Just because you are travelling alone it doesn’t mean that you have to be lonely. In fact, I’ve found the complete opposite… I tend to make more friends when travelling on my own!
I have been on numerous solo trips in the last two years and have decided to put together a list of ways I manage it to hopefully inspire some of you to give it a go …
Step outside of your comfort zone
If you’re on a solo adventure then the chances are that you’ve already taken this step. Travelling alone can be a daunting prospect, but I haven’t met anyone so far that has said they have travelled alone and would never do it again. You need to be prepared to be brave and take a big step into the unknown.
Take a book with you
I find people reading a book are far more approachable than someone on their phone. Whenever I know I have to go out for dinner on my own I bring a book with me to keep me from feeling self conscious and lonely. I still remember the first time I ate alone in a restaurant, I was petrified that everyone would stare at me and wonder why I didn’t have any friends – turns out people are more interested in eating their own dinner than wondering why I didn’t have company for mine. A book is the perfect distraction until your meal arrives, and I’ve frequently been interrupted to ask what the book I’m reading is about – which is a great way to start a conversation!
Make yourself make friends
If you’re travelling solo then the only person stopping you from making friends is you. Even though you might not be feeling very social, make sure you engage with the people around you. Chat to people in your dorm room, go down to the hostel bar and get a drink, sit in the common areas – there are so many solo travellers out there waiting to start a conversation with you!
Bring a pack of cards with you
Drinking games – the best way to make new friends. Hands down. Who doesn’t like playing “Ring of Fire”? (“Kings Cup” for my Aussie and American friends) If you bring cards with you then you’re guaranteed to draw a crowd of people to you.
Choose friendly accommodation
I use hostelbookers to look for accommodation and although I’m not too picky about where I stay there are a few things I do look for.
- Dorm rooms – I try to go in a room with 6 or 8 beds. Any smaller and it gets pretty intense, and any larger and it can feel like you’re in an all night house party
- Social area – Preferably a bar as this is where everyone tends to congregate in the evening
- Good reviews – Check reviews before you go there and trust your fellow travellers!
- Social events – walking tours and pub crawls are the perfect places to make new friends
Having plans that are too rigid can mean you actually miss out. If you meet a group of people who want to spend the day doing an activity, join them! The first time I travelled I had everything planned out and didn’t have time to deviate from my schedule. Now I’m learning to mix it up a bit – have some plans and leave some things until you arrive at your destination
And finally have fun! Solo travel is so liberating – I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! Be curious but be safe.