It’s that time of the year again where school and university is about to finish and you’re planning what to do for the summer break. For some it might be a trip with friends, a trip by themselves or just going home if you’re studying abroad.
If you are planning a trip an inevitable question will be whether to travel alone or with a friend/friends.
I’ve done two big trips so far without my parents. On my Eurotrip a few years back I travelled with a friend and then during my gap year I travelled solo in Thailand. As you can imagine they both have their pros and cons.
I’ve compiled a list of my top reasons to travel solo vs travelling with a friend/friends.
It is up to you to decide the itinerary of the trip, duration of a stay, what you want to see etc. You can be completely flexible and do not have to compromise allowing you to make the trip exactly what you want it to be.
2. Meeting other travellers
There will be lots of people who are travelling solo too. If you are travelling alone you will be much more likely to start a conversation with a stranger than if your with a friend(s). If you’re travelling with a guidebook such as the Lonely Planet, you are bound to meet other travellers in their suggested hotels/hostels/guest houses etc. Don’t be afraid to start talking to solo travellers, we’re all in the same boat.
3. Learn to be by yourself
This may sound silly as I’m sure we all spend time by ourselves. This is different. You have to learn to be able to go eat alone (skipping meals the whole trip is clearly not an option), you have to learn to make all the decisions yourself and travel alone for long journeys (think 12-hour bus rides). You’re also a lot more aware of everything around you as you’re not distracted nor are you relying on someone else to be alert for you.
4. Develop independence
You’re in charge of the itinerary, accommodation, transport and finances. You’re your own mini travel agent really. It can seem like a lot of work but once you get the hang of it it isn’t so bad (and it gets easier with every trip). I highly recommend keeping a notebook with you to jot down any accommodation or outing suggestions, keep track of your budget and any other important information.
Riding elephants at an elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
TRAVELLING WITH A FRIEND/FRIENDS
1. Someone to experience everything with
You have your best friend there and can make memories together. It’s nice to know that someone knows what you’re talking about when you mention something about the trip. And also nothing beats having your best friend around all the time.
2. Share expenses
You can share the expenses of accommodation, taxis and food. Although single rooms exist they’re often still more expensive than sharing a double room. And you’ll be able to try even more local cuisine if you and your friend always order something different.
3. It’s comforting
Travelling solo can get lonely and tiring if you’re always having to meet new people. You often end up repeating the same information again and again, where you’re from, where you are travelling, what you do etc. Having a friend there with you means you’ll always have someone there who knows you and who you don’t always have to try and make conversation with. Being in a foreign country can be a bit daunting and it’s comforting to know you have a friend there with you.
4. Work as a team
Being at least two people allows you to work as a team and at times do things faster. For example, one person can watch the bags while another person searches the neighbourhood for a good place to stay. Also you’ve got each others backs and at times it may be safer to be with someone else.
Exploring Brussels, Belgium on our Eurotrip
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I got my love for travelling from my parents who since I have been small have taken us to all different places in the world. Any chance I get now I’m travelling, it becomes almost addictive to explore new places, cultures, food, history etc.
I personally prefer travelling with someone, at least for part of the time. I’m glad I have travelled alone and have experience it though.
Currently I’m in the process of planning my trips to Austria and Italy for this summer with my boyfriend.
What do you prefer – solo travel or travelling with a friend/friends?