We’ve all been there. You suddenly hit a wall, you’re stressed out, and a sudden urge consumes you: You need a vacation. The problem, sometimes, is finding a friend to travel with you – especially on short notice. Jenna just went on that Caribbean cruise with her family and Mark has to save his vacation days for his best friend’s destination wedding. If you’re desperate for a getaway, you shouldn’t put it off until someone is available to join you. You have to travel alone. So what?
It’s easy to rationalize the pros to traveling alone. You know you’ll likely get a lot of reading done, maybe get a chance to brainstorm for a side project, get fit, work on your goals – maybe even meet someone special. But first, you’ll have to get over these 6 fears.
The fear of being lonely. “Lonely” is a term often used by those who aren’t sure how to maximize their alone time. Time to yourself is valuable, and you can be very productive during this time. Rather than feeling lonely, think of all the things you tend to put off when you’re with your friends. Perhaps it’s your physical fitness, your blog, brainstorming for your side business, or your passion for adventure.
The fear that you won’t be able to afford the trip on your own. This is an issue on the minds of many solo travelers. When you travel with a friend, you have someone to split the cost of almost everything. However, there are many ways to save money if you’re alone. For example, the solo traveler might opt for a quaint and affordable rental unit from a private owner, rather than staying at an expensive hotel. Did you know that a private owner’s rental unit can be gorgeous (right by the beach, great views, full kitchens) and can actually be the same price or cheaper than a grungy hostel?
The fear of meeting new people. It’s likely you’ll want to make some friends if you’re traveling alone, but some people are anxious when it comes to meeting new people. Staying in a hostel or going on a guided tour are both great ways of meeting people, but you don’t need to do either of those things in order to meet new friends. The trick is the scenario. For example, on a booze cruise it’s pretty easy to make friends. It’s all about the relaxed environment. If the beach has a good vibe and lots of people your age, make up an excuse to talk to a group of people and take it from there. My favorite line is, “Hey do you guys know of any good hikes around here? Oh did you want me to take group photo of you guys?” Now you’ve given them a gift (something to Instagram) so they probably already love you.
The fear that you won’t feel comfortable spending time with people you barely know. This fear has some legitimacy, we’re all a lot more comfortable spending the day with our best friends rather than randoms. However, anytime a situation is pushing you outside your comfort zone, that’s a great thing. You’re gaining new experiences, learning new things from interesting people, and ultimately making friends for life if you play it right.
The fear that you won’t be self-motivated enough to explore. Sometimes being with a friend is what we need to be brave enough to explore, and getting out there on your own requires a bit more self-motivation. The best way to achieve this self-motivation is to be prepared. Plan what time you’ll have to leave, pack your bag with everything you’ll need the night before, and that way you’ll be more motivated to follow through.
The fear that traveling solo is weird. It’s not weird. Many people actually prefer to travel solo because they can do exactly what they want to do on their trip, when they want to do it. They can see what they want to see instead of worrying about what their group wants to do. Most importantly, traveling solo is great for personal growth and working on yourself. It makes you look bad-ass, so just do it.
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