5 ways to combat loneliness as a lone traveller
‘I like to be alone, but I hate to be lonely.’
As a lone traveller, there are times when long periods of solitude lead to increased feelings of loneliness.
Like the quote says, I’ve no problem being on my own — in fact I really enjoy my own company. I’m a big advocate of travelling solo, even if just once in your lifetime.
On the other side of the coin, I also hate to feel lonely. However, it’s something that goes hand in hand when you’re a lone traveller.
After a trip to Toronto, the feeling of loneliness was so overwhelming, that I realized I needed to prepare better for next time.
When loneliness strikes
I spent a total of 3 nights in Toronto. But, as much as I enjoy visiting a new city, I was more than ready to leave by the end of the trip.
The feeling had nothing to do with the city, but more for the simple fact that I felt really lonely.
Despite having 3 work assignments, and meeting some lovely locals along the way, I was really struggling.
There was no one to try out those Instagrammable Korean fish tacos you just ate. Nor was there anyone around to share a glass of wine with after a full day’s exploring.
In short, I wasn’t enjoying it no matter how hard I tried to shake it off.
Beer for one
The feelings of solitude hit hard on day 3, during a balmy summer’s evening.
After roaming the region of Queen Street West, I headed back to my hotel, for an exciting evening of packing.
Just about ready to give up on the day, I came across an outdoor food market. It was just the type of event I love: food and drink stalls, live music, and a buzzing atmosphere.
Feeling more upbeat, I paid for my tumbler of overpriced craft beer, took a seat and enjoyed my last evening.
Upbeat but lonely — lone traveller
Sitting there enjoying the moment, it quickly dawned on me that it was a Friday night.
As time progressed, I sipped on my beer watching more and more people flood in to meet other friends. At that moment, my cold beer didn’t look so appealing, and the raw reality of being lonely hit me hard.
My thoughts quickly turned to those at home. Unable to contact them given they were in a different continent and sleeping, I sunk deeper into my solitude.
“As you can see, the pictures don’t say much, but I think they reflect the solitary mood of the moment.”
FOLLOWING THE RIVERA
By now, we all know that many people use their social media to show off their picture perfect lives. However, remove the filters and the essay-length captions, and the truth’s far from what appears online.
As you can see from my pictures, they don’t say much. However, I think they reflect the solitary mood of the moment.
In truth, I didn’t take these for social media — I took them because I was bored and was doing something to pass the time.
How to overcome loneliness as a lone traveller
My beer for one experience in Toronto wasn’t the loneliness I’ve felt while travelling.
However, it made me realize that I didn’t have to have to be alone — I chose to. Nowadays, there’s so many ways for travelers to connect with locals, just make sure you do it before visiting.
1. Keep work trips to 3 days
I found that 3 days was more than enough for my solo trip to Toronto.
For future travel, I plan to stick to this rule of thumb. I feel it’s enough time to see the essential sights. Naturally, if the destination’s much further, I’ll rethink the length of my stay.
2. Give Couchsurfing a try
I had my first Couchsurfing experience a few years ago — both as a host and as a guest. While it may not be for everyone, I’d nothing but positive experiences. and absolutely loved it.
Though the post applies to female surfers, the concept works the same for everyone.
The forums on Couchsurfing are a really useful way of connecting with locals.
Ask your questions, and sift out the genuine responses from the ones with a different agenda — they’re easy to spot.
At the end of the day, you’ll see you’re not the only one wanting to connect with others abroad. That, plus you may just end up meeting, and making, some new friends along the way.
3. Sign up for Meetup
Another useful website I like is Meetup.
They also have a great global community, and with so many events to choose from.
What’s more, most of them are free, and can help you discover a new part of the city/country. On top of this, you’ll definitely get to meet some nice people, and those with similar things in common.
4. Join Girls love travel
This group is great for lone female travellers wanting to connect with other women abroad.
“At the end of the day, you’ll see you’re not the only one wanting to connect with others abroad.”
FOLLOWING THE RIVERA
The Facebook group is useful for grabbing any last-minute tips, as well as for starting a conversation about anything travel-related.
5. Get app-y
For lone travellers, there are now so many apps that you can use to make new connections when abroad.
While I’m yet to try them, they’re on my list and ready for the next solo trip. I would highly recommend giving them a try; after all, it’ll be better than having a beer for one.
What about you? How do you cope with loneliness as a lone traveler? Leave your thoughts below, I’d love to hear them.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that I’ve recommended. Thank you for your support.
Welcome to my site! I'm Lisa, founder of Following the Rivera. I write primarily for a ‘flashpacker’ audience, a demographic (late 20s onward) that enjoys glamping over camping and staying at boutique/luxury boutique hotels. Flashpackers also like to indulge in the local food and wine, cultural activities, as well as a spot of wellness on their travels. Want to know more? Read on....