Travelling is like that high that you wish never goes away. It's like waking up in the morning and smelling a fresh cup of coffee. But, sadly that cup of coffee gets over and you have to start over again. Okay, stop assuming that I have gone bonkers here. I just love to travel guys, but in peace! The only problem sometimes is travelling with family and friends.
Nope, I am not a mean anti-social person (notice the self-proclamation here), I also like people (sometimes), but when I travel I can't handle 10 different dramas at once (I have enough going on in my life). For instance, with family I can't really do exactly what I want to, I can't go on hikes which my mom would object to because she thinks I might slip off the mountain and die! And with friends, everyone has different needs, someone wants to stay in a 5 star, another doesn't like to walk, someone else wants to travel but doesn't want to spend money. At the end of the day, there has to be a middle road, not like it comes easy, right?
I seldom find myself in doubt with my brave decision of leaving the house solo, especially after convincing my parents, that although I am travelling solo I am going to be safe and I need to go and discover the world on my own. The over thinking mind of mine is filled with apprehension, wondering 'what if I find myself stranded in the middle of a desert and I repent I was with someone', I hear my yoga instructors voice in my ears, telling me to take a deep breathe, and I remind myself that I can (possibly) 'make friends while travelling solo too!'
I call it, the 'social' side of a solo travel, because guys, solo travellers aren't anti-social, we just want to break free from all that drama that comes along with ahem, pardon me, some of you!
I need my space from people I know, but I also don't want to be alone. Story of my complicated, underwhelming life!
Now you understand the point? Perfect, and I know some of you are in the same boat here! If you don't relate with me, you are free to scroll down to find out how you can travel solo and not find yourself lonely. That's exactly why, let me share some of my ways in which I travel solo. Technically, I leave home solo, but with a secret hope of meeting new people during my journey, who have exciting stories to share, and that will only help me grow!
Here are ways in which you can travel solo without being lonely!
1. Stay at a Hostel or BnB - Live with the locals
It is a given that you will meet new people when you stay at a communal accommodation. Choosing a Hostel or a BnB always gives you a chance to mingle with new people travelling from various parts of the world. Not just that, you might even end up meeting like-minded people and make friends for life! And even if you don't want to be friends for life, no pressure, just have fun and move on solo! Also, remember that supporting small scale local businesses is always a good idea!
2. Opt For Day Tours - Explore with a group
When you go to a new place, it is at times hard to explore everything using public transport. If you have heard of something like 'day tours' or a travel agency that arranges tours to nearby landmarks, it's one of the best ways to meet new people. Oh come on now, no one is going to kidnap you, do your research before you go, please! Some of my favourite day tours have been, Coffee Plantation tour in Guatemala, Spice Tour in Kerala, Tequila making tour in Mexico and a Cooking Class in Indonesia.
3. Mingle with Locals - Get to know new people
The best way to know locals is by mingling with them at a local restaurant or a bar. Just remember not to come across as overbearing, because not everyone may be comfortable talking to a stranger. Although, simple gestures like asking a shopkeeper or a server how their day was and having a quick chat can make them happy and also make you feel welcomed.
4. Work from Coffee Shops/Communal Library - Best way to catch up with like minded people
Nope, don't go to the nearest Starbucks you find! And, who drinks coffee at Starbucks!? Coffee is the best when it is freshly brewed at a local coffee shop, at a much cheaper price. There are many travellers who work remotely, and coffee shops make the best places to get inspired, since you see others working around you. And, you might meet someone who works in the same industry as you and you might just get a chance to collaborate together!
5. Take a Class or Adventure Sport - Learn something new and make friends
Raise your hand, or a leg if you have heard this at least once - "Go study, get a degree, earn money, invest, save, become something, accomplish a good name and then get married." - and yet here we are dreaming of travelling full time, right?
It should also be a mandate in our college curriculam to explore a new place in order to learn something new. Thats exactly why every place you visit has some type of class or a sport that hosts a group of people. Some classes that I always enjoy taking are, cooking classes (although I hate to cook) it's fun to learn what the locals like to eat traditionally, a group fitness class like yoga, adventure sports, barista class or anything that will help me learn new things without being aloof. Also, you can proudly tell your parents that you didn't just waste your time roaming the world! *wink*
6. Take Local Transport - Save money and observe
I know we have been told, 'do not talk to strangers.' Yet we set out to meet so many right? What an irony this life is. And yet, here I am advising you to take the public transport? Yes, because you don't have to go being besties with everyone guys, at least the thought of being around people will help you learn about the life of the locals.
7. Travel With Your Pet! - Best friends for life
Animals are your best friends, yes, they are much better than humans at times. I love travelling with my dog, who is also a thrill seeker, he is always looking at new trees, excited to meet new people and get treats from everyone. Plus, every time someone sees him, they want to pat him and in turn end up talking to me! You get the point? No boys, this is not a shortcut to dating girls, this tip is for solo travellers who want to avoid people.
8. Enjoy Your Own Company - Learn to be happy with yourself first!
The moment you like being by yourself, that's when you won't find yourself lonely. And, since human beings are social animals, we definitely need to be around people at times, but to be happy with anyone else, start by enjoying your own time!
9. Find Apps That Connect Solo Travellers In New Places - Use Technology to connect with new people
Nowadays meeting likeminded people has become convenient, with just a touch of a screen you can find multiple Apps which help you find people with similar interests! Ah, again you are thinking of dating? No! I am seriously talking about free Apps like Meetup, FluentU, Eatwith, Couchsurfing, Backpackr. Another way you can do this is by joining Facebook Groups for Solo Travelers.
10. Safety First!
Remember, no matter how eager you are to meet new people and make new friends, don't forget that there are many criminal minded people too! You do not want to be trapped in a drug scandal, visa issues, money stolen or even your mental peace taken away from you! Leave a copy of your itinerary with at least one reliable person before leaving home, research on emergency numbers in the country or place you are travelling to and make sure you don't enter areas which are prone to be 'dangerous.'
Join the below groups/tours if you want to travel solo and yet get to meet like minded people
1. legit_trips - Handcrafted trips for solo, groups and couples
2. creativeescapes_ - Small group trips for solo travellers
3. Encounter Travel - Australian Company focusing on Solo mix tours
4. Wild Women Expeditions - Women who are nature lovers and adventure seekers
5. Wonderful World - Made for women travellers who want to travel to getaway from daily monotony
6. Wander Womaniya - Group trips curated for solo women travellers
Are you planning a Solo trip with an intention to meet new people? Let me know in comments if you are going to try one of the above tips!
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