SOLO TRAVEL: OVERCOMING FEAR AND ANXIETY

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Solo Travel Fear and Anxiety – The Beginning:

It starts out well enough as you plan your first solo adventure. You’re convinced you don’t have solo travel fear and anxiety. This trip is going to be amazing.

Blogs have been read, photos browsed, the internet searched.   The perfect destination has been chosen. All that’s left to do is submit your vacation time, and book it. 

But before you click the shiny blue “Book Now” button, you stop.

All of a sudden the trip is looking big and daunting instead of fun and exciting. Your nerves have kicked in and all the fear and anxiety about traveling solo are seeping through.

Will it be awkward if I’m the only solo person on the trip?

What if I don’t have the right clothes?

How will I get home if there’s an emergency?

Won’t I have more fun if I lose 10 pounds first?

Maybe I’m not ready to do this.

That last-minute fear and anxiety right before committing to a trip happens to a lot of travelers, especially first-time solo travelers.

Solo Travel Fear and Anxiety – Why Can’t I Just be Excited?

Somehow, as humans, our excitement and anxiety get wrapped into one overwhelming package.  We tend to focus on the anxiety and fear and hit the “Stop” button.  But why? 

Because it’s easier to lock into why you shouldn’t do something exciting and new.  Society has us trained. You’re supposed to be a party of two.

Do any of these sound familiar?

Just one for dinner?

Are you waiting for someone?

I’m sorry, I thought you were with them.

You’re going alone?  What will people think?

The logic goes something like this:  If you are traveling by yourself, you obviously couldn’t manage to find someone to go with you.  Without even being capable of finding a travel buddy, how will you manage traveling solo? 

As solo travelers, it’s up to us to break this crazy logic and show the world they’re wrong. It’s time to overcome the fear and anxiety about traveling solo.

Remember – You are Strong:

Don’t let all that “helpful” advice feed your fear and anxiety.  Always remember that you’re a strong, capable adult. 

You manage projects at work and home, and you’ve pulled off the impossible at times.  I’ll bet you’ve even managed downright miracles once or twice. 

As a strong individual, you’ve made it this far in life and should be proud of who you are.

You can handle anything that’s thrown at you. 

This will be a dream vacation.

You deserve to have a positive experience. 

Knocking out the Fears One by One:

One way to knock out the excuses is to tackle the underlying fears.  They usually fall into a few distinct buckets.

Logistics:

Planning a trip can be daunting and cause a lot of undue fear and anxiety for solo travelers worrying if they have everything covered. 

To help with this step, I highly recommend using a travel agency and doing a group tour, especially for first-time solo travelers or travelers with limited time.

An agency takes care of everything, tells you exactly what you need, and walks you through the process.

It’s a huge relief, major time saver, and you can feel good knowing you’re in good hands as long as you’ve chosen a reputable company.  Look for someone that’s small and has actually been on the trips they suggest.

If you are doing all the planning yourself, start small and follow some of the great trip itineraries by bloggers online.  You should start to see patterns emerging on the top must-see attractions. 

You’ve got this.  Come on, think about that time you pulled off the impossible on a ridiculous timeline. This is easy compared to what you manage every day.  

Still concerned? Check out our Solo Traveler FAQs for more info.

Fear of Standing Out on the Trip as a Solo Traveler:

This one just takes a little leap of faith and some trust.  Let’s say, absolute worst-case scenario, you’re the only solo traveler on a trip.  So what?

I’m guessing you’ve been to the grocery store by yourself.  What about the mall?  Hung out at the pool?  Went to a movie?  Had a meal by yourself, even if it was traveling for work?  How about getting a manicure or pedicure? 

If you think about it, you’ve likely done a lot of things solo while surrounded by groups or couples.  Was it awkward?  Maybe a little sometimes, often it’s everyday normal.

The trip will be the same.  You will find people to talk to with similar likes. 

If you’re booking this trip, you have things in common with the other travelers.  Just remember that it’s your vacation.  You’re here to have an experience and enjoy it. 

Always focus on you.  You’ve earned that right.

Trouble With No One to Save You:

If you’re on a group trip, this is taken care of.  There are guides and other people on the trip, and the booking agency usually requires you to obtain travel insurance.

Going completely solo, there is more risk, but you can still put a strategy in place. 

Need more info? Check out our Safety Tips for additional information.

Some Tips and Tools:

Make sure you have a working phone for the country you’re visiting. 

Let people at home know where you are and give them a copy of your itinerary.

If you’re really concerned, know the location of the nearest embassy. 

Have a daily check-in with someone at home who will sound the alarm if they don’t hear from you.

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If you’re going somewhere high risk or your vacation is in remote areas, like trekking, you can also consider a satellite tracking device.  There are wearable devices that ping your GPS location.  Anyone with access to a specific website url can track you. 

Also available are satellite communication devices that allow you to text via a Bluetooth link to your phone. 

Don’t forget that you’ve made it this far in life handling your emergencies.  You are a capable adult that can handle anything. 

You Haven’t Earned the Right to Live Your Life:

This is my soapbox moment.  I cannot say this enough and I can’t be loud enough when I do say it. 

You have earned the right to live your life just by being you, as you are, today. 

There is no need to lose 10 pounds before being ready to travel. 

Getting in shape and being able to run a marathon is not a prerequisite for going to Greece. 

Cutting out carbs successfully for one month without cheating is not a requirement to book a trip to Argentina.

You have the right to live your life now.  It is not a carrot to dangle as a reward for improving something about yourself.  You don’t need to be improved because you’re perfect today. 

I can’t repeat that enough times. 

If you’re feeling like it’s not true, please repeat it every day until it becomes your truth. 

You’ve Got This:

The answer to the “What Ifs”, the solo travel fear and anxiety when planning your first adventure is simple:  Remember that you’re awesome and you’ve got this.

Think of all the things you’ve done in the past year.  If you could give yourself a raise at work, what would it be and why? 

What about at home?  Did you manage a massive home repair?  Coordinating referrals, proposals, and ensuring the work was done right? 

Then you’re ready.  Planning this trip is no different. 

Hit that submit button.  Grab a glass of wine.  Smile.  Celebrate. 

You’re on your way to the glorious path of solo traveling.  Welcome to the group. 

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