Travelling alone is an enriching experience. It gives a wonderful scope for getting to know the world a little better. Yet it is not uncommon to feel lonely at times during solo trips. It is an experience many solo travelers have. But it is one thing least likely to talk about because people feel they would be marked as a loser if the world knew he felt lonely when he was supposed to be having the time of his life!
Thus, it seems wise to bury loneliness under a veneer of carefree happiness, hoping it will eventually disappear. Sometimes it does. Other times it starts to fester until one finds himself spending more and more time indoors. He then indulges in self-loathing for failing so badly at travelling when everyone else around seems to be having a great time. Before long, he would find himself on the net browsing the different options for going home, that too at any cost!
If you are experiencing the same, stop there right now and read what we are discussing below. A perfectly natural emotion, loneliness is more common than one thinks and there are plenty of things one can do to stop loneliness ruining a trip. One does not need to be afraid to travel alone. He just needs to know how to deal with loneliness when it hits.
Is it possible to travel alone without being lonely? Well, yes. Solo travel can be very social. Solo travel offers more opportunities to meet locals and other travellers and has meaningful conversations than travelling with a companion does. One just needs to know how to make it happen.
Consulting a Luxury Concierge would help one plan a trip that would fit his needs but would also not make him lonely.
There are several strategies and tips one can use to minimise loneliness and make the most of the solo travel adventure:
Staying in Social Accommodations: Choosing hostels, guesthouses, or boutique hotels with communal spaces where travellers often gather provides an opportunity to meet fellow travellers and initiate conversations. Hostels and B&Bs are naturally more social than hotels and many resorts. One can make good use of the common rooms or join others at communal tables for breakfast. Having a cup of tea in the evening and meeting people, sharing the plans for the day, and what you did in the evening can make a good conversation. One can also ask about their best recommendations for where they could go.
For people looking for customised travel (Hotels, Villas, Jets, Experiences) plans, Luxury Lifestyle Concierge Services can prove useful as they can design tailor-made itineraries without intruding or spoiling the mood of a solo travel.
Social Media and Travel Apps: Travel-related groups on platforms like Facebook, Reddit, or travel-specific apps help people connect with other solo travellers or even find local events or meetups.
Group Tours or Classes: Group activities or tours, such as city walking tours, cooking classes, or adventure excursions provide great opportunities to meet people who share common interests.
Staying in Touch with Loved Ones: Loneliness can be aggravating when one feels disconnected from friends and family. Regular communication with loved ones through calls, messages, or video chats can help combat homesickness.
Engaging in Local Culture: Immersing oneself in the local culture by attending cultural events, festivals, or visiting local markets, engaging with locals can be incredibly rewarding and help one feel more connected.
Knowledge about local language: Learning a few phrases in the local language can go a long way in breaking the ice and connecting with locals.
Being Approachable: One should be open to starting conversations with people he meets. Sometimes, a simple greeting can lead to a meaningful interaction. Smiling, making eye contact and a little greeting can open up a great conversation.
Online Travel Communities: Before the trip commences, it is a good idea to join online forums or communities for the destination one is visiting. This can help to connect with locals or other travellers who may be in the area at the same time.
Practice Solo Activities: Being comfortable in one’s own company is an essential aspect of solo travel. One can practise embracing solitude by engaging in activities he enjoys alone, such as reading, journaling, or hiking.
Staying Safe: It is exciting to be open to new experiences. However, safety should always be prioritised. It is best to trust your instincts and avoid situations or people that make you uncomfortable.
Stay Flexible for alterations: One should have a general itinerary, but leave room for spontaneity. Sometimes, the best experiences come from unexpected encounters and detours.
Embrace the Freedom: Solo travel allows one to be entirely in control of the journey. Thus it is best to use this freedom to explore at one’s own pace and focus on personal interests.
Accepting Loneliness as Part of the Journey: It is natural to feel lonely from time to time, even when travelling with others. Accepting this feeling as part of the solo travel experience can make it easier to manage.
Stay Positive and Open-Minded: One should always keep a positive attitude and remain open to new experiences and people. A positive mindset can attract like-minded individuals.
Journalling the Journey: One can consider keeping a travel journal, blog, or vlog. Sharing one’s experiences with others, even if it is just online, can help to feel more connected.
Feeling lonely on occasion is normal, and it can also be an opportunity for personal growth and self-discovery. It is wise to use these moments to reflect on experiences and appreciate the unique aspects of solo travel. Over time, one would likely develop the skills to connect with people and create memorable experiences wherever he goes.
Splurge: One should award a break to himself in whatever way he likes to splurge – booking a nicer resort for a few nights, getting a massage, and treating oneself to tasty food that makes him feel good. Sometimes loneliness creeps up when other things about travel combine and compound over time.
Solo Travel Is Not Lonely
While travelling solo, rather than being focused on one’s companion, one is focused on the surroundings, including the people around him. This makes the world more open. People step into the wide open space and the results created are wonderful.
Like most adventures in life, the low points are usually temporary and if one can push through it or past it or somehow dodge around it using the tips above, he can go on to fulfil all those other, more positive expectations that he had for the trip.
Alone is a beautiful thing; it is the time when one can process his thoughts, absorb new travel experiences, find unexpected friendships, and detox from being “happy” with other people. Many parts of solo travel are seen to make people stronger persons, though there are nuances to every other person—what makes solo travel so right for one person can become a negative for someone else.
Loneliness is impermanent, and riding out an evening or two of feeling low happens to everyone on the road, be it on a trip or at home. Part of being human is recognizing that to have the highs, one must accept there will be days comparatively lower. But when it is more than loneliness and has moved into lingering depression, help should be sought. One might be alone sometimes, he would be in solitude sometimes, and maybe he would experience pangs of loneliness. But the payoff is an indescribable sense of freedom that does not just empower the particular travel experiences, but overall the person’s life too.
No matter one’s age or travel experience, a solo trip is a unique way to get to know oneself on a deeper level and challenge one’s problem-solving and social skills. People who have completed a solo trip or two will surely say that experiencing a new culture on one’s own is a catalyst for big growth.