These are the top 12 ways to learn how to cope with loneliness when travelling alone, and start thriving instead, as well as making the most of your solo travels and trips.
Solo travel can undoubtedly get lonely, especially when you find yourself far from your comfort zone, home and familiar faces. And in unfamiliar surroundings. Dealing with loneliness during solo travel requires a mix of self-awareness, open-mindedness, and embracing the opportunities for connection that arise. While solo travel loneliness is a common experience, it differs from the loneliness you might encounter in your everyday life. Learning how to cope with loneliness when travelling alone is about finding a balance between relishing solitude and seeking meaningful connections with both locals and fellow travellers.
The meaning of solo travel goes beyond merely exploring new destinations alone; it’s a journey of self-discovery and personal growth. Travelling solo allows you to step out of your comfort zone, challenge yourself, and gain a deeper understanding of your strengths and weaknesses. It’s a chance to be fully independent, making decisions on your terms and creating your adventure at your own pace. Embracing solo travel means embracing the opportunity to learn more about yourself and the world around you.
What is Solo-Travel Loneliness?
Solo-travel loneliness is a common emotional experience faced by those adventuring alone. It is the feeling of isolation and disconnection that can arise when exploring unfamiliar territories without the company of familiar faces, or no company at all. Usually, it causes an overwhelming home-sick feeling, and longing for your loved ones and being in your own home. There may be certain moments where you feel down, and need someone to talk to, but no one is there. Which can enhance the feeling of isolation and detachment, and make us feel super lonely.
Despite the excitement of discovering new places, the absence of companionship can lead to a sense of emptiness and longing for meaningful connections. This feeling is enhanced when we struggle to find travel companions and keep too much to ourselves. It’s important to recognise that feeling lonely during solo travel is a natural and valid emotion, but it doesn’t have to overshadow the overall journey.
How is Solo-Travel Loneliness Different?
While solo travel encourages independence and self-discovery, it doesn’t mean forsaking all human interactions. Unlike travelling in a group where camaraderie is readily available, solo-travel loneliness places the focus on creating connections in a different way. It’s about savouring the freedom to choose when and with whom to engage, finding like-minded individuals to share experiences with, and embracing fleeting yet valuable connections. Rather than seeking lifelong friendships, solo travellers often cherish the spontaneity of meeting fellow adventurers, locals, and other travellers along the way, appreciating the beauty of temporary bonds and shared memories.
It’s not the same as combating loneliness in your regular, day-to-day routine. Yes, you still need to create meaningful connections, especially with yourself, but you don’t need to get overly attached or bond on a very deep level. This isn’t someone you’re going to share all that you go through and feel with. Nor is it someone you need to open up to and allow to open up to you, like you would back home with your friends. This is someone you have a good enough bond with to share experiences with, to explore new sides to yourself and the world with. Someone who you share mutual interests with, and can enjoy similar activities with.
Often, we may feel lonelier while travelling alone because we don’t have anyone to talk to or share our emotions with. If we go through something deep, we go through it alone, because it’s not something we feel comfortable sharing with travel companions we just met. And because our friends, who are usually the ones we turn to back home, aren’t as easily available or accessible. Which is why it’s so important to…
Stay in touch with home
A key component of dealing with loneliness while solo travelling, is scheduling regular calls and messaging often. Whether it’s to your parents, siblings, cousins, nieces & nephews, and/or friends. You can even arrange family or friend gatherings on Zoom. This is a great way to share what you’re going through, keep in touch, and feel less distant and detached from them. It will also help you feel less alone, and battle the loneliness that may come up during your travels… Because you have someone to share with and talk to, even if it’s through a screen.
Often, just talking to your loved ones, or seeing their faces on video calls, can help ease the tension, loneliness, worry as well as missing them. It’s a great way to release what you’re going through, get some good advice or just hear a familiar voice and know they care and miss you. It’s normal to feel homesick when travelling alone, and the only way to cope with it is picking up the phone.
1. Call home regularly
Often, when we’re the one travelling it’s more on our shoulders to be the one to initiate calls. It’s important to keep this in mind when our friends and family call less, and not get discouraged when we need to do the calling. Don’t let this hold you back, especially when you’re feeling lonely. This will also help you stay up to date with your friends and family, and feel less left out or out of the loop.
2. Initiate group calls
This is a great alternative to your regular hangouts with friends and family, as well as a great way to keep in touch with multiple people at once. It makes keeping in touch so much easier, simpler, and less time-consuming or daunting. And best of all, it gives you multiple people to talk to and share with, as well as hear from. It also helps you feel like you’re still a part of the group and in the loop.
3. Share your experiences
One of the main reasons solo travellers get lonely is due to not having someone with them to share their experiences. Yes, it’s liberating and exhilarating to travel alone, but sometimes it can be isolating as well. It’s also a great way to feel closer with your friends and family, and stay connected with them. Be open about what you’re going through, the feelings it stirs up and what you’re learning. You can also video call them from cool and unique places that you want to show them.
Going out, meeting new people & common spaces
I’d like to preface this by saying that you should be careful where you go out to alone, especially at night. It’s best to stay close and not walk too far alone in the dark, in a city you don’t know. That said, this is not only a great way to deal with loneliness while solo travelling, but also a wonderful way to meet new people. It can be daunting to meet new people and awkward to strike up conversations, but it’s a key factor in learning how to cope with loneliness when travelling alone.
We don’t always need to find new friends for life to feel less lonely, it just has to be someone we feel good and happy with. Someone we have a great connection with and feel comfortable around. Maybe even someone we can share a bit of what we feel and are going through. This is especially good for you if you’re feeling alone, because it allows you some time to be social, even if you don’t hangout later or outside the cafe, bar, tour or attraction you met at. Here are a few great ways to meet friends when travelling alone:
4. Find people on Facebook groups
Facebook groups are a fantastic place to find people at different stages of your trips, but please proceed with caution and be careful who you meet up with. Check their profiles first and meet them at a public place. Whether it’s a partner for a whole leg of your trip, a day trip, and/or just a hangout… You can search this way for people who are also travelling at the same places, on the same dates. Perhaps someone to do a specific attraction with you, or just to go out and grab drinks. This is yet another great way to be social, even for just one day or night.
5. Go out, and sit on the bar
I know it can be awkward to go out on your own, but it’s well worth the struggle of getting over it, because you can meet some great people. I found that it’s also so much easier to do as a tourist, and that there are more and more people going out alone. When sitting at the bar, you’re more likely to get more attention from the bartender… Which is a huge bonus, because it gives you someone to talk to without too much effort, plus you always get free drinks. It’s also a more common seating area for other solo travellers, and you’ll feel less awkward than sitting alone at a table.
6. Go to cafes / restaurants with common tables
Similarly, but also much more easily, you can go out to cafes to interact with fellow solo travellers, and make new friends. These are usually cafes most suitable for remote workers, but they’re great even if you just want to go sit and read or write. In addition, cafes with common tables attract more solo travellers, or just people coming alone in general, and it will likely be easier to strike up a conversation and meet some new people this way.
7. Meet & talk to people at your hostel
Your hostel can be a treasure trove of potential friendships when you’re travelling alone. Take the initiative to introduce yourself to fellow travellers in common areas (like the kitchen, lobby, breakfast hall, bar, etc.), in your shared room or during hostel activities. Engage in conversations, exchange travel stories and recommendations, and don’t be afraid to join group activities. This shared experience can lead to lasting connections and help ease feelings of loneliness. Everyone at the hostel is in a similar situation, seeking new encounters and friendships, which makes initiating and interacting with new people so much easier.
8. Go on a group tour
Joining a group tour is an excellent way to combat loneliness while travelling solo. Opt for tours that align with your interests and explore the local sights and activities in the company of like-minded travellers. Group tours provide a structured environment for socialising and foster a sense of camaraderie among participants. Engage in discussions during the tour, exchange contact information with fellow travellers, and consider exploring further together after the tour ends.
9. Local events & communities
Seek out local events and gatherings to immerse yourself in the community’s culture and meet new people. Check for festivals, concerts, workshops, or classes happening during your stay. Participating in such events not only keeps you engaged but also opens up opportunities to bond with locals and fellow travellers who share your passions. Engaging with the local community can provide a sense of belonging and help you forge meaningful connections during your solo journey.
Enjoying your alone time
When travelling alone, you’ll inevitably spend a huge chunk of your time alone, probably even most of it. So it’s important to learn how to cope with being on your own. And not only relying on meeting new people to overcome and cope with your loneliness. In fact, your solo trips are a wonderful opportunity to learn how to enjoy your own company, fend for yourself, and be more independent and confident.
A big reason you may be feeling lonely during your solo travels, is due to not spending your alone time well. If you don’t meet new people or have days alone, don’t just spend them locked up in your room, or roaming around bored out of your mind. Don’t hesitate to go do things alone, and don’t wait to meet people to do them with (you’ll probably even meet people while doing them). You’ll never even start learning how to cope with loneliness when travelling alone, if you don’t dare do anything by yourself.
10. Do something fun & adventurous with yourself
Embrace solitude by engaging in activities that bring you joy and self-fulfilment. Treat yourself to a solo day at the beach, take a scenic hike or walk, explore local markets, visit museums, or simply wander through charming streets and parks at your own pace. Solo travel offers the freedom to focus on your personal interests and hobbies without compromising on anyone else’s preferences. Relish yourself in the moment and do something exciting that will get you out of the loneliness bubble.
11. Listen to music and/or audiobooks
In the midst of solitude, music and audiobooks can be your loyal companions, filling the spaces between destinations and helping you embrace moments of stillness. This was a great way for me to not only pass the time during bus, train and plane rides… But also cope with all of the quiet time and silence, whether it be at the accommodations, while walking around, or during the different attractions. These auditory escapes can ease feelings of loneliness and provide a comforting backdrop to your solo adventures.
12. Journaling & writing
Turn your feelings of loneliness into a creative outlet through journaling and writing. Expressing your emotions and experiences on paper can be cathartic and therapeutic. Use your writing to document the highlights of your journey, jot down thoughts about the places you’ve seen, and reflect on the valuable lessons you’ve learned while travelling alone. Additionally, consider starting a travel blog or sharing your stories on social media; not only will it help you connect with others, but it can also inspire fellow solo travellers who might be experiencing similar emotions.
In conclusion – Solo-travel loneliness is a natural part of the journey, but it doesn’t have to define your experience
So, how can you deal with loneliness while solo travelling? First, remember the true meaning of solo travel—it’s about embarking on a journey of self-discovery and personal growth. Embrace moments of solitude as opportunities to connect with your inner self, gaining insights that only solo exploration can provide. Embrace your solo-trip as an opportunity for self-reflection, and don’t hesitate to reach out to others along the way. Travelling alone doesn’t mean you have to be completely alone—it’s about finding the right balance between solitude and socialising, enriching your adventures and creating lasting memories along the way.
Ultimately, travelling alone speaks volumes about a person’s adventurous spirit, self-reliance, and courage to explore the world on their terms. It showcases a desire for independence and an open-mindedness to embrace new cultures and experiences. Solo travel is an empowering choice that reveals an individual’s willingness to step outside their comfort zone, confront challenges, and discover the beauty of both the world and themselves. Which is why it’s so important to prepare yourself and learn how to cope with loneliness when travelling alone. Solo travel loneliness allows for both external and internal connections that contribute to personal growth and enriching travel experiences.
For more on loneliness, check out my ebook: “The Power of Connections“
SIGN UP for my mailing list to receive 10% off the ebook “The Power of Connections” & digital download version of the 30-Day Challenge for Embracing Singlehood, as well as an Embracing Singlehood Bundle, which includes: an Anxiety Relief Bundle, a Self-Care Bundle, a Goal Setting Tracker and a Self-Reflection Journal. You’ll also receive exclusive pro tips with every single blog post published!
Stay safe, stay healthy and stay strong!
please share, pin and spread the love 🙂