Overcoming Anxiety While Travelling Alone

Hi, are you also like me, who sometimes feels anxious about a trip I am taking? Do you feel scared about your safety? Or how you will tackle a situation you get into in a place utterly unknown to you? Are you scared of the feeling of loneliness while travelling solo? Or are you just overwhelmed by being in a completely new place surrounded by new people? Is the anxiety of travelling alone becoming a huge problem for your travel dreams?

Well, let me tell you, it is entirely normal. Feeling anxious about travelling alone is something long time solo travellers also feel. And it happens to a lot of people, and that you’re not alone. Wherever you go, you will find people like you. People travelling solo for the first time, as anxious as you, or the experienced ones, I am sure you will be comfortable. The community of solo travellers certainly do have one thing in common, open-mindedness, understanding of free will, and liberty. Solo travellers are always ready to make new friends.

However, sometimes it can get scary. Your safety is in your own hands. Being a little fearful is not wrong because it helps you be alert. You should not be careless while travelling, but don’t worry, that’s valid for anything you do.

Let’s talk about the fears of travelling alone and overcome them.

travelling alone
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Let’s begin by digging deep into the fears you may face while travelling alone. Everyone’s trigger point for travelling alone is not the same. Some people may feel fearful of travelling in the air, while some are just scared of loneliness. Some women travellers feel unsafe in a new place, it’s a pity, but it’s the truth.

Fear of Flight

It is one of the most widespread phobias among visitors. It can come with horrible news about crashing planes you might have heard or the turbulence one may endure during flights. These also occur during take-offs and landings or because of being so high away from the land. Fear of flying is also known as Aerophobia. It can induce anxiety in many people, creating nausea and terror and not choosing to fly ever.

Taking deep breaths, closing your eyes and trying to sleep, distracting yourself with music, taking an aisle seat, preferring other modes of transport if not travelling overseas are a few ways to tackle the fear of flying. 

Fear of Loneliness

People planning to travel solo for the first time feel anxious about being alone on the trip or feeling lonely. It could be because you don’t know anybody in that new place. This makes you worried that you won’t know what to do in certain uncomfortable situations. You may have language barriers. This can be because of missing your friends and family. It can lead to you not being able to enjoy all the time you’re getting to be yourself, to be free of the worry.

This can come with a lot of panic and anxiety, but hey don’t worry, everything will be alright! If you can’t be in the moment and let it soak in, I am confident you will find many individuals like you and can gel in! I believe in you, and you should too!

Fear of being outside your comfort zone

Also one of the most common feelings we all social beings share. While some people get excited about seeking discomfort, most love to be in a comfort zone they create for themselves. People are often scared of stepping out of that comfort zone as it is a place where you don’t completely have things in your control. When you’re travelling solo, especially if you are not in anyone’s company, by a company I mean your friends and family, and it can get difficult for you to make new ones, to start conversations at first, or figure everything out on your own.

This may also come with the fear of your safety, this is most recorded in female solo travellers, the concern of safety. But as much as it is true for women, it can happen to men too. Men can get mugged or even robbed in foreign places. While it’s a fact that it can be more unsafe for a single woman to travel alone, they can always take up a few small measures to keep safe, even though they might seem unfair at times, but you know it is how it is! We collectively are trying to change the world to become a safer place for women, but it will take time, until then let’s be safe and not let it affect our dreams to travel the world!

Preconceived notions

Developed due to several reasons can make you Hodophobic( fear of travelling).  Horror travel stories, some bad news about the place you want to visit, and already formed image of a place you have never but only seen through other people’s eyes, in movies, videos, vlogs, etc, language barriers, not being able to find suitable food, these things often result into you eliminating a place from your travel bucket list. It can often affect your travelling decisions and make you scared to go to places you can totally go to and have a time of your life.

Photo Courtesy- Unsplash.com

Maybe you want to hold your travel plans to those places if you’re travelling solo for the first time, and would prefer going to some popular destinations, or places more touristy and less dangerous but you know what doesn’t just erase them off, always keep an option of going to those places open, you never know how different it actually can be from what you have already heard.

Also Read: What Are The Advantages Of Travelling Light?

So, without further ado, let’s speak about how to have a solo trip while overcoming these worries, plus some more techniques to manage travel anxiety!

Few Tips To Overcome Anxiety While Travelling Alone

Take Planned Tours

When travelling solo for the first time, you can go for a planned tour first to any place you visit. Most places you visit will have certain city tours and heritage walks, which will help you get familiar with the place, and also help you make friends. Once you’re more familiar with places, you can wander around by yourself. You will have more confidence and will feel safer.

Planning your travel well in advance can also help you mentally prepare for it and this way you can always be in charge of your safety, you know how your travel is going to go and the level of uncertainty will reduce.

For people travelling solo for the first time, this can be great as it will help you gain a lot of confidence, tackle problems on your own, and explore an unknown place by yourself on your next trip.

Meditation Helps!

Simple meditation exercises, at least half an hour daily will go a long way in helping you calm down. It can help you feel more confident while travelling alone and much relaxed too. Just simple breathing exercises during turbulence or flight landings can help you get through them easily. I understand that sudden changes in altitudes are very overwhelming for a lot of people, so listening to some soothing music and keeping your eyes closed during these times can help too. 

There are various youtube channels and podcasts to which you can subscribe to practice meditation. Meditation is a practice that can help you not only while travelling but also generally in life, to be more content and relieved from all the last moment panic attacks.

Happy and confident minds help with better interactions and long-lasting friendships.

For guided meditations you can look for these on Youtube. For relaxing music, use this.

Attempting Things That Scare You The Most

There are many times when the things we are scared of are the things we haven’t even tried. For example, bungee jumping and skydiving, sound scary to a normal person, and of course, they can be risky in a very obvious way, but just never trying it leaves an impression on you that it is how it’s seen, but just think about the slight chance that you may end up enjoying it. 

When I give that example, I mean to say, you’re planning on attempting a solo trip and that’s why you’re here, trying to ease that process of going there, the best way I feel to overcome any kind of fear is by actually facing. So just don’t overthink about it and go for it! Take my word, it’s worth it.

You, my friend, are gonna have the time of your life. The sheer thrill or rush of overcoming a fear willingly, not being forced to, is whole another level, and a fear of travel, something so beautiful and liberating, it can’t be too hard to overcome that.

Delegating all the work in your absence

Try delegating all the work that is to be done in your absence, well in advance so that you don’t have to worry about it when you’re on the trip. Giving someone else responsibilities of personal things can get risky but you can try giving it to people you trust. Being tension-free of such things, that you can’t control sitting miles away will help you be free-minded and enjoy the trip more. 

It will help you be less anxious about things going wrong and you can focus more on making the most of your trip. 

Some safety measures you can take while travelling alone

travelling alone

It is in this case, that being a little fearful can be termed smart. Being fearful helps you stay alert of the danger you may face. When travelling solo, you’re the only one responsible for your safety, and your actions. A few measures you can take are:

  • Not getting too drunk, or getting too intoxicated. You have to be aware of your surroundings at all times, and not fall into a situation where you can’t handle yourself. This will be rather risky, and can give someone an advantage over you. You may be robbed or harassed. Therefore, staying alert is one of the most important things to remember when traveling alone.
  • Not travelling solo in the night time. Walking alone at night, or using late-night cabs or buses can be dangerous for both women and men. Even if the world and its patriarchy can be brutal at times, believe your gut, because some people are wonderful. Not all are harmful, but why take a chance when there’s a safer option?
  • Do not give too much information about yourself to strangers. That doesn’t imply you shouldn’t talk to strangers or have meaningful conversations; you should. In other words, giving too much away without knowing anything about them can cause problems in an unfamiliar country.

Do not over plan!

There is a fine line between preparedness and over planning a trip. Sometimes over planning can make you so anxious, you cannot even imagine. When the trip doesn’t go according to your plan, even slight delays or small hiccups in the way can result in a lot of panics. You should let it go with the flow. Having some planning is necessary, and an idea about how you want your day to go is optimum. Fixing timings and tightening your schedule to a point where there is no room for error is just an unnecessary problem you are creating for yourself.

Also Read: How To Save Money While Travelling?

Staying in backpacking hostels and homestay

This might be one of my favourite ways to tackle the fear of travelling alone. While travelling solo you should live in a hostel that hosts solo travellers and some homestays. There is a community of solo travellers from all over the world. You can talk to them and meet other lone travellers in a safe environment. You may eat, travel, and live with them while maintaining your own time and solitude.

Keeping an open mind

Last but not the least, try to keep an open mind. When you go to a new place for the first time, it can get appalling in an obvious way. The differences in lifestyles you have witnessed before and now can be unsettling. This can make you anxious and scared to fit in. Openness, preparedness for the worst, and not expecting the unexpected will help you cope. It may feel scary but it’s your excitement. You’re actually thrilled to be somewhere so different. It’s hard to believe it’s the same planet but so different culturally, politically, socially, and even naturally. Accept it, but don’t over-prepare; leave room for surprise.

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Overcome Barriers Of Travelling Alone

Solo travelling doesn’t mean that you’re supposed to do everything alone. It is an experience of starting a trip alone and ending it by meeting a bunch of amazing travellers from all around the globe who are like you.

It is such a fulfilling experience worth taking risks for. I suffer from anxiety, but for some reason travelling alone gives me so much strength. It gives me courage to do rather unconventional things. It is a liberating experience that only a solo traveller with anxiety will understand. You become who you want to be while embracing yourself. It makes you realize the importance of your life, and how you choose to spend it. And I can’t think of another way to spend my life than travelling the world!

Our world is world with amazing places, beautiful people, and so many interesting things to experience. And if you were waiting to start your journey till now, your cue is to go for it at the earliest! Take a stroll on your fears, do what you want to do, embark on this journey to find yourself. You are halfway there! The wait is over, take these tips and just conquer those fears! Seize the day!

Happy solo travelling!!