Overcoming the fear of solo travel

Solo travel is booming now and more and more people decide to go on a trip on their own. For others, solo travel is connected with uncertainty or fear that something bad might happen. Fear of being alone in a foreign country out of their comfort zone. Fear of encountering problems in such an unknown and uncertain situation.

London, UK: My first solo-trip at the age of 18. I shared a small apartment with 7 Indians for 2 months. This was a cultural clash which challenged me in several ways. In the aftermath, this experience has helped me to grow and to adapt to different situations.

Stepping out of our comfort zone is essential to realise what we’re actually capable of. It helps to see how far we can go and what we can achieve. In the following, I will share my personal most important aspects of solo travel.

1. You can do what you want without considering anyone else

This sounds slightly selfish but it’s true. If you’ve ever traveled in a group you might have experienced that everyone wanted to do different activities. In the end you compromised and not everyone was 100% happy. As much as I like traveling with a group of friends, sometimes those issues can become annoying.

When you travel alone you don’t need to consider anyone’s wishes. You can just do what you want, when you want it. You’re hungry? Eat. You want to visit this museum? Visit it. As easy as that. I love being on my own and deciding what I want to do and when I want to do it without having to wait for anyone.

2. You’re not alone

Solo travel is about the freedom of being able to choose when you want to be alone and when you want to socialise. One of the best aspects of solo travel is meeting people. In hostels and doing Couchsurfing I’ve met the most interesting individuals. I believe that we can learn something from every person we meet. Especially travellers often have enriching and interesting stories to share. It can be extremely exciting to meet people from all over the world and to get an insight into their lives.

Further reading: Why Couchsurfing is so much more than just free accommodation

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia: Met those lovely girls on my solo-trip to Bolivia

3. You learn to handle everything on your own

You will encounter one or the other obstacle during your journey and that’s normal. Your problem solving skills will improve and you’ll learn to handle things on your own. An issue that seems big in the beginning is something you’ll laugh about later. You’ll get used to the fact that not everything has to be 100% perfect. With that realisation you learn to accept imperfect situations and notice the positive aspects about them. Once you realise that you’re fine on your own it makes you lose fear of everything else. Plus, isn’t it empowering to know that you’re completely independent and you don’t need anyone else?

In addition, you learn to apply those problem-solving skills to your daily life which makes you more adaptable to different situations.

Morocco: I got robbed, had food poisoning and I was on my own – thanks to my mindset and attitude I still focused on the positive aspects of the trip

4. In case something bad happens, there will always be people to help you

Many people think too much about all the risks and dangers which eventually keeps them from going for something. You travel on your own but in case you need help there will always be people to help you. I’ve met the kindest people when I needed help. In every part of the world you encounter so many helpful people who make you gain faith and trust in humanity. This in turn contributes to a positive attitude towards life.

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia: Due to their schedule, none of my friends could join this trip. If I hadn’t traveled there on my own, I would have missed out on this incredible experience.

I’m not saying that solo travel is better than traveling with someone else. But a solo trip is a challenge which can push you to your limits. By knowing your limits and sometimes exceeding them you grow as a person.

Even though most of the time I’d choose traveling with a friend over traveling alone, a little solo-trip once in a while is a great experience. It supports your personal development and helps you to expand your mind.

Have you ever done a solo trip? What is your attitude towards solo travel?

28 thoughts on “Overcoming the fear of solo travel

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  1. I’ve learned to embrace and love solo travel! It freaks out my parents (even though I’m 36, I’m still their baby, ha!), but because I have to travel a ton for work, they’ve learned to accept it as I have to do it. My first solo trip was a 4000 mile road trip from the western US to the east coast and back. It taught me a lot, and I definitely love the whole “do what I want, when I want” attitude that comes with solo travel.

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  2. Yeah, food poisoning when you’re travelling solo really sucks. I got that in Georgia last year and got the chance to sit in a Georgian ambulance – with the sirens on. That said, I travel solo all the time and it’s quite fun!

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    1. Oh I feel you! It’s not always fun and there are also some bad days but they’re outweighed by the good experiences! 🙂

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    1. Thanks a lot Taylor! It’s great to hear that you love it too. It’s so amazing to meet fellow travelers on a trip and conmect with them☺️

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    1. Exactly, it both has pros and cons. Traveling with your significant other is certainly awesome as well!

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  3. This was a really insightful post! I didn’t love my first solo trip necessarily but a big part I think is that I stayed in an Airbnb rather than a hostel and didn’t have the opportunity to meet many people 😦

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    1. Sorry to hear that you couldn’t enjoy your first solo trip. Hostels are usually always the more sociable place, thats right. Maybe your experience will be better if you give it a second try! 🙂

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  4. Wow, you shared a great tip on this blog post. I’ve been travelling solo for about 5 years now, except for mountain climbing, since it is always better if you climb with hiker friends. But, travelling solo has always become my pacification and always bring me peace and happiness. I’m sure these tips here would help a lot of the solo traveler to overcome their doubts and fear about traveling solo.

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    1. Thanks a lot! It’s awesome that you’ve been solo traveling for 5 years already. I agree with you that it brings peace and happiness, plus, you learn a lot as well.

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  5. Your first point (about being able to do anything without having to consider for someone else) is the key reason why I love travelling solo! And it is true, you’re not really alone. There are always people around who are willing to help if you need it! It might be a little daunting at the beginning but once you do it a few times, solo travel can be quite addictive in my opinion!

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    1. That’s great to hear! You’re right, the first time is always difficult but it’s also educating and rewarding 🙂

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  6. Thanks for your tips! I hope I could learn to travel solo, as I am always travel witf my boyfriend.

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  7. As a solo traveler, couldn’t agree more with all the points that you’ve mentioned here! It is empowering and helps you to explore yourself!

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