Fear holding you back from solo travel?
Are you afraid to travel alone? If, so you’re in the right place. Fear is the #1 thing that holds us back from nearly everything we’d like to do, so you’re also definitely not alone there.
In fact, I’m going to let you in on a little secret!
Even veteran solo travelers are afraid to travel alone sometimes.
But here’s something both those of us who have traveled solo & those who haven’t (yet!) can agree on:
Being in unknown places, where we don’t feel completely comfortable, and we don’t know anyone… is anxiety-inducing.
In fact, even just writing that sentence made me feel a little uneasy, and I have traveled solo for more than two years!
So now we know the truth — that, Yes, even solo travelers have moments of fear and are sometimes afraid to travel alone — Your next thought is probably this…
Then how do they do it?
The answer is this: They work at it. Solo travelers practice traveling solo, which makes them a little more comfortable each time!
We’re basically forced to learn how to breakthrough our negative & anxious thought patterns. This does also mean we’re better able to enjoy the solo travel adventure we’ve chosen to take!
I myself have used the 5 tips in this blog throughout the last few years as a solo traveler. They saved me on days when my solo travel confidence was lacking (or worse, nonexistent).
These mental hacks & emotional assessments are about to be the game changers you need to once & for all breakthrough your anxiety! Are you ready to no longer be afraid to travel alone!!?
Let’s dive in!
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Travel can be overwhelming! Solo travel sometimes be incredibly overwhelming & scary. If you’re planning or about to take your first solo trip, your emotions are likely in full on panic mode! After 2+ years of solo travel, I have these 6 proven tips & trips you’re going to use & love.
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Tip #1. Forget What You "Know"
Afraid to Travel Alone? Forget what you “know”
Do you want the real truth about why you’re afraid to travel alone?!
The reason you have anxiety & F.E.A.R. (AKA false evidence appearing real) about solo travel is because you have a mental picture of what it’s “supposed” to look like & you have no idea how to “perfectly” pull that off.
Do you want the secret to overcoming that?
Forget what you “know” about solo travel — immediately, if not sooner.
The reality is, if you’ve never been a solo traveler, there’s no way you can “know” what it’s like because you’ve never done it!
The thing with how “perfect” things “should” be is that you created your own definitions and scenarios to define them. What’s perfect to one person is horrible to another; meaning there is no actual such thing as “perfect.”
Also, there’s no such thing as “should.”
We’ll get into “Shoulding” more in Tip #2, but let’s just say the word “should” isn’t helping to dissipate your solo travel fears!
Now, I love Instagram. I love taking pics, sharing pics, looking at other people’s pics… but real talk: ig 👏 is 👏 not 👏 real 👏. Travel influencers on Instagram are not depicting travel as it exists for the average traveler.
Rather, they are essentially advertising themselves in their best photos. The more followers, the easier to monetize their page, meaning they can get paid to travel. (No shade btw, getting paid to travel is #goals.)
However, if you want to solo travel likerightnow, you might want to forget how you think solo travel “should“ look. This includes forgetting what solo travel (& travel in general) looks on Instagram & in the movies.
Use This Exercise
If my first solo trip doesn’t look the “perfect” way I’ve always dreamt it would, there’s no point in even going at all.
Girl, we invented what the “perfect” solo trip looks like, and we can just as easily invent a new mental picture… so we can take our first solo trip already.
Tip #2. Stop "Shoulding" All Over Your Trip
Afraid to Travel Alone? Stop “shoulding” all over your trip
As the ancient Yiddish proverb says, “We Plan, God Laughs.”
Now, no one’s advocating for not planning around here… planning & preparedness have a lot of value!
The ideal takeaway from that proverb is that you’d benefit yourself tremendously by taking the pressure off yourself to do what you think you “should” do.
What I am sayin’ is this:
Stop “Shoulding” All Over Your Trip!
Now, just what does this clever play-on-words mean to you someone working to breakthrough being afraid to travel alone.
Travel, for many people, means seeing a certain number of sights & places. For me, a trip plan is a basically a To Do list, or a chore list.
Having a list with a bunch of boxes you should check off is a one-way ticket to Anxietyville.
Instead, come up with a trip goal, which already sounds more fun!
Here’s an example: On this trip, my ultimate goal is self-discovery (or sub in relaxation, personal growth, peace, fun).
With a goal & not a plan, you’re free to fully embrace the best part of solo travel, which is this:
Doing whatever the fu+k you want, whenever the fu+k you want to do it! …And please do embrace that part of solo travel!
Use This Exercise
I’m in Mexico City. I “should” do these 14 things that I saw the most photos of on ig. Those are considered the Must Sees, & therefore I “must see” them all on this trip.
Girl, your Trip Goal is all Self-Discovery, remember? Which places on that list will lead me to crush my goal? I only “must see” what I choose. The internet is not the boss of me!
Tip #3. Check In Each Morning
Afraid to Travel Alone? Check in each morning
We humans are emotional creatures — Meaning we feel emotions.
The thing is, that’s one of our best qualities! The sooner you know how to effectively work WITH your emotions, the sooner you will transcend most anxieties in your life — not just solo travel ones.
Since we feel so many emotions, and since they change so often, check in with yourself on each morning of your trip. In doing so, you know what you’re workin with that day.
If you know how you’re emotionally feeling, you’ll know what your logical next step is.
When you’re in this place of of self-awareness, you’re never forcing what you “should” do. You’re doing what feels right.
Remember: Don’t “Should” All Over Your Trip.
For me, travel anxiety came up most when I forced myself to do what I knew, deep down, I was only doing because I thought I “should” do it.
Meaning: My emotions & intuition were telling me one thing, and my head had other plans based on it’s own agenda of “shoulds.”
The thing with anxiety & fear is that they are (at least in part) a response to how we think things “should” be…. and then, them not playing out that way.
This causes a panic because what’s happening is not what we prepared for. This also causes you to be afraid to travel alone, because there’s a chance the trip won’t go as planned.
Anxiety & fear are us not living in the moment. If we live in the moment, life is much more easy breezy because we’re dealing with things as they happen, not with how we assumed they’d happen.
Use This Exercise
Mornin’ Self, How you feelin’ today? Well, honestly boo, I need a spa day. I know I planned to go to that famous archeological site, & now I’m not I’m feelin’ it; but I know I “should” push through. I’m just to force it today.
Mornin’ Self, How you feelin’ today? Well, honestly boo, I need the beach, my book, my headphones, three margaritas & a massage. I know I planned to go to that famous archeological site, but I know if I force myself I won’t enjoy it as much.
Tip #4. Practice Kind Self-Compassion
Afraid to Travel Alone? Practice kind self-compassion
Kindness costs nothing but means everything.
I love that saying. Beyond that, there’s another popular saying in the Positive Mindset community that to quickly stop negative self-talk, ask yourself “Would I speak this way to my BFF?” (Or sub in mom, sister, partner, whomever.)
When you’re not saying positive things to yourself, the answer is of course:
Hell No, you most certainly would not.
When you’re on a solo trip, you’ll have more time than usual to hear your own thoughts — and let me tell you, we humans think a lotttttt of thoughts.
Learn to flip your (internal) script!
Research says we have as many as 3,300 thoughts per hour! Based on statistical probability alone, some negative ones will creep in… but, as soon as one does, immediately give yourself a new one.
Or, flip the script, if you want to say it in more fun terms..
When your thoughts take a turn for the negative (or the “should” — & again, please Don’t “Should” All Over Your Trip!) remind yourself to flip the script in the most compassionate way possible.
Remember to speak to yourself with the same loving kindness you extend to your BFF (mom, sister, partner, whomever).
Use This Exercise
You’re in Mexico City & you “should” absolutely go to the Frida Kahlo Museum. No woman comes to this city & doesn’t go there. You’re a failure of a traveler if you don’t go & this trip will suck.
Girl, remember your trip goal of self-discovery… If you don’t think there’s any self-discovery for you at that museum, don’t go. You’re so cool for having the guts to travel solo & do it the way YOU want to do it! You are one amazing queen. We can always go to see the Frida Kahlo Museum on our next solo trip. It’s NBD, boo. I doubt the museum’s going anywhere.
Tip #5. Take A Break Before You Need To
Afraid to Travel Alone? Take a break before you need to
Doing whatever the fu+k you want, whenever the fu+k you want to do it.
When in doubt, remember that line up there. That’s one of the greatest gifts of solo travel: Complete & utter independence. I digress! But let’s continue…
Medical science says we’re actually dehydrated hours before we feel thirsty.
The same is true with our emotional batteries. Letting ourselves hit 0% before recognizing we needed a moment is going to for sure cause some anxiety.
In an effort to mitigate undesirable outcomes, remember you can take a break long before you think you need one!
The wonderful part of solo travel, is that when the moment hits when you want to take that break, you just take it. You don’t check in with anyone. You just stop and do you.
If you feel yourself operating at 35ish%, 🛑STOP🛑
Ask a friendly local or consult Google to find a cafe, park, wine bar, artisan jewelry shop, or whatever seems cool (& has WiFi!) near you. Go chill there until you recharge to at least 90%, or whatever number works for you.
Hitting 0% is the breeding ground for fear, anxiety & negative self-talk. Plus, you now have to recharge all the way back up to 100%, and that can take hours instead of minutes.
Use This Exercise
Q: Girl, How you doin? A: I legit fu+king hate this city, & my hair today, & those flowers, & the blue sky, & all those people over there.
Me: Girl, How you doin?
Internal Me: Well, honestly boo, I’m at 37%.
Me: OK, so let’s hit up that cute cafe we saw yesterday, refill our water bottle, use their bathroom, put on lipstick, eat an avocado toast, jump on the WiFi, listen to our favorite song, edit some of our trip photos, take a selfie if the lighting’s good, & then continue with our day.
Internal Me: OK, perfect plan. ¡Vamos chica!
Tip #6. Hint: This One's A Game Changer
Get this blog as a pdf & learn 1 the most game-changing tip of them all!
Unlock the most practical of all the tips when you DL this blog for FREE as a pretty pdf. That’s right sis!! All 5 of the tips from this blog, and one additional tip, beautifully laid out in a handy & printable document you can read even when the WiFi’s bad 🤣
What tips would you add?
When someone’s afraid to travel alone, the more tips they have to transcend their anxiety, the better. In fact, the ones listed here are just a few of the tools in my solo travel anxiety tool box… but I’d love to know some of yours!!