Homesickness & Loneliness on Solo Travels: 13 Personal Hacks

by Conor
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Hey there, solo traveller! 🌍✈️ If you’ve ever battled with homesickness and the occasional pangs of loneliness while trotting the globe alone, I’ve got you. It’s a journey I’ve been through, and it’s one filled with ups, downs, and transformation. You’re not alone in this; we all have our bad days, even while in the midst of grand adventures. Remember that rainy days at home? They happen on the road too. But, with a bit of prep, you can navigate through these feelings with grace.

Here’s my personal treasure trove of ways to ward off homesickness and loneliness, sprinkled with some of my stories and facts:

  1. Embrace Your Feelings: On my first solo trip, I realized that it’s okay to admit feeling lonely. Embracing these emotions helps you grow stronger and more self-aware. It’s a testament to your courage, and not your fragility.
  2. Spot the Triggers & Reflect: Dive deep into what’s causing these feelings. Once, a sudden downpour in Bangkok had me missing the cozy rainy days back home. Identifying such triggers helps in addressing them.
  3. Pack Your Comfort: On every trip, I pack a hard drive filled with movies and TV shows. This little piece of home comfort can be a lifesaver on rough days. What’s yours? A book? A game? A special blanket?
  4. Engage & Make Connections: If loneliness strikes, don’t wallow. Seek out hostels or local meetups where you can connect with fellow travellers. You’d be surprised by how many stories await you.
  5. Join a Hostel Pub Crawl, Wisely!: A memorable night in Prague was thanks to a hostel pub crawl. But always remember, moderation is key! Dancing the night away is fun, but overdrinking? Not so much.
  6. Stay Connected With Loved Ones: Nothing beats homesickness like a familiar voice. Using apps like WhatsApp and Skype, I’ve shared sunsets from Santorini with my family. And pro-tip: always double-check time zones before calling!
  7. Pamper Yourself: Ever tried a beachside massage in Bali? Sometimes, solo travel demands a bit of self-indulgence. Treat yourself to a fine dining experience or a day of relaxation. It’s therapeutic!
  8. Nature’s Embrace: There’s solace in nature. I’ve often found calm in listening to the waves or walking through a serene forest. Nature has an uncanny way of rejuvenating our spirits.
  9. Seek Joy & Adventure: Be it skydiving or simply binging on a comedy series, do what brings joy. On a tough day in New Zealand, I took on bungee jumping and it completely shifted my mood!
  10. Stay Active: A jog through Tokyo’s parks or a yoga session on a Bali beach, keeping active helps uplift your mood. Remember, endorphins are magic!
  11. Craft a Routine: As much as I love spontaneous adventures, having a small daily routine, like morning meditation, offers a sense of familiarity and structure.
  12. Segment Your Trip: Overwhelmed? Break your trip into smaller phases. This not only makes planning easier but each segment becomes a mini-adventure in itself.
  13. Anticipate the Next Adventure: Whenever I felt low, I started researching my next destination. The sheer excitement of what lies ahead can be the best distraction.

Navigating Solo Travels: My Intimate 13-Step Guide to Overcoming Homesickness & Loneliness

Traveling solo can be one of the most exhilarating and transformative experiences of your life. Yet, amidst the mesmerizing sunsets and thrilling adventures, it’s completely natural to miss the familiar comforts of home. After years of traveling alone and facing my fair share of emotional roller-coasters, I’ve compiled 13 heartfelt tips that have personally helped me feel more grounded and connected on my journeys.

  1. Embrace the Feeling of Homesickness When I first set out on my own, the loneliness hit me harder than I’d ever imagined. In those moments, I’d remind myself to breathe and acknowledge my feelings. Remember, it’s a testament to the bonds and love you have back home.
  2. Discover the Root of Your Emotions On a solo trip to Japan, I felt a wave of sadness while seeing families enjoy a picnic. It made me realize my loneliness was often linked to specific triggers. Recognizing them can help you work through the emotions and find solace.
  3. Pack a Piece of Home On every trip, I carry a tiny notebook filled with messages from friends and family. Whenever homesickness hits, I’d read a page, and it’s like having a piece of home with me. Maybe for you, it’s a playlist, a scarf, or photos. Find your comfort token.
  4. Dive into Social Settings When loneliness struck in Prague, I joined a local book club. It was here I made friends and shared intimate stories over coffee. So, whether it’s a hostel, a local class, or a community event, these places can offer heartwarming human connections.
  5. Experience the Local Nightlife (Safely) One evening in Barcelona, I joined a hostel pub crawl. Not only did I dance the night away, but I also found fellow travelers feeling the same emotions as me. Just remember to know your limits and ensure your safety.
  6. Connect with Loved Ones There was this one time in Greece when I felt incredibly isolated. A simple video call with my sister instantly bridged the thousands of miles between us. With so many communication apps today, home is just a call away.
  7. Pamper Yourself During a rough patch in Thailand, I indulged in a spa day. The relaxation and self-care uplifted my spirits immensely. Sometimes, a treat or splurge can do wonders for your mindset.
  8. Nature’s Healing Touch In New Zealand, whenever I felt down, I’d lose myself in the majestic landscapes. The serenity of nature always reminded me of the bigger picture and rejuvenated my soul.
  9. Chase Joy In Brazil, I spontaneously took a samba class. The sheer fun of it erased all my worries. Find what makes your heart light up and pursue it.
  10. Stay Active Running along the Seine in Paris, I felt a renewed sense of purpose. Physical activity, be it dancing, yoga, or just a walk, releases endorphins, lifting your mood.
  11. Establish a Routine Having a daily ritual, like reading at a local café in Rome, gave me a sense of purpose and familiarity in a sea of change.
  12. Segment Your Journey Planning a six-month trip can be overwhelming. In Argentina, I decided to focus on one week at a time, making it more manageable and enjoyable.
  13. Dream of Your Next Adventure Whenever I felt low in one place, I’d start researching my next destination. The anticipation of new experiences always reignites my travel passion.

Is it normal for people to get lonely while travelling?

During one of my solo trips to the cobblestoned streets of Lisbon, as I watched couples stroll hand-in-hand and groups of friends laughing over pastéis de nata, a pang of loneliness hit me. It wasn’t my first adventure alone, yet that feeling never truly becomes foreign. Many travelers, even the seasoned ones, often experience this wave of solitude.

Traveling pushes you out of your comfort zone, and being away from familiar faces and routines can intensify feelings of isolation. However, it’s important to remember that these moments of loneliness can also lead to profound self-reflection and growth. Embracing the solitude can sometimes pave the way for unexpected friendships, self-discoveries, and memorable stories. So, while it’s entirely normal to feel lonely on the road, it’s also an invitation to engage deeply with the world around you and within you.

After that day in Lisbon, I decided to take matters into my own hands. The next morning, I joined a local walking tour, where I struck up a conversation with another solo traveler from Australia. We bonded over our shared experiences of loneliness and soon became inseparable for the remainder of our stay. We explored hidden alleyways, tried local dishes, and laughed over our misadventures. It was a stark reminder that loneliness can be a fleeting emotion and can change as quickly as the tides.

This experience also taught me a valuable lesson: loneliness isn’t always about being physically alone, but sometimes about not feeling connected. So, instead of letting loneliness weigh me down, I now see it as an opportunity—a sign to engage, connect, and dive deeper into the local culture or community. Whether it’s participating in a communal activity, taking a class, or simply striking up a conversation with a stranger, there are countless ways to combat that solitude. Embracing this approach has not only made my travels richer but has also given me a reservoir of cherished memories and lifelong friends from across the globe.

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