I’m alone, but I’m not lonely…or am I? That’s what I ask myself every time I hand my boarding pass to the gate attendant as I’m on my way to my next destination. No matter how much I hype up traveling solo, I always encounter some feeling of loneliness and the need to be with or around another being.
Because of necessity, we as humans have evolved into social beings. We depended on each other and our cooperation to survive environmental conditions (think about food, water, warmth, and procreation back in the cave man days). Obviously in today’s time we aren’t facing these same survival threats, but there is still an innate need for humans to interact and affiliate with each other. It’s human behavior.
Most recently I posted on my Instagram about my trip to San Jose and Los Angeles, California. With it being my first time on the West Coast, I wanted to experience everything California had to offer. The beaches, malls, food, workout classes, celebrities, even the high cost of living. Okay maybe not that last part. But I was determined to pack in as much I could in about 5 days. #GetYourMoniesWorth. I initially checked into my hotel in San Jose and it was at this moment I realized I was riding solo. With an originally booked room with a single bed, concierge informed me that I would have to take a room with double beds. Two beds, one Ravenne. Once again, I began to succumb to the feeling of loneliness. Honestly, I can go on and on about my many moments of being alone, but let’s save the tears because we really don’t have time for that.
Truth is, the real win with traveling on your own is the ability to overcome these feelings and moments. As you finish up your trip and head back home, albeit alone, you’ll realize you survived. I always say to myself “You did it Ravenne, you made it all on your own and conquered yet another trip as I scroll the photos and countless memories I created. Of course, every destination I visit on my own is a challenge, but I have some tools and methods that help me overcome them. And I’m going to share! Below are just a few tips on how I survive traveling alone and getting over those bouts of loneliness.
1. Plan Your Itinerary.
Create a brief schedule of things to do, place to see, and spots to eat. By doing this, you’ll have something to look forward to rather than just staying inside or feeling like you don’t have anything to do. I will literally search “things to do in _____” on Google and I always find a plethora of options no matter where I’m headed. Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Instagram are also great resources to find options and reviews from other travelers. When using Instagram, I’ll search hashtags or look up my destination on the Places tab. I always have some sort of list or schedule when traveling as this keeps me excited and energized to keep trying and exploring.
2. Eat At The Bar
Yes, eat at the bar alone just like in those old school romantic movies. But seriously, this is a major key to enjoying a meal or drink when you’re by yourself. Why? Because bartenders and other loners will most likely be at the bar ready to spark up a conversation. You’ll also have less eyes on you wondering why you’re sitting alone if that’s something you’re concerned about.
3. Book a Group Tour
Yup! You will always find me being that super tourist on a group tour with Sam and Barbara celebrating their 20 year anniversary. Group tours are an easy way to visit major sites, learn some interesting facts, and travel with the security of having other people around you. Being that you’re alone, you’ll have other people to talk, explore your destination with, and be your photographer for the day.
4. Finish a Task
Still have that book you’ve been reading for the past 6 months, have that phone call to your cousin you need to return, a podcast you want to listen to, or need to do some shopping? If you answered yes to any of those questions that means you have more than enough to do even if you’re alone. Traveling solo means you get to do whatever you want with your free time. So feel free to use some of that time to catch up on things you’ve been meaning to do.
5. Utilize Social Accommodations
Hostels and Airbnb’s s are great ways to place yourself in a social environment in comparison to sleeping in a hotel room alone. I personally haven’t stayed in a hostel, but I will for my trip in October (I’ll let y’all know how it goes & pray for me lol). I always hear great reviews from other travelers and friends as these shared accommodations have communal space that create the perfect conditions to meet other people. Being physically alone doesn’t mean you have to avoid people. People are everywhere! Use that to your advantage and be open to small talk.
6. Be In The Moment
Last but not least! Enjoy your damn self and destination! Learn to breathe and just be in the moment. Feelings of loneliness will follow you all throughout your trip, but it’s how you manage those feelings that determine if you can survive being “alone”. I can provide with you websites, articles, and advice, but at the end of the day you can only overcome loneliness by learning to be whole with yourself. And trust me some days are really hard and you’ll be missing your friends, but you just have to stick through it. I myself am still learning how to be independent and every trip I notice how more comfortable and confident I become. Like they say “you have to go through it, to grow through it.”
P.S. These are a few tips that I have found to work best for me, but feel free to do a quick internet search on “how to travel alone” and a million tips will come up. Pick a few that you’re comfortable with, and try them out for yourself. Enjoy and definitely let me know if you’ve tried any of these tips and how it went!