Among the many topics of conversation that backpackers have on the road, this is by far one of the most interestingly debated. What’s the secret to choosing the best travel companion? Traveling by yourself, traveling with your partner or traveling with friends? Each brings their own advantages and flaws to the discussion, but ultimately it comes down to what you want to get out of your trip, and a lot of personal preference. We take a look at some of the highlights and lowlights for each, and let you be the judge.
If you’ve recently read Christine’s take on traveling solo you’ll know that when you travel alone you’re never really alone if you don’t want to be. I mean, if you want, you can definitely find your own space, but there are so many people backpacking solo that you’re always bound to make new friends. One of the best things about hitting the road on your own is that you’re open to the possibility of chance and opportunity. You choose your own destiny and you take the path that you want to explore.
“When you travel alone you can do what you want, when you want”
I know this sounds selfish, but when you travel alone you can do what you want, when you want and how you want to do it. It’s a very liberating feeling to be in a foreign place, where nobody knows you and you can just be who you want to be. That being said, traveling alone can also get lonely when you’re in a foreign place, feeling homesick or unwell, and there’s no one that just gets you. You know the times when you can just pop over and visit a friend, spill out all your problems, and they can make you feel better in a second? This can be hard to come by on the road alone.
Traveling As a Couple
So you’ve got a partner, and you don’t have the liberty of just packing your bags and hitting the open road alone for a few months solo. Not to worry, traveling with your significant other has a number of awesome perks that traveling alone doesn’t. For one, wouldn’t it be nice to share all those amazing traveling experiences and memories with someone you also want to share you life with? Traveling alone and meeting person after person, making friends for only a couple of days, and then having to do it all over again, can be very tiresome.
“They put up with you at home, so hopefully they can also while traveling”
The beauty of traveling with your partner is that you’ll always have a solid constant companion with you. And they put up with you at home, so hopefully they can also while traveling. And hey, you’ll still meet people. You’ll also start to meet other couples, which you might not have had the opportunity to do when traveling alone. The only negative is that if you guys find out you’re not super compatible travel partners, you could find yourselves fighting over more things than usual. No relationship needs these extras stresses!
Traveling with a Group Friends
Last but not least, traveling with a group of mates. This category can really go either way. On the one hand they’re your best mates, you’ve got heaps in common and they’d be ripper traveling companions. On the other hand, you’ve never lived in such testing conditions for an extended period of time and slowly you notice things about them that you previously hadn’t. Back home they would be the first person you’d call for a night out, but that doesn’t always mean they’d make compatible traveling buddies.
“Slowly you start to notice things about them that you previously hadn’t”
Luckily I haven’t had any negative experiences like this, but I’ve definitely heard my fair share of broken friendship stories over the years. When picking friends to go traveling with choose the ones that have similar interests as you. If you’re all about experiencing the culture, meeting the locals and having an authentic trip, don’t invite that friend who just wants to rage every night and hang out in the crowded hostels. And vise-versa. There’s nothing wrong with a trip to blow off some steam, so don’t choose the shy friend who wants to keep to themselves and just do their own thing.
Too hard to split (although I probably should say traveling with a partner or I might find myself alone again next trip). I know that’s not very helpful as a conclusive thought, but it really comes down to your personal preference and what you want to get out of your travels. I think the easiest way to decide is to try all three! Having experienced all three types of travel I would definitely say that each has its own pros and cons, and I’m glad I could sample a little of each. Variety is the spice of life, so mix it up and see what works best for you!