Cultural Experience | All Experiences

Traveling Solo Or In A Group

The Pros and Cons of choosing to travel alone or as a part of a group.  What’s right for you?

Organizing your trip is always an exciting time; planning where to go, how long to go for, and who to go with. Personally,  figuring out whether you should travel by yourself or in a pair is always the most daunting decision. I have been fortunate enough to travel through Indonesia, Thailand, and the USA with friends, while also embarking on trips all on my lonesome (I’m currently studying abroad at UNC).

TRAVELLING WITH OTHERS:
The first overseas trip I took without parents or guardians was to Indonesia and Thailand, and I went with a friend. I think this was a perfect way to do my first trip, I definitely would have been overwhelmed if I went by myself, and it allowed me the chance to rely on someone else if things went wrong (and trust me, things always go wrong).

Pros:

• Travelling with other people is a great way to save costs
• There’s safety in numbers
• You can bounce ideas off one another when problems arise
• You can share meals which also helps keep the costs down
• Traveling with people you know and trust will help create bonds that will last a lifetime
• Sometimes if you are a shy person, having people you know around you makes it easier to come out of your shell as well.
• You will have someone there to watch your back or your luggage and personal belongings.

Cons:

• You have to agree on where, when and how you are going to travel
• It can be stressful to constantly be making group decisions on even the little things like where to eat dinner.
• You could end up paying more for a group tour that you wouldn’t have chosen to take or an activity that you don’t see the value in.
• You have to travel at the pace of the group which may be different from your preferred speed.

Remember; even when travelling with someone else, or in a group, does not mean you have to spend every minute with them. You can always use half a day to explore an area by yourself. Group travel just means you have a safety net and others to turn to when travelling outside of your comfort zone.

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TRAVELLING SOLO:

Travelling by yourself is also a great option to consider – especially if you already feel comfortable with travelling and have done a few trips already. I know that as someone who enjoys having alone time, sometimes going on a trip by yourself is the best option.


Pros:

• You can decide when you want to wake up and go to bed.
• You can change your itinerary at a moments notice
• You’re independent and in control
• Your budget is your own, you aren’t worrying about how much or how little other people are going to spend
• Solo travel is a great way to “find yourself” (as cliché as that sounds)
• You have every opportunity to meet people in hostels, but at the same time aren’t tied down to spending most of your travelling with them either
• A great way for self reflection and moving at your own pace

Cons:

• You’re on your own!
• Long journeys can sometimes be monotonous and you may have no one to talk to.
• You need to be more aware of your personal safety
• When glitches arise in your travel plans, you have to solve them alone.
• You have no one to send ahead while you’re waiting in line
• You will be dining alone
• You don’t get to share that special travel moment.

Solo travel means you don’t have someone else to consider, as selfish as that sounds, but you can really base all your decisions off what you want to do, rather than catering to other peoples wishes.  Wanna splurge on that 3 course meal in Italy? You can do it without having to take into consideration the budget of your fellow travelers. Or vice versa, if you feel you need to become a little thrifty in your spending, you don’t have to feel guilty in being a stingy traveler.  Do what you want, please only yourself, and you will make the most out of your trip.

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Whatever decision you make, just know that when you’re travelling you will never truly be alone. You will make so many new friends and acquaintances wherever you go who will be intrigued by your accent, your story, and your willingness to be pushed out of your comfort zone. Happy journeys!

Jade Smith-Love

University of Melbourne | 8 stories

Jade Smith-Love was a student at The University of Melbourne, Australia. With a double major in International Relations and Media & Communications, she was accepted to UNC-Chapel Hill for a year long study abroad program in 2014-15. Traveller, ice-cream connoisseur, avid reader, and now forever a Tar Heel.. Instagram: @jade.smithlove Twitter: @jadesmithlove


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