Should I Travel Alone or With Friends?

‘There is no such thing called bad traveling, just bad experiences’. And we do believe this quote speaks true for all the travelers out there who are still scratching their heads thinking whether they should be traveling alone or with friends. If you’re in the quest of planning a backpacking trip with your group it should be kept in mind that it is your company who can make it or break it when it comes to having an awesome getaway. But on the other hand, if you’re traveling with a group of your own, or even with a partner then safety and budget worries get slashed by almost 50% along the way.  

If you’re a new kid in the block of international traveling, we know you might be of two minds about deciding on your travel company. Everyone isn’t as lucky as to have one-minded friends who are equally crazy about traveling. And even the ones lucky enough to have gained a few such friends in their lifetime, there still comes the question of individual travel preferences, for example, your fellow travel enthusiast might be more into cultural exploration in a country unlike you who’s into exploring the adventure scenes of a new place. Contradicting this all, solo traveling can truly be a daunting prospect and sometimes having a well-wisher and a pillar of support by your side could take you that extra mile, plus, its super fun to have your good friends with your, exploring a new world and creating memories for a lifetime. 

Either way could be good for you and your travel experience, true. But let’s not haste it and take a look through the pros and cons of both Solo traveling and traveling with your friends. Sit down with your friends and weigh the options after careful deliberation.

Pros Of Traveling With Friends

  • If safety is a huge point of concern for you when traveling abroad then traveling with friends might be good for you to assuage your safety concerns. 
  • Setting out for a day to explore an unknown corner of the town away from the hustle and bustles of the city could be scary. But not if you have a friend to guide you and keep you company along the way!
  • One of the best aspects of traveling with someone is your expenses will be shared and you can forget the fears of exceeding your budget. Be it hotels, transports, food, if you’re traveling with someone, or even better in a group the expenses are going to be shared on per head basis which brings down individual expenses monumentally. 
  • You can pretty much erase off those worries about leaving your stuff somewhere or carrying your bags into the loo as well, cause you have someone to look over your things and when the need comes, you will be reciprocating as well. 
  • You are sure to gain some lifetime worth of memories traveling with the best of people you’ve come to know in your life or that special person whom you’re planning to plan your future with. 
  • Bringing your gang along or that crazy friend of yours would obviously mean double the fun and double the laugh! You’d have someone to understand those inside jokes and have a laugh and also to make up some new fun moments along the way. 
  • And following up with the last point, having a travel partner or a group with you would mean you won’t ever feel lonely or bored, as one might feel at some point of time while on the road. 
  • Having a travel partner would also release some of those extra kilos of baggage in your backpacks and ease tensions on your bag. When traveling with a friend or a partner you can pack strategically and share your gears amongst yourselves, rather than just one person carrying all of it. Which also means, more space for you, Yay!
  • You will be having someone by your side whom you can trust you! Those times when you forget that 4 drinks limit or that time when you get into a riff-raff with someone else, your friend will always have your back. 

Cons of Traveling With Friends

  • At first having a fixed travel companion might seem like a great thing but in the long run, spending too much time, in the long run, has its downsides as well. There are going to be a clash of opinions, bickering about small things, or maybe even the extreme- there might as well be a fallout with that friend of yours. Meeting someone for an hour a day and spending a month or two with the same person is a whole other ball game.
  • Having a friend with you decreases your chances of meeting awesome people on your journeys and making friends in the country you’re traveling. 
  • If you have your friend traveling with you who speaks the same tongue as yours, you might not feel much inclined to immerse yourself in the local language and thus missing out on a big-time travel experience. 
  • You and your travel partner’s incompatible sleep cycles might come to be a huge trouble for you. Your friend might be an early riser hitting the hay by the strike of 9, exactly when you, the night owl would be going out for a party. Similarly, when the night owl would be hitting the hay at 6 in the morning, the early riser would be getting ready to kickstart the day. Unmatching sleep cycles can really have a bad impact on your travel plans, so even if you’re traveling with a friend, make sure their sleep cycles match with yours. 
  • Its true, having someone with you when you fall sick on the road in an unknown place is a boon. But would your friend understand if you seriously fell sick or injured yourself gravely? Would you, had you been in his/her place, given up on your travel plans for his health issues?
  • Snorers can be a huge issue, especially if your travel partner is one. Its okay if you are used to sharing your bed with one, but if you’re not, you’re in a for a bad ride. Also, if the invasion of your personal space is something you’re very conscious about, traveling with a friend isn’t really your cup of tea then. 
  • If your friends are used to traveling in style and all you’re looking for is a place to hide your head for the night, that could be the roots of discord. 
  • You start getting on each other’s nerves, and even that friend of yours whom you’ve known all your life, who knows you so well might start misinterpreting your thoughts. 
  • Sharing a bathroom, now that’s gonna be another challenge. Be prepared for some cold showers and getting prepped using a handheld mirror!
  • When it is a big group, you’re gonna take hours before all of you decide on something to do or someplace to visit, unanimously!

Pros of Traveling Solo

  • You will have complete freedom to go wherever you want, see whatever you want, spend your entire day doing whatever. You don’t have to be considerate of others when traveling solo. 
  • Your travel experience solely depends on yourself. Traveling with a fussy and grumpy partner can even mar your experience while traveling, but you need not worry about this stuff when traveling solo. 
  • You will meet a whole bunch of new people and make lots of new friends. Traveling alone lets you open up more in front of unknown people and lets you find gems of people from the crowd, connections that you’ll surely cherish for life.
  • Solo travel forces you to take hard decisions independently and makes you more self-reliant. By pushing you out of your comfort zone solo travel helps you grow as a person. 
  • You need to take care of anyone but yourself.
  • Solo travel boosts your confidence and if you’re a shy person, solo travel will certainly make your social interactions less awkward and more fantastic!
  • There couldn’t be a better expression of ‘Me Time’ than solo traveling. You’ll come to enjoy your own company and you may even get a chance to rediscover yourself. Many solo travelers get to learn new things about themselves on the road, it is true.
  • Solo traveling can give you a new lease on life and can also help reshape your perceptions about certain things, places, and people. 
  • Language learning is a big pro of solo traveling. After all, you gotta find someone to talk to and now that you don’t have a travel partner, it will be a push for you to at least try and understand the basics of the local language, thereby adding an extra credit to your list of languages known!
  • You have the liberty to decide on any type of accommodation, be it a hostel, a guesthouse or even through Couchsurfing.
  • Apart from meeting locals, you might also meet more backpackers and travelers like yourselves along the way, and who knows, you might decide to tag them along or tag along with them  without having to ask about anyone’s mind about the decision
  • Spontaneity is on the plate!

Cons of Traveling Solo

  • Solo travel costs more. There is no one to share your expenses with and you have to bear them all alone, no matter how small or how big!
  • It can get lonely sometimes. There’s no one to share your meals with, no one to share your day’s experience, no one to share a quick laugh with. Not being able to share your amazing experience with someone close might even lead to homesickness.
  • Solo travel might not be unsafe per se, but it is less safe than traveling with someone. Traveling solo might leave you more vulnerable and prone to fall into a trap. Venturing out into a quiet corner of the town or going out late might start feeling like a daunting prospect. 
  • Danger intensifies when you’re solo. If you take ill or start feeling unwell there’s no one to fall back on for taking care of yourself. Be it a grave injury or even a temporary sickness like the cold or the flu, having someone by your side when you’re down can be a huge boost for your morale and energy, but solo travelers need to sort things out by themselves. 
  • There’s no one trustworthy to be the designated driver or the mature one when you get sloshed in a pub in Thailand and become immobile. 
  • It’s just you and your camera when you’re out on the road. No one else to keep you company or experience the amazing things that you see out there. 
  • Those extra kilos of baggage might wear you down at some point in time. Only if there had been someone to share the weight with?

Take some time out of your busy schedule of planning your awesome adventure and sit down with your friends to discuss the points slated down here. Tally the pros and cons of each style of traveling and try gauge your friends’ mind about them. Everyone has their own style of travel, and it is such a thing which might even change over course of time. Like a nomadic backpacker can even start tagging his wife along after marriage, and that teenager who started out with group traveling can even break out of it and start reaping the benefits of solo traveling. But if you’re still too confused whether or not to travel alone or with friends- you can start off with a small group tour maybe to try and feel it out. 

We hope this helps you aspiring travelers to arrive at a decision. And that you have a blast on the outbound with whatever you decide on!