How to deal with loneliness while solo travelling?

The fear of feeling lonely puts some of us off from trying solo travelling. While loneliness is part of the solo travelling lifestyle, there are ways to deal with it.

I did a few things during my long-term travels in Latin America to deal with my loneliness that I would like to share with you in this blog post.

Hopefully, reading through what I did to deal with loneliness while solo travelling in Latin America, will inspire you to pursue your solo travel dreams. 

Feeling lonely is a perfectly natural process while solo travelling and should not put people off from pursuing their travel dreams. These are my 19 tips for you to deal with loneliness while solo travelling.

19 ways I tried and worked to deal with loneliness while solo travelling in Latin America

Feeling lonely while solo travelling can be an overwhelming feeling. Yet, there is a solution to every problem out there. In this case, there are many ways to deal with loneliness while solo travelling. 

I used all of the tips I shared below. They are great to keep your spirit high while being away from family and friends for months or even shorter periods of time. I hope you will find this blog post useful.

Keep it real

I will start with the best tip that worked in my case. Simply put, Keep it real!  Don’t over-romanticise solo travelling!

Remember those blog posts or IG reels that tell you how incredible solo travelling is?

Well, in fact, not everything goes according to the plan, and many unpredictable things can happen that are not necessarily captured in the IG reels or mentioned in blog posts.

One can get sick, experience homesickness, have a hard time adapting to new cultures, get stuck in a country, get robbed, you name it.

All these things can happen during your long-term travels (especially the homesickness part). But most of them can also happen during your short travels. 

One simply needs to embrace the experiences and learn from what’s being thrown at him/her without over-romanticising everything.

A solo travelling experience will make you stronger and better prepared to deal with adversities. After a few months on my own, navigating Colombia, Costa Rica and Panama (so far), I feel I can do anything. My self-confidence got a boost, and I feel better prepared to deal with things such as budgeting, unpredictable events, difficult to handle people etc.

Yet, I also had times when I felt disconnected, homesick and even ill after caching a pretty bad cold. I kept it real and understood that solo travelling is not about posing as the happy traveller whose life is perfect just because I get to travel full-time around Latin America. 

Learn to speak Spanish

I know this is easier said than done, but being able to communicate in the native language of the country you travel to will help you feel less lonely.

Exchanging a few words with anyone, either on the street, at the supermarket or in the restaurant can make your day. Chit-chatting is an excellent way to pick up basic words in Spanish. It is also practical as you don’t need to engage in difficult-to-follow conversations.

It can definitely help if you speak Spanish because not everyone speaks English in Latin America. While more people speak English in Costa Rica or Panama, Colombia is in fact more difficult to travel through if you don’t speak any Spanish.

 So, learn the basics. Saying hi in Spanish to a local not only will make their day, but it will also make you feel better. I can guarantee you will end up having the best time when having random conversations with the locals.

Eat in local restaurants

Eating in local restaurants is not only a good way to save up money (if you travel on a budget), but it’s also a good way to put to work some of your social skills as well as your Spanish language skills.

I found local restaurants in Latin America to be extremely animated. Locals gather to chat, have something to eat and enjoy each other’s company. It’s the perfect space for social gatherings.

I like to observe them mostly, but quite often I ended up chatting with a person or two because they were curious to know where I was from.

Eating in local restaurants is an excellent way to exchange a few words with someone. And don’t be afraid to eat on your own. Many locals do it too.

Eating by yourself in Latin America is common, and nobody has any issues with this.

Inside a local restaurant in Cartagena, Colombia

Avoid travelling to Latin America during the low season

I quickly learnt that travelling during the low season in Latin America also has disadvantages. Yes, you can strike some good deals and save money, but you won’t cross paths with many people. The hostels can stay empty for days, and you will not come across many tourists on the street either. 

It’s been very common for me to stay in an empty female dorm for days. While some might find this cool, others can find it quite lonely.

Therefore, if you are looking for company while travelling in Latin America, don’t start your travels during the low season because you will end up spending most of your time by yourself.

Booked trips are excellent for meeting new people

Booked trips are excellent ways to meet new people. Try and book these as often as possible, especially if you are somewhere you feel you have no one to hang out with.

You can meet the most interesting people on a booked trip. I ended up having the most insightful conversations while enjoying a booked trip.

Plus, booked trips are more cost-effective for solo travellers and safer ways to move around for solo female travellers.

You can book trips online, through your hostel/hotel or by approaching the local tour agencies.

In Latin America, I always get the best deals via local tour agencies. In my experience, the more intermediaries there are, the more the tour will cost you. If you get to negotiate your trip with the tour agency directly, you usually get the best deal. 

Stay in hostels

I know this is something everyone will suggest, but it is true. Staying in hostels is the best way to meet new people.

Some hostels are better than others, that’s why I always read through the reviews before booking my stay in a hostel.

Make sure you book somewhere that has a nice social atmosphere, yet does not come across as being too loud and crowded. Personally, I am not a fan of party hostels, but there are plenty of choices for every type of traveller. has a vast database of good hostels. I always manage to find something that suits my needs there. Another good platform for booking hostels is There are many more out there, but these are the ones I used mostly and can recommend. 

Enjoy life’s little pleasures

Although you are in a foreign country, you can still enjoy life’s little pleasures, the same way you would do back home. Plan to go shopping, book a spa day, and buy your favourite foods (as long as they are available in the host country).

You don’t have to spend half of your monthly budget to enjoy these little pleasures. Latin America (except for some Central American countries) is still affordable compared to most countries in Europe. 

In some Latin American countries, you can buy a head-to-toe outfit for less than £15. What I liked about Colombia in particular, is that affordable clothes are produced locally. I was surprised to read on the label made in Colombia because almost all affordable clothing nowadays is made in China.

Buying your favourite foods should be affordable too. Finding a good pizza or pasta can be easily done in Latin America, and it will not cost you a fortune.

As you’ve noticed, enjoying life’s little pleasures can easily be done everywhere you are. It’s an excellent way to get you into a good mood and help you deal with loneliness while solo travelling.

Be the first one to start the conversation

Starting a conversation is always the best way to deal with loneliness while solo travelling. I know some people (especially introverts) will find this harder. But my tip for you is to start with smaller groups. The best would be to start with only one person first.

As an introvert myself, I always find it harder to start a conversation if the group is large. But it feels more comfortable if there is only 1 person, max 2 I need to start a conversation with. 

As with everything else, practice makes you perfect. The more you practice, the better you become at it.

Do not worry much about the topic. It can be anything like where are you from? how long have you travelled for? or where are you heading to? 

Also, not all your conversations need to finish with you exchanging contact details with the other person. So don’t beat yourself up if this happens.

Because halfway through your chat, you might realise you have nothing in common with the person next to you. That’s perfectly fine, you cannot bond with everyone you will meet on your travels.

But there will be wonderful people you will start friendships with, which makes this whole thing worth it.

Also, you can always chit-chat with locals. I had so many lovely exchanges in Colombia, especially when I was food shopping. 

Locals will also approach you first if they need help, so it’s always lovely and easier to chat with them. Of course, knowing the language plays an important role. Yet, if you cannot speak Spanish, you can always smile and let them know you don’t master the local language that well.

So now you know. Starting a conversation is an excellent way to deal with loneliness while solo travelling.

Talk to someone at least once a day

I mentioned earlier how important it is to talk to someone. But how often should you do it? I suggest finding someone to talk to at least once a day.  

I found this tip to be one of the best for my mental health. Travelling for days without having any sort of exchange with anyone can be draining, and it’s not fun feeling this way. It also makes you feel alienated from everything and anyone else.

That’s why having that human interaction at least once a day is important. Whether it is with the receptionist or the cashier, make sure it’s part of your daily routine. It will help you feel grounded and more connected with the place and people you are in that moment.

Start a side hustle

Starting a side hustle has become so common nowadays, and it boomed during the pandemic. Starting an online side hustle to document your travels is something I find worthwhile.  

Whether it is a blog (as is my case), an Instagram or a TikTok account where you document your journey, start something you can commit to and enjoy doing.

 It will make you feel more invested in your travelling journey and something to look forward to doing at the end of your day.

Yet, make sure you don’t spend an unhealthy amount of time on it. Ideally, you would have started your side hustle before travelling, so you already have a routine and know more or less what you are doing. 

I find starting a side hustle at the beginning of your travels tricky because you can end up spending a significant amount of time learning a new skill, and that can mess up your daily routine.

I am happy I started this website some time ago and started my long-term travels after because now I have a better idea of how long several tasks can take to be completed, which helps with planning my day/ activities etc.

Having said this though, I am not against starting a side hustle while travelling. What I’m trying to emphasise is that your side hustle might take more of your time at the beginning when you have so much to learn. Be aware of this when planning your travel itinerary.   

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Make time to read/journal/meditate

Reading before going to bed (even if it’s a few pages), it’s an excellent way to deal with loneliness while travelling. Not only you will be connected to the story, but you will also have something to look forward to at the end of the day. The same applies to journaling and meditation. 

I find reading one of the most therapeutic activities out there. You can read whatever you like. Lately, I have been more interested in memoirs and self-development books, but you can read anything you want. It will definitely help improve your low mood.

You can also journal. Personally, I don’t keep a diary as I consider writing for this blog is also a way of journaling, but I met long-term travellers who do it daily. The same goes for meditation. Some do it and works for them. I do not do it. 

These are my suggestions. You don’t have to do all 3. Choose as many as you want and only focus on the ones that work best for you.

Have regular catch-ups with your family

They might not be the ideal family, they might not even understand why are you doing this. In fact, most long-term travellers I met said that their families did not understand this lifestyle. Yet, at the end of the day, they are still your family.

The bond you have with them is unbreakable and no matter what you do, your family will always love and support you.

I know I tried to convince my family that Colombia was a safe country to travel to as a solo female traveller. Most of my relatives were reticent, but once I started posting pictures, and telling them about my experience of navigating Colombia solo, their opinions about the country also shifted.

Also make sure you stay updated with what happens at home, although you might not be that interested in it. It will help the conversation flow.

Having regular catch-ups with your family is important for your mental health, but it is also beneficial for them. Your family will feel they are part of your adventure. 

I suggest you choose a channel everyone is comfortable with and update them whenever you can. I chose IG as most of my family members have an account, but also WhatsApp. You can choose something different. Some travellers start travel blogs which then they share with their family members. Find something that works for you and everyone else in your family.

Try to stay active

It is very easy to book a place for several days and forget to leave your room. Been there, done that. That’s why it’s important to remember to stay active and include even small walks in your daily routine. You don’t need to go over the board and join local gyms (if you don’t feel like doing it). Yet, make sure you get those steps in as it will give your mood a boost.

Staying active doesn’t mean you cannot have rest days. We all need to recover our strength after intense physical activity. 

I have never been more active than when I travelled long-term. It made me feel good, it regulated my sleep and overall improved my well-being. That’s why I always suggest staying active because I know how much it benefits me and surely can benefit you too.

TIP: What motivates me to keep active is a step-counting app. If you need extra motivation to keep active, I suggest downloading a similar app. They are excellent motivational tools as they get you into all sorts of competitions to keep you active.

You are not alone, you are having some quality me time

Some people might get anxious about solo travelling, especially because they think they will end up spending so much time by themselves. 

Solo travelling is not as scary as some of us think neither is spending time by yourself. Look at it as if you are having some quality me time. 

Nowadays, we are being bombarded with ideas like you need to have friends, you cannot be by yourself, you need to be in a relationship, you need to work as part of a team. 

While all these things do make our lives feel purposeful, having quality me time is also beneficial. Perhaps more beneficial than everything else. 

I learnt about the importance of having quality time with myself after reading books on Buddhism and mindfulness. Solo travelling gives you time to have the introspection you cannot have if you are constantly with someone (whether it is at home or work).

Learning how to spend more time with yourself is both liberating and terrifying. But it also helps you heal past traumas, discover new abilities and get to know yourself better. By getting to know yourself better, you become better at work, and with sentimental relationships, overall you become a better version of yourself.

By spending more time with myself, I got to improve the relationships I had with other people because I knew what I wanted and also what type of people I wanted to surround myself with. 

You should not be afraid to be alone because it helps you build new, stronger, better, more meaningful human relationships with people around you.

Use your alone moments to reconsider choices, think about the future or simply live in the present. Enjoy the time you spend with yourself. 

Catch-up with old friends

Plan to stay in contact with old friends either by inviting them to travel with you or via the Internet. 

One of my old friends decided to visit me in Latin America and we met in Argentina because that’s a place she always wanted to visit. That happened 4 months into my long-term travels on the continent. It’s always nice to see a familiar face when you’ve travelled for months. 

Also, make sure you keep in touch with old friends via WhatsApp, IG etc. This way you will not feel alienated from the real world. I keep in touch with my old friends via social media & WhatsApp and they keep me up to date on what everyone else is doing. 

Keep in touch with the people you’ve met on the road

You can be the shyest introvert ever, yet you will inevitably meet people during your travels.

Try to keep in touch with the people you’ve met during your travels that is if you get to the point where you exchange IG, phone numbers etc. 

It will be beneficial to you to stay in touch with someone who is as invested as you are in travelling. You might meet again somewhere else.  You never know.

Expanding your network is always good for you because you never know who you stumble upon.

During my travels in Latin America, I met so many interesting people. With some of them, I bonded immediately. Others were difficult to read at the beginning but ended up becoming good friends after a while. Keeping in touch with the people I met during my travels definitely helped me deal with loneliness while solo travelling, that’s why I ended up suggesting it in this blog post. 

Join free walking tours

Free walking tours are a great way to meet new people. Join free walking tours if they are available in your area. You will always end up meeting someone interesting by the end of the tour.

My experience with free walking tours has always been a positive one. I ended up having dinner with some people and had some long, interesting chats with other people.  

If you travel on a budget, free walking tours are perfect for you because you don’t have to tip the tour guide at all (the tip is voluntary). Of course, I always make a small donation, but it is nowhere near what you would have paid for a regular walking tour.

Make travel buddies

The idea of a travel buddy is to have someone joining you for a part of your travels. It can be an old friend or someone you’ve met on the road. 

They will not necessarily be with you for the duration of your whole trip. But, I met people who also travelled with their travel buddies for the entire time.

Personally, I made travel buddies during my travels. But also had old friends who joined me as a travel buddy at some point during my one year of travelling through Latin America.

The key here is to learn how to travel with someone else which can be challenging sometimes. It helps if you have the same interests, personality and the same travelling style.

Traveling with someone else is an interesting experience because you will learn how to work in a team, and how to consider someone else’s needs. It is also an excellent way to beat loneliness while travelling on your own.

Consider going home

If things become unbearable consider going home. There is no point in travelling by yourself if you don’t enjoy it anymore. Yet, before taking the decision of returning home give yourself some time.

We all feel low during our solo travels, especially if we travel long-term on our own. I know I felt the same at the beginning of my travelling adventure in Latin America.

But, I gave myself some time before making a decision. In the end, I did not return home earlier, although I felt homesick quite early in my travels.

Yet, if you decide to return home earlier, don’t consider this a failure. It’s just a change of plans. I am sure you still gathered beautiful memories up to that point.

Some people also decide to return home for a break, after which they resume their travels. I met people doing this too. Some others will just return home for good.

Whichever decision you take, just know that returning home earlier is as good as any other decision you could have made.

In conclusion

Solo travelling can be a lonely endeavour as it is challenging to build long-lasting, meaningful relationships if you only stay in one location for a few days.

Yet, as suggested in this blog post, there are ways to overcome loneliness while solo travelling.

Once you learn how to deal with loneliness while solo travelling, you discover the beauty of this unique experience which helps you grow and become aware of your abilities while discovering so many other abilities you never knew you possessed.

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