If you had to wait for your friends and family members to unbusy themselves from their schedules, you might never have the opportunity to live out all of your travel dreams. So, if you
have a yearning to travel more, and have the time and resources to do so, then you might want to consider a solo trip if traveling buddies are slow to appear.
Of course, there are other reasons to travel solo too.
By going it alone, you won’t have to compromise with others. You can set your own itinerary, and enjoy the freedom to fulfill all of your personal bucket list dreams while you’re away.
Your self-confidence might improve too. Without having other people to back you up in situations that push you out of your comfort zone, you will have to rely on your own inner resources. Scary? Possibly, but think about the sense of achievement you will feel when you have conquered your fears.
Tips to Overcome The Challenges Of Solo Travel
And it’s on that last point that we are basing this article today. There are all kinds of challenges in your way when traveling solo, but they aren’t unsurmountable. It is possible to overcome them and have a good time, so don’t be put off by anything that shouldn’t pose too much of a problem to you. We discuss some of these challenges below, so have a read, and then consider our tips on how to face them.
Challenge #1: Overcoming feelings of loneliness
As great as it is to have the freedom to do what you want when you’re away, there could be times when you regret not having somebody by your side to share your experiences with. It might be when you are stood at the top of a mountain, and you aren’t able to enjoy the incredible sights you see with another. Or it could be when you are eating out, and you have nobody to talk to when eating your meal. You might also feel homesick on occasion, especially when you feel like a stranger in a strange land. When loneliness sets in, you might start to enjoy your travel less.
Thankfully, there are ways to overcome your feelings of loneliness.
Stay in contact with people at home. If you have a smart device with you, be it a phone, tablet, or laptop, make the effort to contact people at home when you need a little reassurance. By staying in touch with them on social media, or by calling and face timing them regularly, you won’t have to remain distant from your nearest and dearest for long. Just be sure to purchase a data plan that allows for international roaming when using your phone, as this can make things more affordable and practical for you. Check out the new 30GB SIM plan being offered by Smarty (as well as their other data plans) for example. And remember to stay safe, being sure to use your devices when you are away from the prying eyes and ears of others.
Make some travel buddies. You might be traveling alone, but you don’t have to be alone for the entire duration of your journey. Book a place at an accommodation where you are bound to meet other travelers, such as at nearby hostels in the towns you are traveling through. Join walking tours too, and tag along with other people who are traveling solo. And join travel groups on sites such as Meetup or similar, and arrange to meet up with other people who are heading to your chosen destination. You don’t have to hang out with your new travel buddies daily, but by having somebody to spend time with occasionally, you will be less prone to those feelings of loneliness.
Learn the lingo. If you don’t know how to communicate with the locals, you are bound to feel lonely if there are no English-speaking people around. You will struggle too, especially when you need to ask those all-important questions, such as ’where is the nearest toilet’ and ’how do I get to my hotel.’ So, for practicalities sake, as well as for reasons associated with loneliness, make the effort to learn the language of the destination you are traveling to. You don’t need to know every word, but having the ability to say something rather than nothing will help you when striking up a conversation with others.
Challenge #2: Staying safe
Traveling alone means you are an easy target for those who might seek to cause you harm. You could be fleeced by a scam, attacked and robbed for your possessions, or stalked by a creepy weirdo! Such fears for your personal safety might put you off traveling, but there are ways to protect yourself.
Travel to a safe country. Some places are safer to travel to than others, so avoid those countries that are dangerous for solo travelers. You will then have greater peace of mind when booking your trip, and you will cause less worry in those people who will be thinking of you back at home. Check out this list of the best and worst countries for solo female travel, and continue your research online.
Surround yourself with others. As we suggested earlier, you don’t have to be alone for the duration of your journey. By teaming up with others, not only will you combat feelings of
loneliness, but you will be in a safer position too. So, take walking tours when exploring potentially unsafe areas of your destination. Buddy up with people you consider safe when out at night. And blend in with the crowds instead of wandering off alone, especially in areas that are known to be dangerous.
Research safety tips. For more advice, continue your search online. Research local scams so you know how to steer clear of them. Research wearable items, especially those that are handy for keeping your possessions hidden and safe. And research do’s and don’ts for the countries you are traveling to, as a little bit of knowledge will serve you well when you’re away. Check out our safety tips for starters, and then head to Google to continue your research.
Challenge #3: The cost of travel
Traveling can be expensive even when you’re touring the world with others. But when you’re traveling alone, you will be responsible for all of the costs that face you, with nobody else to
share your financial burden. This can be a problem, especially if you run out of money while away, but thankfully, there are ways to make life easier for yourself (and your pockets).
Budget beforehand. After deciding on a destination, work out the costs that will be attributed to you. We are thinking about travel costs, accommodation charges, and any other expenses you might be faced with when away. When you know how much money you are likely to need, you will then have the incentive to save up and budget to give you the ability to meet them. Sure, you might have to delay your travels for a while, but it’s better to have the money you need before jetting off on your travels.
Make extra money. You can do this before going away, perhaps by taking on extra work, or by selling those possessions that aren’t really needed in your life. And you can also make extra money when you’re away, perhaps by finding part-time jobs in the areas where you are staying, or by making money by renting out your property at home. There are lots of ideas in the linked article for other money-making opportunities, so click on it to have a read.
Shop outside of touristy areas. You are going to see a hike in prices for such things as food, clothing, and entertainment when visiting touristy areas. However, if you go off the beaten track a little, you will find those food places, shopping outlets, and entertainment areas that are used by the locals, and these should be significantly cheaper than the touristy alternatives. They might be more interesting to you too, as you might find a few hidden gems when you’re exploring local neighborhoods.
Travel cheaply. If you book early and/or choose to travel during off-peak seasons, you will benefit from a cheap flight and hotel prices. You can save money on accommodation by choosing to stay at a hostel or an Airbnb, instead of staying at a luxury hotel. By staying in one area for a longer duration of time, you will have less need to suffer the bus, train, or flight expenses that will burden you if you constantly hop from place to place. And if you can learn how to make your own meals, you won’t have to eat out every night during your travels. Here are some other ideas for saving money on your travels, so have a read of the linked article, and use the tips within to salvage your bank balance.
Solo travel can be rewarding, despite the challenges you might face when away. So, don’t give up on the idea of traveling alone, as not only will you experience the benefits of doing so, but by following our tips, you can also face head-on those obstacles before you.
Let us know what you think, and if you have any other words of wisdom for our readers, please share them by using our comments section below.