As I sat at the hostel bar, I stared out into the open room. The hostel was crowded with young people of all ages, laughing and talking. As my eyes scanned the room, I would sometimes see a person sitting alone. I scanned the crowd looking for my next hostel introduction. My eyes landed upon a young woman with dark black hair. I grab my beer and made my way. I stand in front of her, introduce myself and sit. Fifteen minutes ago, I was lonely, because I was sitting in that hostel bar alone. Once I drummed up the courage, I had made a new friend. This is how I conquer loneliness on solo travel. HOW TO CONQUER LONELINESS ON SOLO TRAVEL
I love traveling solo. It’s fulfilling, daring, beautiful and I actually meet way more people when I travel solo. But not without bravery.
However I believe any solo traveler will tell you, it is not always glamour and sparkles. Sometimes, solo travel can be very lonely. As social creatures, we need to make personal connections and feel wanted.
I am an introvert, but I still want to meet people, have someone to go to dinner with and talk about travel with. That is only normal. Through my last year of solo travel, I have discovered how to conquer loneliness. This is the small formula that helps me, every time I visit a new city and wish to make friends.
1 // STAY IN A HOSTEL
I rave all the time about Air BnB, but the reality is, staying in one can be rather lonely. Unless you have a social house owner [like I did in Berlin], you will find yourself relaxing in your room without a conversation in sight.
When I am by myself traveling, I encourage myself to stay in hostels. It’s daring, but I am literally putting myself in the element to make friends and not be lonely.
In Zurich, I stayed at a hostel with a bar and restaurant on the bottom floor. This was a great opportunity to meet people in the evening, and make plans with the next day.
2 // FIND A MEETUP GROUP
The internet is a wealth of resources, and it has countless meetups in your desired city. This is a great place to connect with like-minded young individuals like you.
In Berlin, I joined International Friends Berlin and Girls Gone International Berlin. In both groups, I met wonderful people that I went out for a beer or dinner on Friday nights. Meetup.com is a great place and also Tender.com.
Believe it! In America, Tender is not the most snazzy website, but in Europe I met great people that I enjoyed spending an afternoon with [no strings attached!].
3 // VOLUNTEER
Volunteer on your travel? Heck, yes! Volunteering is a great way to find like minded individuals to spend time with and hang. In Berlin, they have Facebook groups and websites dedicated to volunteer opportunities. It is only a quick google or Facebook search.
4 // GO EXPLORE AND HAVE A WARM SMILE
Sometimes, the loneliness sets in, and you have to go push yourself to exit the hotel. This is why I encourage a hostel, because the room is not the most ideal place to hang all day. Go and explore!
Use YELP and find a local coffee shop [or use my Berlin Coffee Guide]. I find the individuals in coffee shops to be very warm and friendly.
Make a conversation with the person sitting next to you or behind the counter.
5 // REGISTER FOR A CLASS
In Innsbruck, I took a four week German class. In Berlin, I took a weekend photography class. If you find yourself staying in one place for a bit, I highly suggest taking a class. This will encourage you to meet new people that have a similar interest, and you will be learning a new skill.
6 // BOOK A BACKPACKER BUS
Place yourself in the atmosphere of like minded people. In New Zealand, I rode around the South Island on STRAY BUS TOURS.
The best experience and decision that I have ever made for myself as a solo traveler. I had more fun and met more people in six days, than I ever have in my entire solo career. Stray is also in Asia. In Europe, another company has a hop-on hop-off bus called BUSABOUT that would be a similar experience. [READ 5 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO TO NEW ZEALAND.]
7 // STAY POSITIVE
The #1 thing you should always be doing on solo travel is remaining positive. As a solo traveler, it is extremely easy to settle into the mindset of loneliness and become a little down. Perk up, Charlie! Always remind yourself of how LUCKY you are to be discovering the world and seeing beautiful places.
That is how I conquer loneliness on a daily bases during my solo travels. It can be hard sometimes, and I [very often] will FaceTime my mother and complain.
But I always make it through those episodes. The more you travel solo, the more you become an expert at it. The reason I can give you these 7 tips is because I EXPERIENCED this loneliness, and this is how I conquered it. It does work. You just need positiveness and self will.