Why travel after a breakup?
So you just got out of a relationship. You’re hurt. You’re confused. You aren’t sure how to put your emotions in order again and how to cope with the pain and confusion. This could be a time for you to travel.
‘Escapist!’ I can practically hear you scream. But hear me out… sometimes self love is also taking time to heal alone and reflect.
This is a subject that doesn’t often come up in conversation when it comes to travel. It’s no secret that a breakup or divorce can be one of the most devastating experiences in a person’s life. However, it should be noted that for many, traveling alone can be a way to discover a new place and find some inner strength again in the process.
It could be just the thing you need to pick yourself up. And it could be the key to healing. Once, I moved to China after a breakup and it was the best thing I've ever done in my life! Ok ok, I'm NOT suggesting you move to China.. But traveling can be helpful for a variety of reasons and it can help you get an outside perspective on the situation.
Why? Honestly, you’re already out of your comfort zone so you might as well go a litte further. Nothing tears you up like a breakup. That feeling of vulnerability can push you to destructive measures, or more positive ones such as exploring new places, challenging and re-centering yourself.
Over the years, I have met many men and women who decided to travel for short or long periods after a breakup. Everyone has their reasons. Sometimes people need to find themselves again. Some people need to figure out their direction and also be reminded of what they’re capable of.
Should I travel alone after a breakup?
Of course, everyone is different. Maybe you don’t feel the need to go travel alone after a break up because you tend to cope with emotions differently.
Sure, some people may find they heal better after a breakup by throwing themselves into a job, exercise, or their social lives. But for others, it’s too easy to fall into negative habits such as drinking too much, overeating or under eating, isolating themselves and falling into depression. Travel is better. Sometimes a ticket out of town is exactly what we need.
I know what you’re thinking: it’s still escapism! No, it’s not. Sometimes, the only way to clear your head is to remove yourself from a painful situation so you can clearly evaluate it from afar. Exploration and adventure can be the key to finding peace, and healing a broken heart. Meeting new people, talking about life and finding new connections in foreign places can help you regain your sense of confidence again. You might even make some really good friends along the way. I know I have. I even met a French girl in Crete and a German girl who were doing the exactly the same thing.
Plus, after a breakup, you’re hurt, you’re angry. You’re vulnerable. Buy a ticket and go put yourself back together in a new place.
5 things to remember when you plan a trip alone after a breakup
#1 Choose Your Destination Wisely
It’s about you. What do you need now?
Rest and relaxation in a quiet place of beauty like a beach or a mountain top?
Do you need solitude or do you want to be social around lots of people and group activities?
Do you need a challenge and to test yourself with spots or hiking? Or maybe an adventure?
Do you want to do something you’ve always wanted to do like a cooking class in another country or a meditation retreat?
"Embrace those parts of yourself that you've skillfully avoided until now. That's your true adventure."
— Gina Greenlee
Geographical Considerations for post-breakup travel:
Cultural and Linguistic Comforts:
Does it bother you to be in countries where you don’t speak the language?
Some people love a cultural challenge and the excitement of culture shock. For some people, this makes the trip intimidating and extremely unenjoyable.
If you've just gotten out of a breakup, it's important to think about whether or not you want to push yourself. Sometimes, you want to think to yourself: yes! Vietnam!! That sounds incredibly adventurous and I will be a stranger in a new land!
Think carefully about whether you would be ok with a challenge that involves not always being able to explain what you want. Are you flexible with what you eat? Would you be ok ordering chicken if you didn’t know what part?
Are you ok with pointing at someone’s table and saying: ‘I’ll have what he’s having!’ This can be both empowering for some and yet highly annoying for others.
Othertimes, you might want to play it safer and head to a country where they speak your language or have similar cultures. Figure out what your comfort zone is and see how far you want to push yourself.
Touristy or non-touristy?
Also, be aware that some touristy destinations can be great for solo travelers because they have a lot of hostels and group activitiies, tours, etc so it can be super easy to meet people. Other places might be romantic or scenic and would be more likely to attract couples (probably not a great idea if you're traveling alone after a breakup). If you choose a beach as your place of respite, research destinations like Croatia, Italy, and Greece before heading to an island alone where you could feel isolated and lonely.
Some islands are perfect for solo travelers, like Sicily, or Malta, and others will make you feel like the most solo, single-ist, absolutely lonely person on the planet (in my experience, Crete!). Other beaches are known for attracting party goers, that also attract solo travelers and make it easier to meet people.
Crete, for example, is a breathtaking environment for relaxation if you find the secluded beaches, but if you’re by yourself, it could be hard to go days on end without meeting people since remote locations with excellent beaches in Crete don’t attract solo travelers, but rather families and couples.
This is actually an important one becasue food is extremely important and it's also something that can help or hurt your emotional and mental health. Don't believe me? Ever been sad after a breakup and cried because your sandwich was wrong?
If you have certain dietary restrictions like being vegetarian or maybe you prefer foods from a certain region, it's important to factor that in.
Some places like Argentina can be downright difficult if you don't eat meat and other places in Asia can be difficult if you prefer Western food like pizza or you want good coffee.
Decide whether it's important to have certain foods or cuisines and choose accordingly.
#2 Set Your Budget, Length of Time and Purpose of Your Trip
Write it down. Why are you going? How much time do you have? Do you have a weekend, a week, a month? Are you in a situation where you are going abroad for a long time after a breakup to start again? If you are happy to sit in a cafe all day or wander than do that. If you feel it would be better to be around people choose some activities. Check Tripadvisor for ideas.
Are you looking for a ‘Weekend city’ break? Get to know a new city and its history, culture and people. Depending on which continent you live on, this would obviously vary. Try doing the opposite of your normal comfort zone. If you’re a city girl, try a trip to the mountains.
If you’re a city girl, try a trip to the mountains. If you’re from a small town, head to New York, London, Rome, Sydney, or Tokyo. Try a few walking tours and see how a city evolved over the century. I like Sandeman’s walking tours. They are all over Europe and in some US cities, free, and have absolutely stellar guides. I always meet people and they learn a lot in the process. They typically offer other kinds of tours where you can go on a food tour, pub crawl, or walks around other points of interest.
They are all over Europe and in some US cities, free, and have absolutely stellar guides. I always meet people and they learn a lot in the process. They typically offer other kinds of tours where you can go on a food tour, pub crawl, or walks around other points of interest.
Sometimes a weekend away in a new city is the perfect refresher and a great way to explore a new place. Make a plan or don’t. Go sightseeing or wander around taking photos or sitting in cafes.
Sometimes sitting at a beach reading and swimming all day is truly revitalizing. Sometimes, you just want to read a book in peace and sip a cold drink and not feeling pressured to do anything.
Traveling alone makes this an ideal place to do that. There is nothing more cathartic than watching the waves and having hours on end alone with your thoughts and it’s a good time to get back to basics.
Beaches tend to have lots of activities like boat trips, snorkeling, diving, and other solo travelers.
Culture and Music:
Music is a wonderful way to experience a destination. Does the place you are going have any special cultural shows, music concerts or theater attractions? Portugal has Fado dancing, Spain has Flamenco, etc. etc. Maybe seeing a ballet or a musical would be a good activity to do alone.
Maybe tradition isn’t your thing and you would prefer a live rock show or maybe a jazz bar. There are plenty of activities to do so you don’t feel like you are alone in the evenings with nothing to do. Take yourself to dinner and a show. Most cities have different bars where you can watch live music of many genres.
#3 Where to Stay When You Travel Alone
Sometimes it’s good just to treat yourself and get your own view overlooking the Roman Forum in Rome, or Notre Dame in Paris. It’s great if you have the budget, but a hostel offers a social environment to meet like minded travelers and socialize a bit. Plus, you save money and typically the hostels offer evening activities.
I recommend finding a hostel that has a bar or common living room or kitchen area. Now before you assume I’m an alcoholic let me explain: hostel bars are great ways to meet people including the hostel bartenders. It’s a much better atmosphere for which to meet people and often times the hostels have drink specials as well. Plus, it’s easy to see who’s alone and many groups of travelers are quite welcoming to single travelers, especially women.
I’ve always found it easy to just ask people if they minded of I joined them. Plus, many hostels these days have walking tours as well as lots of activities.
Plan Where You’re Going to Stay Ahead of Time
It is possible to be completely spontaneous and just show up and look for accommodation once you arrive. There are several reasons why I advise booking ahead. If you’re female, safety should always be your first priority, so it’s good to research what area is safe for traveling alone and wandering out at night.
You want to make sure if you arrive Friday night at 10 pm that there is transportation there and you have somewhere to go directly. Carrying around luggage door to door or making phone calls from the station is an excellent way to waste a Friday evening.
Use sites like kayak.com, booking.com, or hostelbookers.com to check reviews and ability. They offer map features so you can see which area you will staying in.
Plus, it saves time and the trouble of wandering around or calling and wasting time trying to check availability. Lastly, if you’re on a budget you could arrive to find that everything is booked out but a very costly hostel room.
#4 How to get around when you're traveling alone
In general, as a solo female traveler, I don’t take flights that get me in after 11 pm unless it’s very easy for me to get from the airport to the center where my hostel is. Many train stations are a bit sketchy at night and I feel it’s better to avoid situations where you arrive late to an unknown city in a foreign land. Don't save 20$ or Euros by walking at night in a dark city. One thing I have learned is always budget in extra emergency money just in case you need a taxi. It's not worth it to save money when it comes to your safety.
It can be scary and you especially wouldn’t recommend it if it’s your first trip alone. Check online in advance whether there is transportation into town from the airport and if possible arrange it beforehand. Remember that if you opt for taxi, it will be expensive and you also could be waiting a long time as you battle with every other person with the same idea.
Most international airports have some sort of shuttle service or a train to the center so it’s a good idea to check beforehand. Some places even allow you to get a ticket online.
It’s a good To bring a combination of cash and ATM card beforehand and i usually take out around 50-100 euros once I arrive., airports are the absolutely worst places to change money or use the ATM and the exchange rate sucks.
So I usually get enough to pay my hostel and good food first few days then find a bank or money exchange the second day. If you arrive at night you should check to make sure that the money exchange is still open.
#5 Journal and keep in touch with people
Now here is some advice many people might not think of when they envision traveling alone. Communication and reflection. Even though getting out in your own traveling after a breakup can be a bit lonely, it doesn’t have to be.
These days it’s easy with WhatsApp or Wechat to keep in touch with people via text or audio message and those apps include free international calls. It makes dinner alone totally fine when you can have delicious local food and some wine while also chatting with friends back home.
Some people may criticize that approach but sometimes solitude is not the best solution for everyone. Take time for yourself but accept that you might need support from your friends or family at home. These days pretty much anywhere has wifi, so you don’t need to cut yourself off from the world.
One of the most important suggestions I have is the reflection part: write it down. Journaling can be really helpful for self reflection and healing. Many times, we have so many thoughts and feelings of a conflicting nature and we need to record it to have it make sense.
Keeping a written or online journal or keeping notes in your phone can help you gauge your emotional journey. But above all, remember healing takes time. But sometimes, we can mark our lives with small personal achievements that empower us.
Traveling alone can be the first one. Read my tips on traveling solo as a female here.
Do you feel this approach has been helpful to you? Is there anything you would add? Are you an expat or digital nomad going through a breakup abroad? Putting your life back together and rebuilding isn't an easy thing - I've done it. Reach out if you need going to figure out your next steps, create intentions on how you want your life to be, and let's get going. Where do you want to be in a year? Let me help you get there - schedule a 15 min discovery call to get started.
ANDREA HUNT - Online Transformational Life Coach & EFT Tapping Practitioner based in Munich, Germany
I'm an accredited transformational life coach from Animas Centre for Coaching UK and a member of the International Coaching Federation. I'm also a Level 2 practitioner in EFT Tapping (Emotional Freedom Technique) and a member of AEFTP (Association of Emotional Freedom Technique Professionals).
If you're not sure where to start transforming your life, you can download my free ebook on How to Start Your Personal Growth Journey.
Are you ready to change your life, let go of old beliefs, empower yourself for a mindset shift to move forward? Mark Batterson says: You're always one decision away from a totally different life.
If you're interested in booking a free 15 minute discovery call for transformational life coaching, EFT Tapping or checking out my services page click here.
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