Everyone has that friend that seems able to traverse the world from country to country making new friends everywhere and then moving on as they please. I am not that person. I have done my share of solo adventuring but I have come to discover that I prefer traveling with a friend or friends as opposed to traveling by myself. Solo Travel has its benefits, such as time for self reflection and the ability to do as you please without consulting others, but I really enjoy the memories I get to make with my travel companions. It seems everyone is always raving about the upsides of solo travel, but here are five reasons I have decided it isn’t for me.
1. It Gets Lonely
My number one reason for preferring to travel with a friend or family member is that I think solo travel can be quite lonely. If you are anything like me, it can be difficult to make new friends, especially when you are already in an unknown place. This can lead to feeling very lonely and isolated at times and that isn’t any way to feel while you are supposed to be adventuring. Traveling with another person is a great way to prevent you from feeling lonely or having to do everything alone. Always asking for a table for 1 can get old and its nice to have someone to converse with over whicever local delicacy you are brave enough to try at each meal.
2. A Built-in Photographer
I touched on this briefly in my last post about always looking cute while traveling, but a friend or family member is far more likely to care about getting a good photo of you for instagram than a random stranger that you ask on the street. Your friend is almost always down for a hour long jaunt through the Gardens of Versailles to get the best insta photos. Grandma wants to get a good photo of you to show off to her friends so of course she will take another for you. Your besties will help distract you just enough to get the perfect candid photos of you and then tell you exactly how to adjust for the best lighting.
3. Someone to joke with on good days…
And someone to complain with on the bad days. Casual travel partners that you meet on the road will gladly joke with you, but it takes a true friend to rant about the bad parts of travel with. Whether its the fact that you both ended up hating Barcelona when you tried so hard to love it(more on that in this post) or the fact that you spent 3 hours in the freezing rain trying to get into the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, your travel partner will help you see the humor in even your worst travel days. They will also be there to joke with you about weird modern art exhibits and come up with hilarious captions for your artsy snapchats.
Photo from a very cold rainy day waiting to get into the Anne Frank House
4. Added Security
As a young woman, any time I mention going anywhere by myself at least three people feel the need to say “be careful”. Traveling with a partner will not only minimize the number of times you have to hear this statement, but it does make you feel a bit safer on your trip. When staying in dorm-style accomodations, it also nice to have the security of knowing that at least one person staying with you isn’t a potential threat to your safety or your property. With a travel companion, you have someone to watch your stuff in the airport when you go to the restroom, someone to walk back to your hostel with at night so you don’t always have to be in before sundown, and someone to joke with about the number of times your family members have told you to be careful in X city because they heard from their friend’s cousin’s sister’s ex-husband that he knew someone that got mugged there about 20 years ago. Jokes aside, it is certainly safer to travel with a companion than alone and that added security can provide both you and your loved ones some peace of mind.
5. Someone to reminisce with when the trip is over
Being able to look at your friend and say “remember that time you gave some lady the evil eye in the Hall of Mirrors for messing up your photo” and then you both start laughing hysterically is one of the best parts of traveling with someone else. This doesn’t just go for friends, but also for family members. I spent 3 weeks traveling through Europe with my then 78-year-old grandmother and she still loves to reminsce about our trip whenever we talk. I love when I remember the day she made it to the top of the Acropolis or how she almost promised my hand in marriage in exchange for a beautiful scarf inthe Grand Bazaar of Istanbul. Having someone to share your travel memories with is a huge part of why I love traveling with my friends or family members. Some of my favorite such memories are pictured below
Going to the Guiness Factory at 10am to save 5 euros
Taking silly photos on top of the Cliffs of Moher
Celebrating my Mom’s birthday with high tea and with a view of the city of Manchester
Wandering around the Barcelona aquarium like a little kid with my grad school bestie
As always, from one misguided millennial to the world this has been my thoughts on solo travel.
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