Travelling on your own is a real rollercoaster of emoticons and, as everything else in life, it has its pros and cons. Being a solo traveller is awesome as it allows you to organise your time and your whole trip solely according to your own desires and you don’t have to make any compromises whatsoever. No more suffering through something that doesn’t interest you at all in order to enjoy a sight or event you really want to witness. You are free as a bird and you can fly wherever you want. Another great thing is that you can always change the initial plan according to your current mood. If you wake up not feeling up to something you planned to do that day, you won’t be endangering anyone by cancelling plans.
However, regardless of how amazing the trip may be, even frequent travellers feel anxiety and loneliness during the trip. Many concerns can arise when you travel solo as travelling in a group does ensure a certain dosage of security. Another problem often can be simple boredom and monotony. Whether it’s about boredom, anxiety or loneliness, this phase of feeling down on your trip is inevitable. However, due to the huge set of advantages solo traveling brings, here are a few tips that help beat travel anxiety.
Make up stories
The best time for anxiety to kick in is when we are alone and that is the time our brain goes nuts in trying to find the most creative ways anything can go wrong. Since you’re alone with your thoughts, nothing is stopping you from thinking how the plane might crash, your luggage may be lost, perhaps you’ll lose your passport on the way, someone may rob you and you’ll end up penniless in a foreign country, etc.
For every bad situation, there’s a proper reaction, if not a solution. In that respect, the first thing you should do after a doomsday scenario springs to mind is think of a way to get yourself out of it if it really happens. In most situations, this will calm you down as you’ll be ready to take action even if such a thing occurs, no matter how unlikely. Another suggestion is to try and divert your thoughts. This can most easily be done by reading a book or watching a movie on your laptop or tablet. You could also start drawing, writing a diary or have a colouring book prepared for these occasions.
Learn about your destination
Roaming the streets of a completely unknown city in a foreign country can be frightening, especially at night. Being alone in the streets doesn’t feel well even in your hometown, not to mention somewhere else. Our mind is then prone to exaggerating and hallucinating about potential dangers that lurk for you behind every corner.
As a solo traveller, you need to be prepared. You must be aware that these situations will happen and, the way to overcome this fear is by being well-informed. Explore Google maps, Trip Advisor and travel videos, have offline maps on your phone or even print out parts of them. Get to know the place you’re visiting before you arrive. This will make you feel much safer once on the trip.
Get lost in music
Unfortunately, our ears don’t have an off-switch and since you won’t have anyone to talk to, it’s logical that you’ll subconsciously start listening to other people’s conversations. This can be risky for two reasons- you might hear something that will upset you or you might absorb emotions from a fight or just an intense conversation, which can be exhausting.
Obviously, you need to find a way to relax and unwind. This is best done with a good pair of noise cancelling headphones and a joyful Spotify or Deezer playlist. Isolating yourself from the rest of the world is important, but be careful about the choice of music in order to cheer yourself up instead of getting depressed.
When stress hits hard
Sometimes all abovementioned combinations can fail and your anxiety levels become too high for you to be able to reduce them on purpose.
In situations like this, it would be best if you could avoid using medications and try to resolve the problem your own. Since auto suggestive thoughts won’t help you here, try physical exercise. Progressive muscle relaxation is very simple, yet effective. Clench your fists three times for a few seconds, then your underarms, then your biceps. The point is to include as many muscles as you can in order to relax your body and your mind consequently.
Traveling alone can be a very beneficial experience. Don’t be afraid of all potential downers, now that you know how to handle them, you’re free to have the trip of your dreams after which you’ll become a frequent lone traveller.