Experiencing loneliness when travelling alone is more common than we imagine.
As rewarding as it can be to travel the world with somebody you love, it can be even more freeing to cast off the shackles of familiarity and hit the road less travelled on your lonesome.
Travelling solo can be quite transformative and will give you the space you truly need to experience the world with zero bias.
But there’s one culprit – it’s easy to fall into loneliness when travelling alone.
Why does travelling alone get lonely?
Solo travel has plenty of benefits to it.
You also get to go exactly where you want to go and do exactly what you want to do with no compromises.
However, solo travel is not a natural thing for many people, especially those who are used to being around others.
If you’re thinking about heading out on a solo adventure, here are a few tips that can help you have less loneliness when travelling alone.
How To Combat Loneliness When Travelling Alone
Meet other travellers
While being on your own can be fun for a while, one of the best things about travelling alone is the people you have the opportunity to meet along the way to break up the monotony of solo travel.
To maximise your chances of meeting like-minded travellers, make an effort to hit up more popular train routes and don’t be afraid to strike up conversations with other solo adventurers.
It might be that these solo travellers experience loneliness when travelling alone too – just like you.
Book tickets with a group travelling
One major downside of travelling solo is that you miss out on all those group travel options.
For those who are prone to loneliness when travelling alone, travelling in a group might be helpful.
You kind of travel alone, but kind of stay in a group too.
Group travelling often involves discounts and other bonuses too.
To ensure you don’t end up paying above the odds, book your plane, train and bus tickets as far in advance as possible.
It could save you hundreds and will also prevent you from rushing and making mistakes at the moment.
Look for free Wi-Fi and Use It To Facetime Your Family or Friends
Loneliness when travelling alone is often caused by longing for your loved ones, nostalgia and homesickness.
If you’re going to be spending a lot of time at your hotel, make sure to stay somewhere with free Wi-Fi.
You can use this time to Zoom or Facetime your family and friends back home to recount your adventures for the day.
You can also use the time to plan the next stage of your adventure, book hotels and travel tickets and figure out the most efficient routes for the next leg of your journey and you won’t need to pay exorbitant charges for data roaming.
Try sitting along at a bar
Having a drink at a bar is one of the easiest ways to socialize and combat loneliness when travelling alone.
If you’re in a major city, you’ll probably be able to find a club or bar a short walk from your hotel.
This is a good way to make friends, get tips on the city, and meet up with fellow travellers.
While you’re there, make a point of talking to the bartender, who can become a great companion for a chat:
- He may know some interesting trivia about the bar.
- He might be able to tell you about some of the local sights to see.
- It may also be a good idea to ask the bartender what the bar has to offer and what the best times to go are.
- You may also want to ask the bartender for the best local food.
If you’re in a big city, you might even be able to score a bargain.
- While you’re at it, ask about the bar’s history too!
Choose Homestays or Airbnbs for your stay
Choosing a homestay or an Airbnb when travelling alone can also help combat loneliness.
These types of accommodation are often cheaper than hotels and are run by locals who usually enjoy talking to travellers.
They also offer a chance to learn about the culture and language of a new country.
Some homestays have limited English, so it is important to ask about it when booking.
Also, you might want to take the time to read reviews of the accommodations before you make your booking.
These reviews can give you information about the location, the people and the host’s experience.
To initiate social interaction, you can ask the host about safety tips, and ask if they can give you advice on scams in the area.
If you’re staying with a host family, you can learn about the local culture and food, and even enjoy eating together if you are invited.
Find a travel mate
If solitude is eating you up, a travel mate might be a solution.
Trying to find a travel mate to combat loneliness when travelling alone can be tricky.
However, there are several ways to make it easier for you to find someone to travel with.
Luckily, there are a few online resources to help you find a travel mate that you can trust.
- A simple Facebook or Twitter search can turn up some Facebook groups and Twitter accounts that are filled with other solo travellers.
In addition, many hostels have large communal areas where social interactions are more likely to happen.
- Another great way to meet travel mates is to join a guided tour.
You can also take a walking tour or a cooking tour.
- Another great way to find a travel mate is to use an app.
The Travel Buddies app is free and provides a way to chat with other users directly.
You can also search for potential travel buddies by gender, age and location.
Secure your valuables to stay connected
Another unavoidable downside of travelling alone is that you don’t have somebody else to look out for your valuables.
You alone are responsible for your jewellery, money, technology, and other things.
If you don’t want to end up lonely (and unsafe!), take an extra effort to protect your major contact options – phone, laptop, tablet and similar things.
- Keep valuables hidden in a secure bag that you can always see.
- Don’t put any bags with these items down or out of your line of sight.
- If your hotel room has a safe, think twice before using it if it seems even a little dodgy.
Tell somebody where you are
Whenever you get to a new country or even a new city be sure to tell your loved ones where you are.
Because if the worst should happen, it’s always safer if somebody knows the last place you’ve been.
It might be frightening to think about, but safety should always be a priority!
Knowing that someone is aware of your location, and thinks about you can also help you to combat loneliness when travelling alone.
Travelling alone is a wonderful way to learn about yourself and the world around you, but doesn’t have to be lonely.
Seeking connection with others – in a group or via technology – can help you to feel less lonely and keep your spirits higher.
The best way to combat loneliness when travelling alone is to talk to people.
Talk to locals, other travellers, and fellow digital nomads.
The social aspect of travelling alone will help you feel more comfortable and safe in a new city or country.
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