• Are You Afraid to Travel Alone?

    by  • Travel Fears • 61 Comments

    Do you want to travel but you haven’t booked a ticket yet because you don’t have anyone to travel with? Have you considered traveling solo but your fears are holding you back? I was scared too for several years before I finally booked my first solo trip, and afterwards I wondered why I waited so long. It’s perfectly normal to be afraid to travel alone, but there are so many benefits to solo travel. Here are just a few of the reasons why you should give it a try.

    afraid to travel alone

    You will meet people when you travel alone

    Being a solo traveler actually makes you more approachable. Locals will usually reach out to help if you look lost. In some parts of the world locals might find it strange to see you traveling on your own, especially if you’re female, but it’s only because they’re not used to it. I’ve had locals in Southeast Asia strike up a conversation with me because they were curious about me as a solo traveler, and they were incredibly friendly.

    Are You Afraid to Travel Alone? - Dubrovnik

    Other travelers, especially other solo travelers, will be more likely to join you for a meal if you’re alone instead of part of a couple or group. Some of the travelers you’ll meet while traveling alone can even turn into lifelong friends. You already share something major in common, a desire to see the world. But even if you never speak to that person again, you had a friend for a day or a week, and people often end up being the highlight of the trip. When you’re already traveling with a friend or partner, you tend to stay inside that bubble, and you don’t often meet other travelers.

    You can be more flexible when you travel alone

    When you travel with someone else, there’s always some kind of compromise during the trip. Maybe you want to take a day tour but your friend doesn’t. Maybe you want to go hiking but your friend wants to go shopping. When you travel alone, you get to do exactly what you want every time. You will have the flexibility to plan your entire trip the way you feel comfortable without having to worry about someone else’s desires.

    Are You Afraid to Travel Alone? - Corinth, Greece

    Not only does this mean you only have to do what you want to do, but you can also be more spontaneous. Maybe you thought you’d wake up and go to a museum one day, but if the sun is shining, you can change your mind and go for a walk in a park or go to the beach instead. You can even change your plans more drastically and move on to another city on a whim if the desire hits you. It’s all up to you.

    You will gain confidence when you travel alone

    Traveling alone can certainly be scary. But when you get to your destination, navigate the streets, find your hotel, make yourself understood despite a language barrier, and book a day tour all on your own in a foreign land, something starts to change. You suddenly realize you can do things on your own. Even something simple you do alone at home all the time takes a lot more effort abroad. When you accomplish the task, your confidence will start to soar.

    You’ll have to figure out a lot of things on your own that might be easier if you had a friend around. I know that might not sound like a good thing, but once you do figure those things out (and you will!) you’ll feel stronger and better able to depend on yourself. When I travel alone, I sometimes struggle with things in the moment, but the confidence boost I get makes it all worth it.

    Are You Afraid to Travel Alone?

    Always remember that it’s ok to be afraid to travel alone. But don’t let that fear stop you from booking a ticket and traveling. There’s a big exciting world out there waiting to be explored. Start small to ease your way in, but I strongly encourage you to give solo travel a try. You’ll meet interesting people, you’ll have loads of flexibility, and best of all you’ll gain a huge amount of confidence. These are just a few of the reasons I like to travel alone, and I think you’ll enjoy it too.

    Don’t forget to check out How to Travel Alone!


    Travel Solo But Never Alone

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    61 Responses to Are You Afraid to Travel Alone?

    1. Matthew Cheyne
      November 13, 2012 at 10:52 am

      Looking back to when I first traveled solo back in 2001, it was the fear of the unknown that initially held me back. All those what ifs though turned into why nots when I arrived in Sydney on an overnight train from Melbourne. Finding somewhere to stay at 6.30am in the morning – something that should have been scary to me at the time was instead exhilirating and wonderful.

      One of the most beautiful yet understated things about solo travel is the ability to chart your own course, make your own history, tell your own story and hear about and be a part of the story of others as well.

      Two of the most powerful realizations that we can gain from solo travel are that we are all adequate and competent in our own ways when we need to be. Even people with disabilities such as blind people have managed to travel solo and make something of it. So it is really us and our fears that are holding us back. The other most powerful realization you gain during solo travel is that no matter what culture you encounter, no matter where you travel, we are essentially one people sharing one planet. The borders are merely arbitrary. The fundamentals however are the same wherever you go. People want to be happy, live long lives in peace and prosperity, to love and be loved. We are in essence all one.

      • Ali Garland
        November 13, 2012 at 3:36 pm

        Matthew, this is such a beautiful comment! Fear of the unknown is huge. Our minds blow that way out of proportion, making things seem scarier and scarier. “Why not” is so right! When you really think about it, why not go somewhere on your own? And I totally agree, we are all fundamentally the same no matter what our backgrounds are or where we live. People in another city or country aren’t scary just because they’re not from the same place, they’re just people.

        I’m so glad you took the leap to try solo travel! Now I just need to get you to travel outside of Australia! :-)

      • Mike
        May 15, 2014 at 11:38 am

        I agree Ali it is beautiful. Fear of the unknown is huge indeed. I want to go to lots of places and don’t really want to go alone. Maybe partly due to fear and partly because maybe I’m perceiving it to not be interesting not sharing it with others.

        • Ali Garland
          May 15, 2014 at 2:33 pm

          I can definitely understand that fear, Mike! Sometimes the best way to overcome a fear is to just face it head on. Traveling by yourself isn’t any less interesting (in my opinion) and even if you don’t have a good friend to share the experience with, you will often meet other travelers to share those moments with. Plus sometimes it’s just really nice to have that time to yourself. The flexibility of solo travel can’t be beat. And it’s a great way to build confidence. I hope you give it a try!

          • Mike
            May 16, 2014 at 12:34 pm

            Hey thanks for your reply and you are right the only way to get over any fear is by just doing it. I never thought of travelling like that really, thanks :)

            • Ali Garland
              May 16, 2014 at 8:43 pm

              No problem Mike, let me know if you ever have any travel questions!

    2. November 13, 2012 at 6:23 pm

      My biggest concern about traveling solo are solo road trips. I always have a fear of the car breaking down, especially in a foreign country. But I never let that stop me from hitting the road every weekend while Tim was deployed to Afghanistan. It not only kept me busy, but I also discovered some great places I was excited to show him once he got back. I’d always rather be traveling with Tim, but when he can’t go, I don’t have a fear of going on my own.

      • Ali Garland
        November 13, 2012 at 11:14 pm

        I can totally understand being nervous about a solo road trip in another country. But I’m glad you still go for it. As long as you take some precautions, like having a cell phone, knowing some car basics, stuff like that, you won’t panic quite as much if something does happen. I know what you mean about traveling with Tim. I’d much rather travel with Andy now, but I loved traveling alone before I met him. And if some situation arises where it makes sense for me to go solo, I know I can handle it and I’ll have fun.

    3. November 13, 2012 at 6:27 pm

      Traveling solo is great, I traveled the whole 2011 by myself (well, two months with my sister), and I met so many people. It does indeed give you a lot more flexibility on what you want to do, see and eat. And like mentioned before, you will not be alone, you will meet a lot of people!

      • Ali Garland
        November 13, 2012 at 11:16 pm

        Thanks Jarmo! I love the flexibility of traveling by myself, and I’ve met so many great people. It’s a different way of seeing the world, and that can be really good.

    4. November 14, 2012 at 6:45 pm

      Excellent post! The first time I traveled alone, I was shocked to find that I felt immense relief! I arrived in Rome with no real set plans, no one else’s schedule to accomodate, nothing but myself and my bag. And I didn’t have to feel guilty about wanting to take a two-hour midday nap or not see some of the famous touristy things. I could do things my way. I could just be. It was incredibly freeing and I’m always glad to see people being encouraged to try it. Solo travel is still, to this day, a huge relief to me. For a short time, we can be only responsible to ourselves.

      • Ali Garland
        November 15, 2012 at 3:24 pm

        Thanks Gigi! There is definitely an element of relief when you travel by yourself. Knowing you only have yourself to worry about can make things so much easier sometimes. There’s so much freedom in it. It seemed so scary to me when I first tried solo travel, and once I realized how wonderful it can be, I’ve been a huge advocate of at least trying it once.

    5. November 18, 2012 at 8:46 pm

      Traveling alone might be my favorite way to travel, and for a lot of the reason you mentioned. It seems that all the long term friends I have made have been when I am traveling alone. In ffact when I am traveling alone I am hardly ever alone, iIt is easier to meet people because you have to. Where if you are traveling with one or two other people you have a comfort zone and don’t have to be so outgoing. I am also addicted to the sense of accomplishment you get when you reach your destination alone. Traveling alone makes you a stronger person all around.

      • Ali Garland
        November 20, 2012 at 5:01 pm

        Thanks Stephen! I know what you mean about that sense of accomplishment. Even small things can seem like big triumphs when you’re traveling on your own. Traveling alone has definitely made me a stronger person, which is why I highly recommend it to others, even just to try it once. I’m glad you’ve also made lots of friends while traveling solo, it’s so much fun to meet other people that way.

    6. November 22, 2012 at 3:15 pm

      My first solo trip was definitely scary, but I learned so much. I proved to myself that I am the navigator I thought I was. I stayed in large hostel rooms so I was able to meet other travelers. I could take off doing wahtever I want, not worried about waht other people wanted to do or how much they wanted to spend. Although I still prefer traveling with someone else, it was an important experience I will never forget.

      • Ali Garland
        November 22, 2012 at 4:08 pm

        I’m glad you had a good experience with solo travel even if it was a bit scary. It’s still kind of scary for me sometimes and I’ve been doing it for years. But as soon as I get there, I remember why I like solo travel. I do prefer to travel with my husband now, but I’m so glad I had that solo travel experience.

    7. November 23, 2012 at 3:27 pm

      Ali, so true. You know even at home I don’t let solo status stop me. Dinner out, solo? Yes! But sit at the bar where others can easily join you. If you take a table, you cancel many opportunities for conversation with others.

      • Ali Garland
        November 24, 2012 at 2:05 pm

        Great tip, eating at the bar instead of getting a table is a great way to have other people to talk to. If nothing else, you’ll get to chat with the bartender. Thanks Maria!

    8. December 16, 2012 at 5:47 pm

      I am ashamed to say I haven’t done too much solo travel. And now that I’ve gotten used to travelling with John I doubt I will be doing any. I’m sure I’ve missed out on a lot not having some adventures on my own though.

      • Ali Garland
        December 16, 2012 at 11:48 pm

        Well, if an opportunity ever presents itself for you to travel on your own, even for just a few days, give it a try. Solo travel is a great experience to try at least once. But I understand about traveling with John, I do love traveling with Andy now.

    9. December 17, 2012 at 1:27 am

      The only thing I dislike about travelling along is that sometimes I get lazy and I need someone else around to motivate me to try new things or go outside my comfort zone

      • Ali Garland
        December 17, 2012 at 5:01 pm

        I know what you mean, I get like that occasionally too. That’s why I usually plan and research more when I’m traveling solo, I’m more likely to go do stuff if I have even a rough plan.

    10. December 17, 2012 at 6:28 am

      I love traveling alone. The only downside is it means I have to finance the trip instead of hubby! lol

      • Ali Garland
        December 17, 2012 at 5:01 pm

        Ha! Yeah, that could be a little more annoying!

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    12. December 17, 2012 at 11:52 pm

      It’s been a while since I’ve truly traveled solo for more than just a few days. It scares me every time, but I know it’s something that makes me stronger and is well worth the bit of uncomfortable feelings that come up before a solo trip. Great post!

      • Ali Garland
        December 18, 2012 at 9:28 pm

        Thanks Christy! Funny how that works, it’s always a little scary for me too, even after so many solo trips, but I always know I will be fine too. It definitely makes me stronger, and I love solo travel for that.

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    14. February 7, 2013 at 8:40 pm

      My favorite part of traveling solo is that it is the exact experience you want. If you have a bad time then the only person you can blame as yourself. And to your point, I never feel lonely and have met the most wonderful people when traveling by myself. I think you are much more open and accessible for meeting new people versus when traveling with groups of people. To me half the experience is meeting the locals.

      • Ali Garland
        February 7, 2013 at 8:47 pm

        Thanks Jenna! It’s so good to hear you’ve also had such good experiences traveling solo. It’s not as scary as you think when you first set out there, and you do have so many opportunities to meet wonderful people along the way.

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    19. Caitlin
      July 21, 2013 at 1:08 am

      After all the things I have read online I am still so scared to travel alone.. I won’t even be travelling alone ill be meeting with someone at my final destination but just the flight alone is enough to scare the crap out of me!
      I don’t know what steps to take to feel confident enough to fly alone?
      I’m scared of the unknown, I’m scared of being alone on a flight so far from home and I’m scared it will give me feelings of anxiety, I’m afraid that if something happens to me on the way over to Europe how will I cope, I’ll have noone :(
      Any suggestions of how to overcome these feelings because I am really really terrified

      • Ali Garland
        July 21, 2013 at 11:27 am

        Hi Caitlin! It’s totally normal to be scared, but I think the only way to get past it is to just do it. Try to focus on the fun things you will be doing and the great things you will be seeing once you arrive. The flight is the boring part. Bring something to read and your iPod so you can entertain yourself on the flight, sleep if you can, and just keep reminding yourself how much fun you’re going to have when you get to Europe. You CAN do this! Email me if you have any questions or want any help with anything. And have a great trip!

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    22. Pam
      October 24, 2014 at 7:44 pm

      Hi Ali,this is a 66year old who has never travelled alone. My family live in Hobart and have invited me for Christmas. This I accepted and booked without thinking! O dear, I don’t go until 3rd dec but feel so ill at the thought. I have 2 changes, singapore also Melbourne. They will meet me but I don’t think I have ever been so scared. Any advice for a pathetic older traveler? Pam

      • Ali Garland
        October 25, 2014 at 9:42 pm

        Hi Pam! You’re going to do great! Try not to think of it as traveling alone because you’re really just doing the boring transportation part alone. You’ll be with family once you get to Hobart. Flying internationally isn’t too much different than flying domestically, just a few passport checks here and there. The Singapore Airport is *wonderful* and easy to navigate. Since you’re not staying in Singapore, only switching flights, you don’t even have to go through customs/immigration. Just look for the signs that say “transit” and find your connecting gate. You will have to go through security again because they have security for every gate or every few gates, which actually makes it easier because the line is short and usually just people on your flight. As for the switch in Melbourne, you will have to go through customs/immigration because you’re staying in Australia, but it’s not a big deal. You’ll get a form to fill out while you’re still on your flight, and the officer might ask you a question or two, but don’t worry about it. After that, you just need to find your connecting gate.

        Make sure you’ve applied for your electronic visa (depending on your citizenship) before your trip. The first section of this post http://travel-made-simple.com/traveling-to-australia-things-know-before-you-go/ is about the electronic visa for Australia. If you need one, it is super easy.

        Bring lots to read on the plane. If you have a Kindle, load it up. Those long flights are so boring!

        If you get confused in either airport, just remember they’re both in English-speaking countries, and all you have to do is ask for help. You will be FINE! :-) You’re not pathetic either. Doing something new like this is always scary, but just focus on the fact that, for most of the trip, you’re just going to be sitting on a plane, and focus on how much fun you’re going to have once you get to Australia!

        I hope this helps, but please feel free to email me at ali@travel-made-simple.com if you have any other questions or concerns.

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    24. Victoria
      December 20, 2014 at 6:16 pm

      Thanks for the article. I’m 30, and contemplating my first solo trip. I would definitely go on a tour in a foreign country. But still, I remain incredibly intimidated. I am a relatively introverted person, and it seems to take me a while to get to know people. I foresee it being a challenge to meet new people as freely and easily as you say it happens in your travels. Not that I mind being alone, but there is something special about sharing travel experiences with someone else. Any further advice? Or just take the plunge?

      • Ali Garland
        December 22, 2014 at 2:17 pm

        Hi Victoria! I completely understand about being an introvert, that’s me too. I think the difference between meeting people when you’re traveling (especially as an introvert) and meeting people at home in your normal life is that you don’t have tons of time to get to know them. You have to go into it with the idea that you’re not trying to meet your next best friend, you’re just looking for some friendly conversation here and there. Unfortunately it does often mean pushing yourself to be a little more outgoing than you might normally be, like approaching other travelers instead of waiting for people to approach you. Sort of like making the first move. Look around for other solo travelers, they are most likely to want to meet new people. But if you’re on a tour, it should actually be easier because you’ll be spending several days (or however long the tour is) with the same people. Look for other solo travelers or just start talking to people you’re sitting near. When I’m traveling independently, I find it hard to meet travelers who are in pairs or groups, but other solo travelers are easier. However, on tours, you’re all together for awhile, so the couples/pairs are more willing to talk to other travelers. But the biggest thing is to just give yourself a little push to approach people. Remind yourself that you are ok being on your own sometimes, so it’s not like you NEED to have people around you all the time. And if the person you approach snubs you, well, you never have to see them again anyway.

        I’ve been on trips where I meet tons of people, some of whom I still say hi to on Facebook now and then. But I’ve also been on trips where I didn’t really meet anyone. It’s part chance, but it’s also partly what my attitude was at the time and how much effort I put into meeting people. Some days you won’t have the energy to reach out to people, and that’s ok. Bring a book.

        Look for tour companies that seem to fit with your personality and how you like to travel. At 30, you might still be ok with hanging out with a group of people in their early 20s who want to drink more than they want to sightsee. But you might not want that at all. You can usually read their about page and company mission or values to get an idea of their audience. When in doubt, email or call them and ask what types of travelers they usually get.

        Aside from traveling with a multi-day tour, I’ve found food tours to be good. They’re usually small groups, and there’s plenty of time when you’re eating and not necessarily listening to the guide, so you can chat with the other people on your tour. At the very least, you have a few people to hang out with for a few hours, but if you really get along with someone, you could suggest meeting up the next day for a meal or an activity.

        I hope this helps! You kind of do have to just take the plunge, but it’s not as scary as it seems. If you have any other questions, feel free to email me at ali@travel-made-simple.com

    25. Luiz Roberto
      January 4, 2015 at 12:52 am

      Wow, such an interesting article! I’m 29 and just latelly I’ve started solo travelling. I was really scared I’d be alone, wouldn’t meet nobody, and the trip would be a tragical experience. But for my surprise those few travels (so far!) I’ve done alone opened up my eyes for how wrong I was. Nowadays I honestly believe is way better travelling solo. And, as you pointed out, you’ll only be alone if you want in a trip like this. The greatest part of such an experience is the people you’ll meet on the road, that has no price. I still can remember people that hung out with me, wether for days, wether for a couple of blocks. Thanks for sharing, I believe many people still feel like I used to and such fear must cease. Now I wanna take a sabbatical year! All on my own. Cheers from Brazil!

      • Ali Garland
        January 5, 2015 at 6:56 pm

        Thanks Luiz! I’m so glad you enjoy solo travel so much! I hope your experience encourages others to give it a try. The fear of solo travel can really hold you back, but once you take the leap, most people see that it’s actually really fun and rewarding. Good luck with your sabbatical year, and let me know if I can help!

    26. Andy
      January 8, 2015 at 5:02 pm

      Hi Ali I find your passion inspirational, I have just turned 50 but unfortunately I have been separated from my wife for 6 months now, during our 20 years together we did a lot of travelling and we have narrowed down our favourite places as places we have returned to very happily on quite a few occasions, now heres the rub, I desperately want to return this year to 2 of those places as I love them so much and really miss being there, at the moment due to our change of circumstances I am feeling quite emotional from time to time as you can imagine and it worries me about going and having my emotions overwhelmed with happy memories of us, but a bit of me is saying why should I give up my enjoyment just because she has chosen her path, one of the places in particular I / we know quite a few people so I wouldn’t really be a stranger, the other place I don’t know people but still love the area, the first place is 3 hours flight from the UK the 2nd place is one hours flight or even the Eurostar away from the uk, can you offer me any advice about what you think I should do ?.

      • Ali Garland
        January 9, 2015 at 5:59 pm

        Thanks Andy, I’m sorry to hear about your wife. I think it might actually be good for you to go on these trips. Yes, it might be hard with the memories you shared with your wife, but maybe it’ll will help you to work through some of those feelings? It might also help to start making new memories in these places. Maybe go to the place where you have some friends first to ease yourself into things, and visit the other place second. See if there are any half or full day tours you can sign up for, especially smaller groups. (I’m a big fan of food tours.) That way you know you have a few things planned out that you’re committed to and those activities will keep you occupied in between some time on your own. Maybe there are some things you’d like to do in these destinations that she wouldn’t want to do with you? Then you can create new memories of things that are all about you. And maybe you could even pick a new place, somewhere you’ve never been before, where you could stop for a couple of days along the way or on the way back home, that way the trip has another element to it that’s giving you new memories and experiences. Just a thought.

        Travel can be really therapeutic sometimes. It’s not always easy, and to be honest, it’s sometimes really tough. But once you get through the experience, especially if you’re traveling solo and you’re used to traveling with someone else, you’ll usually come out the other end feeling more confident. It’s an amazing feeling to know that you can go to these places and see the sights and figure out the logistics and potentially deal with foreign languages all on your own.

        Like you said, you shouldn’t give up visiting a place just because you once shared it with your wife. This could be a really great for you. Good luck with whatever decision you make!

    27. Andy
      January 15, 2015 at 10:45 am

      Hi Ali thanks for your reply, you have given me a few things to think over, I am in touch with people in both places but I think your correct about going to the place where I know more people, the only draw back with that place is that we had our first wedding anniversary there and then went back very happily 50 plus more times and it is very much in both our hearts, that said the whole point of going is to bury some demons so that I can move on in my life either with or without her in it, I love our favourite places and don’t want to not go again, I also agree about going somewhere completely new that we haven’t been together, I have a few ideas in mind and will consider those over the coming couple of months, I just need to build up my strength both mentally and physically as I suffer from rheumatoid arthritis in my right knee and due to our situation I am also under my GP for depression and anxiety, but I think your correct about travel being therapeutic and is one of the reasons why I want to take a trip and also in order to prove to myself that I can do it without her or indeed anyone apart from me or in the future any significant other, I have told you a bit more today about me so if you can offer any further advice or tips then I would be very grateful, thanks Ali heres to a good year of new experiences and positive actions.

      • Ali Garland
        January 16, 2015 at 2:09 pm

        I can completely understand how visiting a place that was so special to you as a couple would be difficult on your own. I’m obviously not a therapist, but I do think it could be good for you to go there on your own, even if it’s just for a few days. Depression and anxiety are tough, and I’m glad you’re addressing them. Travel could be one more way to try to fight against the depression and anxiety, I’ve actually known quite a few people who have had that kind of experience. And I definitely think finding ways to start forming new memories will help. It’ll remind you that, even though it sucks to be on your own again (or at least that’s what I’ve gathered from what you’ve told me), you still have so much ahead of you and you’re stronger than you think you are on your own.

        Good luck! I’m rooting for you!

    28. Andyand my wife always said
      January 18, 2015 at 1:08 pm

      Thanks for your kind words and wishes Ali, one of the reason I want to make a trip is because I want to prove to myself that I can do it, I was only thinking the other day that I have nearly always had confidence and now that I’m on my own that shouldn’t change, yes sure emotions are high of course they are but that shouldn’t affect my abilities and level of confidence, but I’m not going to rush in to it I need to take my time and make sure that my head is in a good place before I go anywhere and I may well discuss this with my GP in advance of going somewhere, I was thinking that for a test run that I might go somewhere close to home just over night just to get a feel of what its like to travel alone, since our breakup I have been away twice with an old mate of mine and I deliberately booked single rooms so I could get a feel of being alone abroad and it worked pretty well in fact it was an inspired choice as I had company day times and evenings but had my own time and space for when I needed it, but anyway we will see how things pan out, if you can think of anything please can you offer me any further advice or tips on how to make this trip, one of the things that bothers me is being on my own with no company, I am good with people and my wife always said that if she left me alone in a bar for 30 minutes that I would have at least a couple of new friendfs by the time she came back, thanks again Ali looking forward to your reply

      • Ali Garland
        January 21, 2015 at 2:11 pm

        Andy, I think taking a short overnight trip somewhere close to home sounds like a great way to ease yourself in. And if you’re good with people and you’ve had good luck with meeting new people, you’ll do fine traveling by yourself too. Meeting others while traveling can make for a really enjoyable experience. Just give yourself a little push if you need it, but it doesn’t even sound like you need it. I think you’ll do great!

    29. Sarah
      March 15, 2015 at 2:41 pm

      Hi
      I’m 26 this year, recently single after a 6 year relationship and I feel it’s now time to do the travelling that I’ve always wanted to do. However, I have no one to go with which scares me. I’m quite a shy person at times and I am frightened that I won’t be able to make friends easily, what if other people do not want to talk to me? Is it safe to travel alone in South East Asia at the minute? My end goal is Austrailia where I do know a few people in different cities so that doesn’t bother me as much, it’s the getting to Austrailia bit I’m concerned about. Any advice or thoughts?

      • Ali Garland
        March 15, 2015 at 9:36 pm

        Hi Sarah! I completely understand your worries, but I also think traveling will be good for you. It is a little more difficult to meet people if you’re shy (I am too!) but the good thing is, you only have to try when you feel comfortable with it. Signing up for day tours or cooking classes is usually a good way to meet other people because you’re all together for a few hours or even all day, experiencing the same things and having fun together.

        Yes, I think it’s safe to travel in Southeast Asia by yourself. Like anywhere, you have to watch out for yourself, don’t get really drunk or do dumb things, but as long as you use common sense, you should be fine. The backpacker trail is really well worn in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and a few other countries in that region. The locals are used to dealing with foreigners, so many of them will speak at least some bare-bones English. You’ll also run into other travelers in their 20s all the time. Just give yourself a push now and then to reach out to people even if you’re feeling shy, and you’ll meet people, even if they’re just friends for a couple hours. You could also meet someone you really get along with and end up traveling with them for a little while. (This all depends on how long you’re traveling for and how flexible your plans are.)

        I think starting in Australia where you know some people would be a wonderful idea. It will help you ease into things. But if you’re starting in Southeast Asia and going to Australia after that, it will still work and you won’t be nervous about Australia at all by that point. What do you mean getting to Australia concerns you? Do you mean knowing when to book a flight or something? AirAsia and Jetstar usually have decent prices. Bangkok, Singapore, and Kuala Lumpur are good cities to leave from to get to Australia, though Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) or Hanoi could work well too.

        Let me know if you have any other questions. I think this sounds like a great trip, and it’ll be really good for you. Feel free to email me if you have any other concerns: ali@travel-made-simple.com

    30. Naiyara
      May 19, 2015 at 8:06 am

      Hello!

      I will be travelling alone by myself to Australia very soon! I am kind of scared and afraid, this will be my first journey alone. How do I build up the confidence? Can you help me out.

      Thank you.

      • Ali Garland
        May 20, 2015 at 2:38 pm

        Hi Naiyara! I completely understand your fears about solo travel. It can be scary, but once you get there and start experiencing all that Australia has to offer, you’ll have a good time.

        You could try doing things on your own at home, like go to the movies or a restaurant by yourself. See if there are any day tours nearby that you could sign up for by yourself. That way you’re showing yourself you CAN do things solo but there’s a little bit of a safety net since you’re still near home. As far as your trip goes, it might also help you to have a few extra things researched and booked, like an airport pick-up and some tours. Leave yourself some flexibility during the trip, but sometimes it’s too easy to hide in your room if you don’t have anything planned.

        Also check out my post on how to travel alone: http://travel-made-simple.com/how-to-travel-alone/ and other posts with the solo travel tag: http://travel-made-simple.com/tag/solo-travel/

    31. Jenny
      May 27, 2015 at 4:35 pm

      Hi! I’m going to be flying to Holland by myself later this summer for about a month. I’m going to be staying with people I’ve never met and participating in an outreach in Amsterdam and both the traveling and the staying are freaking me out. I’ve not traveled a long ways alone before, especially not to Europe. I tend to get really really scared when I have to do different things in new situations, and meet new people. I start feeling really nauseous and it’s kind of like a minor panic attack I guess. I’m afraid of looking dumb in front of people. Also, I have low blood sugar so I get really worried that I won’t be able to get food when I need it and that the 6 hour time difference will wreak havoc on my blood sugar. So yeah, basically, I’m really scared and I don’t even have to go for two months yet…What would you tell me? Thanks!

      • Ali Garland
        May 28, 2015 at 1:31 pm

        Hi Jenny! I can understand being freaked out about traveling far away for a long time by yourself for the first time. My experience with Amsterdam is that the people were incredibly friendly and most spoke near-perfect English. It sounds like you will be with a group, just not with people you’ve met before. Remember that you’re all in it together, so the other people in the outreach program will be going through similar things. That makes it easy to start conversations and bond, and I bet you’ll get to the end of the program with a few new friends.

        When you start feeling panicky, just close your eyes and take a deep breath and remember that it will all be fine. I know it sounds silly, but stopping for a few seconds and taking a deep breath (or a few) really does help calm you down a little. I totally get that fear of looking dumb in front of other people. I don’t know why we let ourselves worry about that, but I do it too. Remind yourself that most people are not out to get you, everyone does something dumb sometimes and it actually makes us more relate-able, and in general, most people are more worried about themselves than about you. They’re worried you will think they’re doing something dumb just like you’re worried about what they’re thinking. But neither of you is actually thinking “wow what an idiot.”

        As for the blood sugar, pack some snacks for the plane and even a few things for your first few days. Small things you can carry in your purse or daypack, like granola bars, carrot sticks, raisins, etc. I thought it was pretty easy to find food in Amsterdam, so I think you’ll be fine. Look for grocery stores and stock up on snacks you can keep with you in case you’re out somewhere and need something to eat in between meals. The 6 hour time difference is kind of tough at first, but do your best to get on the local time. I don’t know much about how jet lag affects blood sugar, but if you have those snacks with you at all times, you’ll always be able to eat something if you start feeling bad. It’ll probably take you a few days to get passed the jet lag (I always struggle more going from North America to Europe, as opposed to going from Europe to North America) but once you do, I’m sure dealing with your blood sugar issues will be similar to when you’re at home. People eat out and grocery shop in the Netherlands just like where you’re from, so you will find food and be able to stay on top of things there too. Once you get there and have a look around, you will feel more calm about it.

        Also, is there someone in charge of your outreach program? Maybe you could get in touch with them ahead of time and ask about nearby markets and grocery stores. If you have an address for where you’re going to be staying, get on Google maps and look around, even using street view. That way you’ll know how far it is to the nearest grocery store, restaurant, etc. Street view usually helps me feel a little more comfortable about going somewhere new because you can actually see the streets and the buildings and whatever else is around.

        Try to find positive things to look forward to to keep yourself going over the next 2 months. Look for photos of the wonderful places you’re going to see, look for activities you can do in your free time, things like that. Maybe the outreach program has a list of participants and you could get in touch with people ahead of time too. Try not to focus on the things that are scaring you because 99% of the time, the things you worry about never happen.

        I hope this helps, but feel free to email me at ali@travel-made-simple.com if you have any other questions!

    32. Megan
      July 6, 2015 at 7:23 am

      I’m flying alone to Toronto, Canada this August from LA to meet my boyfriends family. At first I was super excited about it, I still am, but my mom has a way of making me fearful of things. Did I mention that I’ll be 25 in september? So I shouldnt have these hang ups. Mom just always hears horror stories on the news or on Dateline then says “I’m so worried about you going alone”. It gets me a bit worried too. I mean even yesterday I wasnt allowed to go to a parking garage alone, so I suppose I shouldnt take too much stock in her fears, but I always worry about ‘mothers intuition’. :/

      • Ali Garland
        July 6, 2015 at 6:26 pm

        Oh Megan, I can so relate to this! I’m 35 and my mom still has that effect on me. I don’t know if we ever outgrow it, so don’t beat yourself up about it. Just remind yourself that you’re an adult and you’re perfectly capable of taking care of yourself. She can be as scared as she wants, but it doesn’t mean you have to be scared. And the news is horrible, they get better ratings when they’re scaring people, but the world is really not as awful and dangerous as they make it seem. (For perspective, I recently met someone in Denmark who said he didn’t want to go to the US because it seems like a scary, dangerous place with too many guns. So it works both ways.)

        Try to think of things you have done that your mom was worried about you doing that turned out fine. Most worries or fears do not come true. As for this specific trip, you’re going to Canada, not some war-torn nation, and you’re not really going by yourself. You’re just sitting on an airplane by yourself, and then you’ll be with your boyfriend (I assume he’ll be there too) and his family. You’ll be fine! Tell your mom you appreciate your concern, but you are not scared (even if she has made you a little nervous, just fake it) and you’re excited about meeting your boyfriend’s family, so you hope she can support you in that.

        I hope this helps, but feel free to email me at ali@travel-made-simple.com if there’s anything else I can help with. Enjoy your trip!

    33. John
      August 17, 2015 at 5:22 pm

      Thank you for the inspiring article! I myself am going on a solo trip next month to Germany and Sweden. I have never gone travelling on my own that’s not work-related. I just got tired of friends bailing out on me, and arguing about where we will stay and what airline to take and what sights to see and if they have enough money to do it so I just said piss off and went out and booked it on my own. I still cringe when I see the faces of people I know when I tell them I’m going solo, but I have no one to answer to but myself…and I think I did the right thing! I can’t wait to make my OWN memories…take pics of what I want to see…and go where I want to without having to take into consideration what others think or feel. I think of this experience as one of personal and intellectual growth…even though I’m terrified at the same time.

      Now I just have to learn to take a proper selfie before I leave…

      • Ali Garland
        August 18, 2015 at 9:36 pm

        That’s great to hear, John! And don’t worry about other people’s reactions. Most people are just impressed that you have the guts to do it. And it is really nice to do your own thing and not worry about what someone else wants to do. It’ll be a great experience for you! Let me know if you have any Germany questions (I live in Berlin) and check out the Germany section of Travel Made Simple: http://travel-made-simple.com/tag/germany/ Enjoy!

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