8 Ways to Prevent Loneliness While Traveling Alone
February 21, 2017
Congrats!! You’ve Decided to Travel Alone
So, you’ve decided to take the plunge and travel alone!!! That’s truly brave and amazing because you will learn so many things about yourself that you never knew. But, while this decision is exciting, it can also be a little nerve wrecking because you never know what will happen or how you will feel. And these feelings and situations can be hard to manage when you are all alone and don’t really have anyone else to talk to.
Well, this mixture of feelings are pretty normal, so don’t feel bad if you’re excited, nervous and scared, all in one. It’s normal, at least for me. I still get like that now, and I have traveled all over the world by myself. But I still get nervous because you’re entering the world of the unknown and you just don’t know what you’re gonna feel or how you’re gonna react to certain situations.
And one of the hardest feelings to combat when you’re traveling alone, is loneliness. Now, I’ll be honest with you. Traveling alone is the most amazing experience, but you’re gonna get lonely, no matter how much you love it. It’s gonna happen because we’re human. And as humans, we are intrinsically social beings that like to feel connected and cared for by other people. So the question is, what do you do when you get lonely and how can you prevent loneliness altogether?
Well, that’s where I come in!!!! I have traveled all over the world alone (6 weeks alone in China, 3 weeks alone in Peru, etc.) and know what its like to look at a couple and yearn for that to be you. Or, how about when you visit a sight and just want to share it with someone you love, but can’t because you’re alone? It happens and it can really put a damper on the joy and freedom of traveling independently.
So, to cope with these feelings of isolation, or to prevent loneliness altogether, here are list of some tips and tricks that I use when I am traveling alone and feel like I just need a little company.
8 Ways to Prevent Loneliness While Traveling Alone
- Join a Tour Group – An easy and effective way to meet fellow travelers. Just drop by the front desk and see if there is a group tour you can join. And you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to chat with the people on the tour. I mean honestly, most people are genuinely surprised and curious when you reveal that you’re traveling alone, so they will pretty readily chat with you. You may even connect with a fellow traveler or get invite to join someone for dinner (A nice change from eating alone, which is not my favorite part of traveling alone).
- Stay in a Hostel – Hostels create an open, diverse, and welcoming travel community where travelers can connect and share travel tips with one another. Additionally, a lot of hostels offer free, communal activities, like cooking classes, that create a fun atmosphere in which travelers from all over the world can relate and get to know one another. Now i’ll admit, hostels are definitely geared toward a younger crowd and may have a late night party scene that may NOT be your thing, like I am totally over sleeping in a dorm and will rent a private room every time, but not always. Some hostels are party hostels, while others have a diverse crowd of travelers with a variety of interests. My best advice is just do your research and find a hostel that meets your travel needs.
Go to the Grocery Store – This one may seem a little odd but a lot of times, it can be VERY difficult to dine alone. Yes, you can bring a book, eat at the bar, or play on your phone, but sometimes it’s so awkward to stare aimlessly, into space, while everyone else is engaged in a riveting conversation ( I mean let’s be real, eating is a very communal activity). And while certain tactics can help you cope with eating alone, I feel like nothing can actually replace the connection and joy that stems from a good conversation over a nice, hot meal. Well, that’s where the grocery store comes in handy (Also a great way to save money). Just go to a local grocery store, buy what you want to eat, and have a nice little dinner in your room. I do this while watching netflix on my phone, via wifi, and this helps prevent some of the loneliness that comes from eating alone.
Chat with Someone on Line – This one always works and is a great way to pass the time while you’re waiting on line. I mean, you’d be surprised how willingly people will chat with you about their lives and where they’re from. I have met a lot of really interesting people, from all over the world, this way and I highly recommend it as a great way to help you feel connected to people and less alone.
Don’t be Scared and Hang Out with Someone – Okay, I’m not saying that you should throw caution to the wind and hop in the car with a total stranger. But, I also don’t think that you should run away from everyone that invites you to dinner or asks you to grab a cup of coffee. By taking a chance and hanging out with some locals, I have be able to meet some amazing and people see some amazing things that I would have never known about otherwise. So while you should be cautious, listen to your gut, and always hang out with someone in a public space, also try and let loose, give people a chance, and see where this crazy journey takes you. I mean, you never know who you will meet or what you are gonna do, and that is so exciting. Besides, it’s a great change of pace from doing everything alone.
- Check Out a Show – A lot of times my loneliness really kicks in at night, when I’m alone and have nothing to distract me from the thoughts swirling around in my head. There
fore, I like to ask the front desk about a variety of night time performances that will distract me and don’t require a companion; things like music performances, plays, puppet theatre, etc. Basically, whatever cultural activity is representative of the country I am visiting.
- Bring Lots of Entertainment – I always bring books, magazines, word puzzles, music, guidebooks, a journal, etc. Basically, anything that is easy to carry but that will also entertain you so that you don;t get too lonely.
- See Who is Traveling to the Same Place as You – Don’t be afraid to reach out to people and see if they are traveling to the same destination as you. Not only is this a great way to save money, because you now have someone to split the cost of a taxi with, but you will also have a buddy to endure the journey with and someone who will explore a new location with you ( I always meet the coolest, most interesting people this way. Totally worth it).