solo travel in london is delightful

Solo Travel Anxiety: How to Take Care of Yourself in Unfamiliar Places

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Do you really, really want to travel alone, but your palms sweat and heart race at the thought of boarding an airplane alone? Do you have big dreams for adventure, but at the same time, you’re not sure how to handle solo travel anxiety? Don’t worry! I’m here to help you navigate those feelings. 

First and foremost, even though I’ve traveled alone many, many times, I still understand the sense of uncertainty when booking a plane ticket for one. I get it. 

I still feel a tinge of nervousness sitting in the airport awaiting my flight. Sure, it’s partly because I’m scared of flying, but traveling alone in general is stressful.

After all, in a world where everyone seems partnered, you might worry if you’ll stand out as a solo traveler, or if people will think you’re weird, or if going to another country alone is even safe for a woman.

solo travel in puerto rico is safe in the pool
No Solo Travel Anxiety in Puerto Rico!

Ultimately, as a solo travel blogger and huge fan of independent exploration, I want to reassure you that a lot of people love to travel solo, and if anything, most people feel a sense of admiration for those who are brave enough to do what they want (travel) on their own terms. No one will hate you for it.

In my experience, no one has ever made fun of me for traveling alone. Did family and friends worry sometimes? Sure, but everyone in my life has been supportive. Not to mention, even though I still feel scared at the beginning of my trips, I’ve never once regretted jetsetting on my own! 

So think positively! 

london is safe to walk around even toward evening hours

Solo Travel Anxiety (and Why You Shouldn’t Worry)

In this post, I’ve listed a few common reasons why people are nervous about traveling alone and address each one of them.

Of course, this isn’t a fully comprehensive list, but I think I’ve touched on the most popular reasons why solo travel intimidates some travelers.

Let’s break down some misconceptions, shall we?

solo travel anxiety in quebec city? nonexistent!

Judgement from Others

I get it. I always used to worry about whether or not other travelers were judging me for joining a tour alone or eating lunch at a table for one.

Honestly, though? Most people I talk to on my trips think solo travel is a really cool endeavor, and more than one person has told me that they wish they had the courage to do more trips on their own. 

99% of the time the perceived judgement is just in your own head. No one is thinking less of you or wondering why you don’t have any friends to travel with. People are concerned about themselves and their own stories. They’re not thinking about you.

And hey, if 1% of the population is judging you for traveling alone, then who really cares? It’s not as if you’ll see these people ever again anyway. 

gorgeous street art is everywhere in barcelona

Loneliness and Boredom 

For a lot of people, feeling lonely is a huge concern when booking a trip for one. I completely understand concerns about feeling lonely and bored when traveling alone. After all, isn’t part of the joy of solo travel sharing the experiences with someone else? 

Truthfully, you will have moments of loneliness. I still get those feelings too. Granted, I’m good at managing expectations and don’t let lonely feelings derail my whole trip, but at the same time, it’s natural to want to share the joy of a gorgeous sunset or a world-class art museum.

I call home if I feel a twinge of loneliness or take a break in my hotel to watch a “comfort show.” You’re not wasting time by doing these things. There’s no shame in it. Just know that you’ll have amazing “highs” to counteract the “lows” when you travel solo around the world.

The highs are worth it. Promise.

solo travel anxiety tip: mind your drinking
Enjoying a Solo Spritz in Venice Italy.

Safety Issues

Solo travel and safety always are paired together. Which is understandable.

If you’re a woman who’s traveling alone, safety is always at the front of your mind, which is (unfortunately) the world that we live in.

Honestly, I don’t want to sit here and claim everywhere is 100% safe for solo travelers, nor do I want to imply that anyone who was the victim of a crime traveling deserved it in any way, because victim-shaming has no place on Blond Wayfarer.

However, I will say that the world is safer than you think if you take precautions. It’s horrible, but most violent crime victims are harmed by people who they know and trust, not strangers. Stranger danger is still quite rare, and while I can’t sit here and guarantee safety, what I can say is that I’ve had good experiences with 99% of the people who I’ve encountered on my travels.

Solo Travel Anxiety: a common fear is flight cancellations

Sickness, Delays, Cancellations, Oh My!

I don’t blame you for worrying about other annoyances, such as illness or a transportation SNAFU. You can alleviate many of these concerns by purchasing a travel insurance policy (more on that later!). You can also join the free STEP program as a US citizen. 

At the end of the day, you need to accept that you can’t “control” everything. Flights get canceled. You eat something that doesn’t agree with you and puke during a trans-Atlantic flight (0/10, do not recommend).

The good news, though? Sickness and cancellations might not happen either! You can’t live your life combating “what ifs.” Part of dealing with solo travel anxiety is just accepting that some things are out of our control, and that it’s better to live a life true to your dreams than stay home out of fear that your flight will be delayed or canceled.

solo travel lake geneva adventures

Tips for Addressing Solo Travel Anxiety

Ultimately, solo travel is remarkable. It’s changed my life in so many ways. If I had waited for friends and family to travel with me, my life wouldn’t be nearly as colorful and vibrant and fulfilling.

I want you to plan an amazing trip for yourself. These tips are tried and true, and lived. I’ve used them all on my solo trips, and I hope these ideas soothe your anxiety about traveling by yourself. 

enjoying stunning castle views as a solo traveler

Create an Itinerary

While it might eliminate some flexibility, for me, having a plan helps relax me. Even as an experienced solo female traveler, I like having my accommodation pre-booked and ready to go (especially since I’m limited to traveling in “high season,” sigh, teacher life).

Create your itinerary in advance and know that you can always change it once you’re on the road. Nothing is set in stone, but having a plan is a good idea. 

As a side note, always share this itinerary with someone close to you.

no solo travel anxiety in kansas city

Join an Online Group 

The internet has made it so much easier to connect with like-minded people. Using the internet to make friends in your destination, or even just to chat with other solo travelers, is very useful (if you’re safe about it!!).

Social media, such as Facebook groups and local Reddit communities, allow you to ask for tips and advice for visiting a new destination and can empower you as a solo traveler. 

For example, I’m a member of the group Wanderful and have met many lovely female travelers throughout the years. Having an online community makes solo travel much, much, much less scary. 

As a side note, I’m hesitate to recommend dating apps as a way to meet people, although they can work as long as expectations are clear from the beginning. 

enjoying wales on a solo trip but in a group

Take Group Tours

Solo travel anxiety is easily alleviated knowing you have friends waiting for you in your final destination. I always book one or two group tours on my trips to feel connected with other people. In particular, I highly recommend taking free walking tours and food tours.

Free walking tours (which only require you to tip, not pay for a tour) tend to attract a lot of young backpackers, who usually travel alone, and other thoughtful travelers. I’ve struck up a lot of friendly conversations on walking tours. 

Meanwhile, food tours allow you to enjoy sharing a meal with others rather than alone. The communal nature of food tours make them delightful memories. As for me, I’ve done food tours as a solo traveler in both Seattle and Toronto, and have had a wonderful time on both tours. Definitely worth looking into!

solo travel in the finger lakes idea: go kayaking alone

Start Local

Don’t feel as if you need to fly around the world as a solo traveler, especially if you feel anxious. Start local! 

For example, I’m not far from New York City, and whenever I feel “rusty” or planning for a big trip, I take myself out on a date to New York and remind myself what solo travel is like. Feel free to do the same! 

Depending on where you live, I’ve written a lot about wonderful solo travel destinations in the United States, as well as cool “solo travel friendly” spots in Canada and safe cities to visit alone in Europe.

barcelona is very romantic for all travelers including solo travelers

Stay in Hostels

Hostels sometimes get a bad rap. Don’t fear them, though! I’ve so many magical memories of my adventures in hostels all over Europe and North America. 

A lot of hostels want to promote a close-knit and social atmosphere among travelers, so if you’re alone, then a friendly hostel environment will encourage you to make plenty of new friends. 

As for me, I’m waaaay too fussy to stay in dorm rooms. Many hostels, though, offer private rooms, so you’re able to enjoy the “best of both worlds.”

Carefully read through reviews. You don’t want to accidentally book a rowdy party hostel for twenty year olds if that is not your vibe, haha.

relaxing solo near the water in san juan pr

Travel Insurance 

Always purchase travel insurance when you’re traveling alone. You never want the unexpected to happen, but hey, sometimes it does and the financial impact sucks.

I’ve used World Nomads Insurance on a lot of my solo trips. Their insurance policies cover a lot, but always make sure to read the fine print. You will need to call them right away if you need to make a claim, as well as save the appropriate documents. 

Trust me. Buying insurance will cost much, much less than being airlifted to a hospital.

Lastly, World Nomads includes an adventure plan, which will cover you if you decide to do adventure sports or travel in more remote regions. Well worth looking into.

going to jacksonville beach alone offers relaxation

I sincerely hope this guide helps alleviate some of your solo travel anxiety. Good luck planning your trip, and I promise you, once you find out you can travel alone and thrive, you will plan your next adventure with an abundance of confidence!