Tips for Traveling Alone


It’s amazing that after four weeks after going to Spain on my own, I think I was lonely maybe once. There have been times that I felt more alone when I was in the same city, speaking the same language or even when I’ve traveled with a companion than I felt on this trip.

Don’t be Afraid to have Dinner By Yourself

One of the perks of going somewhere where you don’t know anybody is that you open yourself up to new conversations. When I was in Mallorca, I was intimidated about going to dinner by myself, but I went armed with my book. On both nights, people at the table next to me were genuinely interested to talk to the American by herself. I didn’t need to open my book and I enjoyed having conversations I’d probably never have if I had the company of a friend. Both nights I left impressed by how many Europeans are bilingual and take advantage of the opportunity to use their English.

Take Advantage of Being Off Wifi

So often in the states, even when we’re alone- we’re constantly in communication with people via text, email, etc. Every experience is filtered by how you’re telling what you see/your view on something to the person you’re in touch with. In Europe, I’m rarely texting unless I’m back for the day in my hostel or at my family’s townhouse where I have wifi. While I still pull my phone to snap pictures, listen to music or an audiobook on a train- for the most part- when I’m out – I’m off the grid. It’s nice not to be constantly accessible. It allows you time to truly be more present in what you’re doing – whether it’s exploring the museum you’re at, observing the people in the park, seeing what dishes look good in a restaurant. While I’ve missed being able to pull up google maps, or look up the history of “Spanish….” While I’m out – you learn to plan out where you’re going ahead and use your guide book rather than relying on the convenience of the web. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Rick Steves’s information about Christopher Columbus’ posthumous travels, the Spanish Inquisition, and the history of the bullfight.

Say Yes

On this trip I went to San Sebastion, and Mallorca on my own, and I went to Seville with a girl I’d met one other time through Greenheart Travel’s program. All three of these trips could have been potential disasters- but I had amazing beaches, local cuisine, good books, and encounters with locals/hostel owners/other American travelers to keep me company. Going alone rather than not going at all is well worth it.

Highlights of My Travels

Bullfight in Madrid

Flamanco in Seville

Salted Cod in Mallorca

Catching the local festival in the suburb of Pozeula

Seeing El Escorial

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