How To Cope With Loneliness On Your Solo Trip

Tips and tricks so you stay connected, meet new people, and make the most out of your solo trip (even when loneliness hits)

by ELLA KERR

December 15, 2022

how to cope with loneliness while traveling

There is something truly special about a solo trip: the time freedom, the joy of aimless wandering, and the unique friendships created along the way. Whether you are embarking on a weekend away in New York City, or are determined to take a solo backpacking trip across Spain, one thing remains true: a solo trip can be a profound way to get to know yourself, but it can also be a lonely experience.

loneliness excessive sleep traveling

Signs Of Loneliness During Solo Travel

Irritability Or Frustration
Not Wanting To Leave Your Hostel Or Hotel Room
Excessive Sleeping

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lonliness at solo travel hostel

Come Prepared

You can’t plan for every wild card that may get thrown your way when embarking on your solo trip, but you sure can plan for a lot! Before you set sail (or board your flight, bus, or train!) make sure you come equipped with these resources to make your travel experience as peaceful as possible (no matter what your trip throws your way!)

A Cell Phone Plan For Your Solo Trip
Comfort Items

Do you have a favorite pillowcase that will make any hostel dorm room feel like home? Does a book from your favorite series make solo dining sound more appealing? Is there a teddy to help you sleep at night? If it’s going to stave off loneliness and bring a bit of home to your journey and can fit in your backpack, then go for it!

Schedule Time To Connect During Your Solo Trip

For some, the prospect of not being around friends and family for an extended period can feel daunting. Scheduling a time to FaceTime or call family and friends can put your mind at ease, and allow you to make plans (without worrying that you are going to miss a call from home!)

Minimize Time On Social Media
Plan Distractions

A rousing game of solitaire? Your Taylor Swift playlist? The ice cream shop down the street you have been dying to go to? Plan a list of distractions that are easily accessible before the feelings of loneliness sets in. Keep in mind that holidays, birthdays, and special events may evoke even more feelings of homesickness, and pay special care to planning activities around these days.

making friends to cope with loneliness solo travel

Meet Others

Join Day Trips
Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Sometimes overcoming loneliness consists of making the first move to start a conversation. (Yes, introverts, this includes you, too!) Introduce yourself to the guy at the hostel bar, ask your dorm mate what she is reading, and find out where others on the day trip are headed next. More likely than not, the person you strike up a conversation with will be glad you chose to start a conversation!!

Reach Out To Friends Who May Be Local
acceptance of loneliness during travel

Accept That Loneliness Happens On A Solo Trip

The fact is this: lonely days are going to happen on a solo trip, no matter how many friends you meet along the way or how well-prepared you may be. Remember, loneliness is not a reflection of you or your solo-traveling abilities, nor is it an internal commentary of the place you are visiting. Instead, view the lonely days as a chance to be human, and embrace the feelings as they come. When the blues hit, take a deep breath and try out these tips for getting out of your funk:

Exercise

Laughter may be the best medicine, but exercise is easily the second best. Take a brisk walk or jog, jump in the ocean, or even try a YouTube yoga class from the comfort of your hotel room. Getting the blood flowing can help boost your mood on hard days.

Feed Yourself
Get Rest During Your Solo Trip

We get it, travel has a way of encouraging us to yell “YOLO!” and ditch the nighttime routine. But if you find yourself feeling irritable or lonely, consider taking a day or two of intentional rest. (We promise, epic adventures are even more epic with a solid eight hours of sleep under your belt.) Having a hard time getting the sleep you need? Consider adding earplugs, a sleep mask, and Melatonin to your packing list.

Write It Down

Whether it’s the note section of your phone or a personalized journal, getting your thoughts and emotions out of your brain can be incredibly beneficial on lonely days. Not only does journaling help you untangle complicated feelings, but writing can be a powerful way for you to reflect on how much you have grown or changed throughout your journey.

solo travel relaxing in hostel

Loneliness, Solo Travel, And You

No matter your age or travel experience, a solo trip is a unique way to get to know yourself on a deeper level and challenge your problem-solving and social skills. People who have completed a solo trip or two will tell you, experiencing a new culture on your own is a catalyst for big growth, (and big challenges!) no matter where in the world you may be.

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