People often say to me “Chris, you are so lucky that you can travel with someone when ever you want to because you have a family to travel with , who enjoys travelling” . I also think that I’m fortunate that I found someone who enjoys travelling as much as I but I also used to travel by myself.
When you first start planning your trip you will find it intimidating but also exciting at the same time. Don’t prevent yourself from exploring the world, learning new things not only about the country and its culture but also about yourself just because you haven’t got a friend to travel with.
Your initial apprehension is understandable but once you are out in the world you will find it’s not too difficult to meet new people and enjoy traveling by yourself. In fact even though I travel with my family I at times envy the people who get to travel by themselves as they get to go and explore a country the way they want to, go wherever they want to and have the adventures that they want. While people who travel together have to sit down and plan together where, how and what they want to do.
So get out there enjoy the wide open world and remember our motto if we can travel then you can.
Read on and you will find our tips on how to travel by yourself.
Travel where your interests are.
I think this is our most important advice even more so than How to meet people. Traveling will be a lot of fun especially if you pick a country that you have a general interest in. Do research the countries that you intend to go don’t just go there if your friend Mary told you it was great as you may have different interests as each country offers different aspects to a certain traveller. Asia, for example has friendly people, exotic food, beautiful beaches, temples and chaotic cities but if you’re not a beach person, think that after one temple you will find them boring and don’t like spicy food then it probably isn’t the perfect fit. Europe, Australia or North America may be a better option for you. So research until you find a country that fits what you are looking for.
Keep it simple
When first starting out traveling it is important to keep it simple. Even though a place like India or China might have what you are interested in it might also be a little overwhelming and you will be hit hard with your initial culture shock. By keeping it simple I mean to help lower your frustration to be as comfortable as possible while you absorb your new surroundings.
A lead up to these countries may be the well trodden tourist trail of South East Asia as you can see similar aspects to Chinese and Indian Culture in some areas of these countries as well as experience the Asian lifestyle. In these countries it is easier to find English speaking people whether it’s someone from South East Asia or a traveller as this will help you with your comfort level as you gain more experience through travelling needing an English speaker won’t necessarily be a high priority.
How to meet people
Meeting people and eating at a restaurant seem to be what terrifies people the most about travelling by themselves but you will be surprised at how easy it is to actually meet someone to talk to while travelling. Remember there are so many other people who are also travelling by themselves.
I would highly recommend staying at a guest house whether that is in a dormitory sleeping in a room with others or in a room by yourself as most guest houses cater for all types of people. I admit now that I too would stay only in a single room but it won’t matter as you will find people in the common areas to talk to and explore the town or surrounding areas with as long as you are open to meeting others.
Other places to stay that may give you a chance to meet someone is through the website http://www.couchsurfing.org . This is a website that introduces you to hosts that allow for you to stay at their house whether that is in a spare room or literally on the couch is up to you and the host to agree on. Sometimes the host will show you around, cook dinner for you or take you to their local bar but other times you may be left on your own accords.
Other websites that can help meet people who are travelling or locals in the country that you visit is the website http://www.travbuddy.com . I have been using this site personally for around seven years and have met some great people through this site who have become real friends. They have organized meet ups around the world so it may be a great party to attend and get someone to travel with at the same time.
if you have a hobby I’m sure you can do that hobby in another country for example if you enjoy running you could always contact the hash harriers which have locations around the world. The internet is a wonderful invention.
Tours are definitely one way to meet others and travel with. I personally have never taken a tour to travel around a country it isn’t my thing as I like my independents and can explore the country at my own pace However I have taken a few day tours in my time and have met some wonderful people on them and have had meals or travelled together for a day or two after the tour so they are a great way to meet people.
A little secret if you are travelling by yourself you will probably have more chance to engage in conversation or make a friend with locals than people who travel in groups so there are definitely advantages to travel by yourself.
This is definitely the hardest thing to do but after a few times you will completely forget feeling self-conscious. The easiest way to eat by yourself is from street stalls where you choose what you want to eat, usually you sit on a plastic chair and eat away. Don’t worry about eating street food it is often better food than at a restaurant and if you see it being cooked or locals lining up to eat it you know it’s safe to eat.
Other places to eat and can relax is at a food court, bar or cafe. Remember to bring a book or music to listen to and enjoy your meal.
Still apprehensive about going why don’t you try travelling or visiting places near your house go to a movie by yourself, the zoo, museum or even eat a meal out to see if you enjoy it.
Remember if you do it once you will always be able to do it again.