9. Find your people
Use Facebook and Twitter to ask for connections where you’re travelling. Offer to take local friends of friends out for dinner, and you’ll be surprised how many people take you up on it – everyone likes to be tour guide for a night. Also seek out your interests in your destination – the fan club for the local football team, say, or the chess association.
10. Revel in it
Even if you do get lonely, don’t lose sight of all the things you can do when travelling alone. Some of those perks are tiny – whether that means double-dipping your chips in the guacamole or changing your mind every hour, without worrying about driving anyone crazy. But the real bonus of solo travel is much larger: pure freedom. You can take the exact trip you want, and even if you’re not quite sure yet what that might be, you’ll have a great time figuring it out.
11. Embrace technology and terrible films
Remember that it’s OK to spend the occasional night in watching terrible films on your guesthouse’s TV. You wouldn’t be out every night at home, it’d be exhausting, so why would you try and do it for several months abroad? And a smartphone or tablet is a must now that there is free wi-fi almost everywhere. Among many other things it means you can book your accommodation ahead and ensure a safe pick-up at your destination. If you’re feeling lonely you can connect with home, read the news and podcasts are great for passing time on long journeys.
12. Don’t bury your head in a book
It’s easy to be daunted by travelling alone. Retreating into the pages of a good novel can feel like the perfect way to escape curious stares on public transport or in restaurants, but it’s the worst thing to do. Going solo means you have a chance to really take in your surroundings, meeting locals and travellers alike along the way; be content to be by yourself, but confident enough to introduce yourself to people when you want to be sociable.
13. Explore the expat hub
Pretty much every major (and sometimes not so major) town and city across the world has some sort of expat or gringo hub. Go there, sit at the bar, nurse a beer and you’re likely to get chatting opportunities. That’s assuming you want company. Or head to backpacker hostel restaurant/bar areas and repeat the same. Sometimes they’re on the look out for non-guests in the evening, but if you go in the afternoon you should be alright.
14. Learn a little language
Make the effort to learn a few words and phrases before you go travelling. Just knowing how to introduce yourself, start a basic conversation, order a beer and count from 1–10 makes all the difference. People love to know you’re making an effort and doing your best to interact, even if you’re rubbish.
15. Be aware of safety
Travelling solo can be both safe and rewarding, but be mindful of safety concerns as you would travelling in a group or couple. Take care in large cities at night, watch your drinks, be aware of any local scams and keep a close eye on your valuables.
In conclusion, traveling alone can be an exhilarating way to get to know yourself, save money, meet people you’d otherwise not encounter and really experience a destination like a local.