Flying solo: How to counter loneliness when traveling alone
FREE from the limitations other people often impose, solo travel can be a liberating experience, so it’s easy to see why it is on the rise.
Plus, there’s never been a better time to try it, with some providers now scrapping single supplement charges and others launching new offerings to satisfy the needs of specific groups like women or singles.
Yet after safety, loneliness is seen as one of the greatest obstacles for travelers to overcome, but it need not be.
There are many ways to stave off feeling lonely while traveling solo, including some innovative resources to help.
Ditch the big resorts
While large resorts offer guests an array of high-end services and facilities, they may amplify feelings of isolation in lone travelers.
Rather than rattle around a sprawling development, opt to stay somewhere smaller instead. Boutique hotels, serviced apartments and even Airbnb can provide worthy alternatives without compromising on quality or location.
For inspiration, try an accommodation matching tool like Small Luxury Hotels of The World. The app, which is especially popular with solo female travelers, features a broad range of properties from modern lodges to lavish manor houses.
It also allows for direct booking, so there’s no need to fiddle about searching for a hotel’s website.
Take a tour
For travelers that want a mix of alone time and companionship, organized tours or experiences provide both the opportunity to explore or try something new and the chance to share it with other people.
While Skype and FaceTime have their place in the solo experience, there’s no substitute for real-life human interaction when taking in the sights at ancient ruins or summiting a challenging peak.
But solo travelers aren’t just limited to day excursions. A growing number of travel companies now have dedicated solo travel departments including Explore and 101 Holidays, with trips that vary in length, activity and participation.
Nothing remedies loneliness like meeting new, like-minded people – although it can be daunting at first. Traveler hangouts such as bars and coffee shops are a good place to find fellow solo explorers the old-fashioned way, but in this technological age, apps can also help.
Meetup, for instance, connects people based on shared interests, to related gatherings in cities worldwide. From a soiree for health-conscious foodies in Hong Kong to a get-together of wilderness runners in Taipei, this app has the details.
Explore further afield
Tourist hotspots and attractions have a certain allure, but when surrounded by crowds, it’s easy to feel lost or overwhelmed. For this reason, lesser known areas are definitely worth a visit.
Not only can they be quieter, but there is often more opportunity to talk to local people, to learn more and to gather recommendations for other places to go.
In these situations, augmented reality maps for smartphones are invaluable, providing simple digital paths to follow, to ease navigation anxiety. Transport apps like Citymapper are also handy, streamlining journey planning with real-time route information and travel alerts.