Getting sick when you’re travelling solo


As I write this, I’m about a month into travelling solo and lo and behold, I’ve managed to pick up some illness. I was waiting for this time to come, I knew it would strike me down at some point, I had just expected it would be an upset tummy that kept me chained to the toilet rather than a cold! Can you believe it? I’m halfway round the world in tropical heat and in suffering from a cold that would strike me down in the middle of winter at home – all thanks to the air conditioning spreading those germs around while we sleep at night. So I’ve spent a day in bed feeling lousy, watching Netflix and generally feeling sorry for myself – I rarely let myself do this at home and just plough through when I’m ill, but here I know it’s my body’s way of saying it’s tired and needs to rest.

So being ill sucks. It sucks no matter where you are, but we know it’s always a lot better when you’re at home with your mum or partner to look after you and give you snuggles, feed you chicken soup or ice cream, and to change the TV channel for you when you get bored of Charmed reruns. Being a solo traveller, you get none of that, it’s all down to you, and this is when it really gets hard and you can often feel at your loneliest during your travels. This is when it shows what kind of person you really are, whether you’re going to wallow and mope, or take care of it all and cope.

Top tips for coping when you’re ill as a solo traveller:

  1. Sharing a dorm when you’re poorly is never fun, either you’re the annoying person up all night to the loo or you’re the one sniffing and blowing their nose loudly. Often, if you can afford it, now is the time to plump for a private room or even a hotel, having a little extra home comfort will also help make you feel a bit better.

  2. As soon as you start to feel ill, stock up on all the essentials like water, toilet roll/tissues, any paracetamol, cold and flu capsules, other medications, rehydration tablets, simple foods that will last a few days and fruit for vitamin c, an extra layer of clothing, or a fan for when you get the hot/cold sweats, make sure you have plenty of entertainment like Netflix or downloaded films.

  3. Don’t feel guilty about taking a few days to stop the city exploring, beach days etc – this is your body’s way of telling you to slow down and catch up on sleep, relax, so take advantage of a movie marathon and remember the temples have been there for thousands of years and will still be there in a few days.

  4. For another of those home comforts, contact home! Call or Skype your mum and dad so they can feel sorry for you, FaceTime your boyfriend and get lots of sympathy. Just speaking to your loved ones can make you feel heaps better when you’ve been wallowing and feeling alone, use the time to catch up with people and you’ll feel better for it.

  5. Now is a great time to use those friendships you’ve made, ask your mates to pop out and get you supplies, I’m sure they’ll be more than happy to as they hope someone would do the same if they were poorly. Us solo travellers are a friendly bunch and we like to look out for each other, don’t be afraid to ask.

  6. Remember the little things – it’s so easy when you’re travelling alone to just lay in bed and feel awful. I know I’m guilty of knowing exactly what would make me feel better and yet not bothering to actually do it. I’m talking about things like forcing yourself to eat so you have some energy, taking a shower t wake yourself up. Do these things and you will feel so much better, with no one else around to motivate you, you have to be your own cheerleader.

  7. Really relish that first morning when you open your eyes and realise you feel back to normal – it’s such a good feeling (one I am awaiting at the moment). It will happen even though it feels like it never will, most illnesses only seem to last 24 hours, or a week with three bad days and a few recovery ones. If you follow these instructions, they will be as bearable as possible!

  8. And after the illness fades, you better get back out there and start making up for lost time! There are places to see, things to eat, stuff to do, and it’s all waiting for you. So go for it, kick some ass and feel fabulous.

Have you been ill while abroad – how did you cope? Any other suggestions for how solo travellers can cope when they’re feeling poorly?

Ab Lucy sign off

6 thoughts on “Getting sick when you’re travelling solo

  1. Aww you poor thing! It would be my worst thing getting sick whilst alone travelling. It would really upset me and make me feel alone. So if this happens when I’m away in Oz, I’ll be sure to read this post! πŸ™ get well soon xxxxxx

    1. Thanks Amy! It wasnt the best day but luckily I only seemed to have one bed day and then was back to normal ☺️ Thank goodness because I never have any patience with myself when I get sick! It wasn’t fun, but it happens to us all and these tips really helped me feel better so I’m sure they’ll help you as well! Don’t ever feel alone if you’re sick, just call your mum and reverse the charges, I’m sure she’ll cheer you up straight away

  2. Kick some ass πŸ™‚ Call on Skype at their god awful time (hello , hello , who the hoot is this , what , Lucy,, u ok ,, what what !,, feeling sick , poor dear,, poor dear,, , what did u expect in all these posts I read of you on beach , getting to bed when sun is up and on and on,, YES < YES we love you )
    That was probably the conversation you had with your loved ones,, well if I wrote the script.
    Seriously hope you get better and more likely your body adjusting to a different climate but does need regular sleep and comfort food… slow down woman ,,, as you said the temples will still be there,. / Rob

    1. Haha yeah that sounds about right! Unfortunately the time difference meant I couldn’t get yo,d of my parents when I was ill so I just had to take care of myself and get on with it all! Domt worth I’ve been plenty slow and healthy, I just picked up this cold from the air con, another girl in my dorm had it a few days before me!

    1. Give yourself time to recuperate, don’t feel guilty for giving up a short-term trip to give you time to heal so you can save your trip overall.

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