Here at Frayed Passport, we are exuberant advocates of solo travel. Traveling on your own gives you an adventure unlike any other—it forces you out of your comfort zone, you have the freedom to set your own schedule, and you can create an experience that’s uniquely yours.
Although traveling alone has many benefits, some solo travelers find themselves getting lonely or bored when they’re on the road without a companion—especially if you’re traveling longer-term as a digital nomad, remote worker, or expat. Your trip may last for a long weekend or perhaps even months, but whether you’re backpacking across Europe or taking a solo trip to the Cinque Terre, there are going to be pauses in the action when you may wish for a kindred spirit or a break in the monotonous hassles of travel.
Here are a few simple ways to take back your happiness, explore your surroundings, and get the most out of your journey.
1. Find New Friends Online and In-Person
Whether you’re a solo traveler on a group tour or all on your own in a foreign place, find a companion if you’re feeling lonely. New friends have the added benefits of being completely unknown, which means you can spend hours learning about each other while exploring exotic locations. If you don’t speak the local language, download a language app to learn and translate on the road, try using what you remember from your high school or college classes, or pick up some basic phrases before you go.
Join Slack groups like ones you’ll find on Nomad List to connect with other travelers in destinations you’re visiting—also check out the many Facebook groups for solo travelers worldwide, and see if anyone’s around to meet up. If you don’t feel super safe meeting with someone you’ve met online, you can still join groups and talk with like-minded people without catching up in-person. It can make a huge difference to talk through Whatsapp or even Zoom when you’re on your own and feeling a bit lonely.
2. Immerse Yourself in the Culture
You’re traveling alone in an amazing new place; you get to decide exactly what to do, where to go, and what to eat. You don’t have to do something totally different and new every day, but traveling solo gives you the chance to choose your own adventure quickly and without compromise. Try a day of mask-making tours if you’re in Italy, or take a tango classes while traveling in Argentina, or go on a bike tour while in Colombia! If you’re a foodie, see if there are cooking classes or wine tastings close by. And immerse yourself in the language if you’re in a destination where your spoken language isn’t the primary one—a combination of Duolingo, watching local TV, and taking long walks and going about day-to-day shopping and errands can make you feel more comfortable and a little less like an outsider.
3. Take Some Time With Things That Comfort You
If you’re a longer-term traveler, you’re probably not going to want to go-go-go every single day. Sometimes you just want to hang out and do your own thing, and do what’s comfortable for you. Solo travel can get exhausting in its own way!
Download your favorite books and audiobooks, movies, TV shows, podcasts, and music, and take a day to chill out with whatever will make you happiest. Talk with people back home—it can help you reset. A couple months into one of my solo trips, I got a bit sad and lonely and called my parents on Zoom just in time to watch Jeopardy! They angled the camera toward the TV and we played as though I was in the living room with them. It was so nice to do something familiar while also getting to tell them about my travels—it both comforted and reinvigorated me, and helped pull me out of a bit of a slump.
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