Have you ever considered traveling solo? More and more people are kicking back and going it alone these days. In fact, for our generation, travelling alone is a badge of honor, with solo female travel ranking highest of all. Blame Eat, Pray, Love if you want to, but more of us are experiencing the desire to spread our wings without a companion to hold us down.
That said, there are still plenty of individuals out there who have yet to take the leap. Despite the trend, going away without a companion is a frightening prospect to most. There’s a long list of reasons for this, but often fears of loneliness are right up there. We just aren’t used to being alone anymore. Even when we sit at home for an evening, we continually communicate with our friends online. You can still do that while you’re away, of course, but it’ll be that harder. Time differences may mean you can’t talk in real time. Roaming charges may mean it isn’t practical to use the internet. For whatever reason, you might find yourself much more cut off than you were expecting. So, loneliness isn’t an unrealistic worry to have.
In truth, though, travelling solo doesn’t have to mean going it alone. It may seem strange, but it’s true. All traveling solo means is that you’re going away without a direct companion. But, that doesn’t mean you have to get around on your own. Here are a few different ways you can ensure you have new friends with you for the duration of your trip.
Get a grasp on the language
The first thing you want to do is get a grasp on local language. If you can’t speak at least a few basic phrases, you’ll be scared to make conversation with anyone you meet, and are sure to struggle making friends. Bear in mind that you don’t have to be fluent before heading away. As long as you know the essentials, you should be able to pick up the rest through the conversations you have. Even if you aren’t great with languages, you’d be surprised how fast you get to used to talking to people in your newfound dialect. If this is something which worries you, you could always opt to visit countries which speak English as a first language. It would certainly take the pressure off your first solo trips. If you find yourself able to make friends in these countries, you can then start to branch out into different languages.
Travel with a group
Travelling with a group may seem like it defeats the object of solo travel, but that isn’t the case at all. As mentioned above, going it solo simply means not taking along a direct partner. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t have other people around you. With that in mind, it’s worth looking into travel companies like Just You, who offer holiday packages specifically for the solo traveler. Any group holiday would be suitable, of course. But, this ensures you don’t end up feeling left out with all those couples around! Something like this is ideal if you’re out to make new friends. You’d be spending a fair amount of time with the other people on your tour. That said, you’re still technically alone. If you fancy heading out for a wander, you won’t have anyone to answer to. If you don’t want to eat with the group, no one’s going to think twice about you heading out to eat alone. And, when you’ve had your fill of your own company, you can head back to the comfort of those familiar faces.
Excursions are often a dirty word when it comes to real travelling. That’s stuff for typical tourists, right? Perhaps, but it’s worth sparing a thought for excursions when you go it alone. For one, they can help you find your footing when you first arrive. They give shape and substance to your days and ease you into the solo experience. For another, these are a fantastic way to meet people on your terms. It may be that the group idea mentioned above sounds like your idea of hell. That said, you may still like the chance to get around with others occasionally. Excursions have got you covered. And, given that they’re only a day at a go, you can still have plenty of time alone if you want it. While any day trip is sure to see you meeting others, you may want to look into what your hotel offers. That way, you can meet people staying in the same place, who you’re sure to bump into at another point in your stay. In no time, you could develop some decent friendships this way.
Use your phone
If in doubt, you could always turn to your phone to connect you with others. Just as social media helps you stay connected at home, your phone can ensure you meet like-minded individuals during your travels. There are many apps which serve the purpose of bringing travellers together. Something like FlipTheTrip is ideal for finding people in the same area as you and runs in over 4500 countries. If that doesn’t cover your needs, there are plenty of other options which serve the same purpose. The benefit of these apps is that you can start using them before you head away. That way, you can get chatting with people in the area well in advance, and plan meetups before you even get on the plane. Knowing that you have someone you can meet with when you arrive will really help to put your mind at rest.
There’s no getting past the fact that travelling solo is a leap of faith. But, it’s important to note that it doesn’t have to mean going it alone. There are plenty of ways to ensure you have company of some sort on your travels. Even better, you can adapt and change that company to suit your needs.
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