9 tips for the solitary travellers

Last year I travelled alone for the first time. It was exciting and frightening at the same time. Now, I’m used to it. I even like it a lot. After some solitary tips, I feel confident you give you these 9 tips.

One of the advantages of travelling alone: You don’t look like a tourist. So vendors will bother you less, thieves won’t go after you, and people beg for money less.

1. Talk to people

Travelling alone is not so, well, lonely as people think. It’s even more social. In a hostel you will make friends easily with your roommates. Just introduce yourself when you or they arrive in the room and ask some questions:

  • Where are they from?
  • Are they travelling to another city after?
  • Do they have any tips for this city?

Just like you, they want to know who they share a room with. So make sure to answer these questions too. Maybe you can grab a beer after. They are alone too, and maybe they need a chat. And when they leave before you do, you get the chance to get to do this all over again, with yet another friend.

2. Go to the bar

Perfect solution if your roommates aren’t as sociable as you (I had this before), or you’re alone in a hotel room. Most hostels have their own bar, and it is filled with solo-travellers. Fun anecdote: I asked someone if he was waiting for the bartender. We then bonded the entire night and are still talking on Facebook.

3. Use your locker

This one is not only to keep your stuff save. You’re sharing a room, so clean up after yourself. You don’t want to step into someone’s dirty underpants either.

4. Bring a lock

For your locker, obviously. Most hostel have a lock for you to use. But sometimes you have to pay an additional fee.

5. Bringing someone “home”?

Keep it PG. You’re not alone in the room, and nobody wants to hear or see you bumping uglies.

6. Bring earplugs

Maybe your roommate has to read the previous rule. Or you have the luck to be paired with a snorer (you know who you are). Earplugs might save you some sleep.

7. Afraid to eat alone?

Solomangarephobia, yes it’s a thing with a scientific name. You can always arrange a ‘date’ with one of your roomies. If you really are alone, I suggest to eat at a fastfood chain. You have a quick meal and nobody will see you eat alone. You’ll be less embarrased, even if you don’t actually have to.

8. Buy roamingdata

Eventhough you can get free WiFi at every Starbucks or McDonalds, this can help you fight the loneliness. Miss your lovers or friends? Give them a quick Whatsapp-call.

9. Learn some phrases in the local language

You will be able to impress some locals and start a conversation.

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  • I could not agree more that travelling alone rarely feels lonely. If you are staying in motels or hostels, it is usually very easy to meet people. One tip I would have though is that if you do want to meet people, even if you can afford it do not stay in chain hotels. They are big and impersonal and I find it is much more difficult to meet people in this environment. Of course, you may actually prefer not to meet someone in which case these places are fine

  • Joella

    These are all great tips. I don’t travel enough alone, but I really enjoy it. I no longer stay in hostels, but your tip to go to the bar at hotels is a good one. I also enjoy the solitude but it really is not as lonely as you would think.

  • Hostels seem to be perfectly designed for meeting others and getting out of your comfort zone. They make it hard to be alone, even if you want to be.

  • These are all such wonderful tips. The locker tip is the best. I would not have thought to bring one! I have never stayed in a hostel, but I have lived in other countries with rotating roommates, so these tips def apply there as well 🙂

  • Iuliana Marchian

    It seems that I am a different kind of solitary traveler. I never go to bars, I eat alone in a restaurant, yes I use ear plugs, but I buy a local prepaid instead of rising my bill with the roaming. Anyway, meeting new people, and travelers like you makes all the great story about traveling solo.

  • I started travelling solo last year and now I love it. I actually feel more self conscious going to a bar on my own than eating in a restaurant or cafe, I just bring a book with me to read. Sometimes having a book can strike up a conversation when someone asks what you’re reading. Another great way to talk to people if you’re travelling alone is sitting on a bench. I was living in Victoria, BC last year and one day on my day off I was sitting on a bench by the harbour, over the few hours I was there three different people asked to sit down beside me and we got chatting.

  • megan_claire

    Great tips for the solo traveler – especially “bringing someone home” when you’re in a shared dorm – you can upgrade to a private room for that 😀

  • I only travel alone and I love it! I agree that it’s easy to meet people when you are traveling alone. But I would say going to a bar solo is not a great thing for a woman traveling alone, unless you are looking for a “short-term friend”. Learning the language is always a good tip.

  • For me, best tip is to stay in a hostel coz u mean soooo many people if you are a solo traveler in a hostel. Second tip is to find some people via couchsurfing hangouts to meet up for beer or coffee/meal – incase your hostel is empty or you luck out elsewhere. Great tip about talking to people – you need to put yourself out there 🙂

  • Oh gosh the roaming data thing is such a great tip. I have been traveling now for two years and never had data! And I really wish I did because it’s so difficult to get around without. Although, it makes for a fun adventure!