The biggest barrier to traveling to new places is having no friends to travel with. If your friends aren’t as passionate about travel as you are, or don’t have the money or time to go on a trip, don’t let that deter you from going on an adventure of your own. Sometimes, having no friends to travel with is a good thing, and could open the doors to a unique experience. So don’t worry about having no friends to travel with.
You can absolutely travel without friends. If your friends aren’t available to travel, then consider a solo trip. A solo trip can be more exciting than traveling with friends, and allow you to meet new people and experience new things.
There is nothing more frustrating than concocting the perfect travel plan, only to see it get dismissed by your friends when you bring the idea up. The reality is it’s hard to find friends who are as passionate about your trip as you are. If this is the case, then you may have to consider a solo trip. Below, I answer some of the common questions you may have when traveling without friends.
Solo Travel FAQs
When you finally decide to embark on a solo trip, you will likely feel nervous about the experience. Humans are social creatures, so it can feel weird to go on a trip without the company of friends, family, or a significant other. I’ve been on my fair share of solo trips, and I feel the same way almost every time. In the chart below, I answer some commonly asked questions about traveling without friends.
|Will I be Lonely?||There may be times during your trip where you feel lonely, but these are typically fleeting moments that don’t have an impact on the trip as a whole. It’s very easy to meet new people while you are traveling alone, so don’t worry about feeling lonely from time to time.|
|Is it safe?||If you do it right, solo travel can be a safe and rewarding experience. I have never had any serious safety issues during my solo trips. In fact, many of the countries and cities I have visited have felt safer than my hometown.|
|Is it expensive?||This is a tough question to answer, because it all depends on how you approach the trip. Since you won’t have anyone to split lodging costs with, it can be easy to rack up a hefty bill. However, staying in cheap places like hostels will significantly reduce the price of your trip|
|Will I meet new people?||If your main intention of traveling alone is to meet new people, then it’s likely that you will. When you’re alone, you are forced to interact with people that you wouldn’t have if you had gone with a group. Without the safety blanket of a group of friends, you will be more inclined to interact with locals and fellow travelers.|
While there is a lot to be nervous about when traveling alone, there is certainly a lot more to be hopeful for. If you decide to travel without friends, you will quickly realize that meeting people, remaining safe, and having fun isn’t as difficult as you originally thought. However, it isn’t a walk in the park. You will need to plan your trip right, and put yourself in the best position to have a rewarding solo adventure.
How to Stay Safe
Remaining safe is always the most important aspect of traveling without friends, as it can make or break your trip. The best ways to remain safe are:
Trust Your Gut
You are likely to encounter unsafe situations when you are on a solo trip. You just have to follow your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Trust the friends you make, but be skeptical at first. If you find yourself in an unsafe situation, remove yourself from it immediately.
Don’t Act Like A Tourist
There are certain places in the world where locals make a business out of scamming or stealing from tourists. Don’t act like a tourist: dress like a local, walk like a local, talk like a local. Scammers and pickpockets only mess with people who look like ignorant tourists. Pretending you’re not a tourist is the best way to outsmart them.
Stay Away From Large Crowds
Popular tourist attractions with crowds of people are where pickpockets love to strike. It’s better to stand back, away from the crowd, to avoid having your valuables swiped.
Keep your Valuables Locked Away
There’s no need to walk around during the day with valuable items. Leave your fancy watch, passport, or any other expensive items locked away at your hotel or hostel. If you don’t, they could get stolen by a pickpocket or thief.
You can read about these tips in more detail in the Safety Tips For Solo Travelers article.
How to Meet New People
Meeting new people is one of the best parts about traveling alone. It’s very difficult to interact with locals or fellow travelers when you are with a group of friends, because you will always have them to fall back on if you want someone to talk to. When you travel without friends, you are putting yourself in a position to meet new people. You will be more inclined to ask a local for directions, or have a conversation with a stranger at a bar. But how exactly do you go about meeting new people during your trip? Here are some of the best methods:
Stay in Hostels
Hostels are intended to be social hubs that encourage you to have fun with fellow travelers. Not only are hostels cheap, but they are filled with other like-minded travelers who are in the same position as you. It’s very common to meet new travel buddies when you’re staying in a hostel.
Join a Pub Crawl
Pub crawls are a great place to make new friends and have a great time. They have them in most cities, and all you have to do is show up at the meet up spot and pay a small fee. Pub crawls are usually groups of 5-20 people who are led by a tour guide that takes them to the best bars and clubs in the city. There are usually other solo travelers in the group, and everyone is very open to meeting new people and having a great time.
Talk To Locals
Never be afraid to converse with the locals. If you are lost, asking a local for directions can turn into a fun conversation. Most locals love the fact that someone is taking the time to visit their city, and will show you nothing but grace and hospitality.
Do Things Alone
This may sound counter-intuitive, but being alone can open the door to meeting new people. If people see that you are alone, they may be inclined to spark up a conversation with you. During one of my solo trips, I decided to go to a bar by myself to watch a soccer game. A local noticed I was alone, and decided to come over and have a chat with me. That chat turned into an hour long conversation and a lifelong friendship. Don’t be afraid to be alone!
A solo trip becomes much less scary once you realize how easy it is to meet new people. People are nicer than you think, and you can be sure that the friendliness of others will have a positive impact on your trip.
How to Do It Cheap
Use Google Flights
Google flights is one of my favorite tools for finding cheap flights. If you haven’t used it before, I highly suggests it. The platform shows you a map of the world, where you can choose your destination and travel dates. It will show you the cheapest possible dates to travel, and the least expensive airlines to use
Stay in Hostels
Hostels aren’t just a great place to meet people. They are the cheapest possible places you could stay during a solo trip. For between $5 and $40 a night, you can meet people from across the world in a comfortable environment.
Keep Your Itinerary Realistic
Know your budget, and how many days you’d like to travel for. A 30 day trip will obviously be more expensive than a 10 day trip, so plan the length of your trip based on your budget. Also, don’t get too excited about visiting paid attractions. These are tourist traps, and can really put a dent in your wallet.
Just Do It
If you’re nervous about traveling without friends, understand that a solo trip is one of the most rewarding and life changing experiences you could ever have. Don’t wait for your friends travel plans to align with yours. Don’t make excuses and doubt your ability to be alone. Just get out there on your own and make the most of it. There will be challenges along the way, but if you go into your solo trip with the right mindset, you will have a safe and vivid experience. Hopefully you will understand that solo travel is a realistic possibility the next time you wonder, can you travel without friends?