How to Travel Alone Without Being Lonely:
10 tips & 5 posts

Me and my greeter in Chicago.

After safety, loneliness is the number one complaint of the solo traveler.

Most of us don’t actually complain about it that much; we relish our time alone. But even for the most avid solo traveler, loneliness can be an issue on occasion. Fortunately, there are ways to plan your own trip, travel alone and not feel lonely. I give you…

10 Tips to Travel Solo and Social

  1. Choose your accommodation wisely. Hostels and B&Bs are naturally more social than hotels or many resorts.
  2. Consider traveling by train. The dining and observation cars are great places to meet people
  3. Take advantage of local tour guides. Read 8 Ways to Find a Free Local Tour Guide.
  4. Learn how to talk to strangers. Read Travel Solo and, Yes, Talk to Strangers.
  5. If you’re in one place for a while, plan to take language or cooking classes. Whatever interests you.
  6. Break up long trips with an organized tour. You’ll enjoy the company and a chance to let someone else take care of all the details.
  7. Go to restaurants with communal tables. Read this Dining Solo Post for info on how to find them.
  8. Go to coffee shops that are the hubs for freelancers. These are social places that also offer free wifi to stay connected with home.  Read: Finding the Freelance Hub
  9. When you are in one place for a while,  go to the same green grocers, flower shop  or restaurant consistently. You’ll be noticed as a new regular and people will eventually chat with you.
  10. Take advantage of the night life. Read: 10 Tips on Clubbing and Pubbing Solo.

Posts to check out.

  1. 8 Ways to Find a Free Local Tour Guide
  2. Travel Solo and, Yes, Talk to Strangers
  3. Solo Dining? Try Restaurants with Communal tables
  4. Finding the Freelance Hub:  Great for the solo traveler
  5. 10 Tips on Clubbing and Pubbing Solo
  • http://solotravelerblog.com Janice Waugh

    We have a few stories specifically on Sri Lanka. Please use either the “Destinations” link or the search function on the upper right side of your screen.

    Cheers!
    Janice

  • Japee Sastrillo

    I have always traveled with a friend or my partner for the past years. I want to travel solo to Sri Lanka for my birthday this December but I’m worried about traveling alone and getting lost. I’m trying to read as much as I can to convince myself to go through with my plans and this post definitely helps. I am very awkward with starting conversations but I consider myself a friendly chap so I guess I just have to plan my itinerary carefully. Wish me luck!

  • Tina Willis

    These are awesome tips for those that want to travel solo. I always hear people complain about planning trips then having to cancel because their travel companions can no longer go and they don’t want to travel alone. This should really help. Love the articles.

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  • http://michael-orobona.blogspot.ca Michael Orobona

    I’d say bring a good book. That keeps my mind occupied.

    And if you like communal tables, go to any Basque restaurant in northern Nevada.

  • Naima

    facebook

  • Lauren

    I am yet to travel alone, what worries me is eating alone. I am reluctant to sit at a restaurant alone, everybody I see always looks lonely. As a lot of others have said on the blog, it is such a good opportunity to meet people and adventure as you please. Thankyou for your advice, I will definitely be taking this on board in my future travels

  • http://feedingyourself.weebly.com Barbara

    Introverts don’t worry about this. It’s one of the biggest reasons we choose solo.

  • http://solotravelerblog.com Janice Waugh

    Why not start with a cycling trip. Join a tour group. They’ll take care of all the details. Overseas Adventure Travel runs tours around the world that are perfect for your age group. They also have three rooms on every trip for singles without a single supplement.

  • Julika

    I have never traveled alone but always trying to find somebody to go with. Now problem either girlfriend working, no money or they travel with husband. I do not want to be third wheel. I would love to travel alone but scared. I am very social. I would love to go to Spain. I am 61 and Jewish and enjoy bicycle riding, theatre opera dying to see Madame butterfly

  • Tony

    Big hug from me. Don’t blame those Italian men, you can’t help being good looking, smiles.

  • Tony

    I love your attitude and spirit. Made me feel better thanks.

  • Tony

    Exactly i just want to share my day too.

  • http://solotravelerblog.com Janice Waugh

    Now you have to convince him to stay home on occasion. :)

    Happy travels,
    Janice

  • wheresanita

    I traveled solo for many years. I got married later in life and managed to convince my previously non-traveling husband to embrace going on the road. Now i find myself occasionally missing solo travel!

  • Kaz

    I stay in university accomodation, cheap, good, own room and met the locals.

  • Kaz

    I did this thinking I might need some company on my first solo trip, but I enjoyed myself so much, I did not get time to go to any events. I had the best time ever. Did what and when I wanted and never fell out with myself once! I met so many people on my daily parade of adventures and got to know the locals it was brilliant! Thouroughly recommend it to anyone!

  • lesliekandy

    next December I go to Thailand and I need a travel companion

  • Mildred Grace

    Traveling solo is a fulfillment of spirit. During the time I was at Gilroy to experience the Garlic Festival, I was traveling by myself but the people at http://www.bestwesterngilroy.com helped me with the things I need during my stay. This is something to cherish 20 years from now. Cheers on solo travels!

  • HZ

    I understand…I traveled alone for 3 months in Italy and Croatia. I found very few people that spoke enough English to have a real conversation with. I’m a ‘boomer’ so hostels were out for me. I found traveling alone a great challenge for many years but I think I’m done with it after my last trip. However, it’s really gotta be the right person/people otherwise I’ll be off on my own again!

  • Suryabhattacharya

    I traveled solo for 5 weeks recently. It was rarely lonely, but I think that ended up in a lot of new friendships that wouldn’t have been forged if I traveled with my safety-net group of friends all around me! :)

  • Margot

    Hello Etokyo, dining alone takes some getting used to, but I have learned to enjoy it. You can bring a book if you need something to do, but just sitting, allowing your gaze to wander, perhaps noticing that there are more people dining alone, is something I enjoy very much. Choose a restaurant that has nice waiters and return to it if you are staying somewhere for a couple of days. If you are open to it, they will start a conversation with you. Make eye contact with other diners, smile, relax and enjoy the food. After a while you will notice you feel more and more at ease alone in a restaurant. And look at all those bored couples in restaurants who do not seem to speak to each other at all, do you really think they are having more fun?

  • Piotr
  • http://www.hikesedona.com/ hikesedona

    I guess being alone can give you a lot of disadvantages specially when traveling,and one of it is being lonely,but it has a lot of advantages too,you had your own moves.It’s as simple as that. When you’re traveling alone, you get to
    make the calls. Maybe you feel like a social butterfly one night, a
    total hermit the next. Maybe you want to stay in and read your book. Or
    maybe you want to climb a rock and watch the sunset.

  • hillsidesedona

    When visiting a new city always know (and have booked) where you’ll be
    staying the first night before you get there, even if you’re worried
    you’re paying over the odds or you’re unsure about which part of town to
    stay in. Searching for that Ideal Room/Hostel is so much easier when
    you’re not lugging a suitcase/backpack with you and you’ve had an
    evening to get to know the city.

  • Sarah

    I love traveling solo. I can do what I want, when I want without having to wait on someone else. My schedule is my own. I’ve made friends from all over the world by traveling solo. When I’m on the flight out, I always think to myself “what the hell am I doing, again?”. Then when I land and my journey begins, I am thankful I’ve journeyed alone once again. I feel like I’m truly LIVING.

  • young traveler

    I found it quite lonely when I traveled alone to LA and SF one time. There was the freedom, but it took tremendous discipline to follow through the things I wanted to do (the temptation to just sleep in was great). It was a bit lonely when it looked like I was the only person traveling solo. I plan on trying it again in Japan or China this winter if I can.

  • http://thehikehouse.com/ TheHikeHouse

    Haven’t gotten to travel alone,I always go with a partner or with my friends,I’m afraid of something bad might happen aside also that it’s very lonely to travel alone,well,as I read your article,I think it’s not a bad idea on a sole traveler,you just have to take every challenge.

  • Penelope

    I am in the midst of 12 weeks solo, and I DO get lonely and I DO not go to pubs, bars or dancing. I’m multi-lingual, so that helps, but I’d like to be able to talk to someone longer than it takes to say please and thank you at a store. When I’m in Italy, I have no problem finding men who love to talk to me, except I’m not going home with them and they are often hard to get rid of if I mistakenly be nice to them. I’m thinking of wearing a faux diamond wedding ring when I get there in a few days. To compensate for how I feel, I read a lot on my Kindle and text my friends back home. I travel alone every year, but this is the longest ever. I feel very homesick!

  • VacayGirl

    You’re missing out if you don’t at least get in there and try it. You can take a book and bury your head in it the first couple of times to get the feel of it. I would never dare eat alone at home but for some reason when I’m solo I don’t mind it one bit. When alone I think the locals/staff want you to feel comfortable and will talk you. Plenty of them just want to talk to some different from them. And in some places it’s a perfect opportunity to brush up on speaking another language. Don’t be afraid. Just try it once and see what happens.

  • ETOKYO

    I travel solo often….and I love it…except at dinner time. I’m always reluctant to go to “nice” restaurants alone, even with a good book, so often wind up going to the hotel coffee shop; sittting at the bar and eating bar food, or buying dinner to take back to my hotel room. What are your dining tips to avoid feeling alone?

  • Honza

    Hello lonely travelers!!!
    Traveling solo is absolutly fine, people are indipendent and more opened for new friendships. If you feel too lonely, feel free so stop by at Hostel ELF in Prague. Hard to find, harder to leave! This place is social and best for meeting new traveling friends.
    Hope you will like this advise, and if you come to Prague, hope you will have good time with us.

  • For fun

    I love meeting new people. After reading this blog, i was surprise how many of the odd things on the list that i have done, but nothing beats developing a new relationship and getting to know them!

  • LaNae

    I”m so glad I found your post. I will be traveling Bangkok and Singapore for the first time solo. I’m excited but a little nervous at the same time. Good thing is I like meeting new people and chatting it up. I’ve also booked alot of tours to keep myself busy however I still have lots of free time.

  • Marco by jakpost.travel

    Travel alone is the best way to discover a new place cs it forces you to open up your mind and to talk to stranger like uve mentioned! But i dont recommend you to go travel alone in ur first trip abroad :)

  • http://solotravelerblog.com Janice Waugh

    Hi there. I’m glad you find Solo Traveler of value and you let me know! It’s comments like yours that makes all the effort worthwhile. Have a wonderful time in Austria. I love Austria!

  • vas

    thank you for this blog. i did a solo trip to peru earlier this year and now all set to leave for austria; there is a lot of nervousness and a fear of the unknown, but your blog is just what the doctor ordered! i am glad i stumbled upon it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/wendy.thomas.988 Wendy Thomas

    As a single female who wanted to travel but had no one available to go with, I first went solo and hired a guide in Scotland for a castle tour. After I went on the tour I stayed in Edinburgh by myself for a few days. At first I was very nervous to travel by myself but then I felt empowered…I could go wherever I wanted to, eat whatever I wanted and stay out as long as I wanted. People are more likely to approach a single traveler and make conversation as opposed to people who are with each other. I have met many interesting people all over the world who I don’t think I would have met if I wasn’t solo. Take a Blackberry/cell phone for loneliness to communicate back home with and journal writing is good to do at the end of a long day. If you get lonely, just think; your vacation will be over before you know it. So get in as much as you can every day because you never know if you will be back again.

  • http://www.facebook.com/JoaneCorbe Maria Joane D Corbe

    Love this! I always make new friends whenever I travel solo. I guess it makes you more spontaneous ;)

  • Anna

    Hola!

    Gracias por el post.

    Esto de viajar sol@ es de personas atrevidas y aventureras. Lo descrubrí hace 3
    años y ya llevo dos viajes. Uno a Moscú y otro a Budapest. La parte del Este de
    Europa es una pasada. Totalmente recomendado. Viajar solo tiene tantas ventajas
    y tan pocas desventajas… si te gustan las fotos, ya tienes bastante. Tu cámera
    se convierte en el mejor acompañante. Y bueno, a parte de conocer a personas y
    culturas diferentes… vamos, que solo no estarás.

    En serio, si tenéis pensado hacer un viaje así, no dudéis! Será una aventura
    impresionante.

    Con todo esto, os comparto un artículo con pequeños trucos para viajar solo
    jeje

    Espero que os sea útil!

    http://ocio.uncomo.com/articulo/trucos-para-viajar-solo-2187.html
    Saludos!!

  • Editor

    Very good post Janice!

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  • http://vacaytips.com/ Vacay Girl

    I tell you who I found to be awesome to talk to on my last solo vacay to Mexico, the timeshare peddlers. They’re bored and love to talk. They see all sorts of things and always have things to talk about. My daily routine consisted of a morning talk with various timeshares vendors and a walk on the beach. Never one moment did I have a boring moment.

  • Travelbug1

    I love travelling solo.  It’s the freedom!!!! No commitments.  I meet people, talk when I feel like and when I don’t want to, I don’t associate with anyone.  Whereas if you’re with someone, it’s the obligations that may be expected.  Plus if they’re not havin a good time then I feel maybe responsible.  I don’t know.  Sure, I feel lonely sometimes BUT the pros (such as the freedom!!!!) outweight the cons (Loneliness).

  • Beachgirl

    Another option is to check out the website meetup.com. They have groups all over the world for all kinds of activities. If you’re in one area for a few days, sign up for a group or 2 that interests you and see if they have any events for the dates you’re in the area. Great way to meet people, and do an activity you enjoy with others.

  • Rose

    When I am tired at the end of an amazing day and have no one to talk over the days events.

  • http://www.toptraveldestinationdeals.com/ subra mani

    10 great tips when we travel to the new place, Really I like to meet new people and like to visit new places and wanted to build travel career 

  • http://www.knok.com/fr/knoleskine/ Florine Foulon

    I could not agree more about the choice of the accommodation, even a nice hotel can seem gloomy sometimes if we have no one to talk to except the receptionist!

  • http://solotravelerblog.com Janice Waugh

    You are quite welcome. I hope you will share the post with others you think would be interested.

  • Anonymous

    Spot on, Thanks

  • http://www.smileycooking.com/ Cooking Games

    Great tips. Thanks a lot. I’m about to go on a journey alone. Thanks again.

  • Travelleray

    I came across a really interesting platform to connect with co-travelers and locals while on the move on http://www.mingletrips.com
    Its new and free and I connected with really fun people!

  • Angelgal01

    Couchsurfing.org 

  • solotraveler

    I’m afraid that I can’t do this for you. Please subscribe to the newsletter using the box on the right hand side near the top.

  • http://www.friv250.ro/ Jocuri

    Subscribe me in your newsletter pls

  • http://www.samuiguide.com/ Samui Guy

    Another excellent post and full of solid and sound advice for both the solo and couple traveler.

  • solotraveler

    That’s a really interesting point Lynda. I hadn’t thought of that before.

  • Lynda Fraser

    I have never been lonely when travelling solo…I enjoy meeting new people and am not afraid to start a conversation. I have experienced loneliness most often when travelling with others who have become too busy to spend time with me and have left me waiting for them somewhere.

  • Carlo Alcos

    Glad to hear it! If you have any questions/hesitations, let me know and I’ll give you a hand. Also, if/when you set up your profile, shoot me the link and I’ll give you a reference.

  • solotraveler

    You know, I’ve been reluctant to try couchsurfing. But now I’m hearing good things from many directions. Once I start trying to get my head around something I usually do. I’ll try with this too. Thanks.

  • Carlo Alcos

    Andi already said it, but I will back her up. Couchsurfing is perhaps the best and easiest way to meet like-minded people. Even if you’re not comfortable sleeping in a stranger’s home or hosting a stranger (although…strangers are just friends we haven’t met yet, right?), you can meet someone for coffee or a drink, or attend an organized CS event.

    While with my wife we hosted many in Melbourne and some are still friends, and while traveling solo I’ve met tons of great people through CS. You can really get a good feel of people through their profiles and also by messaging back and forth.

    I can’t speak highly enough about it.

  • http://rvingtoadless.blogspot.com/ JJ (RVing Toadless)

    These tips apply to solo RV travel, too!

  • Mary

    I concur that it’s not necessary to be lonely while traveling alone. I met an interesting group of Pentecostal women when riding the trolley in San Antonio. We ended up having lunch together, and touring the botanical garden as well.

    I also met two women who saw me doing a walking tour in the Kaiser Wilhelm district. They invited me to lunch with them. I look forward to another solo journey in the future.

  • http://priscillamaeetal.blogspot.com Meg Mitchell

    One of the benefits of traveling alone is that you are forced to speak the language of the country. Every time I go back to Paris, my comfort with trying my high school French becomes better and then I actually have some fun with it.

  • http://www.scenebylaurie.com Scene by Laurie

    Very helpful article, thanks for all the tips. I’ve broken up a trip with an organized tour but need to build in more local ones.

    I can also attest to the magic of the train for meeting people and it’s not just in the US. I met people from all over the world on trains throughout Morocco which really makes the train ride much more interesting and enjoyable.

  • Andi

    Great tips! Couchsurfing.com is also helpful. :)

  • http://www.nomadz.nu/lifestyledesign Catherine

    True, social life is the thing from home I miss the most. Even if you are traveling together like us it can be really nice to meet new people along the way. We use digital media like twitter or couchsurfing to get in touch with locals ( http://nomadz.nu/lifestyledesign/2010/03/meet-the-locals/ ) and met some really incredible people this way.

  • http://floridavacationrentalsite.com Danny

    Thanks for these great tips. I one day plan on traveling alone and will keep all these tips in mind along with all other of the great traveling resources you have on your blog.

  • http://www.onmywayrtw.com megan

    Some great links here. I can second travelling by train – especially on Amtrak in the States, you meet loads of people in the dining, cafe and lounge cars – and everyone wants to chat! It’s actually difficult to get some quiet time :D