When faced with the opportunity to travel, I automatically jump to think about who I'll take with me. This made me notice that a lot of my travels are done with people, but it didn't use to be this way. A year and a half ago, whenever I wanted to go on a trip, I wouldn't waste time planning and deciding on what things I'll be doing with my travel partner, I would instead just drop everything, grab a couple bucks and head out with a backpack on my back and a tripod in my hands. But as I've grown as a person, I no longer crave the insane freedom you get from travelling solo, but instead prefer to go with someone - to share laughs, tears, and security in tight situations.
And thus, if you're feeling a bit so-so about what to do for your next trip - go solo and brave the world alone or go with someone and lose that freedom? - here's a comprehensive list complete with the pros of both solo travel and partnered travel. I hope it comes to some use!
Why should I travel solo?
When you travel by yourself, you can do whatever you want, whenever you want. That means you can spend more time doing the things you want to do, and see anything that captures your fancy. When travelling with other people, you sacrifice a lot of this freedom and instead spend a lot of time and money doing things you don't particularly want to, which can suck a tad.
Can get last minute deals and spaces
Solo travellers are much more likely to get that last seat on the plane or concert, or the final hotel bed, and it's also much easier to get a limited space for one person rather than two or three. If you're after discounts and deals you may otherwise have not gotten, then travelling in a group won't be as fitting.
Control of budget
If you went travelling with a friend, you'd have no control over the budget, meaning that whilst you may have had $500 to begin with, $200 of that went onto things you wouldn't have wanted to spend. Also, being with another person often means that you're more likely to spend more money and not think about the consequences, so in this manner, it would be cheaper.
Learn more about how cool you are
Spending time by yourself means that you get the opportunity to discover more about who you are as a person, which is something you'd unlikely be doing whilst surrounded by company. You already know you're a pretty cool human being if you're travelling out into the world and seeing what it has to offer, but you'll definitely learn so much more about yourself if you went solo.
Travelling with other people means that you won't get approached by strangers as much, so you lose the potential to make friends with a lot of people. When you travel solo you are hardly lonely as you tend to find nice people to hang out with and talk to, a contrast to when travelling in a group where you'd likely stay with the people you arrived with.
Travelling solo also means that you never have to go to somewhere you have no interest in just because your partner wants to go. Whilst this means you may miss out on going to wacky places you thought looked a bit crap, it also means you never have to stay a moment longer at a place that actually is pretty crap.
A lot of people find that spending weeks confined to just the company of one person means you can get sick of them and tension can run high, resulting in irritability and arguments. However, travelling solo means you never have to go through this. Even if you make friends with strangers and get into a disagreement, you can be content with the fact that you don't have to share a bed with them for the next few nights.
Freedom to be with whoever
Granted you're single, if you travel with a friend you'll unlikely be able to leave them just because you met a cute guy that you want to get to know. However, if you're travelling alone you could quite easily have a brilliant summer romance, or even more, doing whatever you want to do with the person and not feeling bad when you miss lunch with your travel buddy.
Time to yourself
You can be as selfish as you want when travelling, and if you ever want a day out to just relax you can do so guilt-free when solo. But what I find when I travel with people is that if just one of us wants to relax, the rest get a bit agitated that they can't go to the monument they wanted to see with them.
Only worry about yourself
When I went to Germany with Doucheface, I spent so much time worrying about him (like at one point where he took a beggar over to the ATM so he could just watch him as he drew out money - and entered his pin..) that I grew to hate the responsibility. If I'd gone alone I wouldn't have had to worry about this.
Can learn the language quicker
Travelling with a friend means that you'll be speaking your home language to them most of the time to converse, but when you go solo you end up speaking the language of the land and chatting to the locals, meaning that you can learn a lot quicker and take home a new dialect.
Take in surroundings more
When you go away with a friend, you'll spend less time taking in your surroundings and more time talking and the like, meaning that you won't notice the beauty around you as much. When travelling alone however, you're forced to rely on yourself to take in your environment (and make sure you don't get lost).
No one to remind you of mistakes
When you eff up when travelling solo, there's no one to remind you about how embarrassing and awful the whole event was - but then again, there'd be no one to laugh about it with afterwards.
Could make mistakes and end up somewhere different
One of my favourite things about travelling solo is when I somehow find myself off the beaten track and end up somewhere awesome, because it means I've found something that I wouldn't have found if I had gone with someone who pointed out the mistakes. Of course, this could also be a downside if you end up somewhere creepy and get murdered or something.
No one to make you feel guilty
You want to eat that double cheeseburger, but started a diet last Tuesday? If you're travelling solo, there's no need to worry about what your friends will think - they'll never know. You can eat all three sundaes on the menu and pretend like it never happened.
Why should I travel with someone?
Safety in dangerous situations
When you travel alone, you always run the risk of sacrificing your safety in dangerous situations. The risk is still low, but it's always a potential. When you travel with someone however, bad people tend to not target you, and if they did then you have double or triple the fight.
Whilst it's unlikely you'll ever get lonely (or bored for that matter) when travelling solo because of all the cool people you'll meet, the chance is completely eliminated when travelling with friends - but then again, it's killing your freedom.
Back up for money, phone, etc
Travelling with people also means that if you lose or get your phone, money or anything else important stolen, then you'll always have theirs as a back up, meaning you can still contact emergency numbers, pay for hospital bills, or any other things you weren't expecting to come up.
Someone to take care of you
Food poisoning is one of the most common things people get ill with whilst abroad, and on my last trip to Greece I came down with it (from an ice cream cone, no less) - and thankfully had people to take of me. If I'd been travelling alone, I would have felt worse knowing I'd have to do everything myself (and also the lack of sympathy wouldn't have been as great).
Easier to navigate places with
It's a lot harder to get lost when with people, especially when they actually know what they're doing, so travelling with people means you're more likely to not deviate your path by accident.
You can leave queues!
When solo, you can't leave your bags with someone while you go to pee, and you can't leave a queue to grab a last minute snack, meaning that one thing is always going to have to give. However, if you're with a partner or a group of people, there's always someone else to take care of your stuff while you go do your business.
Photo back up
Travelling with people also means that the responsibility to get a shot of every awesome thing and remember each brilliant little anecdote is shared, whereas solo travel means all the memories are left up to you to capture and remember.
Share the experience
Another great thing about travelling with people is that you can share the experience with the people you are with, and take it back home. Because when you travel solo, whilst you can make friends with strangers and make great memories with them, you're not going to be reminded of your awesome trip when you see them at work the Monday after.
Pretty much half of everyone I know will say that solo travel is cheaper as you get to control the budget, with the other half saying that it is non-solo travel that is in fact cheaper. I'm going to side with the latter group and say that it's cheaper to travel with people as you get to split the costs, and with a lot of things, such as hotels, you will have to pay the 'extra person cost' for an average room which would typically hold two people. You also get many deals for two people, but not so much for one - so just make sure you travel with an even amount of people!
Complete with personal photographers
Travelling with people means that you don't have to be your own photographer, like you would if travelling solo. No need for tripods, self timers, shaky selfies, or photos taken by dodgy strangers when with your travel group, as there's always someone to shoot that perfect candid photo of you for your Instagram.
Unfortunately, groups of people tend to get better service off of people in restaurants and the like, because they can afford to give a bigger tip. I've never witnessed this happen to me personally, but I know of people who have.
One of the cons of travelling solo is that regardless of who you meet, you won't be having adventures with someone you've had the time to gain trust with. That stranger you met two days ago may be planing to rob you blind - which is a bit less likely if you're with a girlfriend you've had for years.
No pitying looks
Another thing that comes with solo travel is that people, god knows why, tend to pity a lone wanderer, automatically assuming that they're lonely or friendless. I wouldn't let this stop you from travelling alone, but I'm just saying that when you travel with people you'll be able to avoid this.
And so, that completes my post showing the pros and cons of both solo and non-solo travel. I believe that neither form is better than the other as they both have their benefits, although I do travel with people more often than not as it works out more convenient for me personally. I think that everyone should experience non-solo and solo (in particular) travel at least once - so if you're a bit wary of travelling solo because it's a new concept to you, I want to say to just go for it, as the best adventures happen when you're out of your comfort zone!
Let me know if any of my tips and observations have been of any help in the comment section below, and as always,
Have a good month y'all!