I know that you have big hopes and dreams about traveling solo one day.
Maybe you have traveled before, but only with friends. You know that you must go at it alone at some point – in fact, there is a deep burning desire for you to be brave and independent.
You have heard stories of women traveling alone and how empowering it can be. You have been reading 100s of blogs, scrolling through 1000s of travel Instagram profiles, but all the while you just can’t imagine that it could be you!
Well I am here to help you change your mindset, and overcome those fears that are currently holding you back from taking the leap to travel solo.
I was just like you 6 years ago. I had big dreams and a vision for my future. I knew that I had to leave Canada and go explore the world. I too had fears holding me back, but I did it anyway.
Because I asked myself this one powerful question:
“What is at stake if I didn’t go after my dreams?”
The answer was simple and clear.
I would have regret for the rest of my life, and constantly wonder “what if?”
Based on my experience working with clients 1:1 as a travel coach and conducting market research on this topic, I have created a list of the most common fears that hold women back from solo travel.
I am going to give you this step-by-step-guide of WHAT the 5 core fears are, and what you can do to overcome them right NOW.
So here we go…
The Fear of Being Lonely / Feeling Homesick
Now this is the #1 reason I have heard from my clients, and women who have shared this information with me.
Loneliness is a huge fear, because as human beings we crave human connection and attention.
The most common reply I’ve gotten from people that hear I travel solo is: “Aren’t you scared to be lonely?”
My answer: “I used to be, but I soon realized that solo traveling is quite the opposite of ever feeling lonely or being alone.”
Yes, there are times when you will inevitably be by yourself when you travel solo. As a human being, you will also experience days where you feel down and may feel more lonely as a result. BUT, there are ways to tackle feelings of loneliness and enjoy your solo travels to the fullest.
Here are a few ways:
Journal about your days and experiences while you are traveling.
Embrace being alone by welcoming the uncomfortable feeling you may experience → You can practice this by sitting with your thoughts and taking in your surroundings when you are out in nature (at the beach, on a hike, etc).
Exercise Daily → this has become my morning ritual, and I swear by it. We all know that exercise gets our endorphins up and going, naturally making us more happy.
Meditate Daily → Meditation is another aspect you can add. Become comfortable by sitting in silence and turning off your social media for a little bit can do a world of wonder on your mood.
Stay in Hostels → this is the quickest and easiest way to meet new people and make new friends. You will find someone to go with you on your hiking adventure, accompany you to dinner at a local restaurant, or to go on a tour of the city in no time. You might even make new friends for life.
Join online FB groups → find communities of travelers looking for meet-ups depending on the country you are traveling in.
Join tour groups → meet new people that way too.
Use friend apps like Bumble → yes this is not just for dating anymore! – but you can also use it to go on dates 😉
Be open and friendly with the locals and people you meet → strike up conversations – Being open to chatting with strangers will open you up to so many new opportunities and experiences.
Schedule video chats with your friends/family back home → there is nothing better than catching up with those close to you & sharing your experiences with them.
2) The Fear of Safety
This is probably the second most common fear, if not at a tie with the first. I am NOT here to tell you that traveling solo is 100% safe. But I am here to give you some tips on how you can be proactive with taking note of these safety tips and feel more at ease when you prepare to travel solo.
Carry your valuable belongings in a safe place at ALL times → I always wear a fanny pack whenever I travel. I keep my phone, some cash, one of my debit travel cards and my passport in there. I put the rest of my valuables in my carry on bag, and keep it in my sight.
I would suggest investing in a lock and using the hostel lockers to put away valuables that you don’t want to take out with you day-to-day (passport, laptop for example, wallet with extra cards/cash).
Be confident → What I mean here is don’t arrive at a new place and have that “deer in the headlights look.” As a tourist in many foreign countries, locals will pick up on this. If they see you look lost, they might be more inclined to rip you off or even mug you.
I am not saying all people are like this in every country, but this kind of unfortunate activity can happen even in your hometown. So don’t just think it can happen in third world countries, but it won’t ever happen in a first world country.
Be humble & less flashy → What I mean by this, is don’t walk around flashing your latest IPhone, your expensive watch, jewelry or cash. This is where you go back to tip #1 and keep things out of sight and out of reach. Don’t draw unnecessary attention to yourself because many times this is what instigates some people to potentially attempt to steal your belongings and leave you feeling violated, unsafe and unhappy.
Get a local sim card → This one is so important. First, you need to make sure that before you leave your home country, that you UNLOCK your phone. I am not recommending for you to get a sim card so that you can have data in order to scroll through social media all the time. Most hostels and cafes nowadays will have WIFI anyway.
BUT, I am recommending you get a sim card while you travel solo to keep yourself safe. Having data to use so that you can have access to maps in case you get lost. Having data so that you can call for help if you get into any sort of trouble.
Always tell someone where you are going → Tell the hostel staff where you are going for the day. Give them your contact # to call if they don’t see you or hear from you for a while. This is why Tip # 4 is so important. You don’t need to do this for every outing you go on in a foreign country, but if you are planning to do a hike all by yourself for instance, or go for a long drive alone – then PLEASE let someone know.
*** I know I haven’t hit all the aspects of safety here… I promise I will go more into depth in a future blog post.
3) Fear of Disappointing family/friends back home
Yes, this is another biggie. I wrote a blog about this last week, and if you haven’t read it then check it out here. This fear is a valid one.
Human beings crave connection, hence they don’t like letting other people down. Upsetting your family or friends might be at the forefront of your mind when you think about taking off on your solo adventures.
Here are my top tips for navigating through this:
Yes, it might be hard to break the news to them, but be patient & trust that they will come around and support you… eventually.
Accept that others may not understand what you are doing and that it’s okay – your happiness matters. You have to live with your decisions. So make the right one’s for you.
Accept that you will inevitably drift apart from some friends back home, if you go off for a long period of time that is. That is also okay. Everyone’s on their own journey.
Focus on your goals and show them that you can be independent. If your parents are worried you might spend all your money, show them how good you really are at saving & budgeting.
Remember that you have this urge to travel solo for a reason. Are you more afraid of disappointing others than you are living with regret if you don’t go after your dreams?
4) The Fear of Getting Lost / Losing Your Sense of Direction
This is another common one I hear. If you have a tendency to get lost or have a bad sense of direction, I promise that you can get better at it. I just moved back to Toronto, and I got lost in my own city last week. So I know how you feel girl…
What if instead of associating getting lost with having anxious thoughts, tension or stress in your body, you thought of getting lost as an adventure.
It’s all about reframing your thoughts and changing your mindset amidst stressful situations.
Because let me tell you the honest truth about traveling solo and having a sense of direction. You will inevitably get lost or lose your sense of direction at some point or another in your travels.
The secret sauce is… to remember that it’s going to be okay.
There are plenty of ways to be proactive so you avoid getting into a stressful situation like this:
Research & Plan where you are going beforehand.
Have a Sim Card so you use a Maps App or be able to make an emergency call.
Download Maps.me on your phone so you can use the map while offline in case you run out of cell service.
Tell someone where you are going beforehand.
Stay calm if you do get lost – remember it’s all in your reaction. If you react negatively and become frustrated and angry, then you will make it an unpleasant experience. But, if you react with the attitude: “everything is going to be okay, I will figure this out!” then you won’t be lost or frustrated for long.
P.S. I probably have hundreds of stories where I got lost. I can definitely write up a post about that one day. I always found my way back…
5) The Fear of Running out of Money
This one is definitely in the top 5, and for some people it is truly #1. Before we even start talking about the fear of burning through your savings, you may just have the initial fear → that you don’t have enough money to travel with in the first place.
I hear this one quite often too. I will dedicate a whole post to this soon. There are plenty of ideas I have for you to save money, make money & travel. They say if you want it bad enough, you will make it work.
Now let’s get back to the “fear of RUNNING out of money.” Because I get it, that’s a worry for all of us. But, there is a way to tackle this fear and I call it changing your money mindset.
There are plenty of money mindsets that people have. Some people believe money is the root of all evil, others think it’s the greatest thing in the world, others have a more balanced view. But if you have a money mindset of “blowing through your money quickly,” well to be quite frank… you’re probably not that great at budgeting or saving your money in the first place…
Here are 5 ways to overcome this fear:
Create a budget plan/spreadsheet of your daily spending habits & do an audit of yourself → Yes, you read that right.
Sell/flip things → at home that you DON’T USE/NEED. Put this into your travel piggy bank/fund.
Pick up more shifts → or work a second or third job to save as much $$$ before your trip – this is exactly what I did before I moved to Australia 6 years ago.
Sacrifice your vices → nights out or whatever it is you spend your hard earned money on (shopping sprees?) and SAVE SAVE SAVE. I would always recommend setting off on your travels with enough cushion if you overspend a bit or things go wrong (an emergency fund per se).
Now, create a budget plan for your itinerary → look at budget flights and book one way tickets, choose to stay in a dorm at hostels over fancy hotels, choose to cook more than you eat out, don’t spend all your money on alcohol and shopping… and the list goes on.
The point is, there are plenty of ways to prepare yourself for your solo travels. It doesn’t need to be super luxurious or expensive nor do you need to be a millionaire to travel comfortably.
Remember, it’s all mindset at the end of the day. If you truly want to travel solo, you will find a way to make it happen. Working with a travel coach could be just the thing you need to get you from fearful to fearless. I am here to dive deeper into all your fears/mindset blocks and help you break through any of the above or more limiting beliefs that you currently have.
Visit my Work With Me page & book a Free Call to see how I can help you.
Leave a comment below if this was helpful 🙂
Thanks for reading,
June 5, 2020