my first time in Paris, I was feeling a bit lost. I decided to go into a bakery and the shopkeeper started chatting with me about where I was from and what I was doing in the city. We ended up talking for about 15 minutes, and she even gave me some tips on where to go and what to see. It was a really great experience, and I left feeling much more connected to the city.
Get out of your comfort zone
One of the best things about solo travel is that it gives you the opportunity to step outside of your comfort zone and try new things. So go ahead and book that cooking class, sign up for that wine tour, or take yourself on a solo hike to that hidden waterfall you've been dying to see. Not only will this help prevent you from feeling lonely, but it's also a great way to make some amazing memories.
You can also try not having an itinerary at all and just go with the flow. This is a great way to meet other travelers and see some amazing places you may have missed if you'd been sticking to a strict schedule.
This is my preferred means of traveling, and I've had some of the greatest adventures when I surrender to being lost and discard the itinerary. I learned that cruising was too restrictive and will never do it again.
Find ways to connect with people back home
Just because you're traveling solo doesn't mean you have to completely disconnect from the people you love. Tech has made it easier than ever to keep in touch with loved ones while you're on the road. Whether you're sending a quick text, hopping on a video call, or sharing photos and stories on social media, taking a few minutes out of your day to connect with the people who matter most will help prevent those feelings of loneliness from creeping in.
Keep in mind different time zones when you're scheduling video chats or phone calls, and make sure to let your loved ones know when you'll be available. I like to set up regular check-ins with my family and friends so we can catch up on each other's lives and I always have someone to talk to when I'm feeling lonely on the road. It also helps keep them at ease, knowing that I'm okay and they can get in touch with me if they need to.
Document your trip
Part of the fun of solo travel is being able to share your experiences with others, so make sure to document your trip as you go! Whether you're keeping a travel journal or simply taking lots of photos and videos, this will help you relive your memories after you've returned home. And who knows? Maybe you'll even inspire someone else to take their own solo trip one day.
Whether you're keeping a travel journal or simply taking lots of photos and videos, take some time to document your experiences so you can share them with others.
That's how this blog started. I just wanted to document my trips and it turned into a place where people can turn to for tips and travel stories.
Take some time for yourself
It's important to remember that solo travel doesn't have to be a non-stop social scene. In fact, sometimes the best way to avoid feeling lonely is to simply take some time for yourself. Whether you're enjoying a leisurely breakfast in your hotel room, taking a stroll through the park, or indulging in a little retail therapy, make sure to schedule some alone time into your trip so you can recharge and enjoy your own company.
One of the best parts about traveling solo is that you get to make all the decisions! And that includes deciding when you need some time to yourself. If you start to feel overwhelmed or lonely, don't be afraid to schedule some alone time into your itinerary.
Taking some time for yourself will help you recharge and enjoy the rest of your trip.
Do things that make you happy
This may seem like common sense, but it's important to do things that make you happy when you're traveling solo. If you're not enjoying your surroundings or the people you're with, it's going to be harder to avoid feeling lonely. So if you're not having fun, don't be afraid to move on and find something that does make you happy.
There's no shame in admitting that you're feeling lonely while traveling solo. In fact, it's completely normal!
If you're feeling lonely on your next solo trip, don't worry – you're not alone. But there are plenty of things you can do to make the experience a little more enjoyable. From embracing solitude to seeking out social activities, there's no need to let loneliness get in the way of your travel dreams.
Solo travel can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but it's not always easy. By following these tips, you can ensure that you'll have a great time even if you're flying (or wandering) solo. So go ahead and book that ticket, pack your bags, and get ready for some amazing adventures.
Happy and Safe Travels!
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