You are not alone! Every year countless people go on vacation alone, move to a new place, or experience some unfamiliar new situations in which they feel uncomfortable. To trust yourself out of your comfort zone requires courage and openness. Next, we share some valuable tips for traveling alone.
We usually not born in the cradle to meet other people in a relaxed manner. Too often, we prefer to wait and get annoyed after a missed chance of not opening our mouths. What happens if you engage the nice salesman in the supermarket in a little conversation? Smiling at someone on the street and complimenting them on the way? The world will not end in a minute, but either you will meet potential new friends in the fastest way possible. Or you spontaneously feel good because you have overcome your fear and sweetened the day for others. Because let’s be honest: How many curmudgeons are there in the world who stifle a smiling person?
The 10-day challenge
That brings me to a Ten Day Challenge, which I tried out once: I forced myself to smile and speak to a strange person who seemed likable to me every day. At first, my neck constricted, and with a bright red head, I wanted to sink into the ground. But when I got back a smile or even positive feedback from everyone, my self-esteem grew rapidly. I saw it as training for emergencies when I really should be traveling abroad and wanted to get to know many people. Give it a try!
Get out of the snail shell
Because one thing is clear: who wants to retreat to the snail’s nest and spend the entire vacation alone? We all long for community – whether in a large group or with one or two nice people.
Therefore, get out of the comfort zone and into real life – even if it feels so strange at first!
Find like-minded people
Think about where like-minded people hang around. Do you like to cook? Then book a cooking course at your holiday destination. You finally want to learn to surf, but have never dared to do it before? Then it is time to take your first steps on the board in a surf camp and get to know a lot of other single travelers. You can learn languages, or you can save the world in a volunteer organization. Depending on your interests, countless organizations have catered to the needs of women and men traveling alone.
Stay in control
Making new friends is part of traveling alone. Even so, women should stay in control and never leave bars or clubs with someone they have just met. A wedding ring on the finger can also protect against unwanted attention. It can also be useful to sit near other women on buses or in public places.
Avoid unnecessary politeness
This point is a hotly debated issue among travelers and a balancing act: when does politeness stop and when does harassment start? Every woman has a personal pain threshold that she alone decides. Especially in Arab countries where there are hardly any points of contact between the sexes in public life, an innocent conversation in the evening can mean an invitation for more. So I can’t emphasize enough that a self-confident demeanor, connected with a few memorized phrases – is nothing to be ashamed of as a woman. You set the limits for your comfort zone!
Finally, pamper yourself
The beginning of a trip, in particular, can be tough for a single traveler. After almost twenty years, I often feel lonely and overwhelmed in a strange place in the first few days. That’s why I prefer to book a fancy hotel in a new location for the first few days, to which I can withdraw in an emergency if everything becomes too much. So I can feel my way to the unfamiliar city in peace.
Spend the night in hostels
Even for people who are not in the mood for noisy dorms, I recommend hostel accommodation. Most hostels have single rooms anyway, and the communal kitchens are ideal places to find like-minded people who are also traveling alone and longing for new friends.
In some countries, it is particularly important for women traveling alone to wear appropriate clothing. Close-fitting clothing and short shorts should only be worn in Western countries – unless you are bothered by unusual attention and loud whistles.
What is the worst that can happen to me?
Last but not least, a little mind game helps overcome the fear of going it alone: What is the worst that can happen to me on the trip? And then play through all the possible scenarios in your head. Is the chance higher of being eaten by a shark while on vacation than being hit by a car in the city at home? Will you be lying on the beach in Miami for two weeks, all alone, or is it more likely to make new friends for life on the diving course?
Travel alone: let’s go
Going on vacation alone is always better than blaming your friends in your home country for ensuring that your dream vacation doesn’t work out again this year. With a little courage and a dose of openness, most solo travelers come back with a limitless sense of the possible. They faced their fears and noticed that in 99 percent of the cases, the thing they were most afraid of did not happen, but the exact opposite: They had a great time with many new, intense experiences and acquaintances!