5 Ways Not to Be Lonely When Traveling Alone on Business
The next time you're in a city far from home where you know nobody, take a deep breath and call it the biggest networking opportunity yet.
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Travel is an unavoidable part of building and growing a successful business. Even if many of your contacts are local, you'll eventually find it necessary to cross the country or even leave the country to network or lead a workshop at an industry event. Whether you enjoy traveling or not, going solo can take away from any enjoyment a trip might bring. When the day's events come to a close, you may find yourself hanging out alone in your hotel room, missing your family and friends.
But life on the road doesn't have to be lonely. There are things you can do to make your trip a more enjoyable experience. Forget room service. These ideas will help you enjoy any city whether you have a travel companion or not.
1. Dine out.
Sure, you can eat in your hotel room and watch Seinfeld reruns, but that won't help stave off loneliness. Instead, choose a top-notch local restaurant and enjoy an evening of fine dining. If the thought of sitting at a table alone fills you with dread, choose a venue with live music. You can also sit at the bar, where you can sometimes strike up a conversation with bartenders and fellow solo diners. Try to do a little research in advance and plan this out before you even get on a plane.
Related: Stress, Anxiety, Loneliness: How This Entrepreneur Lost Himself and Bounced Back Stronger
2. See the sights.
You don't have to sightsee alone, even if you don't have a travel partner. If you have a free afternoon, join a tour group that will take you around the city. If you're only free after five p.m., look for a few local attractions that are open for tours at night. Usually these tours are either conducted as groups or through pre-recorded tours where everyone wears headphones. You'll be able to learn more about the local area and you may meet a few interesting people along the way.
3. Strike up conversations with strangers.
If you're in the mood for a chat and a phone call home doesn't satisfy that craving, head downstairs to the lobby. You may find a few other bored strangers, eager to hang out and talk. Throughout your trip, get to know the front desk clerks, doormen, concierge, and valets and chat with them as you can. Even a few minutes of conversation can go far in helping stave off feelings of loneliness.
Related: Here's How to Strike Up a Conversation With Almost Anyone
4. Find local meetups.
In every town, on any day of the week, there are at least a few events happening. Check Meetup.com to see if there might be something that fits your own interests. Join a gym with multiple locations nationwide and use that membership while you're traveling. This will allow you to keep your usual workout routine, which may give you that feeling of being at home. This can be especially beneficial if your trip lasts longer than a few days. If you belong to an organization, check for meetings in the area where you'll be traveling to as a way to have a familiar connection wherever you go.
5. Use a co-working space.
Coworking spaces are showing up around the country, offering professionals office space for rent for a few hours, entire days, or months at a time. Check into local coworking spaces where you can connect to Wi-Fi, access printers and copiers if needed, and interact with local professionals. Some organizations will even let you try their space for free the first time, the way some gyms do. In addition to helping you get out of your hotel room, this move may also help you make valuable business connections in a city far away from your own.
After a long day of meetings, some professionals simply want to spend time alone, relaxing and unwinding. However, after a day or two, solo traveling can be draining. By leaving your hotel room and exploring local restaurants, attractions, and events, you may find that you're able to make your business trips more enjoyable and productive than ever before.
Related: What Co-Working Spaces Can Teach You about Morale and Engagement