A common question people often ask when thinking of traveling solo for the first time is it boring or lonely?
Overall, the answer is a resounding NO!
As long as you are willing to come out of your shell and grow as an individual.
That being said, there can be, and most likely will be a few lonely nights and some boring days.
Honestly, the fact is, if you are a boring person you will probably have some more boring days in your travels, solo or not.
Being a boring person doesn’t have to stay boring, traveling helps with this, contrary to what some people believe.
It is about having the right expectations and being open to new experiences because you never know what will happen when traveling solo.
On my first solo trip, before I left, I was worried that I would be super lonely and bored while I was traveling around Europe.
I was trying to convince anyone I could to join me on my travels. (Like a lot of other first time travelers have done as well).
I had no luck.
To this day, I can confidently say that this turned out to be one of the best things to ever happen to me.
I was able to overcome my fear of being alone and was very rarely bored.
Traveling alone became a highlight of my travels to date.
I flew from Canada to Europe and the adventure began.
It did take a few days to find my groove. Throughout those initial days, I developed trust in myself and realized that it was going to be alright. I was going to be alright.
You too can find your footing and learn how to trust in yourself and not worry about little things like being bored. There is so much out there when traveling that it is hard to be bored.
Boredom is all in your head.
Things you can do when you start feeling bored or lonely
When traveling solo you can keep yourself from becoming bored or lonely by:
- Making New Friends
- Experience the culture (that is why you are traveling in the first place)
- Stay in Hostels (which is a great way to meet new people)
- Go on walking tours
- Take a class
- Find an online group, Facebook, is a good place to start or a meetup group on some other social media platform
- Try something you have never done before (go skydiving, scuba diving, maybe even horseback riding, You know what you haven’t done and want you to do.)
- Go on a date (check out Bumble, Tinder, OKCupid, etc.)
- Think of what you do at home to not get bored. You can do the same things on your travels, even if you are halfway around the world. (read a book, watch something on TV, or just stream something)
Get out of your own head. Stop thinking of all the things that could happen and stop thinking it will be the worst trip ever. You are causing your body to overreact to things that haven’t even happened. You are living through things twice. Once you are out of your own head you can start enjoying your trip.
Make New Friends
Making new friends can be one of the best ways to fight back boredom or loneliness.
A new friend or new group of friends can provide a different insight into a city or place. You, too, might have some insight that other travelers would find interesting or useful. You can also go exploring with your new friends. Show a new friend things you have learned about the city, such as a cool spot to hang out or a good cheap place to eat. Gain some insight from someone that might have been to the city multiple times or used to live there.
By making friends, you can see their views on the city or place you are visiting and may see it from a whole new perspective.
Experience The Culture
One of the main reasons to travel is to have new experiences.
The best way to not get bored or lonely is to go out and dive headfirst into a city. In Paris, go to one of the many museums. In Hawaii, try surfing, eat some local dishes.
Just go out and you will find that you will quickly become entertained.
Staying in a Hostel
Start by just talking with the hostel staff, they will have a lot of recommendations for almost any topic. They can probably answer just about any question. Who, What, Where, When, Why they will have some inkling to help you out.
In a few cases I have talked to staff and they have told me other people in the hostel are interested in the same things and connect me to new people.
Go On A Walking Tour
Most cities around the world offer a walking tour of the city or part of the city. The best part is that most of the time they are free, but tipping at the end to show your appreciation is encouraged.
Walking tours are a great way to meet some new people while traveling and to keep from getting bored or lonely while traveling. You will also learn something new about the city or place you are visiting that you never knew before.
Take a class
Taking a class can be super fun. This is a great way to learn something new. If you are visiting South America and want to learn Spanish for example there are lots of places to take a few lessons. This becomes more fun once you can put some of the things you learned to practice. Each place you visit will offer something that is unique to that place. In Austria take some dance lessons to learn how to do the waltz. In china take some traditional cooking lessons. This list can go on forever find something you like and see if there are some classes.
With so many different social media platforms out there, it is easy to find a group of people to meet up with. They might meet weekly and encourage newcomers to link up for the day. This can be a great way to meet some local people. Locals give you a whole other perspective on the place you are visiting.
When I was in Latvia, I came across one of these events hosted by a group of couch surfers in Riga. They organized a weekend event that became one of the highlights of my trip. Try saying yes to something you are not 100% comfortable with because this can turn out to be a highlight of your travels. (Obviously, don’t do anything you think is unsafe, use your better judgement!)
Try Something You Have Not Done
When visiting a new place try something that you have always wanted to try, even at home but didn’t have the time. Traveling gives you all the time you want. Go skydiving in New Zealand. Ride a horse on the beach, Go cave spelunking in Belize (I personally recommend going on the ATM Cave tour in Belize, if it’s on the discovery channel and national geographic you know its worth it).
Trying something new doesn’t have to be the extreme either. Simply trying new food can make you forget why you were bored in the first place. Why not try the fermented shark while in Iceland, it’s one of their delicacies.
Traveling is all about trying new things and enjoying new experiences.
This one seems simple but people get stuck on this.
Just go outside, walk down the street or hop on the metro or bus ride for a few stops and then try walking back to where you were staying. Do this by looking at a map on your phone, or old school map book, and then put the map away, try to walk back by feel. You may get lost, but that is all part of the fun you may also stumble upon something that you find interesting it could be some architecture to a new restaurant.
When you get lost in a city it often turns out to be one of the best experiences and a great stories to tell friends.
Go on a date
With all the different dating apps out there, it has never been easier to go on a date.
It might lead to something it might not, but you will never know if you don’t try it.
There is also the possibility of going on a date with someone in your hostel, simply just saying hello can spark a connection.
Don’t let fear stop you from asking someone out. The worst thing that can happen is getting a no as a response. If you get a no response, remember that you will probably never see that person again in your life, so why not go for it. It could change your whole life.
Do what you do at home
Guess what when you are bored traveling you can still do the same things that you would do when you are bored at home.
Watch something, read a book, go out, make food, text with friends, or whatever else you do when you are bored at home.
Traveling alone in my experience has been extremely fun.
It is a different kind of fun than traveling with friends or family or even a partner.
Find a way to interact with strangers and make friends which is easy for some and hard for others. But you get better with practice. Push yourself.
I have found that even when I am traveling solo that I am rarely alone. You make friends along your way and you might get a travel companion who is also alone.
You might not travel to a destination with a person or a group of people, but you might tour the city or place you’re in with a person or a group of people that you meet in that city, or even better, you might meet a local to show you the ropes of where you are in the world.
Hey! That’s me at Joshua Tree Park!
When you’re traveling solo you will gain important life experiences.
And those experiences you gain are not going to be the someone you gain when traveling with friends, family, or a partner.
You will learn that your own problems are your own problems, your own rewards are your own rewards and no one out there will share in your glory, because it is all for yourself.
You have to learn how to be self-sustaining.
You learn things about yourself and about the world that you would never learn any other way than traveling solo.
Things you will probably learn/gain when you travel alone:
- Do what you want when you want
- Personal Growth
- Gain confidence
- Trust in strangers
- Gain Independence
- Don’t sweat the small things
- Be open to new experiences
- Remember to have fun
Learn to ignore other people’s experiences. Just because someone you may or not know has said that solo travel is boring and should be avoided because they had a bad experience does not mean that you will have that same experience. There are good days and bad days when traveling, you may get sick, get something stolen, lose something, you also might fall in love with a culture, a person, or a place. Whatever those moments are they are yours and yours alone.
Do not let someone else define your trip. Solo travel is what you make it.
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