Let’s be realistic.
Not every destination is going to meet your expectations.
Not every hotel or resort is as good as it looks online.
And for those new to solo travel, not everyone will love traveling solo – at least not right away.
There are times when things are not as you want, planned or dreamed of.
What then? What do you do if you don’t love it? Here are 10 options.
What if You Don’t Like the Destination?
- Be patient. Sometimes it just takes a little time to settle in. When I went to Havana the first time I arrived at night. Big mistake. The city, as does every city, seemed much more intimidating at night than any other time. But then even the next morning things didn’t seem much better. This was me back in 2006 on my first solo trip in a long time. I was anxious and I had a full week to go. I called my travel agent and asked to be moved to a resort. I received a polite reply that they would get back to me. That’s all I got. I never did hear back from them. However, by the next day I was glad that I didn’t. With a little patience I settled into the city and had an amazing time.
- Act quickly. Now this may sound quite contrary to my first piece of advice but under certain circumstances it makes perfect sense. If you are a seasoned traveler and have a multicity itinerary, just move on. There’s lots to see within any country as well as on every continent. If you you find yourself in a place that, for whatever reason, is not to your liking and you have the means (a car or rail pass) move on. Don’t waste precious travel time in a place you don’t like.
- Do some fast research. This is where those 10-Best lists can really come in handy. The Internet is full of posts offering the 10 best of this and the 10 best of that. Google the 10 best for your destination and you’ll likely find something to love about your destination. Check out our Destinations section where we have hundreds of posts written by readers of Solo Traveler. We also have our 32 Tips section that may help.
- Get off the resort. Sometimes the resort is just not what was promised. Humidity in resort islands demands a lot of upkeep in resorts. If yours hasn’t been maintained as well as it should be, it can be a little depressing. Use your days to get off the resort and explore. Try the local food. Golf. Rent a scooter. You may have planned a week on the beach but you may find that being forced out of the resort gives you a surprisingly great holiday. And by the way, more and more resorts present themselves as bases from which to explore their surrounding areas.
- Find what the locals love. I found Memphis to be a strange town. It seemed there was little happening beyond Beale Street and Graceland. The city was very quiet. In fact, walking to the National Museum of Civil Rights I became a bit nervous. It was full daylight but the streets were empty. So I stopped into an architect’s office to make sure that I was in a safe area and on the right route to the museum. I was. All was ok. It also presented a chance to actually talk to a local and learn where the Memphians go – the Cooper-Young area.
- Speak up. If it’s something that can be addressed right away, speak up and ask for it to be fixed. Ask for a room away from that noisy party or reschedule your excursion for when you’ve recovered from jet lag. If a fix isn’t possible but compensation is, do the leg work you need for that. For details read: Not Satisfied? 6 Steps to Getting Travel Complaints Resolved
What if You Don’t Like Solo Travel
- Be patient. Again, patience helps. If this is your first time traveling solo you have to get used to being by yourself, to taking care of everything by yourself, eating alone and more. It takes a little time to get used to that. I recommend that first solo trips be at least 3 days long – preferably 5. You need enough time to get there, be excited, wonder what you were thinking going solo and then come out on the other side – as you almost certainly will. With a bit of patience you will be able to relax into the solo experience. Read First Time Solo Travel: Tips for Newbies
- Ask for help. Reach out through your network and on social media for support. Perhaps we can help on the Solo Travel Society. We certainly have done so on a number of occasions. Here’s one post that comes directly from a reader asking for help: When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed: 43 Tips for Traveling Alone.
- Know that you’re not alone. Even those of us who love to travel solo have our gripes about it. Read: The Hardest Part of Traveling Solo.