This post is also available in: German
Some people prefer to travel solo, others would never leave the country without a significant other. It takes patience to travel with a friend, but travelling solo can be really challenging, too. Both could end up being the best experience of your life. Here are the advantages of both solo and non-solo travel to help you decide what to do on your next trip: are you going solo or are you taking a buddy?
Travelling with friends is great because:
1. It is safe(r). You’ll feel (and sometimes be) safer. If you decide to stay out late to discover the city by night, maybe to try that little bar with live-music downtown or to take pictures of the sleeping city, you don’t have to walk home alone and you’ll feel better walking around in the dark.
2. Think outside the box. When you’re travelling alone, you go to the kind of museums that you know will interest you, listen to the music you’re used to and go to restaurants that serve the kind of food you’re sure to like. But your fellow traveller might have other preferences, interests and experiences than you, so when travelling with someone else you often discover things that you wouldn’t have on your own.
3. You really get to know each other. When you go on a longer adventure together it really is like they say: You either end up never speaking to each other again or being friends forever. You might end up sharing a room, especially when travelling on a budget and you’ll probably spend a lot of time together – and not only when you’re in a good mood, dressed up and ready to meet your friend, but also when you’re grumpy, you’ve had way too little sleep and you have a deadline to deal with. It’s all or nothing.
4. Inside-jokes. Yes, that one deserves to be a point on its own because inside-jokes are awesome. Aside from the fact that they usually evolve from a ridiculously funny situation, they make you feel closer to your friend in the present and in the future.
5. Photos. Not just any photos, but the ones that still have you laughing out loud months later on a rainy day. Those goofy, weird, sweet pictures you get when you’re travelling with a friend are simply wonderful memories.
6. Sharing those memories. The last point is kind of obvious, but very true. Even the most amazing adventures get just a little bit better when you share them with a friend.
All that being said, it also takes patience to travel with someone else. Especially when used to travelling alone, it can be a real challenge to consider someone else’s wishes and feelings on a trip. The constant being together fuels arguments and fights. The solution to this is to accept that you will argue, maybe even fight and notice that you have completely different views on some things. But that’s okay. You don’t have to agree on everything. Just learn to say so, when you need some time to yourself and accept it when your friend needs the same.
On the other hand solo travel is great because:
1. The city is yours. There’s something really special about exploring a place all by yourself. It makes it yours, somehow. After all you’re the one that discovered the little restaurant around the corner and found that really great bookstore that day you got lost and your feet hurt so much. After a short while you’re able to navigate the city without maps or directions. Even though you don’t know the street names, you know your way, because you found it yourself.
2. Confidence. That’s why every woman should travel alone once in a while. It gives you confidence. It shows you that you can, and it makes you feel really good about yourself – not only while travelling but also when you’re back home. You will return full of adrenaline and energy from your trip and your experiences. So take care and travel solo, you won’t regret it.
3. Freedom. Like I said, when you travel with someone else you always have to be considerate of that someone. If you’re a very patient person, you probably don’t mind. But if you’re not, you might want to go solo every once in a while to recharge. Because when you travel alone you can do what you want, whenever you want and however you want to. Do you want to go to that museum that you’ve always wanted to go to but everybody else thinks it’s boring? Do you want to spend hours looking for the perfect travel souvenir, possibly walking back and forth, all around and back to the start five times? Well, you can!
4. The people you meet. Travelling alone doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be alone. Most people feel more free when they’re travelling and are therefore more likely to speak to strangers and make new friends. And the beautiful thing about that is, that there’s something particular about the friendships you make while travelling. They’re connected not only to a memory, but an atmosphere and the feeling of an entire trip. And since most of those travel-made-friendships are long distance friendships in the long run, you can look forward to those great reunions, when you get together after months or even years and reminisce about the great times you had back when you visited Paris, Rome or California for the first time.
Think about what it is you want to get out of your next trip and carefully consider whether you’re more likely to fulfil these expectations when you’re completely independent and have time for yourself or when you can share it with a person you care about. Do you want to go on crazy adventures or party all night? Then maybe travelling with a good friend is a good idea. Do you want to sit in a quirky café reading books in the spring sun and recharging from the stress at home? Maybe you’ll be more comfortable travelling solo. There are no rules, however, and what you prefer depends strongly on your character and travel preferences, so whatever you decide: explore, experience and be safe.