If you’re ready to travel solo for an extended period of time, here’s a harsh reality—loneliness may creep in at some point. Whether it happens while you’re pondering over that dinner special for two or considering an activity, even the most seasoned traveler can’t escape those dreaded feelings of separation and isolation. But you can certainly prepare for it. Check out a few tips for going solo.
- Connect with like-minded travelers, prior to departure. Thanks to the surge of black travel groups such as Nomadness and TravelNoire, there are several opportunities to connect with like-minded travelers.
- Join travel forums such as Trip Advisor and Lonely Planet to plan and participate in tours. Consider activities such as cooking classes, exercise classes, language lessons, scuba diving, or wine tasting.
- Contact a destination-specific blogger such as Jet Set Sarah, who covers the Caribbean exclusively. Bloggers solely focused on a destination can provide the inside city scoop to help you survive temporary feelings of loneliness.
- Eat at a sandwich shop, local bar or Internet cafe. If you choose to eat at a restaurant, sitting at a bar as opposed to a table, may signal other diners that you’re ‘open’ for conversation. Additionally, when it comes to learning about local hot spots and places to mingle, bartenders are great sources of information. And don’t forget to bring along a book or magazine to help you feel less self-conscious.
- Use social media networks. Facebook and Twitter are great tools for asking simple questions and making powerful connections. For instance, “How safe is Cape Town for a solo female traveler?” or “Does anyone know a good-value hotel in New York with a happy hour?” Additionally, updating your Facebook/Twitter status often or uploading pictures to Instagram throughout your trip can help you feel like your friends are traveling right along with you.
- Download the new “Mile-Hi” app which allows you to arrange meet-ups before, during or after your journey.
- Find a local meet-up group. From educational seminars to group activities, Meet-up.com provides a variety of events, organized by area.
- Start conversations with people including mothers with children, shop owners, dog walkers, etc.
- Stay in hostels or boutique hotels where you can hang out with other travelers.
- Become a volunteer. There are several tour companies offering volunteer vacation packages. Check out Go Voluntouring or Fathom Cruises, a social impact initiative combining a travelers’ love for travel with giving back to the community.
Have you traveled solo? If so, share your tips below for conquering feelings of loneliness.