Traveling by yourself aka solo travel is one of the best ways to discover who you really are, because you are thrust into unique situations that you have to get out of, and you can find out how you best cope with stressful situations. That said, there are a lot of aspects of traveling that can overwhelm us, and can impact our stress negatively. While they say a little bit of stress is good, too much can have a detrimental effect. And while we all want to have a beneficial traveling experience, what are the best ways for us to reduce the stress when we are out there, in the elements, by ourselves?

Be Organized

We all know that the biggest cause of stress in any situation, not just travel, is in relation to the unknown. We can feel overwhelmed by the prospect of traveling to another country, and everything that is associated with it. In other words, everything is new and exotic to us. And you can go about it by one of two ways, you can either jump right in and feel your way through, or you can get prepared before heading off. It’s much easier to do some basic background research to give you an idea, not just of the best places to visit, but an idea of the culture, or even the language, and the general way of life. For instance, in a far eastern country like Indonesia, the way of life can be poles apart to the standard western approach, but there are numerous resources online that can be helpful, being one of many.

If you are undertaking a sprawling trip across the world, and taking in many different cultures and countries, getting under the skin of the people is something that you can’t really do until you get there, but, rather than it being a complete culture shock, by doing a little bit of research, and getting an appreciation for the culture before you go there, gives you the chance to slot in easier. Remember, there are some countries that are very conservative when it comes to clothing, and even something like a simple handshake can be misconstrued in the wrong way in certain quarters. By doing a little bit of research on the country before you go there gives you that base knowledge necessary so you don’t find yourself making cultural faux pas. In addition to this, making sure you are all organized when it comes to the travel, by making a checklist and ensuring you’ve got everything ready, documents wise, will make for a far smoother journey.


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Minimizing Your Safety Concerns

We all have concerns about the safety of certain places, as we see in the news all of the time, various terrorist attacks, or tourist kidnappings can add to a feeling of unease, especially if you’ve already paid for your travel to that country. But, it’s important for you to get a realistic expectation of the country you’re traveling to. Granted, there are some countries in the world where there is danger around every corner, but you will have done your research before heading off, to see if that country is generally safe. But for countries where the landscape has changed because of a seismic incidents, it’s far better for you to use your best judgement. Even in a country like the United Kingdom, where there have been numerous terrorist attacks in the last 18 months, does this realistically mean you will end up in one? No, of course not. Instead, it’s far better for you to trust your gut and go from there. After all, if we all cancelled our plans because of an incident, nobody would go anywhere.

Calming Depressive Thoughts

Fear and depression can have a negative impact on our travel experience, not just because of worries about problems like terrorist attacks, but it’s important to remember that fear can be irrational from time to time. But when you are feeling like you’re a million miles away from home, or you feel like you’re exposed in some way, especially when you are traveling alone, these thoughts can be magnified to such an extent, that it can give you major anxiety attacks. Sometimes we can feel uncomfortable going to a specific area, even if we’ve already made plans to go there, but it’s that feeling of insecurity and worry that could make you an easy target, especially if this anxiety is written all over your face. The best way to combat this is to put yourself in situations where you feel protected. Sometimes, staying in a hostel with other people can make us keep our guard up. You may want to take a break from this way of life by actually getting some rental accommodation for a short period of time. In any country, there are rental accommodations, like on but it also gives you the opportunity to spend some time by yourself, in a place where you can lock the doors and feel like you can truly relax.

The big stress when it comes to traveling alone is that you don’t always feel like you have the opportunity to decompress. We’re always on guard and after a while, it can get to us, and even people talk about eating alone as something that’s very stressful, either because all eyes are on you, or you feel exposed in some way. And this is why it’s important for you to find some ways of keeping yourself calm throughout your entire experience. Mindfulness is one of those things that we can all try, and if this doesn’t float your boat, you can take solace in the fact that there are other travelers around, and not only this, but there are people that are willing to help. Whether it’s through sites like Airbnb, where you can be put up for a couple of days, or it’s helpful hostel staff that are able to point to more friendly local destinations, there is always help when you need it.

We can all feel like we’ve stepped out of our comfort zone when we go exploring by ourselves, but it’s this that makes us realize what we are all about. It’s important, if you have any anxious or depressive thoughts, to tackle them in the most productive manner possible. Never try and ignore these things, but rather, figure out the root cause of these issues. You may be feeling homesick, in which case, will a simple phone call sort the issue? Or you are feeling in over your head? Well, we all feel like this when we are in a foreign country, away from everything that we know and understand. Instead, trying to find a little piece of home or going somewhere that you can feel more relaxed, will help to calm this issue.

Traveling is something that’s pretty stressful, especially when you’re trying to make connecting flights, or you don’t know your way around, but instead of resisting the stress, embracing it, and making it a part of the experience means you will cope with it better. There is no such thing as a perfect experience, because a lot of what traveling is really about is surviving from day to day. Finding your way around a place that you’ve never been before, where you don’t speak the language, will force you to step up to the plate, and to tackle these problems head on. And once you’ve navigated these difficult situations, you can do anything! So why make it more stressful than it needs to be?

Have you ever traveled solo? How was your experience? Did you find yourself in difficult situations? If yes, how did you overcome that?