8 Ways to Deal with Loneliness When Traveling Solo

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Traveling solo has lots of advantages. You can do what you want, when you want and there’s no-one around to argue. Traveling alone also gives you the time and space to reflect on who you are and where you’re going (both mentally and physically).

Of course, traveling solo also have its disadvantages – loneliness being one of the most common.

Although you might not think it, even the most hardened solo travelers get lonely at times. It’s only natural to feel this way from time to time; on those rainy days when there’s nothing to do.

If you’re feeling lonely, homesick or generally fed up with traveling alone, here’s 8 tips for beating the solo travel blues:

1. Stay in Hostels
While staying in a hotel with your own private bath and room service might be a tempting option, it can also be very isolating. Hostels on the other hand offer plenty of opportunities to interact with like-minded travellers. What’s more they’re only a fraction of the cost. Most hostels have communal television or computer rooms — some even have bars. So you never know, you might even make a new friend or find a travel buddy for your next adventure.

Solo female travelerWhen traveling solo you might feel tempted to treat yourself and to stay in a nice hotel with your own bathroom and TV.

While it is nice to splash out and treat yourself every once in a while, staying in a hostel is a much better idea as they give you far more opportunities to meet other travelers and like-minded people, as oftentimes you’ll be staying in a dorm room or a room with other people (not to mention the fact that they’re often a lot cheaper than hotels).

For example, when I arrived in Los Angeles last year (as I was traveling through the USA) I knew no-one. In the morning I checked into the Banana Bungalows hostel in West Hollywood. That same day I went on a group tour of L.A. (organized by the hostel), then in the afternoon I played in a soccer game down at the school (also organized by the hostel).

In the evening I went out to a bar with some of the people I’d met that day (and people I’d met around the hostel).

In less than a day, without much effort I’d already made friends with a bunch of people. Therein lies the power of the hostel!

2. Join a Tour Group
Just because you’re ‘traveling solo’ doesn’t mean you have to spend all of your time alone (in fact quite the opposite).

Every city and area of interest will have some kind of tour going – whether it’s a two hour walking tour through the city or a three day trek through the jungle, joining a tour group is a great way to meet new people and make friends.

For more information about organized tours, check out this post.

3. Find a Travel Companion
Yes, this article is titled ‘8 Ways to Deal with Loneliness When Traveling Solo’, but if you really aren’t feeling like traveling on your own (and you have no friends back home who want to join you) than finding a travel companion through other means is a perfectly legitimate option.

If you’re staying at a hostel you might meet people going the same way as you. After becoming friends you might decide to travel there together. Bingo!

There are also plenty of websites out there that let you connect with other like-minded people with the option of meeting up and potentially becoming travel buddies.

For more information, check out this guide on how to find a travel companion.

Solo Traveler with Map

4. Think About WHY You’re Traveling
A friend of mine recently spent 3 month traveling solo around the USA before meeting up with me in California. Traveling around the USA had been his dream for years, and before he set off he was so excited and full of enthusiasm.

When I met up with him 3 months later I was shocked to see the effect that traveling alone had on him. It was clear that he was just thinking about going home, and that traveling had become a complete chore for him. His only goal was to tick each city off from the list of places he’d been, rather than actually enjoying them.

Clearly, somewhere during the 3 months traveling alone he’d completely forgotten about why he was traveling in the first place. He was now viewing traveling as a task that had to be completed rather than a journey that had to be experienced.

If you feel like you’re losing focus and motivation for traveling, think about why you wanted to travel in the first place – what you wanted to see and do and what you wanted to accomplish.

5. Re-Light the Fire
Following on from the last point, go online and check out some travel blogs of people doing amazing things. Find people that are doing (or have done) amazing/inspiring things and aim to emulate/better them. They don’t have to be travel bloggers – they could be anyone. Just find something that you find amazing (and that makes you jealous that you’re not doing it).

Lighting this kind of fire inside of you will remove all thoughts of loneliness.

Remember – these should be things that are inspiring TO YOU, not things that ‘should be’ inspiring/amazing.

Travel only with thy equals or thy betters; if there are none, travel alone. – The Dhammapada

6. Go for a Walk or a Run
Whenever I feel stressed or like I can’t think straight, I go for a walk or a run to organize my thoughts and to let off some steam.

Getting the blood pumping around your body will change your physiology and release endorphins (make you feel happier).

7. Reconnect with Your Friends and Family
Although traveling is supposed to be about discovering new things and having new experiences, there’s nothing wrong with keeping in touch with the people that matter to you.

In fact, traveling will often make you appreciate and miss your friends and family far more than you could ever have thought, so don’t feel ashamed to call home every once in a while.

8. Get Off the Internet (Especially Facebook)
The internet is great for lots of things, and it can help to make travel easier if used in the right way. Saying that, checking your emails or Facebook every five minutes isn’t a good idea, as it’ll make it harder to leave your comfort zone and experience the wonders of traveling.

Related posts:

  1. Why More Women Than Ever Are Traveling Solo
  2. Frugal Traveling – Top Ways to Save Money Abroad
  3. Solo Travel – Five Rules to Live By
  4. The Best Ways of Getting Around – Transport Tips

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