Solo travel is an empowering, freeing, and amazing experience, which is why I’ve been doing it since my early 20s. But even after so many years of travel, I always have some anxiety leading up to my solo trips.
It’s completely normal to have some fears when preparing for a solo trip, especially if it’s your first solo trip. So don’t let these fears and anxiety stress you out or ruin your trip.
You can and will overcome these worries. The anxiety you feel before your solo trip will fade away once you arrive at your destination, fully prepared to enjoy your trip to the fullest.
So here are some of the most common fears solo travelers face and how you can overcome them!
I won’t be safe
Safety is usually the biggest concern solo female travelers have, and for good reasons. When people ask me if solo travel is safe, my answer is, “Yes, solo travel can absolutely be safe! But to be safe, you have to be prepared, observant, and vigilant.”
You have to be more aware and cautious as a solo traveler. Criminals are usually opportunists that look for easy targets. So you always need to make yourself a difficult target. Don’t drape your purse over the back of your chair at a restaurant; loop it under your chair leg and place it between your feet.
Don’t wear clothing or jewelry that will make you stand out. Keep your wallet, passport, and documents in an inside pocket. Use slash-proof, lockable, and RFID-protected bags and purses. Never walk by yourself at night. Don’t drink too much. And trust your instincts.
You can’t control everything in terms of safety (after all, something bad could happen to you walking around your home city as easily as it could while you’re traveling). But you can mitigate these risks by arriving at your destination with the right mindset and gear.
I’m not brave or outgoing enough
There’s a common misconception that solo female travelers are all adventurous extroverts. Some are, but most aren’t. Traveling solo doesn’t mean you have to go to the most remote corner of the world or be able to make friends everywhere you go instantly.
You could take a solo trip to a resort at the nearest beach, never leave the property, and interact with only the employees if you wanted.
This is the true beauty of solo travel – your trips can be structured any way you want them to be. Solo trips can be one-hundred percent you.
I’ll be lonely and get homesick
I still get homesick when I travel solo, and this is something you’ll probably face on your solo trips.
So prepare for homesickness ahead of time. Schedule regular Skype or FaceTime calls with your loved ones throughout your trip. Choose a phone and data plan that will let you text and call anytime you want. And post regularly on social media so your friends and family can keep up with every step of your adventure.
I rarely find myself feeling lonely when I travel solo because I always meet people throughout my trip. I’ll pair off with another solo traveler on a group tour, or I’ll go on a guided pub crawl, or I’ll chat up fellow travelers at my hotel or hostel.
It’s easier than you think to connect with people when you travel solo, and you’ll always be able to find opportunities for this throughout your trip.
I don’t want to eat by myself in public
Eating alone can be a huge source of anxiety for solo travelers. While street food and grocery store meals will keep you full, they won’t let you experience the foodie culture in your destination, so here’s how to overcome a fear of eating alone.
Practice eating by yourself before your trip. Take yourself out to lunches and dinners in your hometown. Practice sitting and eating alone at various places – coffee shops, cafés, bars, restaurants, etc.
Find mealtime entertainment. When I’m traveling solo, I use my meal times to study or plan the next day’s itinerary and go through the (many, many) photos I’ve taken. This way, I’m actively keeping myself occupied and engaged while I eat.
Solo travel is too far outside my comfort zone
In the beginning, solo travel is outside everyone’s comfort zone. No one is a solo traveler until they take a solo trip, so going on your trip will automatically help you overcome this fear.
The thing to remember about comfort zones is that we determine what those are. Comfort zones are self-made, which means that we control them. You have to adopt the mindset that solo travel isn’t outside your comfort zone. Solo travel is your new comfort zone.
Unwanted attention from men
This will happen; the same way that it probably happens to you in your everyday life. Being a solo traveler doesn’t attract unwanted attention from men; being a woman does.
Things you can do to stave off unwanted attention preemptively is to dress conservatively, sit at a table instead of the bar, NEVER walk home by yourself at night, and always stay in public places within sight or earshot of other people.
If someone still approaches you, be direct and firm. I’ve found that looking men in the eye and saying “no” very loudly is usually aggressive enough to throw them off balance and make them realize I mean what I say.
And never be afraid to ask for help. Enlist a restaurant staff to help you, or pull out your phone and call the local police.
When it comes to your safety and well-being, don’t worry about making a scene or being embarrassed or hurting anyone’s feelings. You and your safety come first.
My loved ones won’t support me
When I told my friends and family I was taking my first solo trip, I received mixed reactions. Some were thrilled for me. Others were skeptical that I could enjoy traveling alone. And some thought I was crazy.
I wasn’t fully prepared for the negative reactions, but I should’ve been. Even though solo travel, especially solo female travel, is on the rise, there are still some negative stigmas associated with solo travel that had my loved ones concerned.
Be prepared to explain to your loved ones why you want to travel solo. Tell your friends and family how you’re going to stay in touch, and visually present your destination research and plans.
Most of the time, our loved ones have a misconception about where we’re going. But once they realize what our trip will actually be like, they usually become just as excited for us as we are for our trip.
What if I get stranded
This is a legitimate concern after the COVID-19 shutdown, but it’s something that rarely happens in day-to-day travels.
The key to overcoming this fear is to be prepared with the right travel insurance that includes emergency transportation home. ALWAYS have the contact number for your travel insurance company’s emergency line with you. I also recommend having paper and digital copies of your passport and travel documents available at all times.
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