The solo travel was the sole reason to start mastyatri.com. To date, I feel that it is the best way to travel and explore a country or a place. You can sometimes feel lonely on solo travel if you do not indulge in the travel. You booked your ticket and hotel and saw some places, that is not solo travel.
You have to evolve from being a traveler to become a storyteller. You will be traveling alone and exploring, you would be in control when you want to stop. There will be a lot of knowledge and sights to discover and consume. However, you might get lonely on solo travel.
First, you have to understand are you lonely or alone. You can be lonely among people, it is a mental state. However, being alone can be simply be avoided by going among people. Both have solutions, here is how…
Get out of your comfort zone and start a conversation with a total stranger. I always sit in a bar at the bar counter rather than on a table. Bar counter people are same as you, it is easy to talk to them. Just talk something which is coming on the TV or a simple hi will do. Look for opportunities to engage with people.
You can offer help, a mutually amusing situation and things like that. Since you are solo, most of the time you will eat alone. Rather than going to a posh hotel I always look for places where locals eat. It is the best way to start a conversation. I have offered drinks and what happened after that was something to remember.
Do not forget to take off your headphones and books. They can be a dampener to miss an opportunity to speak with people.
I had once offered beer to all the masseuse who were in front of my hotel. They opened up after that. The insight they gave on customers they deal with made me laugh for days.
AirB&B is a big no. You will even have your breakfast alone. The deals are good but rest of the scenario is not apt for a solo traveler. I rather stay at a hostel. Whether you are a solo woman traveler or a man I would recommend hostels any time. Hotels are good but have limited options to talk or meet people. Moreover, hotels can be expensive. Now for the people who are introvert, you can get a single room for yourself in a hostel. These hostels still have a common place to hang out and are a great place to kick-start a conversation.
You should actually choose rooms with at least four people. You should look for rooms which have two bunk beds or single beds for everyone. This is the best way to know the travel experiences of others. You can connect, be friends, plan tours together ask for recommendations and more. You are sure to make friends for partying. China Town in Bangkok is the Mecca for solo travelers. Stay there if you are in Bangkok.
Make sure to check the hostel’s review before you make a booking.
I always travel with one backpack. The reason is if you are traveling solo, you want to be with belongings all the time. If you are staying in a hostel the security might not be that great. However some hostels do provide lockers which I never trust. Some hostels do provide safe facilities where you can put your valuables. These safes are usually at the receptions.
The other reason traveling with a single bag is, it makes commute easy. You can hop on a bus get on metro, ride a boat etc. very conveniently. Just imagine you alone carrying two three bags. Your solo trip is bound to be hectic.
Food tours and walking tours are the best tours to meet people. These are mostly group tours and you can always find people to connect. You are able to see the person and make an informed decision to talk to people. For those who have deep pockets a good hired guide or even a driver can be a good company.
Not my favorite solution as I feel solo travel is about the unknown. You pack your bags and just go and find people on the way. None the less you can use tinder, couch surfing and hangouts can be good options for meeting people. The people you meet with these apps can help you know the place and can become good friends. They will help you to know where locals go. Take you to places which are not touristy.
Well, this is a long shot and you possibly cannot learn all. However, learning a few phrases of the language can make the locals comfortable. Google translate helps you a lot in learning a language. You can download a particular language and that will translate whatever language you write in and translate into any language. The best thing is since you can download you are not depended upon internet connection.
Don’t forget good manners and a smile is more important than the language. Learn what is ‘polite’ and that will help.