Solo traveler, or group traveler?
I have experienced both. The very first time I travelled alone was when I went to Germany. More recently, I have travelled with a group of friends, to Montreal, Canada. Those two options have pros and cons, and I guess both are great, but it can depend on people’s personality.
The pros of Solo Travel:
- You get to meet new people: When you are alone, you are more exposed to meeting new people, from different background. They are either travelers as well or people from the country you are visiting. In both cases, travelling alone pushes you to communicate with people, even if you are a solitary. Plus, other travelers can share their experiences with you, from which you can learn many things, and vice versa. When it comes to the natives, they will definitely bring you a lot in terms of the culture, the language, and can even help you get around the city. People around you are great sources of information and inspiration, don’t miss on that.
- You’re independent: Travelling alone means that you do not depend on someone else. You do not have do go through compromises, dealing with the others’ considerations and so on. You can do whatever you want, whenever you want, and that’s the coolest part!
- It’s exciting: Solo travel is exciting as you do not know anything or anyone where you’ll be. It’s all new, so it’s all about discovering and learning of the new environment you are in. Creating your own journey is an adventure, and you’ll get so many positive things out of it!
The cons of Solo Travel:
- Loneliness: When travelling solo, even though you get to know new people, there are always times during which you are and feel lonely. Being far away from the people you love, being in an unknown territory, not having someone to immediately share and enjoy your experience with are the most difficult parts of travelling alone.
- It can be scary: Being suddenly alone, somewhere you do not know, even if that was your choice, can be very scary! Even if you planned your trip very well, you never know what can happen.
- Stressful: What if something goes wrong? To whom can you ask for help? Do people around you understand English? When travelling alone, you have no one to lean on, and you might end up in unexpected situations, from which you might struggle getting out.
The pros of Group Travel:
- Learn more about each other: Travelling with people, even if you know them well, makes you see a different side of them. Spending all your time together, you might rediscover the other person and enjoy the journey even more.
- No particular need for planning: When you are travelling in a group, there is more flexibility when it comes to your itinerary. You might just want to get out there, on a real adventure, without planning the trip in advance. This is feasible, as you know that if something gets difficult or goes wrong, you are not alone. Group travel allows for more risk-taking.
- Sharing the experience: Group travel is great in the sense that what you live on the moment is instantly shared with your travel companions. You enjoy what you are discovering together, and will share those memories for years.
- Less expensive: Sharing costs is also a major factor of travelling in group. You might allow yourself another extra visit, night out, or souvenirs to bring back.
The cons of Group Travel:
- Dependence: Group travel has the big disadvantage of being dependent of others. Having to wait for someone to get ready, get his/her money, having to stop here and there can be something you do not want to deal with. You can feel like the person slows you down, which lowers your enjoyment of the trip. The worst part would be to have to give up things you want to do because others want to do something different.
- Compromises: Group travel means you have to agree with others when it comes to what to visit, where to stay, how to get from places to places etc. Money here is also a big factor, as some might not be able or willing to spend as much money as you. But that is something you should talk about and clarify before leaving!
When travelling alone, the thing I liked the most was to be independent. I never really feared to be alone somewhere, because I knew I would meet people quite easily. And my few experiences have confirmed that. When I leave to visit a city for just a few days, I plan where I will stay and what I must see. However, when I know I will be staying in a city for a while, like in Hamburg, I do not really plan my stay. That’s because you have more time to discover places, giving you flexibility. But even for hostels, I booked on the moment, knowing my “unstable” situation at the moment.
For the past few weeks, I have been planning my Springbreak trip with a bunch of friends. We are a total of 8 people going together. I must say that it was not always easy. We have had some arguments about the house and car rentals, as some of us expected something different from others. But as a group, we worked through the process by balancing pros and cons, and arrived at a common agreement. Planning a group trip is not easy. But if you are able to make compromises and concentrate on the good time you’ll have, you make it work! 🙂
What about you? Are you more of a solo traveller, or do you preferrer to have travel companions?