Group vs Solo Travel

Hey Hey

I’ve noticed a fairly common thread whereby whenever I mention that I’m going away one of the first questions a person will ask is ‘who with?’. So, I thought I’d address my views on the age-old debate of group vs solo traveling.

……

TRAVELLING WITH THE PACK

It’s comfortable…

Whether it’s family, friends or people you’ve never meet before, its very comforting to know that you have some people around to call on if need be. New places can be daunting, so it takes a little bit of the edge off knowing you’ll have someone to share your experiences with.

It’s a safe option…

Now don’t take that the wrong way, just because it’s ‘safe’ does not mean that it isn’t as equally exciting and adventurous. I use this word purely for the fact that having a sure group of people with you on your travels is extremely reassuring. It means that you can rely on having trusted back up, whether it’s borrowing sunscreen or just having a steady conservationist around, you know that you aren’t going to be left astray.

It can be risky…

Group dynamics is a huge component of trip success or failure. If everyone is equally on board for every decision and opinion made along the way then your going to have a very smooth run, but lets be brutally honest here and just admit that this doesn’t happen often, if at all. This is nothing that can’t be managed with a little communication though.

It requires patience…

We are humans and thankfully we are all very different, although this can work against us, especially when sharing confined spaces for extended periods of a time. It pays to consider each persons needs and wants as much as you consider your own. So if that means you cave in to going left rather than right everyone now and then, it will benefit the group vibe enormously.

It’s an intense bonding experience…

Depending on how you travel, you tend to share a lot with your group; space, meals, headphones, experiences and even bathrooms. It’s really hard not to form some pretty amazingly intimate bonds with your fellow travellers, which can make your trip that little bit more special and memorable.

It doesn’t mean you have to do everything together…

For me the most issues I’ve had with groups is when people becoming offended by a group member choosing to stray from the pack for a while. As long as each member is considerate and respectful of others, your group doesn’t necessarily need to be joined at the hip to share the experience.

……

FLYING SOLO

“But wont you get lonely?”

First up, let’s start by correcting a common misconception by saying travelling solo does not mean that you are going to be ‘alone’, as secluded as it sounds it can be the exact opposite. By travelling independently you open yourself up to having to interact with new faces in order to interact at all. Although if we are being real there are times when it can become a little over whelming and yes… lonely. Being sure with yourself and your choice of independent travel can be a mood saver.

It allows for flexibility…

Travelling independent allows you gain the freedom of being able to make all of the decisions, in turn making your trip exactly what you want it to be. Most of the time, you don’t need to consider anyone but yourself, which is a pretty rare in day to day life.

It’s social…

Now-a-days the likelihood of you running into other soltra’s is ever-growing, with the help of hostels, blogs, facebook and so on. The network is extremely vast and exciting, I would say you would need to try pretty hard to make yourself completely isolated. The people you meet along the way will have a massive impact on your over-all trip, and hopefully it’s all positive. Meeting other people and hearing their stories is the biggest and best part of travelling for me.

It can be scary…

As brave and liberated as we would like to sound, we have to admit that solo travel can get the butterflies going. Everyone gets anxious every now and then and being out of your comfort zone when this happens can definitely enhance your fight or flight response. It’s important to factor this in by knowing your limits and taking a step back when it’s needed.

It takes smarts…

Trusting your instincts and being street-smart is very important. A little forward thinking won’t hurt when it comes to making sure you don’t end up in a situation where you feel unsafe or uncomfortable. Of course this threshold varies greatly between subjects, so again knowing your own limits and being able to enforce them is a big factor. It’s so easy to source information on pretty well anything, so utilise your resources and do a little digging before venturing into a new location.

……

All in all both are equally opportunistic, what is essential is that you know exactly what it is that you want to achieve from your trip before deciding on whether it is something to do as a soltra or a group. Is your trip to bond with a group of friends? Is it something you want to share? Is your trip focus to embrace a new culture and experience new things for yourself? Is it to get out away from the norm.?

Whether it’s for a weekend or a few months if you are willing to be open to new experiences and be considerate of those around you, well then you cant go wrong with either.

Happy travelling.

Annie Charlotte xx

Ps. If you were wondering why on earth you’ve never heard the word ‘soltra’, it’s probably because I just made it up. I just got way to lazy to continually write ‘Solo Traveller’

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