Traveling Solo v With Friends: What’s Best For You?

Solo or with a companion, hitting the road invariably throws up exciting new experiences
Solo or with a companion, hitting the road invariably throws up exciting new experiences | © HOWL / Stocksy
Amy Baker

Do you like the freedom to travel alone? Perhaps you feel experiences are better shared with others? Culture Trip weighs up both sides of the coin.

There’s no right or wrong way to travel. Whether you team up with friends or head off solo, it’s a personal preference. Knowing yourself and how you like to experience the world is handy for establishing which option to pick. If you’re still deciding, read on. We run through the pros and cons of travelling alone versus with friends.

Prefer to travel with your team? Check out TRIPS by Culture Trip, our carefully curated collection of small-group adventures led by Local Insiders.

Travelling alone

There’s no need for compromise

You’ll gain confidence and a fresh perspective

Navigating your way around a foreign country is a life-defining experience. It really shows you what you’re made of. Prepare to tap into reserves of inner strength you didn’t know you had prior to departure. Travelling solo gives you time to think, to learn, to grow. When your eyes are wide open – as they must be when you’re a one-person team – you’ll gain a whole new outlook on the world.

Solo journeys can lead to adventures you never expected to have

You’ll be more open to new connections

It’s easy to assume solo travel is a lonely affair. While that can be the case at times, in practice, you’re rarely ever alone. When you travel in a group, you form your own bubble. This makes you far more likely to miss out on the most life-affirming aspects of travel – interacting with locals and meeting fellow travellers from all corners of the world.

You’ll gain a sense of accomplishment

When you step on a plane, you’re physically jetting thousands of miles away from your comfort zone. But, as we all know, that’s where the magic happens. Every day you travel alone comes with a healthy sense of accomplishment. Whether it’s navigating the language barrier, working out a nonsensical public transport system, or locating your accommodation, you’ll finish every day feeling proud of yourself for making things happen single-handedly.

Exploring the streets of Copenhagen’s old town? You might discover more if you go solo

Spontaneity is an added bonus

Although it’s wise to book experiences you don’t want to miss, solo travel grants you the capacity for spontaneity. While groups need to book ahead to secure their spots, solo travellers can slot more easily into tours and accommodation. Say you’ve made new friends and they’re heading off to Chiang Mai. You can join them. Fancy skydiving over Lake Wanaka? There’s nothing stopping you.

Travelling with friends

Mates can lighten the load

It’s no small feat to explore the world – there’s research to be done, flights to be booked, choices to be made, not to mention that things can – and often do – go wrong. One of the main advantages of travelling with friends is being able to share the burden and support each other through the process. Even if it’s just someone who will wait with your bag while you pop to the toilet.

Sharing memories enhances your trip

Some prefer to experience moments alone, others can’t imagine making memories with anyone but their nearest and dearest. Whether it’s an experience you and your friends have dreamed about since you were kids or the type of hilarious, unexpected moment that travelling serves up daily – having your friends with you means there’s always someone there to share the ups and downs.

Getting to the top of Mount Charlie in Queensland, Australia, might feel easier with help from your buds

You can spread the cost between you

Another major perk of travelling with buddies is that you can share costs that solo travellers have to bear the brunt of alone. Yes, solo travellers have much more control over their spending. However, when you’re in a group, you’ve got way more bargaining power for securing discounts on transport, tours and accommodation.

There’s safety in numbers

Just like your mum always says. It’s true that travelling with others automatically adds a comforting layer of safety, particularly if you’re new to travel. You know that if you get lost or have your wallet stolen, there’s someone to hold your hand whilst you try to mime your predicament in a foreign police station.

Many feel more comfortable striking out for adventure as part of a group

Compromise will expand your interests

Travelling with friends means compromise. This can have its drawbacks, however, you might surprise yourself when you try horse-riding or surfing – something that was never on your radar. Travelling is all about expanding your horizons, pushing yourself and trying new things. Being open to what your mates suggest guarantees new experiences you’d never imagined.

Still can’t make up your mind? Check out TRIPS by Culture Trip – small-group adventures designed for solo travellers who want to form new, meaningful friendships on the road through shared, culture-rich experiences.

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

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