If you do a little research online about long term travel, you will find a lot of articles devoted to the fact that it is preferable to travel alone. Do you prefer Travel with friends or travel alone?
There are a lot of people that love to travel with a partner – be it a friend, girlfriend, boyfriend or spouse. I’ve been thinking about the pros & cons of both types of travel for a while now and I can come up with five great reasons it makes sense to travel with a mate and only four reasons it doesn’t.
What do you think?
Pros of travelling with friends
1. Built In Buddy
There’s nothing better than having a built in friend in a foreign city. You’ll never have to dine alone again. A sidekick is perfect when you want grab a bite to eat or a drink and you don’t want to do it alone.
2. Share The Costs
Traveling is cheaper when you are with friends, esp. if you are a traveling couple. You can split the costs of food, taxis and even beds! If traveling in a larger group you can also use that as leverage for better rates on hostels & tours. Nothing helps the bargaining card better than: “How much would it be for the five of us?” Travel with a friend and watch the savings add up!
3. Montuzuma’s Revenge & Delhi Belly
It’s inevitable. When you travel to foreign places, eventually you will get sick. That’s when traveling with a buddy really comes in handy. This person will get your medications and even find you a new place to crash with a private bathroom.
The real added bonus here is the mental help you have knowing that someone’s got your back and that you won’t die in some strange place alone. You can sleep in bed knowing that your travel buddy will be sure and get you to the hospital, if it gets that bad.
Here’s some handy advice on the Dos and Donts of travelling with friends.
4. Watch your stuff
One of the best things when traveling with a friend is the fact when you arrive in a new city one of you can watch the backpacks while the other combs the neighborhood looking for a hostel. This is probably one my favorite things about traveling with another person. There is nothing worse than going hostel to hostel looking for a bed while carrying 30 lbs on your back.
It can quickly eat into everything that is exciting and amazing about a new location. Having someone to watch your stuff while you run around town, use the bathroom, grab a bite to eat, etc, etc, is undeniably awesome.
5. Help pull you down off the travel edge
It happens. We all lose it from time to time when traveling. Whether it’s confusing street signs, misguided directions, lack of language skills or the simple fact that your toothbrush fell in the toilet, there is always one last straw that breaks the camels back. This is what usually signals that a time out day (or three) is needed from the hectic traveling routine.
Other people in your hostel dorm might find it bizarre when you break into tears just because you can’t find your trusty lip gloss but not your travel buddy. They’ve been there through the frustrations and can see when things are headed south. It is always nice to have someone help pick up the pieces when you have reached your max.
Lets take a moment to watch this cool video discussing the pros and cons of travelling with friends and travelling alone. Thanks to Evan Edinger.
1. Talk To The Hand/Attitude Problems
Even the closest of friends or the greatest of lovers will fight after being with each other 24/7 in a foreign country. It might be a small fight about where to eat that night or it could be a huge blow out. The one thing for sure is that eventually it will happen and when it does it won’t be fun. One of the nice parts about traveling solo is that this is something you don’t really need to worry about.
The people you meet on the road are new friends and usually everyone does a great job of playing nicely. Plus if you don’t like someone’s attitude you can stop hanging out with them, plain & simple.
2. I Wanna Go To The Beach vs. I Wanna Hike In The Jungle
Everyone has different priorities & things they want to do when they travel. Even if you plan on seeing the same sites together it doesn’t mean one person won’t want MORE of one activity and less of another. If you’re traveling alone and you want to sit on the beach for the next five days relaxing you can do that, peacefully.
Unless you and your buddy are on the same exact page when traveling together there is a good chance you will not get five days on the beach. You’ll get one, maybe two and you have to be happy with that.
3. Missed Connections With Other Travelers
When you’re traveling with a mate you never have to worry about having someone to talk to & share experiences with but on the flip side you will miss out on meeting a lot of other people. Solo travelers are always on the look out for people to grab a beer and swap travel stories with.
Most people traveling alone tend to befriend other solo travelers. If you’re traveling with another person it will be up to you to make the effort and meet other backpackers.
4. Isolated From Local Culture
Traveling as a pair or in a group not only makes you appear more intimidating to other backpackers but it also makes you less approachable to the locals as well. Having someone to talk to about bus schedules & strange cuisine prevents you from asking those same questions to someone that lives there.
It also isolates you in terms of language because you will not be forced to speak a foreign tongue just so that you can have a conversation with someone.