When you’ve been sitting on an uncomfortable bus for eight hours, arrive in a new city late at night and realize you left your newly purchased souvenirs at your last hostel (or made another inevitable travel mistake), it’s pretty dang easy to get the travel blues. Getting bummed out and just wanting to feel the comforts of home during your (mostly) awesome solo adventures is part of the game and WILL make you stronger (just think about the movie Wild). Sometimes, you’ll be lonely in the middle of nowhere, or too sick to go meet people at a cool hostel. You’ll need to cure your solo travel loneliness, well, alone. So take a deep breath and prepare for these times by packing these eight anti-loneliness items. You’ll feel close to home in no time, promise.
1. Make a feel-good favorites playlist. Blasting Beyoncé is sometimes the only option, especially for miserably long plane rides or noisy, overcrowded buses. It’s incredible how much music can affect your mood and transport you back to some of your favorite memories. So before you leave for a solo adventure, take a couple of minutes to put together a playlist with some of your all-time favorite songs, complete with tons of feel-good tunes and definitely a few guilty pleasures. We won’t judge you for putting “Wannabe” on that list. The Spice Girls are forever relevant.
2. Write a letter of intention to yourself. Before packing your new sundresses, sit down and write yourself a letter or a list. Include the reasons why you’re traveling and who supported you in your decision. Pack this somewhere safe and take it out whenever you need to regain your confidence. Sometimes the open road toward adventure can be more like a labyrinth of emotions, so remembering your initial passion and support system in times of struggle might help to rev up your I-can-do-this attitude.
3. Pack your favorite tea. The little comforts and reminders of home mean a lot when you’re on-the-go. Pack a few bags of your favorite calming tea for a really simple, yet completely calming pick-me-up. There’s just something about a hot mug in your hand and subtly sweet tea leaf aromas to help soothe the soul. Most rooms have electric kettles, so put on some comfy clothes and just chill.
4. Place pics of friends and fam around your hotel or dorm bed. Sure, smartphones are perfect for storing thousands of photos, but there’s nothing like having a couple of printed photos of your favorite moments or people tucked away for moments of need. The physical prints bring back a comforting nostalgia, and can be a fun way to share your story with new friends. When you’re staying somewhere for an extended time, set up your photos along the window’s ledge or against a mirror to make your accommodations feel a bit more familiar.
5. Break out the inspirational letters. Before you leave for your solo adventure, ask a few of your closest friends to write you a short, inspirational note. When you’re feeling down, there’s nothing better than breaking out the letters and having the people you love remind you of how brave, adventurous and adored you are. So, yeah, you’re not asking for pure reality here, but there absolutely is truth to the praise your friends lather on you in your goodbye note, and their thoughts will get you through the times you question what the heck you’re doing alone in a treehouse in Laos.
6. Splurge on nicer accommodations. Okay, so this isn’t something to take with you, but a plush, clean bed in a quiet room is something material that’ll definitely make you feel a whole lot better. Sometimes your body is tired after a super rough train ride, you’ve caught a cold or you haven’t actually gotten a full night’s sleep in weeks thanks to your party-loving hostel dormmates. That physical exhaustion can drag you down. So treat yo’self to a little R&R. Take a long, hot shower, throw on that fluffy robe and flip on the TV. You’ll be less lonely in no time.
7. Seek out a little taste of home. Sometimes loneliness on the road isn’t a lack of other people; it’s missing your favorite things about daily life back home. Think about what material thing you love at home that you haven’t had on the road. Red wine? Put down that $1 Sapporo for a night and indulge in a glass of red wine. Don’t go a day without Oreos? Hunt them down, or get something comparable to satisfy your sweet tooth.
8. Send a postcard. Missing your friends and family will probably happen. Instead of sitting around and wishing they were there, go out and find the prettiest postcards you can. Sit at a cafe or park and write about what you’ve seen so far, then be sure to mail it! Taking a moment to allow yourself to miss people, but turning it into an adventure, will make the whole experience much more memorable. Plus, your postcard recipient will get a thoughtful souvenir, and that’s one less refrigerator magnet you have to bring home.
What’s in your anti-loneliness toolkit? Let us know how you keep your spirits up while traveling @BritandCo.
(Photos via Getty)