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!
18 thoughts on “Choosing the Best Travel Companion: Solo, Couple or Group?”
I normally travel by myself, but this summer I travelled with a partner on a road trip. Initially I thought the main benefit would be one of practical convenience, but it soon brought great emotional benefit too, as the experience made our relationship even stronger. I wrote about the benefits of both solo and companion travel here:
(I’ve shared a link to this piece at the bottom)
Traveling with a companion is definitely an emotional benefit. Its really nice to have someone for comfort when things go wrong and just to share experiences with!
I quite enjoy traveling solo, its such a good way to meet people. In saying that I like traveling with someone as well, its great for those times when you can’t decide what to do or where to go… given that the person is a good travel companion.
Yea, traveling with someone is useful if you’re indecisive like myself! But traveling solo is great because you don’t have anyone to persuade you, you can do exactly what you want!
Im a Solo traveler and I love the freefom it gives and meeting amazing people on the way 🙂
Yeah that freedom to just float around at your own pace is pretty awesome. Have you ever traveled with friends along the way?
There is a saying that you never really know a person until you travel with them and it’s true. As you said you discover things about them that only travels can show you. It’s a great way to sort out friends and find out once and for all if your girl/boy friend is there to stay or not.
Couldn’t agree more with that saying! Can be dangerous traveling with a partner for that very reason haha. But like you said, at least you’ll find out quickly if you want to stay with them. Fair to say Christine and I are gonna be together for a while 🙂
great review of travel options! In my experience, all ways of travel are great, it just depends on your mood and the trip! 😉
Absolutely! Certain trips call for different companions. Glad you enjoyed 🙂
I think it really depends on the destination and the type of journey you want to do. All ways of travel are great.
That said, my favourite is as a couple, even though it potentiates the little fights for small stuff!
Thats true, the destination does affect how you might want to travel. We enjoy traveling as a couple too 🙂
Have you missed out travelling with family or does that fit into the group category. I guess they all have the good and bad points but I guess if you are more aligned with what everyone wants out of the trip then plenty of fun can be had by all 🙂
Very good point, Bianca! Having your goals for the trip aligned with the rest of your group should make for smooth sailing!
Ive been traveling solo for the last 1 1/2 year and I absolutely love it, I have found only positive things while traveling solo, especially because I love having “me” times and spontaneous days without needing to discuss what others want to do. But it has happened often when Im visiting a place I really like that I want my boyfriend to be there with me. Hopefully in the future I can start traveling with my partner and eventually with my own family, but that doesn’t mean that Im not traveling solo again, because if one thing has helped my relationship grow is our independence and time apart from each other dedicated to grow individually.
Very well put Alejandra! Jules and I traveled solo but that was before we where in a relationship. We haven’t really done it since but try to have “solo” days where we explore on our own. Its refreshing, gives us a little space from each other, and reminds us that traveling solo has its perks! I hope you can travel with your partner as well someday, though, its very fun!
It would be interesting if more people who considered marriage would travel on the road together beforehand, and I mean by backpacking! Unusual and unforeseen circumstances and situations can shed light into a person’s personality, you or they may react or respond in a manner neither one of you would have anticipated. Backpacking and sharing accommodation with others is likely to reveal personal characteristics with an emphasis, for better or worse. I have just recently met a young woman who would like to be a traveling companion, but she brings so little to the table, while at the same time exaggerating her delicacy; and at the same time she can toss out undermining remarks. I believe it is called, “hostile dependency.” Basically, she is looking for someone to look after her, and she is selfish and a bit hostile in her manner. No one I want as a traveling companion, even for a short while; because her intention would be to wear away at my self esteem, while building up her own.
Hey Dirk, sounds like perhaps this is the sort of girl you’d want to be with on the road… or back home. But, if you want to test it out, take her traveling with you. You’ll certainly learn quick enough 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!