The biggest fear to travelling alone is being lonely. I’m here to tell you that never has to be the case. Here are five strategies to getting out there alone without ever feeling lonely:
This can be a little tricky because there are sadly too many voluntourism companies looking to take your money in exchange for a fake hug-an-orphan experience. These companies prey on the kindness of tourists and their practices do nothing but line their own pockets.
When I was planning my trip to Mexico, I researched for an animal shelter and contacted them directly. I gathered donations before my trip, and worked with them for two weeks. Read more on this adventure in I Fell in Love in Sayulita.
Another option is to research reputable companies who have a volunteer component to the tours they sell. G Adventures will often include a volunteer component through their non-profit called Planeterra. Give them a call and ask how you can help.
2. Niche Holiday
What’s your passion? Whether it’s fitness, photography, watercolours or kayaking, you can easily find a niche holiday where you will meet like-minded travellers.
Last year I decided to start the year as most of us do, shedding a few pounds. I signed up for two weeks at Movara Fitness Resort in Utah. I spent every day hiking and working out like a fiend, and every evening I blogged about my day. You can read about my adventure here, here and here.
If kayaking is your thing, I have a friend who owns a company called Happy Paddling. They teach kayaking skills in Barrie, Ontario but also head up some pretty cool kayak adventures in Cuba and Baja – skill levels from beginner to expert are welcome.
Want to go on a really really long walk? Join Mac’s Adventure on a self-guided long distance walk anywhere in the world. Mac’s will help you plan your trip your way. They will also arrange your accommodation along your route and transfer your luggage from inn to inn. Mac’s is a tour company out of Scotland. I used them for my 96-mile walk in the Scottish Highlands and highly recommend them.
The first time travelling alone, I was on a trip to Machu Picchu. I used G Adventures. Another time, I traveled to Egypt and I used Intrepid Travel. Both companies are excellent in my opinion. For a much wider choice however, you can check out TourRadar. who will help you plan your trip with their partner tour companies including G and Intrepid among others.
The beautiful thing about small group tours is that even though you are travelling alone, you will be with a group of about 10-16 people from around the world. You can opt for a single room for a small fee, but I always take the share option. They will match you up with a same-sex traveler, as close to your age as they can, and you become instant BFFs and roomies for the trip, and that equals no single supplement.
I’ve been on about 7 or 8 small group tours. The travellers always range in age from about 23 – 65, and about half arrive single, 1/4 are with a friend or relative, and 1/4 are coupled up. We’re always a motley crew of travellers and that’s part of what makes it so fun. I have met some great people on small group tours who are still friends today.
4. Hire a Local Guide
It’s easy to find a local guide no matter where you travel. The hard part is to find one with a good reputation because there just aren’t enough reviewers out there. This is why I began a series of reviews on my blog to help you find an amazing (and affordable) local tour guide. From my own personal experiences, I can recommend a local tour guide in Costa Rica, Morocco, and Niagara Falls.
Travelling alone with a local tour guide will give you a much deeper and more personal experience into the culture and local living of your destination. Besides that, you are giving your money to a local entrepreneur who has a passion for his business, and isn’t that just awesome?
5. Work on a Project
If you’re a part time blogger, artist, author, or photographer, travelling alone can give you an amazing opportunity to work on your craft. Find your little piece of paradise, book your stay, and enjoy some selfish me-time while you create your next masterpiece. Imagine renting a cute little houseboat in Amsterdam while you spend a week just focussed on getting that project done. Spend your breaks touring the neighbourhood, sitting in a local cafe, feeding the ducks. Doesn’t it sound amazing?
As I was writing the above paragraph, just for fun, I searched the Airbnb website for a boathouse for rent, it took me about 15 seconds to find this one. Oh, and by the way, if you’ve never used Airbnb, please read this post to whet your appetite. Furthermore, if you’re a first-timer, I can save you $40 by booking through this link.
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