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A Shy Girl’s Guide to Solo Travel

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Solo traveller, backpacker, girl

In two years of solo travel, I’ve gone from somebody so shy that ordering food in a restaurant made my heart pound and my head swim, to being somebody that will sing karaoke on a boat in front of a handful of people I’d just met that day*.

Sometimes I catch sight of myself and wonder “who is this person and what has she done with the real Emily?”. Travel changes you if you give it the chance. Especially solo travel. It forces you out of your comfort zone, introduces you to a stream of new people, makes you try new things, and slowly buffers you into a new and – potentially – better version of yourself.

But travelling as a shy person is daunting. If you’re shy, socially awkward, or anxious, the idea of solo travel is a nightmare. Trust me, I’ve been there. For the past few years I’ve mostly travelled solo – and this year I’ve taken two long-term backpacking trips all by myself. And honestly, these days I feel like a different person. It’s almost unbelievable how much I’ve grown!

But that doesn’t mean I’m not still shy. Every time I board a flight on a new adventure, every time I walk into a new hostel or arrive at a press event full of new faces, I feel sick with nerves. Shyness isn’t something that can be cured, but it is something you can learn to live with – and travel can help with that. So these are a few of my tips for coping with shyness as a solo traveller…

*That really happened last week!

Solo Travel Tips for Shy Folks…

It Will Get Better

Shy Solo Traveller
On my first solo backpacking trip in Bangkok

If there’s one thing that’s going to help you break out of your shell a little and feel less anxious about talking to people, it’s travel. The more you practice something, the better you get at it, right?

So if you’re constantly meeting new people, asking strangers for directions, ordering in restaurants on your own, etc, etc… gradually you’re going to get better at it and feel more comfortable doing it.

Three years ago, I couldn’t go into a shop and ask a question, couldn’t order for myself at a bar, couldn’t walk into a pub or restaurant unless I knew that my friends were already in there and exactly where they were sitting. Now, I can travel completely on my own. I eat in restaurants alone all the time. I can walk into a hostel full of strangers and make friends.

Honestly – I promise you it gets easier. You just have to keep on doing it.

Read More: A Year on My Own – all about my year of solo travel, and how it helped get me over a break-up. 

Create a “Patronus”

If you don’t know what a patronus is, we can’t be friends! In Harry Potter*, it’s a spell that wards off dementors (who feed on fear) by clinging to a happy memory. Without realising it, that’s exactly what I do these days when I feel scared.

September Travel Round Up

I got a silly pterodactyl tattoo in front of a crowd of strangers at a rooftop bar in Lima, which was a surprising act of bravery and confidence for me. So I use it as a reminder. I give it a quick glance, remind myself I can do anything I want to, and then go for it. Even if the “big scary thing” is walking into a hostel dorm for the first time and saying hi to everyone (which still scares me every single time).

Think of a time when you were scared to do something, but managed to do it anyway. No matter how small or insignificant it might seem to others, if it felt like a triumph to you, use it. Just hold on to that memory and use it whenever you feel scared – to tell yourself “I can do this”.

*Yep, I’m a major Potter geek – and proud! 

There will Always be Someone

Shy Solo Traveller

Just remember: for every shy, awkward person in the world, there’s somebody confident to balance them out. Every time I’ve nervously entered a new hostel, I’ve found one. Someone socially dominating enough to introduce themselves, lead a conversation, invite you to dinner.

All you need is an open mind and a willingness to say yes. You’ll find someone, and it won’t be at all hard to make friends. Because some people are social enough and confident enough for two!

Read More: A Year in the Life of a Travel Blogger

Ask Questions

I’ve always sucked at making conversations with strangers. If people talked to me, I’d be polite, I’d answer their questions, but the conversations would just fizzle out.

It was my ex who pointed out what I was doing wrong. Not asking questions. Being shy and reserved made me awkward, and that’s why conversations usually dissolved when Sam or someone else wasn’t around to carry them for me. So if someone asks where you’re from, don’t just answer. Ask them right back. And when they tell you, ask a question about it.

A Shy Girl's Guide to Solo Travel

This might be the most obvious-sounding piece of advice in the world – but I had to be told it! So now I’m telling you. Shy people struggle with making conversation.

Learn to ask questions, even dull ones, and suddenly conversations become much easier – and just like that you have a new friend!

Pretend Not to be Shy

What’s funny is that whenever I tell people I’m shy, they don’t really believe me. “But you don’t seem shy!” they all exclaim. Which is crazy, given that the first time I met them, my heartbeat was probably thumping in my ears and I have no doubt that internally I was terrified.

Here’s a really useful thing to remember, though – your shyness is internal. Even if you’re feeling really nervous, uncomfortable, or awkward – people probably won’t notice.

A Shy Girl's Guide to Solo Travel

So you can pretend not to be feeling that way at all. Pretending not to be shy is also quite a good coping mechanism. I don’t really want people to know when I’m nervous or embarrassed since those tend to be quite embarrassing emotions. So I pretend not to be feeling awkward – and not only do 99% of people seem to believe it, but somehow I start to believe it too.

Being Shy Can be a great way to travel

Being shy also makes me passive. Unable to stand up for myself or say what I want, I have a tendency to go along with a group. I’ll say yes, or “I don’t mind”, or “you choose” – even when I really do have a preference.

Because of that, I’ve gone on some adventures that I never otherwise would have. Saying yes to things I wanted to say no to has led me to discover some amazing things, meet great people, or find myself in the kind of crazy situation that leads to a great story.

I used to think being passive was a bad thing. But it’s really not. It’s just a different way to travel, and one that comes with real freedom in a way. So don’t ever wish you were less shy or less passive. Own your shyness and be proud of who you are. It might take you places you’d never have made it to otherwise!

Read More: Last year, I set myself the challenge to do one thing a month that scared me. Find out what I learnt from terrifying myself for a year

Don’t Take My Word For It

A lot of my fellow travel bloggers have also mentioned to me that they’re particularly shy or anxious. I think a lot of writers are – it’s why we prefer to sit behind computer screens instead of talking to real-life people. I remembered having this conversation with Samantha Hussey from The Gallivanting Gallos, so I asked her for a tip to include in this post…

Best backpacks for Female Travellers
Samantha on her Camino

“My tip is just to get out there and bite the bullet, it will be the best thing for your self-esteem. I literally cried nonstop for hours when the day of my Camino came around last year because I was so nervous. Aside from the physical challenges, I was so worried about meeting people, whether they would judge my brightly coloured hiking clothes (silly I know) or my lack of makeup.

“I was shaking with nerves but I found meeting new people who are like-minded so easy. Just remember, the people you meet when you travel already have something in common with you – love for travel. So use that as a conversation starter and go from there!

“I found that forcing myself to eat on communal tables helped a lot with socialising… and hostels always help as well. If you’re super nervous about travelling alone, join Facebook groups and arrange to meet like-minded people… Travelettes is a good one.”

INSPIRATION: Meet the Woman who Drove SOLO from Pennsylvania to Uruguay!

Facebook Groups for Meeting Travellers

Solo travel tips for shy people

Samantha’s suggestion about using Facebook groups to arrange meetups is a fantastic tip. It can be much easier to meet someone for the first time if you’ve already gotten to know them a little in advance. A few of my favourites are below:


Girls vs Globe

Let There Be Travel

Girls LOVE Travel

Another great way to arrange meetups is through sites like CouchSurfing and MeetUp, where people will often advertise social events and meetups which anyone can attend. Just search for your next destination and see what’s coming up!

As well as meetups, Couchsurfing is also a great way to find local hosts and accommodation for free – which is an even better way to connect with people and make friends. Check out this guide to Couchsurfing for solo travellers to help you get started. 

If you know of any more great websites and Facebook groups for meeting travellers, please scroll right down and leave me a comment. I’ll update the list!

Find a Good Hostel

If you’re not sure about scheduling a meetup, there are still loads of ways to make friends and connect with like-minded people. A lot of good hostels will organise events exactly for that purpose, things like city tours, barbecues, and parties.

Signing up to a few of those is a great way to meet fellow travellers and get to know people. Browse a hostel booking site (I like Hostelworld because it tends to have the most trustworthy reviews) and look for hostels that mention social events in the description, or have “tours” marked in their services/facilities section.

Are You a Shy Solo Traveller?

Did travelling alone help with your social anxiety? Have you learnt to manage your shyness better through solo travel? I’d love to include your tips, suggestions, and encouragement here for other shy backpackers and solo travellers. Please scroll down and leave me a comment!

A Shy Girl's Guide to Solo Travel

And if you’re a shy or socially anxious person wondering whether to take the plunge and travel solo – please let me be the first to tell you, DO IT. You won’t regret it. It might just be the toughest thing you’ve ever done, and I guarantee that some days will suck. But I promise you that most days will be awesome, you’ll have the best experiences of your life, and you might just come back an even stronger person than when you left.

Read More: Need some more inspiration to solo travel? 17 solo travel bloggers to help inspire you to take your first solo trip.

Scroll down to leave me a comment! 

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Shy Girl's Guide to Solo Travel - tips and advice for shy backpackers

58 thoughts on “A Shy Girl’s Guide to Solo Travel”

  1. Elizabeth @ Rosalilium

    Yes! Travel is the perfect way to push yourself out of your comfort zone. It’s especially difficult when you are shy or introverted. My strategy has been to ‘fake it until you make it’ – that is, pretend your are a confident person even though you’re secretly quaking in your boots. If you pretend to be confident for long enough you’ll soon find it comes easily.

    1. Haha that’s exactly what I do! When I’m busy pretending not to be shy, it distracts me and I somehow trick myself into thinking I’m confident. Or at least forgetting about feeling shy! And like I said – whatever you’re feeling inside, no one will actually know about it, so you can keep it internal and fake away!

    2. I disagree. I am on the autism spectrum and shy. I can not fake it and if i tried it would be so obvious. People often ask me if i am nervous. This is great advice for normal people but some people don’t have the ability and brain wiring to fake it. I have traveled for 4 years. I just have days where i avoid people and speak as little as possible. It is not one size fits all sadly.

      1. Thanks so much for commenting Amanda :) I guess my advice overall was aimed at introverted or socially awkward people like myself, so I get that it wouldn’t be “one size fits all” as you say. But faking it is only one of my tips, and I do think that some of them can help with shyness overall. I know they’ve helped me over the years. Don’t fake it, but also don’t let any kind of shyness stop you from doing what you want. If what you want is to avoid people for a day or two, don’t beat yourself up about it. I always have days like that and used to put so much pressure on myself and feel guilty… but some days you just want to be on your own! Other times, if you want to go hang out or do a fun sounding tour or something, don’t let shyness hold you back. That’s basically the gist of what I was trying to say with this post in the end :D

  2. I totally feel ya! As someone who struggles to strike up conversations with new people, I’m very familiar with the ‘faking it’ method of pretending not to be shy. Works like a charm!

  3. I love your photos, Amazing :)
    I’d been a shy girl :). I remembered my feeling of the first time hiking in colorado, cold, fear, tired. But after that, I become stronger and love … explore the world!

    1. Thanks Louise. Only a few of them are my own, the rest came from Unsplash!

      I think the more people travel the stronger they become, in a lot of ways. It’s been so so good for me, I can’t even really express it! Glad to hear it’s been good for you too :)

  4. ah THIS. you put into words everything i feel sometimes!! i loved reading this and honestly had no idea you were shy from our trip haha! it really is all in our heads I guess :)


    1. Oh wow thanks Sher!

      You’re right, it’s always internal – no one can usually tell until we tell them. Pretending not to be shy is my secret weapon – the more I do it, the more I believe it :D

  5. It was so great to read this! I have social anxiety but my fear of not traveling is much bigger, so it’s only a matter of time until I bite the bullet and go on a solo travel adventure. :)

    1. Thank you Sandra! It’s always a struggle travelling with social anxiety – but it’s so worth it. And in a way it’s even more rewarding. Good luck on your adventure – hope you bite the bullet soon :D

  6. This post is brilliant! And your 12 months 12 fears series too! I feel the same. I classify as an ambivert but I’m definitely on the shy side too sometimes. There are social situations that intimidate me, like walking into somewhere where a group is already formed and I am afraid I won’t fit. If there’s no group pre-formed I’m super talkative and have no problem starting conversations though. And next year I know I’m up for some solo travel (which I already did twice and had no problem with) and I’m scared I won’t cope but seeing an awesome experience by someone who feel the same way is really encouraging! Thank you so much!

    1. Thanks so much Catia. It’s always intimidating trying to join in with a new group of people – and I know what you mean, it’s harder when that group is already formed. You sort of feel like the odd one out, right. But never let feeling intimidated hold you back :) Good luck on your adventures for next year!

  7. Your photo is so nice and I feel the same about the solo travel with shyness and my introvert persona.I have social anxiety when I was in a group setting but I agree it is not an excuse to give up on solo travel because we have met so many kindred souls and it made us grow so much more. Interestingly after several years of on the road myself, I dont have problems to approach strangers on the road, but I have anxiety to approach people in my host city Toronto, cuz people here just cannot start talking for some reason and I dont want be a weirdo talking to them at the first place.

    1. Thank you Julie!

      I think it’s always harder to approach people and make friends when you’re in a fixed place. On the road, everyone wants to make new friends and meet new people (most people do anyway), but I suppose people at home already have connections etc so they might be less open to meeting new folks. Always tricky. Have you tried sites like Meetup? You could always see if there’s something going on around Toronto that you could go to :)

  8. I love this post Em – packed full of so many great tips! I have to admit that I don’t consider myself as overly shy, however if it came to travelling on my own I imagine that I would be, it takes a lot of guts to walk over and introduce yourself to people but I can imagine that it’s the best feeling! I need to do some solo travelling next year for sure!

    Hayley xo

    1. Aw thanks Hayley :)

      It definitely takes guts but it gets easier with practice. Although I think for people who are already shy it can be twice as hard. It’s just one of those things you build up in your head I suppose – I always arrive at a hostel feeling almost sick with nerves!! But it always works out fine in the end :)

      Solo travel though – it’s definitely good for the soul. Gives you time to really find out who you are and what you’re capable of etc. Very different to travelling with friends or as a couple, and everyone should try it once!


  9. Loved reading this! Summed up everything I’ve felt over the past three years of various solo trips and adventures. Thank you for sharing!

    I’ve included it on my blog, wanted other traveling friends to read as well!

    Thank you thank you!

    1. Thank you Stacy! Your comment, and you blog post, have genuinely made my day. Travelling has been so helpful to me and I wanted to show people how and maybe inspire them to get out there and do it to. So glad to hear that this resonated with you.

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment!


  10. I am soooo glad I stumbled upon this!!! I’m taking my first solo adventure in about a month and I am so nervous!!! My family and friends aren’t really helping- they’re all negative about the situation. Since I’m super shy and I have social anxiety it constantly makes me question my choice. Your blog has given me hope that I won’t be all by myself and stuck in my shy head the entire time. So thank you.

    1. Hi Caitlin! I’m so glad you found this helpful. I know what friends and family can be like – especially the first time you go away. They’re worried about you and so that’s all they’ll focus on. But I promise you it’s going to be amazing. There might be some really tough times, I’m, not gonna lie, and there will probably be some days when you feel totally lost and alone. But the bad days only serve to make the good days feel even more amazing – and there will definitely be more good days than bad! And I’m sure you’ll find, like I did, that you slowly start to get more of a handle on your anxieties and shyness. Mine never went away, it’s just a part of who I am, but I’m more accepting of it and it’s certainly easier to manage and ignore. And I can be a whole lot braver when I need to be – because I never want to miss out on anything fun. If you’re feeling shy or nervous ask yourself, what’s the alternative? Usually, opting out is a lot less fun, so you just need to push yourself to choose the more interesting option!

      Really hope you have an amazing time on your trip! Where are you headed?

      1. Tentatively I’m going to Thailand, Cambodia and Laos. Although I’ve made some wiggle room if I decide to stay in places longer or skip a country entirely. I leave in 3 weeks. Super excited! Any advice on those places?

        1. I’ve only been to Thailand out of those three. If you have time, head up to Chiang Mai and Pai in the north – those two are my favourites. Very chilled out and easy to travel. In Bangkok the Lub D hostels are awesome, great places to meet people but not noisy like party hostels.

          Hmmmmm… more advice. Depends where you’re going I suppose. Do a food tour or a cooking class because the food is amazing. Throw yourself in to everything, say yes to any opportunity, and have an amazing time :)

          I have a few posts on Thailand I think so check them out! Although not that many, so if you have any questions please feel free to ask.

          1. I’m set to leave in a few days and I’m feeling a little nervous as this is my first time solo traveling. Any words of wisdom?! This is really intense!

            1. Don’t stress – it’s going to be amazing. It just feels intense because it’s the first time you’re doing this, but pretty soon it’s just going to feel easy and awesome and you’ll wonder why you were ever worried! Have your first few days planned out if you can, in terms of where you’ll stay and what’s nearby, but try not to do too much.

              If you’re hostel is running anything like a party, tour, bbq, anything, say yes to it. It’s seems so scary at first to walk into a group of people and start hanging out but you have to take the plunge, and as soon as you do it’ll feel better. Like ripping off a plaster (band-aid if you’re in the US!). The worst bit is the first “hi” – after that it’s just talking to people. If you can talk to people at work, or at home, you can talk to people in a hostel. Remember, everyone is in the same boat and most people out there are nice, friendly, and not going to judge you. And the best part about travelling is that if you do really embarrass yourself somehow (which you won’t but it’s always my biggest fear), you can just leave that town, go somewhere new, and never see any of those people again!!!

              Good luck! Let me know how the trip goes :) You’re going to have an amazing time!

    2. Wowswers! You sound very similar to me! My work colleagues can’t quite come to grips with the fact that someone who travels solo to some rather odd places can possibly be an Introvert, let alone shy, but for me, that’s kind of the point – being a relatively shy loner with a particular hatred of the phone (seriously, I can’t even phone up a takeaway; I have to do it online!), solo travel suits me perfectly, as it means I don’t need to be around people all the time – I can just go off and hike up that hill, or wander aimlessly around a city taking pics of all the street art!

      No matter how often I travel, every time my plane is about to land in a new destination my stomach starts to churn and I get the worries: what if no-one can speak my language? What if I can’t understand the signs? What if I can’t get any money out the cash machine? What if it’s not obvious how to leave the airport? What if I end up having to speak to someone and have them laugh at me for being a stupid foreigner? Sometimes I feel like crying in frustration when I’m stuck between being lost and having to speak to someone. Doubly so if there’s a strong chance we speak different languages and/or use different alphabets.

      Party hostels leave me cold. I just end up cowering in the corner not speaking to anyone. I’m much more comfortable in quiet backpacker hangouts where people lurk around in the common area on social media, where there’s no pressure to socialise or ‘have fun’. A quick ‘hi’ is often followed by the usual questions of ‘who are you, where you going’, but at least then the ice may be broken; we can choose to continue or to sidle back into our own space.

      There’s so much I could write about your post, but most of it could be summarised by ‘yep’, ‘god yes’, ‘oh, i know’, or variations on the theme! Fab posting, thank you :)

      1. Oh thanks so much for your comment! I know exactly what you mean about being on the plane and all the travel doubt. I still get it too. All those stupid doubts and the silly questions you start asking yourself – gets me every time. I always over pack because I worry that people will judge me on what I’m wearing in some way, so I pack for every eventuality! In case someone judges me because my hiking clothes aren’t outdoorsy enough or something! It’s so stupid – but I do just get so hung up on stupid things when I’m nervous.

        Again, thanks so much for commenting. I loved writing this post and I’m really hoping it helps others who might find themselves in a similar position to me!

    3. This reminds me so much of when I starting traveling solo. Awesome read! And you are 10x more awesome because you also love Harry Potter (:

      1. Haha your comment put a smile on my face this morning! I do LOVE Harry Potter ;) Thanks for commenting too – starting solo travel is really daunting, and I wanted to share with people that it does get easier and is worth taking the plunge!

    4. I love this article, it’s such a relief to know I’m not the only one!
      although I do feel that there’s a difference between being shy and introverted – I think I’m growing out of my shyness but I still need to spend more time alone then an average person. Sometimes this makes it difficult to travel in a group – if your company is more energetic and wants to talk all the time it can be a bit exhausting :/
      I still sometimes feel shy, but it’s getting better, I just try to remember all the previous experiences when I met new people and nothing went wrong, nobody hated me or thought I was weird :D
      I guess as I started being OK with myself, accepting introversion as a character trait and not a flaw I also stopped being so worried about what others will think of it and as a consequence it became easier to approach and meet people. There can be a lot of pressure to have fun, act crazy and whatnot, but if you’re not like that it doesn’t mean you’re not enjoying yourself, it took me a long time to realize that..

      1. Thanks for commenting, I’m so pleased you enjoyed the post and could relate to it!

        I think you’re right, introverted and shy are probably two separate things, although they tend to come hand in hand. I’m definitely a massive introvert and always will be, but shyness is something I can manage and work at over time.

        Love what you said about accepting yourself as an introvert. That’s where it all became much easier for me. As soon as I realised that this huge part of my personality is a) not going anywhere, and b) not actually a flaw (but often a blessing in disguise) I began to feel a lot better about things. and funnily enough I also started feeling more confident!

        Thanks so much for your comment :) xx

    5. I’m not a shy person per say, I mean, I am shy regarding a few things but now when meeting strangers if I know they are in the same mindset as I am. Like when I travel. But one thing I learnt with my trips is to just to do it.

      I also get really anxious when I think before taking action. Before I book a flight and I start thinking where to go. What to do. Etc. I always get anxious. So my trick now is just to decide about a destination, book the flight and it’s done. Then I think about all the details, what to visit, etc. I helped me a lot with that anxiety. Though, I still get anxious before the trip, but if it is booked, I just can’t give up. The same applies to other activities, like my sky diving jump :D

      Just do it! Overthink later :P

      1. Yep, just do it! Great motto – and always helps me when I’m about to do something that terrifies me like jump off a bridge :D

        I think a lot of people get anxious about a trip, whether its because of meeting people or whatever. So yeah – just do it :)

    6. Inspiring! I had a semi-solo trip in Amsterdam, as I toured the city while my husband was working. At first, I was completely nervous, especially during the group sight-seeing tours. However, after a few days, I learned to own the idea of being by myself. I enjoyed knowing that I could spend as little or as much time wherever I wanted, not rushed in restaurants or museums (except when with the tour group). It also helped that I always have a book, so if I started getting nervous, I could plunge into a story, a place where I’m always happy.

      1. Ah yeah taking a book to a restaurant is a GREAT tip. I used to always rush and be really embarrassed about eating alone. Now I just think “who cares”! No one is paying me any attention and if they are – who gives a damn?!

    7. Hi Emily,
      How are you? Nice to meet you at Traverse the other day. Your first picture was used in this French website:
      I’m not sure if you know so there you are.
      Have a great day,

      1. Thanks Lucie! It’s just a freebie stock image (from Unsplash I think) so I don’t own the pic unfortunately – it’s probably in tons of blog posts!

        Hope you’re good! It was lovely to meet you :)

    8. Hi Emily,
      First of all I want to thank you so much for this post. It just made me feel like I can breath again.
      I’m in my first week of a 3 week solo travel and I’ve been struggling a bit. And to read your post just made me realise that it’s completely normal. So instead of worrying even more, I’m so happy there’s people I can relate with.

      I don’t really know how to describe all the thoughts and feelings that run through me in this moment.
      But let’s say I’m so scared of missing out and not meeting up to people’s expectations that I sometimes fail to see how amazing this experience is. And as the cycle this is, it makes me feel even more bad about myself.
      After reading your stories and tips, I can see that I’ve been growing a bit as well.
      So once again a huge thank you for opening up about all this!

      And now I will go back to enjoying the wonderful travels that life gave me and embrace every moment (easy or hard) with open arms and open mind!

      1. Hi Lyn

        I’m really sorry it took me ages to reply to this – I’ve been busy on a press trip and not gotten online much. But I’m SO glad you read my post and that it helped you a little bit.

        Honestly, it’s totally normal. I still struggle from time to time when I’m travelling solo and I know that most other travellers do too. It’s really easy to start internally berating yourself for being too shy or missing out on an opportunity, but you can’t. Easier said than done I know – I still look back on my trip to a hostel in Pai and tell myself off for being so awkward I basically shunned everyone for two days. But you can’t feel bad about yourself for being the way you are. Your travel style is just different to other peoples’. I’m super shy and passive so I do whatever the people I’m with do and I only make friends if someone else decides to make friends with me. That’s my travel style so that’s the way I experience the world – there’s nothing wrong with it, it’s just different to someone more confident or outgoing.

        I hope you’re still enjoying your travels (if you’re still on them) and that things go smoother from here on. Enjoy, be open minded, and see what life throws at you.

        Thank you so much for reading and commenting. Give me a shout if I can be of any help!


    9. Such a great post, I felt like you were writing about me ! I went on 2 organised group trips on my own and I met a ton of great people, but I’m dying to travel independently. I’m sick of being forced to be social when I don’t want to. For me that’s not a holiday, that’s more stress. I just hate that “summer camp spirit” where everyone needs to look like they’re having fun all the time and everyone just pretends to get along with everyone. Unfortunately, my introversion/ shyness is exactly the reason why my parents won’t let me travel alone. They think I would die of thirst because I’d be too shy to order a drink, or that I would be lost forever because I’d be too afraid to ask for directions. Maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but hardly. I can’t say these things don’t scare me, but how am I supposed to learn if I don’t do it ? I’ve already grown so much after spending 3 months with a group of strangers, I can’t imagine how much I’ll learn by doing all the things that scare me by myself. The sense of accomplishment will be even more amazing. Anyway, it feels good to know I’m not alone in this and I might even show this to my parents haha, maybe it’ll reassure them too !

      1. Aw thank you so much Olivia :) When I started travelling, I did so with my ex boyfriend. I would hardly ever order for myself in restaurants or ask for anything, and I let him take the lead. Even when we were travelling South America and he spoke no Spanish, I’d make him be the one to ask for everything. So I’d whisper the Spanish to him and then send him off to book tickets or give the cab driver our address. Some days it wasn’t as bad as that but that’s the extreme, and a lot of days were extreme. Then he got sick while we were in Cusco and needed some meds. By then, I was feeling more confident in general because we’d been on the road a couple of months and I was starting to get the hang of things – but I still made him do everything. He needed some medication and we needed some food and stuff, so I left him in the hostel and went out on my own because I had to. I was terrified at first but I went to the pharmacy and got what we needed – because I had to. It’s amazing how quickly that co-dependence can go away when you’re suddenly alone! It was such a small thing but I felt so proud of myself for going out in Cusco and doing basic errands that day!

        So I guess what I’m trying to say is that if you’re forced to do things that normally terrify you, you’ll actually find them easier to do. And you’ll definitely learn from it and get better every day!

        Good luck with your future solo travels :) x

    10. In my opinion “Travel as much as you can ” you will not only experience new things to learn but you will realize how small our thinkings are , It does not matter solo or with other travellers ,Travel as much as you can .

      1. Agreed! Travel is good for the soul and the mind :) And I think solo travel is very different too, it teaches you things about yourself that you might never discover otherwise!

    11. Wow loved your article.

      It’s beautifully written I started solo travelling last year and its been the best thing. It has definitely moved me out of my comfort zone.

      1. YAY thanks for reading :) Solo travel is amazing for getting you out of your comfort zone and testing your limits. And you learn so much about yourself when that happens!!

    12. I am so glad I found this post on Pinterest. I’ve been wanting to travel since I was a junior in high school (I’ve been out of school for 5 years now). I haven’t done it because I did not realize how many people women especially travel completely alone. I keep telling myself that I need someone to travel with because that is what my parents were telling me. But I’m discovering this year that no I don’t. I’m a teacher and I feel like getting out of my comfort zone and traveling solo could help me be more outgoing in my job.

      1. Hi Cheyenne!! I don’t know how I missed your comment but I’m so sorry for not replying sooner. Thank you SO much for commenting – I’m glad you found the post too!!

        I always thought I needed someone to travel with, but when my ex dumped me I found myself both alone and desperate to travel – and it really was the best decision I ever made. It literally changed my life, made me a better version of myself (basically all those cliches you read about travel all the time) and I had an amazing time. I’m still in touch with some of the people I met on my first solo trip in Asia, I’ve even flown to different countries just to meet up with some of them. When you travel solo you’re only ever as alone as you want to be, it’s easy to make friends and meet people, but it’s also easy to have that complete down time when you need it!

        Let me know if/when you book a trip, I’d love to hear all about it!

    13. In 1999 I backpacked around the world for a year, at 39. I was terrified to travel alone, long story, but set off with a girl from work who I didn’t know very well. Not advisable, but we both wanted the same thing. Within a few weeks of landing in India, I began questioning solo female travellers…how did they find solo travel, and I hung onto every scrap of information. Because although I was absolutely petrified of going alone, at this point I knew I’d have to, because this wasn’t working for me. I chose my moment, when I knew her friend was visiting her for 3 weeks in Australia, bit the bullet and actually said the words “I want to go alone”. ?. It was the best decision I’d ever made. Always aware of my surroundings and using common sense, I had the best time of my life. I look back and wonder how I ever did that, but you do acquire a confidence from within that you never, ever thought would be there.
      You have covered many advantages of solo travel in your blog (I loved reading it, it took me back), however, one I will add is, sometimes I just wanted to be alone, and have quiet time. And solo travel is allows this… having the best of both worlds, mixing with people as often as you like, or just being quiet when needed ?.

      Travel today is so much easier today with communication at everyone’s fingertips- I had none of this. The internet had just been invented ?. But I did it! And if I did it, anyone definitely can! ?.
      Thank you for your blog, it’s rare to engage with others on this subject, friends and family are like…here she goes again lol, whereas fellow travellers will always get it!

      1. Thanks so much for commenting Terri :) Going solo when you have the option to stick with another person must have been such a big step, almost harder than just setting off solo in the first place! But obviously it worked out really well for you. I can never get over how much travel in general, but especially travelling solo, changed me as a person and how much stronger it made be. Things like that stay with you forever.

        And you’re absolutely right, of course – one of the big advantages of solo travel is that you can be a bit selfish and do exactly what you want. So when you need alone time, you can have it, but if you want to be social there’s always a way.

        Thanks for reading and commenting :) Stay safe and happy travels!

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