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How To Overcome Loneliness When Traveling Solo

One reason many people hesitate to travel solo is a fear of loneliness.

Although I am an advocate of solo travel and believe there are many benefits to traveling alone, I will admit sometimes this feeling can begin to seep in. In reality, it is one of the top negatives on any list of solo travel advantages and disadvantages.

The good news:

There are many ways to overcome the problem. To help you get over your feelings of solitude, use these tips when traveling on your own. They are important to remember when considering how to travel alone and enjoy yourself.

Travel Slower

Many solo backpackers tend to rush from one city to another, trying to fit in as much as possible in the time they have. Unfortunately, this tactic doesn’t give you much opportunity to meet other travelers, interact with locals and form an attachment to the city. You’ll end up constantly feeling like a confused, lonely outsider in every city you arrive in; however, if you travel slowly you’ll be able to form relationships with the people, places and things around you. Your hotel will begin to feel like home, the barista at the nearby coffee shop will know your name, you’ll discover a favorite park to hang out in and you’ll form friendships with other travelers and locals. Additionally, a slower pace makes you less likely to come down with a problematic case of travel fatigue.

Spend The Night In A Hostel

If you’re not already, stay at a hostel for a few nights. Not only will you save money, you’ll be putting yourself in one of the friendliest atmospheres for travelers. In fact, it’s almost impossible not to meet others when staying at a hostel. When searching for the perfect property, make sure there are commons rooms, shared kitchens and social spaces.

You should also research local accommodation options beyond hostels. For example, if you’re going to Morocco as a solo female traveler, many riads offer communal spaces for socializing.

Attend Or Set Up A Meetup On CouchSurfing

CouchSurfing is a great tool for when you’re feeling lonely or want to have some fun while traveling solo. Simply log on, search for a group related to the city you’re in, join and check the message board to see what meetups people are hosting.

If nothing interests you, you can post a message yourself asking if anyone wants to join you on a hike or to meet for dinner.

solo travel
Photo courtesy of Julia Caesar/Unsplash

Sit Alone At A Bar

I know what you’re thinking. “But, isn’t that counterproductive?”

Sitting along at a bar is actually one of the best ways to meet other travelers, as you seem more approachable. Moreover, once you’ve had a drink or two you’ll feel much more comfortable sparking up a conversation with a stranger. If anything you’ll at least have the bartender to make conversation with. Furthermore, just getting out of your room and surrounding yourself with people can help to make you feel less alone.

Do An Activity You’d Rather Do Alone

Personally, there are certain things I would rather do alone, like hiking, exploring a town or going for a run. I like being able to lose myself without any distractions. Think about things you enjoy doing on your own, and spend time doing them.

Give Yourself A Mission

Immersing yourself in a goal can help keep you occupied on the task at hand and not thinking about being lonely. There are a few ways you can do this. Research the area and plan an itinerary of sights and excursions you think are interesting.

Another way to give yourself a mission is to choose a theme or focus for the city and make discoveries based on that. Find the best taco place, the most bizarre piece of art, the cheapest spa, or an authentic souvenir.

When I was in Denver, Colorado — one of the best places to vacation alone in the United States — I made it my mission to find the best artisanal shops in the city. It allowed me to see Denver in a new way and unearth some lesser-known but worthwhile venues.

Or maybe you travel solo to Amsterdam and try to visit every art museum in the city or discover the city’s best bike paths.

Think about your own interests and the local culture of your destination and decide on your quest.

Connect With Family And Friends

Sometimes loneliness on the road is connected to homesickness. Call your mom, Skype with your  significant other or start an email thread where your friends write messages to each other. It’ll be comforting to know there are people at home who miss you and are excited to hear about your trip.

Sign Up For A Group Tour Or Pub Crawl

This is an almost-guaranteed way to meet other people. At the very least, it will give you the sense of doing an activity with others. Group activities are great ways to meet people with similar interests who you can have interesting conversations with, as well as plan other sightseeing excursions with.


Meditation can help you focus on the positives of your journey. Instead of dwelling on how lonely and sad you feel, you’ll be able to focus on why you’re feeling the way you are and realize it can be fixed. Once your positive thoughts begin flowing, you can think about how lucky you are to be having the experience of travel. Moreover, solo travel often leads to a positive internal change, and meditating can help you uncover this.

Photo courtesy of Sebastien Gabriel/Unsplash

Go For A Run

Whenever you’re feeling sad you should exercise. It’s the best natural drug for curing negative feelings, because it releases endorphins. Also, it can help you clear your head, feel good about your health and appreciate the quality time you get to spend with yourself.

Get Inspired By Other Solo Travelers

When you’re feeling down about traveling alone, look at some solo travel blogs and videos and remind yourself of all the great experiences you can have. Doing this will remind you you’re not the first person to travel alone, and while some days may be a bit tougher than others, you shouldn’t let negative feelings ruin the life-enriching opportunity you’ve made for yourself.

Put Away The Technology

Hiding behind a computer screen or standing in the corner texting will make you feel like an outsider. Instead of immersing yourself in technology and complaining about how alone you feel, put your gadgets away and immerse yourself in local culture. You’re going to want the memories of your trip to be about connecting with people and places, not computers and cellphones.

Remember The Benefits Of Solo Travel

If you’re feeling blue about being on your own, grab a pen and write down the benefits of solo travel. Getting to make your own itinerary, learning more about yourself, being more open to meeting new people and having an internal journey are just a few of the perks. You should also make a list of the reasons you enjoy spending time with yourself, and what you’ve learned about yourself so far on the solo journey.

Solo Travel Tips

New to solo travel?


I made so many mistakes when planning my first trip solo — like booking out every second of my itinerary so that I had no room for adventure.

That’s not what I want for you.

To help you plan a meaningful and memorable trip, I’m sharing my top tips for planning the perfect solo trip — with confidence!

What tips for overcoming loneliness when traveling solo would you add to this list?

This post originally appeared on Gadling

Jessie Festa standing in front of grafitti wall

Hi, I’m Jessie on a journey!

I'm a conscious solo traveler on a mission to take you beyond the guidebook to inspire you to live your best life through travel. Come join me!

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  1. I’m the same as you, I actually quite enjoy travelling alone – but loneliness tends to creep in sometimes. Couchsurfing is definitely great for organising meetups with locals, even if you don’t actually stay with them!

    • Jessie Festa on at 9:50 pm

      @Vicky: That, TripIt and FourSquare are my favorite travel apps! Oh, and Airbnb!

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