After finishing school, I didn’t take a gap year. Why? Because I had no-one to go with.
At the time I didn’t realize that traveling alone was an option, but on my first backpacking trip that’s exactly how things ended up. Solo travel is one of the most intense learning experiences you can put yourself through and I recommend trying it at least once. However, going on a trip with a good friend brings you closer together and means you have someone to rely on in difficult situations.
In this article I’m going to compare a couple of factors that distinguish solo travel from group travel, making it easier for you to decide how to plan your next trip.
A real downside of solo travel is that things become more expensive. Prices mean you’re unlikely to stay in a private room, not when dorms are so much cheaper. That means you’ll end up in a lot of noisy hostels, which can be fun, so long as you don’t mind not sleeping! Other things that start to add up include taxi fares, but if you’re traveling with a friend you can split these to save money.
The thing most people are scared about when traveling alone is their fear of being lonely. I’m not saying that won’t happen, just that it isn’t as bad as you’d expect. In fact, I found that I met far more people when I was alone compared to when I was traveling with a group. You’re more approachable by yourself, and there are so many lone travelers that you start to attract each other. Traveling alone is a great way to get over your fear of talking to new people, you don’t have much of a choice, only then will you see how un-scary it is and make a ton of new friends.
My parents, friends even co-workers seemed pretty concerned when I took a solo trip to India. I sympathize with those worries, just don’t agree with them. Living in London I ran into far more problems then when backpacking, you just have to be more cautious. It is definitely safer to travel in a group, so if you make friends with other backpackers you’re doing yourself a favor. The best way to ensure your safety is by listening to your instincts, being cautious and planning journies ahead.
Planning adventures can be quite tiring, you have to organize where to stay (research locations, costs, reviews), transport (to go by bus, train, taxi?), day trips (organize it myself or join a tour?). In these circumstances, it’s a godsend when you have a friend to do some of the decision makings.
I think this is the biggest consideration when comparing solo travel to group travel. It’s a great feeling being able to do whatever you want when you want, a luxury you don’t have when traveling with a friend who has different priorities. However bringing a friend along means you have someone to share all the awesome experiences with.s.
So there you have it, the pros and cons of traveling alone vs with somebody. Think I’ve missed anything out? Drop us a comment below!