You daydream about solo travel – trekking Machu Picchu, safari in Africa, sunrise over Angkor Wat. But there’s a niggling doubt in the back of your mind: is it weird to travel alone?
Put your mind at rest – travelling alone is not weird. Solo travel is more popular than ever amongst people of all ages and genders with 15% of travellers choosing to travel unaccompanied. Nowadays, travelling alone is very much normal!
However, there are times when travelling alone can feel weird or awkward (especially if it’s your first time). Below, I’ll share my 6 tips for solo travellers who are shy or awkward like me.
Nomadic Yak has 100s of tips if it’s your first time travelling solo!
Is Traveling Alone Weird?
There are two key questions that everyone worries about before their first solo trip: Do people travel alone? And is traveling alone weird?
No, it is not weird to travel alone. According to solo travel statistics, travelling alone is the #1 travel trend in the world and 25% of all people want to travel solo.
So don’t worry, about ¼ of your fellow travellers will also be travelling alone and aren’t going to think you’re weird – they see it all day, every day!
As for your friends back home, it is unlikely that any of them will think you’re weird for travelling alone. Most solo travellers actually experience the opposite, whereby their social circle admires the fact that they were brave and adventurous enough to travel alone.
Want to know if you’re cut out for solo travel? Take my 15-question quiz: should I travel alone?
Is it weird for a man to travel alone?
There are a lot of men out there asking, is it weird for a guy to travel alone?
No, it is not weird for a guy to travel alone. About 15% – 45% of solo travellers are male (depending on which statistics you rely on).
Everywhere you go, you’ll find other men travelling alone that you can buddy up with. Not to mention the masses of women who travel solo and make for awesome companions. And in all likelihood, you’ll form a group of travel buddies consisting of both guys and girls.
Want to know what solo male travel is really like? Read my guide to travelling alone as a man.
Is it weird for a woman to travel alone?
Although the majority of the solo travel market is female, lots of women still ask, is traveling alone weird?
No, it is not weird for a woman to travel alone. In fact, data suggests that up to 85% of solo travellers are women!
Yes, you read that right – the vast majority of people travelling alone are women!
So no one is going to think you’re weird for travelling solo as a female. And many of the people you meet and befriend on your trip will be other women travelling alone.
6 Tips to Overcome the Weirdness of Traveling Alone
You are right to ask, is it weird to travel alone? Because even though very few people think that it is weird to travel alone, it can still feel weird or awkward at times.
In particular, solo travel feels weird when it’s your first time. You’re not yet used to befriending other travellers or spending nights on your own.
But shy or awkward solo travellers can avoid the weirdness of travelling alone with these tips!
1. Break the ice one person at a time
First-time solo travellers often ask, is solo travel lonely? They worry that they’ll struggle to make friends.
Here’s the harsh reality – when you first arrive at your accommodation, most of your fellow travellers will have already formed friend groups and cliques.
So, how do you infiltrate those social circles without appearing weird or awkward?
I often start by befriending one person. I’ll break the ice by introducing myself and asking where they’re from. That usually is enough to get the conversation flowing. And often, that person will introduce me to their group of travel buddies.
Become a popular pilgrim with my Ultimate 9-Step Guide to Making 100s of Friends While Travelling Alone!
2. Visit a destination that is popular with other solo travellers
Travelling alone feels most weird when you first arrive at your destination.
You haven’t got your bearings yet. You haven’t befriended any fellow travellers. And you feel awkward trying to join in on the fun.
But some destinations are more difficult for solo travel than others – particularly when it comes to making friends.
You can avoid this situation by properly researching your destination. If it’s your first time travelling alone:
- Choose a destination that is popular amongst solo travellers – see my list of the best places to travel alone (I’ve scientifically ranked all 193 countries in the world).
- Choose accommodation that offers group activities (i.e. hostels that offer day trips or bar crawls).
- Choose a mode of transport that will be filled with other solo travellers (you’ll often make friends on the coach).
- Go on group tours to nearby attractions and sights.
3. Carry yourself with confidence (particularly in dangerous situations)
If you carry yourself with confidence whilst travelling alone, no one will think you are weird. Instead, your fellow travellers will think of you as outgoing and self-assured.
But there’s another benefit to self-confidence – you make yourself less vulnerable to the dangers of solo travel.
Always show confidence when travelling alone (even if you need to fake it) and follow these solo travel safety tips.
Taking risks is what makes us wiser and better travellers.
Discover the 10 dangers of travelling alone in my article: Is solo travel safe?
4. Don’t be a bore
Yes, there are times when solo travel can be boring. But as the saying goes – only boring people get bored.
Other travellers will think you’re weird and boring if you spend all day in the dorm room instead of getting out and exploring your destination.
Make yourself seem exciting and others will enjoy being around you – show them that you know how to have fun!
For 8 tips on becoming the least boring person in the room, see my article: is solo travel boring?
5. It’s ok to feel homesick or sad sometimes
Ready for another harsh truth? There will be times when solo travel will make you feel strangely sad and homesick.
No matter how much fun you’re having, it can be hard being away from your family and friends for extended periods.
When you do feel down, it’s ok to avoid group accommodation and activities. If you feel like you’re bringing everyone else’s mood down, you’ll only make yourself feel worse.
Instead, check yourself into a private room and enjoy a day of rest. Call your loved one, take a long shower, get some sleep and recharge your batteries.
People suffering from mental health issues should also be particularly cautious when travelling alone. For more information, see my article on solo travel depression.
6. Embrace the time alone
When you’re travelling alone and having an awesome time, an awkward question pops into your mind: “is it weird that I don’t want to travel with other people?”
You may even find yourself acting weird – avoiding interactions with other travellers or not wanting to call your friends and family back home.
Whilst I don’t suggest isolating yourself entirely, it is wise to make the most of your time alone. Use it to self-reflect, better yourself and have fun.
Time alone is a rare opportunity. Enjoy it whilst it lasts.
Discover the 10 most fun parts of solo travel in my article: is travelling alone fun?
Why Do People Travel Alone?
Why are more people than ever choosing to travel alone?
Well, whilst there are many advantages and disadvantages of travelling alone, some of the benefits include:
- Setting your own budget and saving money
- Making more friends
- Having total freedom over your itinerary
- Dating other singles and enjoying more sex
- Gaining more social media followers
- Becoming more self-confident and sociable (one of the main reasons why you should travel alone in your 20s)!
Summary: Is it Ok to Travel Alone?
Is it weird to travel alone? No! Is it ok to travel alone? Yes!
Solo travel might feel a little bit weird at first if it is your first time. But you will quickly discover that many of the people around you are also travelling alone and looking to make friends, just like you.
No one else is going to think you’re weird. If they do, it’s only because they haven’t experienced the joy of solo travel for themselves.
However, if you’re still hesitant about travelling alone, joining a group tour might give you the confidence you need to take your first real solo trip. See how I compare my experiences with solo travel vs group travel.
Find More Solo Travel Tips on Nomadic Yak
You no longer need to wonder, is it weird to travel alone? Or, is it weird to go on vacation alone? The answer is no!
Join the millions of men and women that travel alone every year and start living the dream!
Nomadic Yak helps solo travellers to plan journeys that are adventurous and authentic.
Every article is written by me, Harry. I’ve travelled to 40+ countries over the last 5 years – alone.
I’ve shared everything you need to know about first-time solo travel.
You’ll also find 100s of solo travel tips on how to save money, make more friends, build a social media following and much more.
Plus, you can use my solo travel destination guides to discover international sights and attractions that few other travellers get to witness.