Walking to Machu Picchu, Peru

Travel Solo?

To travel solo or with a companion

Has it happened to you that you want to travel somewhere but you haven’t been able to persuade any of your friends to travel with you?  And just because of that you decide not to travel since you don’t want to go by yourself?  Well, this is something that happens very often.  A lot of people are afraid of traveling alone, especially if it is to a foreign country with a completely different culture. But this shouldn’t be your reason not to travel.  You should know that you could still have an amazing trip while traveling solo.

I have traveled by myself to many countries as well as with groups of 6 to 30+ friends.  Obviously, traveling with friends and traveling by yourself have a different effect on how you spend and enjoy your trip.  So I’ll describe briefly these two travel styles according to my experience.

Group Travel

Traveling solo

If you are brave enough to consider traveling by yourself, you should know beforehand some of the pros and cons of this traveling style.

Pros:

  • Solo TravelerYou manage your trip as you wish. You do what you want, when you want, how you want.
  • Your itinerary can be changed at any time according to your priorities.
  • Meeting other people is really easy since you are open to interacting with other travelers. (one of the best pros!)
  • You learn, develop, and personalize travel techniques.
  • You learn to be completely independent.

Cons:

  • It forces you to overcome your shyness. (it really does…)
  • Traveling alone can be intimidating.
  • Sometimes you don’t have someone to share your stories and memories.
  • Everything is dependent on you and you have to be able to make decisions by yourself.
  • You are dependent on other people to take your pictures.

Just so you know, I am generally considered a shy person, but when traveling by myself I tend to be really open, outspoken, and sociable.  I have made a lot of friends when traveling by myself, and some of them have become lifelong friends.

Traveling with a Companion

If you are not up for the challenge of traveling solo and like to roam with company, you should take into consideration some of its pros and cons and know how they can influence your trip.

Pros:

  • BackpackersYou can share some of the costs with your companions. (big pro!)
  • There is always someone who can take your pictures or take your pictures with.
  • You can talk, share your stories and memories with someone.
  • Traveling with someone can develop a long lasting friendship.
  • You don’t feel the pressure of making every decision.

Cons:

  • Companions are not always trusted persons.  This can turn a trip into an uncomfortable situation.
  • Traveling in a group can make meeting other travelers a difficult task.  Groups tend to portray “exclusivity” and shun other travelers away.
  • Not everyone is compatible.  Spending every single minute of the trip with the same person can be annoying.  Friendships can be lost over this.
  • A good trip can turn into a nightmare when trying to reach a decision on something between you and your companions.  This can bring a lot of arguments.  (believe me, I have seen it happen)

Before you start planning your next trip, consider first if you want it to be a companion experience (and more importantly, with who?), or if you want it to be an open solo trip.  Both options are good ways to travel; it just depends on your preferences and pairing.

I could say that there is a happy medium between these two options, which is finding a random companion. There are several websites where you can post and see post requests from other travelers that want to find a companion for their trip.  Some of these sites are Solo TravellerTravel Companion, and Travello, among others.

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