7-Step Plan for Dealing With Loneliness as a Female Solo Traveler
Feeling lonely as a female solo traveler is one of the most common fears women have around taking a trip alone.
Now, in general, solo travelers are alone a lot less than you’re probably imagining. It’s not uncommon to spend a full day, a few days, or even weeks exploring with people you meet along the way.
But yes, there will be alone time. It’s part of the deal. So what can you do when you’re feeling lonely as a female solo traveler—when it gets to be too much? When it seems oppressive, when you feel out of place and unmotivated, and maybe start questioning why you did this, if you can handle it?
Breathe, girl. Here’s what to do.
Pat yourself on the back. 😊 Remind yourself that what you’re doing right now is HUGE. You’ve gathered an impressive amount of courage and determination that many people never will. You’re out there! You’re doing it! Take a second to be proud of yourself.
Get some perspective. 🌏 Then, remember that no huge undertaking like this ever goes perfectly. Pursuing anything great always involves peaks and valleys.
If you have your dream job, does that mean every day will be perfect, stress-free, happy, productive? If you have your dream partner, does that mean you’ll never fight or get frustrated or disagree? Take the good with the bad—remember that's how everything works.
Recognize that this is normal. 🤷🏻♀️Loneliness is a natural human emotion, and it’s a rite of passage for solo travelers. You’re a baby bird who just kicked itself out of the cozy nest of routine, of being surrounded by familiarity. So feeling shock, feeling some unfamiliar emotions—that’s totally and completely normal.
Understand that this is just a growing pain. Imagine yourself getting stronger from it right this minute, as you’re feeling this emotion. And think about all the other brave, solo-traveling women out there who have been in your place before—there are thousands of us! Feel that solidarity. We got through it; you will too.
Did you think pushing outside your comfort zone was going to be a piece of cake? 😉 Major challenges bring major rewards. Recognize how far you’ve come, and remember why you’re doing this. This experience is going to help you grow, make you stronger! Accept that this is all part of the process.
Try and see the good. 🙌 It can be a hard one when you’re feeling stuck in a fog of loneliness. But gently remind yourself that solitude has benefits. It can increase powers of observation and boost creativity, for example. So why not test some of these benefits out?
Take a walk with the sole purpose of observing doors, or identifying smells, or noticing dogs, or photographing flowers. Recognize what a privilege it is to be alone and have the ability to focus on the beauty in the small things.
Become aware of the fresh, fertile spaces in your mind. Remain open and let ideas come to you. Do some writing or drawing or art-admiring. Find beauty and value in the quiet.
Allow yourself to feel it, and seek comfort—but don’t wallow.🍫 Watch a quick episode of a familiar show, eat a square of chocolate, take a hot shower, do some yoga poses.
Whatever it is that will ground you and make you feel refreshed and recharged.
Let yourself to seek comfort, to just feel this feeling, for half an hour. Then start making moves. Don’t set up a pity party for yourself. Don’t wallow. Solo travel is a privilege, remember? 🤗 Once you’ve recharged, it’s time to give this place and this experience a fair chance.
Sign up for something.📝 Give your day structure and purpose. Sign up for something that requires you to get out and show up somewhere at a specific time with other people. Find a free walking tour, book a cooking class, take a bike tour, join a pub or food crawl. And then show up with an open mind.
Threefold benefits with this: A) You’ll have somewhere you need to be. You’re held accountable by your reservation; you better get dressed and get out there! B) Most anyone who signs up for something is looking to meet people, just like you are. Boom—built-in new friends. C) You can get a taste of the local culture, learn to appreciate the place a bit more, and get your bearings.
Meet some locals.🤝 Often times it’s a new place itself that can make us feel lonely at first. Maybe you had an unpleasant encounter with someone, you’re struggling with the language barrier, you haven’t liked the food so far, or you’ve already gotten lost a time or two. You might be feeling frustrated, annoyed, upset, or confused with this city/country/area.
The cure? Chat with locals! They can give you advice that will help you acclimate better—like a few local phrases, cultural/etiquette tips to help you get around, ideas for foods to try or areas to visit, etc. They can introduce you to some of the magic their home city/country holds to reignite your excitement about this trip and what it has to offer you.
How to meet them? Sign up for an Airbnb experience with a local, or try Vayable. See who’s on Couchsurfing Hangouts. Find a bar or restaurant that suits your vibe and sit at the bar; see if you can strike up conversation with the bartender.
Above all, be patient. You’re smack-dab in the middle of one of the biggest, most intense learning experiences of your life! Most everything is new right now, and your brain and emotions are just trying to keep up. Chin up and press on, doll; you’ve got this.