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What makes traveling alone different?

by BootsnAll

Whether you’re traveling alone, with a big group, or even just one or two other people, each option has its own share of advantages and disadvantages. When you travel with other people, whether it’s just you and your best friend or you’re part of one big ol’ backpackin’ tour group, the differences can be stark. There are pros and cons to both traveling alone and with others, and you might only be well-suited to one of those options. So it’s important to think about how each experience will be different before you make up your mind about how you’ll travel.

Below, you’ll find a list of some of the differences between traveling with others and traveling on your own. We’ve mixed up the pros and cons in these lists, because we’re not making judgment calls – there are reasons to travel solo and reasons to travel with a group, you’ll just need to figure out which reasons are more important to you.

Traveling With Other People

  • With more people come more ideas of things to do and more chances for fun.
  • You aren’t responsible for always coming up with the itinerary or figure out what to do.
  • Locals and other travelers are less likely to approach you if you’re already in a group.
  • You have a support group, so to speak – everyone looks out for one another (usually).
  • You’ll have other people around to share the experience with.
  • There is a danger of falling into a “herd” mentality and not saying what you’d like to do, but instead always doing what the majority wants.
  • You’ll have other people’s idiosyncrasies to deal with.
  • If you get sick, you’ll have someone around to commiserate or make a run to the pharmacy for you.
  • There are always people to watch one another’s bags and backs and such.
  • You’re always around other people, whether or not you want to be.

Traveling by Yourself

  • Everything is up to you – you don’t have to evaluate or compromise your plans with anyone.
  • There’s no one else to help with decision-making.
  • You’re more approachable when you’re not in a group, so you’re more likely to meet new people.
  • There’s no one around to help watch your bags, or your back.
  • You’ve got greater flexibility with everything in your trip, from where you eat to how you spend the day.
  • There’s no one around to share the experiences with, or just to vent frustration!
  • You’ll have a greater opportunity for your own experiences, as you aren’t sheltered in a group.
  • There’s no one to help motivate you when you’re frustrated, or help care for you (or just suffer alongside you) if you get sick.
  • You’ll have no one’s idiosyncrasies to deal with except your own!
  • If you want away from the crowd, you’ve got it; if you want to be part of a group or meet other people, you most likely can – it’s just, as with all else in solo travel, up to you.

These can also factor in to why you might and might not want to travel alone, at least all the time or now and again. No matter what you decide – solo, with your best friend, in a big honkin’ group – travel in the way that you feel is best suited to you. Solo travel is worth a go, but like anything from sushi to country music, it won’t be to everyone’s taste. And that’s cool. However you travel, it should be your way.