Solo Travel vs Travelling with Friends
As an advocate for solo travel, there’s definitely something to be said about enjoying your own company and the confidence that comes with overcoming challenges on your own. Without the distraction of being in constant company, you have time to think and reflect, to slow things down and replay events in your head. To write, to photograph, to let yourself be consumed by your surroundings and to be fully immersed in the present. It’s a beautiful thing, to spend time with yourself. In this fast paced world of ours, it’s hard to fully disconnect - social media is just a touch away on our phones, therefore even when we’re ‘alone’ it’s very easy to escape spending quality time with ourselves and just reach out to others in a matter of seconds. If it’s not social media, then it’s games, podcasts or blasting music... anything but that quiet, self-destructive head of ours. But if you can control that and embrace being in your own company, then solo travel becomes one of the best experiences you could ever have. I would even go as far to say that it’s life changing.
On the contrary, I love travelling with the right people more than travelling on my own - but the two are very different and each have their pros and cons. Many people, especially females, are too scared to travel alone thanks to all the horror stories out there. So I want to dispel some of those myths today and outline some of the pros and cons from my experiences of Solo Travel vs Travelling with Friends.
PROS OF SOLO TRAVEL
When you travel alone, you often meet more people
It’s really like having the best of both worlds. When you want to be alone, you can. When you feel you’ve had enough of being alone, then it’s pretty easy to just seek people out for a conversation, especially if you’re at a hostel or out and about. Being solo also makes you more approachable because people feel less intimidated to approach you if you’re just on your own - the same goes for you vice versa, no? You might also be more inclined to seek out some locals and learn about their culture, maybe even score some secret location tips that you wouldn’t have otherwise known about!
You learn to trust the right people and hone in on that gut instinct
Trust is the biggest key to solo travelling. If you believe all the horror stories the media chucks out and see every stranger as danger... then you’re seriously missing out. Trust is a two way street. When you start trusting people and opening yourself up to strangers you will be astounded at the number of kind, selfless beautiful souls that come into your life. At the same time, you cannot trust everyone. You will certainly come across some sketchy people who give you the heebie jeebies just being in their proximity… this is your gut feeling - trust it. You learn to trust your own intuition over the words pouring out of someone’s mouth and that is a huge huge asset to have for your life in general - not just travel.
You realise you are so much more capable than you ever gave yourself credit for
Without constant distraction, you are more aware of your surroundings, sharper and more attentive. You really push yourself out of your comfort zone and you learn to deal with situations that come your way. It really helps with boosting that self confidence.
You become less dependent on others in the future
Since you have no one else to depend on, you learn to fend for yourself in a variety of ways and solve your own problems. As a result, you become more confident in your own decision making skills and less dependent on others and what they think. Knowing what you want and the ability to be independent is a very sexy trait to have.
You start to really like yourself and accept yourself
You are your own travel companion when going solo and there’s no getting rid of you! It forces you to come to terms with the parts you don’t like so much about yourself and either accept that because it can’t be changed or work on self-improvement so you can be someone you’re proud of. Your body and mind can achieve some amazing things if you get them to cooperate right.
It can be cheaper than travelling with people
Just like you won’t cook a three course meal only for yourself, you won’t be as likely to eat out at fancy restaurants all by yourself either. Probably something more like street food or a stop by the supermarket, which reduces your costs significantly. You’re also more aware of what you spend your money on, there’s no peer pressure to fall into that buying trap, you learn to manage your money better and figure out your own travel hacks.
The freedom to go, do, be wherever, whatever and whomever you want
The freedom and flexibility of solo travel is definitely the best part. You can make spontaneous changes in plans or chill at a cafe for hours abusing their wifi. You have the freedom to satisfy those selfish desires and I must admit, it’s a great feeling. Zero guilt felt because there is no one to frustrate or disappoint if you decide to go elsewhere or stayed out a little too long. Plus, no one knows you so there’s no reputation to keep up. No one cares how much money you make or what degrees you have. You have the freedom to be the person you want to be, it’s such an elating feeling.
Sometimes you just wish you had someone to share those special moments with
It could be a glorious sunset, a starry night sky, standing on a mountain summit or any moment that means a lot to you… you just want to share that joy and magic with someone.
When you get into trouble… you’re all on your own
Sad but not entirely true. Strangers are often more than happy to help you out, you just gotta swallow your pride and ask. Either way, you learn from your mistake :)
People give you funny looks - especially if you’re a female solo traveller
Yikes, probably the funniest thing is getting queer looks when I sit down at a cafe or restaurant and tell them it’s a table for one… Hah!
TRAVELLING WITH FRIENDS
Travelling with the right people is the absolute best, beats solo travelling in the sense that you can have the best of both worlds if you pick your travel buddies wisely. I found out the hard way that sometimes, good friends don’t always equate to good travel buddies and can often put some strain on the friendship. You need to find someone who has a similar travel attitude. You shouldn’t feel like anyone is making too much of a compromise either because this results in guilt and frustration and possible long term feelings of negativity. Since every one has no doubt travelled with friends, I won’t elaborate too much and just list some pros and cons :)
1. Lasting shared memories and bonds
2. Interesting discussions and good banter
3. Friends make you do things you wouldn’t otherwise do
4. Splitting of tasks and costs (accommodations and rentals)
5. Constant support when things go sour
1. Feeling of obligation to be with them 24/7
2. Harder to meet people outside your group
3. Conflict of Interests and compromising to make everyone happy
4. Thinking that silence is awkward and must be filled
5. Can end up being more expensive (eating out, drinks/bars, higher standards)
Hopefully that clears up some myths of solo travelling! Have you been solo travelling before and did you like it? Or do you have a few more pros and cons to add to the list? I’d love to hear your thoughts down below in the comments section or through my social media handles! - Much love, Em