Many people would like to have some time on their own, exploring other cultures and meeting people from all over the world. But one of the fears that keeps them from taking the step of traveling alone, is the fear of being lonely.
Most of the time I travel alone. Not because I don’t have any friends, but because it means freedom to me. I can do whatever I want to do, I decide what to do with my time. When alone I am more open to meeting new people, people from all over the world. When is the time when you can be alone, with yourself, and make your own choices, all by yourself? Thinking about what you want and how to live your life, without being influenced by others. Many people would like to have some time on their own, exploring other cultures and meeting people from all over the world. But one of the fears that keep them from taking the step of traveling alone, is the fear of being lonely. I will give you 7 tips on how to travel alone and not feel lonely.
- Stay in a place where you can easily meet other people
Hotels and Airbnb apartments are nice when you want to have some time alone and privacy, but they are not the most convenient accommodation options for meeting people. I love hostels! Even when I don’t want to sleep in a dorm with other people, I opt for a single room in a hostel. Hostels usually have a common area where you can meet people from all over the world, and many people who stay in hostels travel long term and also want to meet other people. Although most people are young people under 30, I’ve met quite a few over 40 who are usually the ones with interesting stories to tell and are the ones who are very well-traveled.
If you don’t want to stay in hostels, then search for accommodation with common areas where you can meet people.
Even if you don’t want to use Couchsurfing for staying at people’s homes, use Couchsurfing Hangouts. In the Hangouts, you see people near you who want to ‘hang out. I’ve had amazing times with both locals and travelers, having a drink or dinner or exploring the area I’m in. Some people I’ve met people through the Hangouts I’m still in contact with long after I left the place. I even use Hangouts to meet other Couchsurfers in my hometown.
Couchsurfing is well known for staying at people’s homes, using their ‘couch’, which is actually usually a bed or a sleeping couch. This is a great way to meet locals and see how they live. I’ve stayed with several families in both Indonesia and Sri Lanka. Couchsurfing also has an option to create a Public Trip. That way your request to explore the area or meet up can be found by other members living or staying in the location of your Public Trip.
- Organized day-tours
It is nice to explore the area where you are staying on your own. Take a public bus or rent a motorbike or a car and go out and explore. But taking part in an organized day-tour once in a while can be quite an experience too. Some locations are difficult to find and with a tour, you usually visit a few locations in one day. And it is a great way to meet other people. I’ve met many people during all sorts of day tours with whom I afterward went for dinner or exploring other parts of the area.
- Just go out…
…and go to a bar and have a drink. I have to admit, it is not something I like to do, but for many, this is a way to meet other people. Depends a little bit of the bar, but many places have bars where for example many travelers and ex-pats visit. And sometimes bars have special nights around a theme or a topic or they have a live band playing. Do a bit of research of your destination and nightlife, but if you like to have a beer and a drink, this can definitely be the way to meet other people.
- Do some volunteering work
When you stay somewhere for a few weeks or maybe even a few months, doing some volunteering is a nice way to give something back to the community and meet other people. Maybe there’s a group of ex-pats who are organizing an event where you can help. A school, a community project, or an animal shelter? Or maybe there’s a volunteering organization where you can lend a helping hand.
- Have a yes-attitude
This doesn’t mean you have to say yes to every request someone asks you, but it does mean having an open mind and a positive attitude to new people and adventure. Sometimes someone asks me to join him or her to do something I think seems a bit boring or too adventurous. These are usually the times I’m totally surprised and end up in a wonderful experience.
- Social media
Although I recommend not to be on your smartphone all day long (life happens outside your screen), social media is a nice way to meet other people. Facebook, for example, has different groups, whether it’s a travel group or a location group (like Backpackers Indonesia). Here you can post questions or find travel buddies. I know many use Tinder not only as a dating app but when traveling as a way to meet other people. And who knows, maybe you will find the love of your life while staring at the sunset in the Philippines.
Traveling alone can be scary and even with all these tips above, you can still feel lonely sometimes. You can get ill, have some mental challenges or you can have a bad experience with no one around you to share it. But you will learn to deal with it and solve your problems. It makes you become a problem solver and also more resilient when you’re not traveling. You’re becoming independent because when you were alone all those weeks or months, you solved your own problems and managed your own life. Moreover, after that first solo travel, you are probably ready for more adventure!
This guest post was written by Diana from Diana is Traveling2 who has her own Dutch travel blog. Click the link to check it out! (www.dianaistraveling2.com)