I’ve noticed that the popularity of solo traveling is growing and that so many travelers promote the idea of traveling alone. I have traveled this world a lot, solo as well as in the company of friends.
I used to work in the travel business, so I had the opportunity to observe people traveling either by themselves or with friends or partners. So my opinion is based on more than 10 years of experience, both inside and outside the travel business.
We can learn a lot through observation and comparison, and here is a bit of what I have observed – along with some photos of my best travel experiences with some of my friends.
1. Productive planning.
If you decide to plan your next trip together with some good friends, you might find that this is more productive than doing it all on your own. You might have more options of accommodation, and collect more ideas for activities and sightseeing.
As a result: a more thorough research, a more exciting trip, and some of your friends might even find better deals. So you save money and time.
2. Saving money.
Sharing the costs for transfers from the airports to the hotels, staying together in one room (or apartment, house or villa) and sharing the payment, hiring one car for a few people, getting discounts for some tickets and services in bulk – traveling with friends offers various possibilities to share the costs and save money.
Traveling with your friends instead of traveling alone can lessen the risks of being robbed, assaulted, getting lost and so on. It is always safer to travel together. A simple example: Even going to the washroom while being able to leave your bags with a trusted travel partner can make your journey so much easier.
4. More fun.
I think this is pretty much straight forward: Even if you are a self-sufficient person, traveling with someone can create more vivid experiences. Imagine visiting a theme park like Luna Park, Universal Studios etc. all alone, and how much more enjoyable this can be with the right company!
Also, it is always great to have the opportunity for a nice conversation. From my personal experience, when the weather was not nice, or when I was sick, my travel buddies helped me a lot to improve my mood and feel better, and I would do the same for them.
Once, during a Europe trip, I had to skip a day trip to Monaco and stay at our temporary home with high fever. But in the evening, my friends came back, made dinner for me, and we watched a nice movie together. Another time, on a rainy day after a long drive together, we just stayed in and played various fun games together. Some of my best and funniest memories are actually from that trip, from that that fun evening in our Airbnb apartment in Marseille.
5. Better memories that you can enjoy together.
After your return home, you can organize meet-ups with your travel partners and talk and laugh about the best moments of your travels together, look at pictures and watch videos taken during the trip. These are great bonding experiences, and so many of my travel buddies really became friends for life.
We organized Bali-themed parties back home with people we had met in Bali, and it was amazing! We did the same after our Europe trip, and I can really recommend this to revive your own travel memories and to reconnect with travel acquaintances. Consider doing this – it is a pretty good thing to do.
6. More comfortable and convenient.
A common example: Helping each other to carry luggage up the staircases. On a road trip, you and your friends can take turns driving the car and therefore prevent getting tired. And if you happen to fall asleep on the plane against somebody’s shoulder, I am sure you prefer it being a friend and not a perfect stranger ;) .
You can drive a car during the road trips one by one and have some laughs and conversations together, so the one who is driving a car for hours, is not getting bored and tired that much.
7. Taking photos of each other.
This point is hard to underestimate. Solo travelers suggest carrying a tripod for taking “selfies”, setting up your camera on the nearest garbage bin or something like that. While that might work, let’s admit, a friend would do it better :).
8. Sharing experiences, learning from each other.
Traveling alone, you can certainly meet many new people, organize meet-ups and so on in order to have a conversation. However, these people will not be accompanying you during the rest of your journey. Moreover, you will very likely meet some new people anyway, even while traveling with someone.
Tips For better trips with friends:
Be ready to spend some time by yourself and take a break every now and then. Which means, some days you can plan different activities for yourself, separate from those of the others.
Just in case something goes wrong, your interests and ideas turn out to differ too much – whatever the reasons for a separation during the trip – make sure that you are self-sufficient and you have enough money, energy and confidence to stay by yourself. Make sure that if necessary, you can go on by yourself without any further drama.
Discuss the solution for potential disagreements in advance. For example, what do you do if one of you wants to go somewhere particular and another one does not. Make sure there will be no drama and nobody will take offense. Also, discuss all the possible financial disagreements: Your individual budgets might be different from each other, and some of you might have completely different requirements regarding accommodations and food.
While traveling alone, you might be more inspired, might be meeting (more) new people and might be able to think more of yourself. You can learn a lot from traveling solo. But personally, I believe we learn more while traveling with someone else.
Possible pitfalls of traveling together: If the group of friends is too big, there might be some issues. You should ensure in advance that the person you are about to travel with is fair and respectful. I will talk more about this point in one of my future posts.
In my next post, you’ll also find out more about how to find travel partners and how to choose the right one.
Let’s discuss down below in the comments: Which kind of travel do you prefer and why?
Dedicated to all my friends
Best wishes and always safe travel!