So this is the beginning of a new series! I’ve been traveling around Europe for a little while now and while I don’t consider myself to be any sort of solo travel expert, I do feel like I’ve picked up some knowledge about traveling alone. This specific post is going to talk about how to deal with loneliness while traveling solo.
Ideally, the answer to this problem is to… well… not travel alone. While that may be a nice idea, traveling alone can also be a great experience (not having to worry about someone else is great) and can teach you to be more independent. Even keeping the benefits in mind, it’s hard to not get lonely sometimes on the road. Here are my tips on combatting loneliness while traveling solo:
- It’s Always Worst at the Start
The beginning of a trip is always the worst for me. I question why I decided to start traveling alone again, why I decided that this would be a good idea, and why I thought that I could do it. It’s hard to keep this in mind but jet lag and time differences can play a huge part in messing with your emotions. Don’t be too hard on yourself and follow these tips!
- Get Outside
Look up a book store or go sit outside at a cafe or park. People watch, get some sun, and explore while letting yourself get lost and getting to know the city. I always write in my journal, put in my headphones, and enjoy something sweet. (Don’t say no to comfort eating! Calories don’t count on vacation). Walk around busy streets, go into shops and markets and you won’t feel so alone!
- Do Something You Love
Whether this is shopping, running, drawing, cooking, drinking, listening to music,talking to your family from home, whatever, do what you love and it will always put you in a better mood.
- Take a Walking Tour
I’ve met multiple people from walking tours that I met up with later or hung out with after. Be friendly, strike up a conversation between stops, and ask if they have plans for the rest of the day. I’ve met a lot of solo travelers (from all around) on these tours, many of whom are looking for someone to hang out with as well. Even if you only get a beer with your tour guide after, it’s some interaction and can help tremendously!
- Go to CouchSurfing or Meetup Events
These can be hit or miss and really depend, but a girl that I spent a lot of time in Barcelona with (if you’re reading this, hi Aubrey!). Some are better than others; look for a consistent coordinator at weekly events and an event at a not so popular bar so people are easier to find and it’s more intimate.
- Talk to People Who Speak Your Language
Americans are easy to spot and most don’t mind if you pull up a chair at a casual restaurant once you say that you’re traveling alone. Look friendly and safe and you may meet yourself a friend! Doing this with people around your age group or older usually works best.
- Take a Picture
This is a basic way to start conversation and potentially meet people. Ask them to take a picture of you and then offer to do the same.
- Connect on Facebook
Whenever I meet someone abroad, I ask for them to type in their name so I can add them on Facebook and potentially contact them to meet up later. It’s a great way to stay in contact and make sure that your connections don’t fall through the cracks.
- Make the Most of Transportation
If you’re on a long flight from the states, chances are you’re going to be near some Americans that are going to the same place. If you’re on a train, talk to the people around you. It makes the journey pass more quickly and it’s a great distraction from sometimes very boring experiences.
All in all, none of this will work if you aren’t friendly. Introduce yourself, ask people where they’ve travelled, what they’re doing in the city, and you may meet yourself a couple friends to help deal with the loneliness.
What do you do to combat loneliness while traveling solo? Thanks for stopping by and happy travels! xoxo