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I’m frequently asked about solo traveling despite the plethora of information available online and on social media. I’m asked at travel events, sure, but even in my daily life, people wonder about solo travel and whether or not solo travel is boring or even dangerous.
Despite solo travel’s rise in popularity, though, people’s concerns are understandable.
In a lot of ways, solo travel is still relatively scary for people, especially individuals who have only ever traveled with friends and family, and aren’t used to navigating unknown places on their own.
Not to mention, international travel requires a fair amount of preparation, particularly after COVID-19. To tell you the truth, crossing borders alone still feels scary and overwhelming to me at times, even though I’m somewhat of an expert on solo travel (don’t ask me how that happened!).
In addition to solo travel safety, another concern that readers frequently ask me is whether or not solo travel is lonely or even boring.
Is Solo Travel Boring?
I love solo travel. I always advocate for solo travel, and even though I take trips with family and friends, I still love going off somewhere new alone from time to time. I enjoy my own company and like connecting with myself.
Nevertheless, in a lot of ways, this is a challenging question for me to answer. I can’t say “oh yes solo travel is totally boring,” but at the same time, I can’t pretend solo travel is all fun and games either.
You won’t always have a blast especially if you’re traveling long term (we’re talking weeks or even months). Stuff happens. Solo travel won’t solve all your problems or insecurities.
Ultimately, I don’t want to lie to you. I have experienced moments of boredom in the most beautiful places in Europe. It’s nothing against the destination, obviously, but sometimes you feel the urge to share a special travel memory with another person, and when you’re the only one standing there, boredom or even resentment settles in.
I wouldn’t trade any of these trips for the world. I have way more positive memories than negative ones. I think, though, occasional boredom or loneliness is only human.
As a blogger, I offer solo travel consultation services to help readers not only prepare their trips, but also to figure how to combat boredom in a different country.
How Not to Feel Bored Traveling Alone in 6 Steps
I was able to think of a few simple ways to combat the feelings of bored when they inevitably creep up on you at a museum or national park. I can’t guarantee each strategy will work perfectly, but I still wanted to share these ideas with you in the hopes of eliminating any apprehension about traveling alone.
Of course, you’re welcome to reach out to me via email or social if you have even more great ideas, or if you’re traveling alone and feel overwhelmed. I love empowering other travelers (it’s why I blog!) and would be more than happy to listen.
Now let’s crush this boredom!
Become a “Regular” at a Coffee Shop or Bar
Are you staying in a specific location for a longer length of time? With digital nomad visas, a lot people are staying in one place even longer, and by making such a great change alone, you’re bound to feel some boredom settle in.
On the other hand, try to settle into your new home and patronize some of the same places again and again. Namely coffee shops and bars.
I know I always feel more comfortable and less bored as a “regular” at my own neighborhood coffee shop. For example, sometimes I feel bored and isolated blogging in my apartment, but if I walk down the street to the coffee shop, I just feel more energized since I am around people. It truly helps. I don’t always talk to another people, but regardless, I feel connected to my community.
You can do the same on your solo travels.
If you drink alcohol (don’t overdo it, haha), go to the bar and chat with the local bartender. Even if they’re busy, having that bit of human connection helps.
Book a Guided Tour
Short Guided Tours for Meeting Others
I plan a lot of independent itineraries, but I also love going on a good guided tour. Walking tours, food tours, group hikes, whale watching, day trips, etc. All these tours offer opportunities to talk to other people.
Seriously, as long as you don’t act awkward and stare at other people (you can’t force people to be friends with you, right?), you’ll eventually strike a conversation with someone.
I’ve lost track of the number of times that I’ve made friends on guided tours. For example, I spent an entire day in Porto exploring the city with two friends and a couple who I chatted with on a free walking tour.
On a different occasion, I booked a monument tour in Washington DC and met another solo female traveler. We got drinks together that night and then met at a museum the very next day.
Include some guided tours in your itinerary. They are practical, especially for places that are challenging to reach on your own. The new friends are an added bonus!
Multi-Day Tours for Meeting Others
On the flip side, for anyone who’s deeply worried about whether or not solo travel is boring, I suggest booking a multi-day guided tour. Yes, you lose a little independence, but there’s something lovely to be said for having all the details taken care of for you. You simply go along for the ride with a smile on your face. Win/win.
I love small guided tour companies, such as Intrepid or G Adventures, as well as boutique guided tours that travel bloggers host. These manageable group sizes, usually no more than 15 people, allow everyone to connect and usually there’s at least one other solo traveler who you’re able to talk to!
So don’t completely write off guided tours if you’re worried that your solo trip is going to be boring.
Is solo travel boring? Maybe if you never call home! Haha, I’m only partly joking.
I know solo travel bloggers and influencers like to push how much of an independent bad ass you are for exploring the world. And I’m not knocking that idea!
However, it’s still important to stay connected to home, particularly if you’re traveling for a longer period of time. I personally always check in with my family, because I know that they worry about me (and that’s totally normal). Sometimes, after sharing stories with someone at home, I feel a lot better and more motivated to explore even more on my own.
For those of you close to family and friends, it might be a good idea to even schedule a Zoom call. Video chat is more popular than ever, especially after the worse days of the pandemic.
Stay in touch. You’ll feel better.
Are you really and truly struggling with your boredom? Are you spending too much time in the hostel because you can’t stand the thought of anymore sightseeing? Are you just over it?
Then maybe you need to hop on a train and go to a different city or town. If you’re traveling for a longer period of time, then there’s absolutely zero shame in moving on earlier than you had originally planned and switching up your scenery.
Not all destinations speak to everyone. While most famous cities are popular for a reason, each and every traveler has different tastes, and you don’t need to spend your time or money in a place that isn’t speaking to you. It doesn’t mind the destination is bad. It just isn’t for you.
Seriously, just go on Twitter and look at people’s opinions on which cities they feel are overrated compared to the cities they loved. Each list is different, and some cities are frequently featured in both the most hated and loved lists.
I always recommend building a little flexibility in your schedule to move on. You are a solo traveler, meaning you don’t need to justify your decisions to anyone, except yourself.
Do you need a break from solo travel? Then take a break.
Reenergizing yourself obviously looks different for everyone. For example, you might decide to take the afternoon off, and stay in your room, and watch your favorite series on Netflix. Another example would be enrolling yourself in a yoga class, because the instructor centers you and relaxes your anxiety.
Ultimately, reenergizing yourself means taking a break from travel’s hustle and bustle, and doing whatever activities make you feel whole and happy inside.
You might feel guilty, because, yes, you’re spending a lot of your own money to explore a new country or city, but at the same time, what’s the point in “pushing through” if you’re just going to feel bored and lonely and miserable.
It’s okay to take time off on the road.
Stay at a Hostel
If you’re repeatedly asking yourself, “is solo travel boring?”, then you might need to book a few stays at a hostel. Hostels pride themselves on their abilities to foster community.
A social hostel is a popular hostel is a well reviewed hostel. So always go through and read all the reviews before booking your stay. Hostelworld has a plethora of information about hostels all over the world and is a great resource for figuring out if a hostel is right for you or not.
On a similar note, don’t feel as if you’re too old to stay at a hostel. Some hostels have age limitations, true, and these requirements are clearly written on the hostel’s website. Don’t try to book those hostels as an older person. It’s a bit creepy.
However, there are plenty of hostels that are open to all ages, which is fantastic for connecting with other travelers. You can stay in dorms, but a lot of hostels have private rooms now, so you have the luxury of your own space while still making new friends in the common areas or on tours provided by the hostel staff.
Take a Walking Tour
Last but not least, if boredom is creeping in, then sign up for a walking tour. In Europe especially, you’ll discover plenty of walking tours, from general historical tours to specialized tours focusing on certain neighborhoods, cuisine, famous historical figures, and so much more.
I know I briefly discussed my walking tour in Porto earlier in this post, but I truly think they are a great value. For instance, by taking a specialized walking tour, you’re likely to strike up a conversation with travelers who have similar interests as you.
Even if you don’t talk to anyone, you’ll learn something new about your temporary home, and any informative guide will zap boredom into dust.
Trust me, walking tours are definitely worth your time and energy.
So what is your experience? Is solo travel boring? I hope this guide at least got you thinking about some coping mechanisms for the next time you feel alone on a solo trip. Good luck!