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Woman in a white and blue dress standing in front of the Duomo di Milano at night time

If you ever hear a solo traveler tell you that they never get lonely while solo traveling, I just want you to know that THEY ARE LYING!!

Loneliness and homesickness while solo traveling are very common, even for those of us who are experienced solo travelers. 

Solo traveling is an incredible experience. The freedom to go wherever you want on your own schedule, meet new people from around the world, and discover yourself in new environments is exciting. And to be honest, as amazing as the experience is, it can get lonely. 

When I started solo traveling, I would invite my ex-boyfriend to travel with me. We were young, and he didn’t have the time or resources to be able to travel as freely or constantly as I was able to.

I remember traveling to some beautiful locations and feeling sad and lonely because I had no one to share the moment or the view with. 

During my first solo business trips, I didn’t want to risk becoming “serial killer prey,” so I would avoid leaving my hotel room much. I was so afraid of the unknown and of feeling lonely.

To be honest, I felt ridiculous eating in public by myself. I. seriously. regret. this. I feel that I missed out on so much because of fear of the unknown and loneliness.  

However, I have long since learned that there are many effective ways to cope with loneliness while traveling alone. I want to share some tips with you on how to make friends, fight isolation, and find the joy of solo travel. 

Accept That Loneliness Will Happen

First, know it’s normal to feel lonely when traveling alone, especially for extended periods. Even the most seasoned solo travelers feel it.  

Accept that there will be occasions when you feel isolated or homesick. Don’t judge yourself for it. It’s part of the solo travel territory.

Once you accept loneliness as inevitable, it becomes much easier to deal with. You can mentally prepare yourself for those lonely moments on the road and have strategies ready to cope with them.

Stay Busy Exploring Your Destination

One of the best ways to beat loneliness is to stay active in exploring your destination.

See famous sites, wander through lesser-known neighborhoods (but follow your gut instinct), visit museums and galleries, eat at local restaurants, and check out events and shows. Immerse yourself in the regional culture and sights. Keeping busy stimulates and inspires you.

Having an itinerary of activities planned during the day focuses your mind outward. You have less time to dwell on feeling lonely. Discovering a new destination ignites your passion for travel, reminding you why you started this journey. Exploring is a huge part of the solo travel experience. Enjoy it.

Woman looking at the inside of a white temple in Thailand. She is wearing a royal blue shirt and tropical red and yellow pants.

Talk to Strangers

I know, I know. We are told not to talk to strangers. We are told not to trust others. You need to open up a bit not to feel so lonely solo traveling. As a solo traveler, one of your biggest advantages is being more open to meeting and engaging with new people along the way. Make an effort to talk with locals you encounter.  

Chat with the barista making your coffee, the lunch server, and the hotel receptionist.

Ask them for tips on what to do or where to eat. People are often flattered to share local insider information. You’ll likely get some great recommendations and make a quick connection.

Be open to longer conversations to learn more about locals, their perspectives, and customs. Listen closely to develop an authentic interaction. Reaching out takes courage, but most people are friendly. Use solo travel as a chance to meet people you’d never otherwise cross paths with.

However, I do recommend that you learn to trust your gut instinct. If you don’t feel comfortable around certain people, remove yourself from the conversation or situation. Always trust your instincts. 

Dinner with new friends - Dealing with loneliness while solo traveling.

Join Tours and Group Activities

An easy way to fix solo travel loneliness is to join some group tours and activities. I always join walking tours, cooking classes, pub crawls, food tours, boat rides – anything with a social component. These activities are a great learning experience about local culture from a guide.

When you are in a group setting that is focused on a shared interest, it makes it easier to bond quickly. You’ll meet fellow travelers who you can relate to. Maybe you’ll continue traveling onwards with new friends for the next adventure. Signing up for group activities expands your social circle.

Walking Tour in Brussels - Dealing with Loneliness while solo traveling

Stay at Hostels or Guesthouses

Staying at hostels or guesthouses while solo traveling is ideal for beating loneliness. You’ll meet other travelers there, often solo ones looking for company too. Hostels have communal kitchens, lounges, games, and events that bring people together. Backpackers love to socialize and explore together.

If you need help connecting with others, head to the lounge or kitchen to chat about where you’re from and where you’re going. Join a group heading out for drinks or to check out local music. Travelers bond quickly over shared experiences. Lifelong friendships can form.

I traveled to Italy in 2021. The plan was to stay in Italy for one month and then move on to Tbilisi, Georgia, for three months.

During breakfast after my first night at a hostel in Milan, I met two young women who had come to Milan to attend a few home design shows. They asked me if I wanted to join, and I agreed because I had zero plans for that night.

When I tell you that I had an amazing time seeing a side of Milan that I would’ve never known about! We went to a brand event for Bulgari, Heineken and I even went to Versace’s home design show. 

6 frames showing the different things I saw on a night out in Milan. Top 2 pictures are Bulgari jewelry, middle pictures are displays from Bulgari and Heineken race car and the bottom 2 pictures are of Versace home show

Use Apps and Social Media

Technology makes it easier than ever to stay connected and meet people while solo traveling. Use apps like Get Your Guide, CouchSurfing, and Meetup to find travelers, social events, tours, and hangouts everywhere you go.

Check Facebook for local expatriate and traveler groups who frequently organize get-togethers. Run searches on social media for your special interest meetups.

For example, you can search for photography walks, urban sketching meetups, and art walks in “x” city. Technology is a lifeline when solo traveling gets lonesome. Use it proactively.

Go On Dates

I will give a safety disclaimer on this. Personally, I don’t use dating apps while traveling. I no longer feel safe using dating apps in the US; doing so overseas does not change this for me.  

However, if you feel that dating apps are for you and you want to meet potential love interests through that method, go for it.

Again, trust your instinct and use common safety practices when meeting someone for the first time off of a dating app. Meet this person in public, preferably in a setting where you can easily communicate with others and ask for help if needed.  

Dating apps are global. You can match with residents who can show you around town. It’s a fun way to gain a unique cultural perspective and local company.

Even if it’s just for a coffee, dinner, or drinks, a date can help beat that solo traveler blues. The excitement of a date while traveling can be hard to replicate.

Plus, you may meet someone special on the road. A romantic encounter makes traveling alone more magical.

Practice Self-Care

Solo travel can be draining at times. All the time spent exploring can leave you feeling isolated. That’s why it’s important to practice self-care on the road.

Treat yourself to a spa treatment or massage. Read a book in a park. Take a long bath. Start a journal. Splurge on a nice hotel. Go to the yoga or meditation class you’ve been wanting to try.

Dates with yourself are underrated. Solo travelers need to recharge by indulging in alone time, too. Reflect on your experiences. Do things that nourish your spirit and body. You’ll feel rejuvenated to continue exploring.

Beating Loneliness while solo traveling

Call or Message Loved Ones

When solo travel loneliness seems to be spiraling, take a pause to contact your family and friends back home. Calling or video chatting with loved ones brings comfort when feeling lonely. Their familiar voices and faces remind you of your support network that’s just a message away.

Let them know you’re thinking of them. Share your latest adventures and photos. Ask how they’re doing, too. Maintaining these social bonds while traveling is reassuring. It makes the world feel smaller. Stay proactive about reaching out to beat homesickness.

Journal About Your Trip

Journaling is a therapeutic exercise when you’re alone on the road. Writing your thoughts in a notebook helps you process feelings, including working through bouts of loneliness. Write down your reflections on the new places you’re experiencing, interactions with locals, and moments of joy.

Rereading past journal entries lets you see your internal growth as a solo traveler. The highlights remind you why you set out on this journey. Write about the times loneliness creeps in too. Getting these feelings out on paper is cathartic. Journaling helps you create an unforgettable memory of your trip.

Have Back-up Plans

As solo travelers, we should always be prepared for phases of intense loneliness when the above suggestions aren’t enough.

Develop a back-up plan for when loneliness or homesickness becomes overwhelming. You may travel to the next destination earlier than expected. Or take a quick trip home.

Connect online with a close friend who can immediately call and console you. Thinking of back-up solutions provides comfort if that intense loneliness does strike unexpectedly. You’ll know there are options.

Find The Joy of Solo Travel

While occasional loneliness is part of the solo travel package, the joyful moments far outweigh the low ones. All the diverse people I’ve met, the culture I’ve absorbed, and the wonders I’ve explored solo traveling – it’s unlike any other travel style.  

Solo travel allows you to know yourself on a deeper level. This time alone strengthens your sense of independence and self-sufficiency. Appreciate the gift of solo travel. Its magic makes any passing loneliness worthwhile.

The destination is not the purpose. The purpose is you. Solo travel reveals that our human connections spread deeper than we imagine.

While you may travel alone, you are never really alone. This whole world is connected. Each day is a new chance to explore that truth.

Two Solo Female travelers that met up in Polignano a Mare posing for a Cliff Diving Photo Opportunity. Dealing with Loneliness While Solo Traveling

If this is your first time on my blog, make sure to read Why Latinas Should Never Solo Travel. If this topic interests you, I have an entire Guide to help you Solo Travel.

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Meet Maribel, The Queen of Trips, a survivor who turned her cancer journey into a source of inspiration for fellow travelers. Join her as she fearlessly explores the world, showing that life after cancer is a testament to resilience and the power of living fully.

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