So you’ve made the decision to travel solo? First of all, give yourself a pat at the back. Okay, that is enough.
The idea of travelling solo is great. You make your own decisions to do anything. You can be anywhere and at any time.
But of course, there will be time where loneliness creeps in and you want nothing more than some company. It sucks to admit that you’re feeling lonely while on a trip in a foreign country.
Fortunately, there are plenty for easy ways to keep that dreaded feeling away. Yes, you’re not going to be that person Sinead O’Connor is singing about in Nothing Compares 2 U. You are going to enjoy your solo travel with these tips.
Make a daily travel plan
Before your trip, take some time to do a research on where you want to go. Use the notes application on your phone and make a simple planner for daily activities. You know like; Day 1: zoo, Day: 2: shopping and so on. This way, you give yourself a goal to leave the comforts of your hotel room to do something different every day. Make it a point to leave the hotel at a certain time.
In other words, just try get out the hotel room by 10am maybe? Better yet, you can check with your accomodation if there is any convenient travel and tour package. So all you have to do is wait for transport to pick up from the hotel. When travelling solo, just remember that you’re on an adventure. Find something new to discover every day.
Equip yourself with travel essentials
Brace yourself. When you are alone, you can’t rely on strangers for a piece of gum, extra cash or to borrow a portable charger. Because you could end up looking like a creepy person. So to spare yourself that kind of anxiety, it’s best to just be prepared with everything you may need.
In whatever travel bag you may have, equip yourself with the necessary items. Whether it’s a charging cable, concert tickets or wet tissue, just make sure is all in there.
Every night before you go to bed, check your bag to prepare for the next big day out.
Get roaming data or pocket WiFi
It’s impossible to imagine a world without Internet connectivity on your mobile device. When you’re travelling solo, having Internet data on your phone is crucial. A quick Google search can turn a memorable trip into a spontaneous adventure to somewhere. True story: I was feeling bored at this particular place in Japan and decided to Google “(name of place) boring”. Then I found a blog article that suggested somewhere interesting to go in that particular place. I did end up somewhere that made the trip worthwhile in the end.
You can also stay connected to loved ones back home just to let them know that you’re safe. Or if you do feel a little bit lonely, then take the time to send a quick message to a good friend. Remind yourself that you are not going to be alone forever and in a few days, you will be back in the comfort of familiar faces.
Enjoy alone time with some music
Okay, I have to admit. There were times when travelling solo can feel like the worst decision ever. On one particular Friday night in Japan, it was raining heavily and I don’t feel like going anywhere just to get drenched in the rain. I can’t watch anything on TV because everything was in Japanese. So what to do?
You’d be surprised how a portable device like the KEF MUO Fluid wireless speaker can do wonders in a small Japanese hotel room. So I went to the nearest convenience store. Got myself dinner, ice cream, cake and well, peach-flavoured beer because #YOLO.
When I get back to the hotel room, I turned on some Ella Fitzgerald on the phone, transmit the sound to the speakers via Bluetooth and voila, I got myself a dreamy Friday night.
If you can afford a room with a tub, make the most out of it. Get a bathbomb or some relaxing bath salts. Then indulge in the most memorable bath time ever with some music playing in the room. You’re welcome.
The sound of music is the best for any occasion, from getting ready to leave the room to just helping yourself fall asleep. Think of it as a having a personal band to keep you going while on a solo trip.
Make wise music choices
Of course, there are some songs to never listen while travelling solo. Here’s a handy list.
All By Myself by Celine Dion
Nothing Compares 2 U by Sinead O’ Connor
With Or Without You by U2
Any sad Taylor Swift songs
Nope, not The Scientist by Coldplay
Tread carefully with The Weeknd.
None of the sad Bruno Mars songs as well
Definitely try not to Google “songs about being alone”...
Take pride in dining solo
I remember being in this burger restaurant and seated at a table surrounded by couples. I wished this lady next to me would stop trying to make love to her burger in front of her boyfriend. But my most important takeaway from this moment? Damn, that was a good burger.
Nobody likes to eat alone in public places like a restaurant. You’d assume that people think it’s sad that you’re eating alone. It’s important that you get over that thought because it really doesn’t matter. Unless, you have mind reading abilities then what’s really stopping you from having a great meal by yourself?
While in Japan, I took pride in saying “table for one” at every eating place that I wanted to try. I didn’t get any weird stares or people saying they can’t accommodate me unless I have a friend or two. Instead, I had the best time ever eating everything that was on my to-do list. I had a fresh seafood bowl, tried omakase for the first time and ate at a ramen place that was raved by Anthony Bourdain.
On one night, I ended up at a wonderful sashimi restaurant as the only diner. The chef was kind and attentive. He even served me some extra meal and didn’t charge it to the overall bill.
The point is, being alone doesn’t mean you have to miss out on certain experiences. Just go for it. Your future self will be glad you did.
Writer l JEM
Jem likes pina colada and getting caught in the rain. Not into yoga. 30 years old and still learning how to use a can opener.