If you are planning your first solo trip, you have probably spent some time thinking about the implications of traveling alone. The fear of loneliness turns a lot of people away from solo travel, and being completely independent isn’t something most people enjoy. When you decide to go on a solo trip, you may wonder if you are the right type of person to embark on such a journey. You may doubt yourself and your ability to be alone for an extended period of time. You may wonder if your independent adventure will turn into a sad, lonely ordeal.
Solo Travel isn’t sad because it forces you to meet other people and experience new things. A solo trip can be even more enjoyable and fulfilling than a group trip, because it pushes you outside of your comfort zone. Traveling alone is a personal triumph that very few people ever achieve.
It takes a lot of courage to travel alone. Whether you are embarking on a solo backpacking trip, or taking a weekend trip alone, solo travel requires an independent spirit that most people don’t possess. Many people wonder how solo travelers are able to do what they do. Below, I will explain some of the main reasons why solo travel is anything but “sad,” and share some tips for how to have a fulfilling trip.
Expectations are so critical when planning a solo trip. It’s easy to go into the trip with the wrong mindset. The fear of loneliness can warp our perception and make us dread the impending solo trip.
It’s important to go into the trip with an open mind. Understand that there may be some situations where loneliness gets the better of you, but just know that these are fleeting moments that won’t have an impact on the trip as a whole.
Go into your trip with a positive mindset, and plan to have an enjoyable and fulfilling adventure. Make sure you are enthusiastic about traveling alone and experiencing new things.
Instead of dreading your trip, look forward to a break in your daily routine and a chance to make memories that only you will have. If you can do that, your trip won’t be doomed from the start, and you will manifest your way towards a memorable experience.
It’s also important to understand that your solo trip won’t always be perfect. A lot of travelers expect their trip to be something out of a fairy tale, and don’t plan for the occasional off-day or mishap.
While it’s true that solo travel is one of the most freeing experiences someone could have, that isn’t to say there aren’t some “lonely nights of the soul.”
Sometimes your day doesn’t go as planned. You might miss a train or spend a whole day alone. But it’s important to remember that these mishaps are all apart of the experience.
No trip is perfect, and going into your trip expecting it to be perfect is a mistake.
So manage expectations. Don’t be overexcited, but also understand that your trip will be a success so long as you keep a positive attitude.
Go Out of Your Way to Meet New People
Let’s face it, if you don’t go out of your way to meet new people, your solo trip is going to be very sad. The good news is that meeting new people on a solo trip is easier than it is on a group trip.
Going on a group trip can be loads of fun, but it’s unlikely you will be motivated enough to meet new people and make new friends. It’s more likely you will to stick with the group you are with, instead of going out of your way to meet new people.
Group travel provides a lot of comfort, while solo travel leaves you without a safety net.
When you travel alone, you force yourself into an environment where you have no choice but to meet new people. This can be scary, but it’s also one of the most distinctive factors of your trip. You’ll be in a position where meeting new people is far easier than it has ever been. Fellow travelers are often much more friendly to solo travelers because they understand your circumstance, and will greet you with open arms.
Sure, you won’t become best friends with everybody, but if you can deal with a little bit of solitude, you will certainly meet new people on your solo trip.
The best way to meet new people on any solo trip is to stay in hostels. Hostels are designed to be social hubs that allow travelers to eat, sleep, and live in the same environment as one another. This type of housing situation creates the perfect environment for social interaction. The people who stay in hostels want the same things you do: to experience a new culture with new people. Hostels are bar none the best place to make new friends from all around the world.
But hostels aren’t the only place to meet people. Pub crawls, meet ups, couch surfing, and even asking locals for directions are all great ways to ensure you meet new people.
Fill Your Day With Fun
This might be an obvious tip, but it’s easy to get lazy and lethargic when you’re traveling. You could be jet lagged or just sick of the constant sight seeing. But don’t be tempted to waste time in your hostel or AirBnB. When you sleep in or sit around all day your mind starts to wander and you may become anxious about your solo trip.
Humans are social creatures, so we begin to worry and feel alone when we aren’t surrounded by other people. If this starts to happen, get out and visit some sights. You are more likely to meet a new friend or just have a better day.
This doesn’t mean you have to spend the whole day running around every landmark in the city, it just means you have to keep busy. Shopping at a local market or going out to grab a coffee can be enough to break up the day when you’re feeling exhausted or lonely.
The longer you spend waiting around, the more likely you are to feel the sadness that sometimes comes when you spend extended amounts of time alone.
To avoid wasting precious time, structure your days in advance. The night before, make a plan of what you want to do the following day. Writing an itinerary down on a piece of paper or in the notes section of your phone can make it easier to accomplish the goals you set out for yourself each day.
Do enough to keep yourself busy, but not so much that you tire yourself out
When you’re traveling alone, there will certainly be moments where you feel a tinge of sadness or loneliness. Just remember, these are fleeting moments that won’t have an impact on the whole trip. Solo travel is a vivid and rewarding experience, but it isn’t always relaxing. You will need to make an effort to go out and make new friends and experience new things.
It’s all up to you.
But don’t worry, solo travel isn’t sad. I have been on plenty of solo trips in my life and I can attest to how profound these trips have been for my personal development. I would recommend solo travel to anybody, even people who are wondering if solo travel is sad.