Have you ever lusted over photos of people traveling around the world? Have you noticed the huge boom of people (not just millennials) transitioning their jobs and lifestyles to lead a more remote life?
It may seem impossible to do, but it’s not as intimidating as you may think. Solo travel has a way of freeing you, and I’m going to let you in on 5 simple ways to get over your fear of traveling solo.
I’ve known for the last 15 + years of my life that I wanted to see the world. But let’s be realistic… does anyone in their late teens/early 20’s think to themselves; I’m going to go by myself across the world and just see what happens.
Actually, I’m sure that a ton of people do. But they’re much braver than most people are, myself included.
Being a solo female traveler can seem a little daunting, especially if you’ve read some of the horrific stories spiraling around the web these days. But on the flipside, there are also SO many wonderful stories of solo travel, for both men and women.
It’s all about having some basic street smarts, and a whole lot of open mindedness!
Personally, I never thought I would enjoy traveling solo. When I was younger, I never enjoyed doing things by myself. I was always the person who was surrounded by friends and entertainment.
In addition to that, I was a little quieter around new people. I always listened much more than I spoke (which is still true for the most part) and was talked over by many people in my life.
I hated being alone for the majority of my pre-teens until I was about 22 years old. That’s a really long time to not be able to enjoy your own company, let alone to not even truly know yourself. I remember actually having to force myself to do things alone, and it felt a little unfamiliar.
Eventually, I grew to love it. More than love, I grew to crave it. Nowadays I feel drained when I socialize too much and don’t have enough time for myself. The freedom of solo travel is something that will force you to open your eyes and heart to new experiences and will change you for the better.
I think of myself as being an extroverted introvert. I am fully capable of being extroverted and communicating with people and socializing, but I also crave the days where you wander aimlessly just to explore on your own with no one else but yourself experiencing the moment.
I quickly learned that meeting people is no problem at all, in fact, I actually had to purposefully set time aside for myself because I had met so many fun, interesting people that I barely had any time otherwise!
These are a few surefire ways to meet people traveling solo just like yourself…
1. Join a walking tour
Not only is this a great (and often free) way to get your bearings in a new city, but the nature of walking tours lends to easy conversation. Stopping for a group meal or drink also presents a great opportunity to socialize. Strawberry Tours is a great option for a free walking tour, offered in A LOT of major cities around the world.
2. Sign up for a group travel tour – Contiki
From day trips to multi-day adventures, small-group tours offer travel experiences that you aren’t able to access as an independent traveler, as well as an opportunity to form friendships — that can be lifelong — with the people you share the journey with. Contiki is an awesome tour with many differing itineraries all over the world.
3. Participate in a few touristy/group activities – bar crawls, surfing, yoga, etc.
You may be able to find some fun group activities through Meetup, but also check out what your hostel is hosting. A lot of times hostels will have sort of a community board or a big schedule where they arrange a day of surfing for everyone at the hostel, or a bar crawl throughout the town. It’s a really fun way to meet people and feel comfortable knowing that everyone will end up back at the same place.
4. Connect online
There are now loads of apps designed to help travelers connect on the road. Tripr and Meetup help you meet people ahead of time who will be traveling to the same destinations. The Meetup community has almost 30 million members in 184 countries, so there’s a decent chance there will be an event of interest during your visit. EatWith allows you to attend a dinner party hosted by a local chef and can help you find and connect with other travelers willing to share advice, meet up or host you.
5. Stay in a Hostel
Look for hostels that have a cool shared space, as these can be great places to meet other travelers over a beer, while cooking meals or simply hanging out.
Remember…magic happens outside of your comfort zone.
The Traveling Yogi