7 Ways to Beat Travel Loneliness on Your Solo Trip

It's normal to feel lonely, anxious, or missing home while you travel. Here are some tips to avoid travel burnout and keep the loneliness at bay.


A traveler walking alone Photo © iStock/emrahkarakoc

As much as traveling will open your mind, it will also unlock some of your deepest-seated fears and anxieties. Loneliness and burnout are natural by-products of such a potent emotional brew, and they should be treated with the same care and consideration as the wanderlust you've set out to quench.

To do this while traveling requires a delicate balance of indulging in your comforts and getting out of your comfort zone.

1. Lean on a local support system

Craving human connection is universal. That lone person at the café next to you may be feeling your same reservations, or they might be the door to an exciting new adventure.

As an introvert, I know how tough it can be to strike up a conversation, but it's always easiest to start with a simple question. Ask a fellow traveler or local for directions, a recommendation, or a small piece of advice. No matter where you are in the world, most people are happy to share their wisdom.

2. Connect, then disconnect

Take full advantage of the abundant information available on social media, but don't get caught up in it. Instagram and Twitter can link you to nearby travelers and businesses, while Facebook has numerous groups for travelers and expats in nearly every corner of the world.

These mediums have helped me connect with both foreigners and locals to find affordable accommodation, hear about local events, and organize meet-ups and excursions. Once you've connected online, take that socializing to the streets.

3. Find comforts of home in your new destination

Embrace your new destination, but don't reject your roots. Travel offers every form of escape, but it will never let you get away from where you come from.

Don't feel bad about enjoying some comforts of home in your new location – maybe that's eating a favorite food, cozying up with a beloved book, or blasting your guiltiest music pleasure. Staying at hostels will guarantee the opportunity for group events and trips.

4. Read and learn about your current location

Part of burnout can come from not understanding the culture of the places you are visiting. Get to know your current location beyond its biggest attractions. Read up on its history, people, and struggles.

This knowledge can quickly shift your perspective on where you are and what your purpose is there. Ask locals about their opinion and experience within their country's current climate, too. They can give you up-to-the-minute insight that no book ever could.

5. Eat well and exercise

When you're feeling down, the last thing you'll want to do is eat a sensible salad. But filling your body with nourishing ingredients is exactly what it needs to help you out of that funk. Eat as clean, fresh, and local as you can – and avoid alcohol for a few days.

Boost your serotonin production with good old-fashioned exercise. If there's a gym or yoga studio where you are, see if they offer a free trial (most do).

To get in a little sightseeing while you're at it, some major cities even offer running tours. You can also take to YouTube to find channels dedicated to quick, efficient workouts – no matter how limited your time and space.

If that all sounds like a bore, find yourself a dance floor – in your room, at a park, or in a club – and bust a move.

6. Get fresh air

Loneliness can make us want to retreat even more, but the simple act of leaving your room can be a complete energy-changer.

Get outside. Rent a bike, go for a hike, read at a park, bum at the beach, run, walk, kayak, swim, ski. And even if it's the dead of winter, a slap of brisk wind on the face can be a welcome relief to nursing your woes cooped up inside. Also, joining an activity tour with others is a great way to meet people

7. Take time off

It's tempting to want to take full advantage of every minute you have in a location, but don't force it – that's a surefire way to burn out.

If possible, schedule in a relaxation day or two in each place you plan to visit. A good rule of thumb is to take at least two down days for every two weeks you're on the road. Or, if you can, plant yourself in one location for a few weeks to experience even the slightest sense of stability and familiarity.

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