Traveling Solo or With Friends: What's Right For You?

It takes a special type of person to travel alone. If you’re having a hard time making the decision about solo travel vs. travel with friends, our nomads weigh in to help you choose.


A woman traveler looks out of a train window Photo © iStock/MStudioImages

If you’re dying to see the world, pick your travel companion carefully – you'll be together for a while and will need to match each other's pace, levels of enthusiasm, adventure and curiosity. If you're not sure you have the right travel partners, you might prefer to go it alone.

Here’s what some of our nomads had to say about solo travel vs. travel with friends:

The pros of traveling with friends

"I enjoy traveling with my partner. It gives me a sense of belonging in an unknown place. We both enjoy solo days, too, doing what each one of us wants to do.” - Surbhi Mittal, via Facebook.

"I enjoy a mixture of both. I'm an introvert, so at times I like being around people and doing things. Other times, I like to be alone and move along at my own pace." – Jodie Branston, via Facebook.

"I've traveled all ways: in a group, in a pair, solo. I find a pair is best. As a pair you can entertain each other, you're not too unapproachable so make lots of new friends, and you can decide what you want to do and compromise between the two of you. My favorite travel partner is my boyfriend or my best friend, both of whom are good travelers – organized yet laid back, the perfect travel combo!" – Kate Blanquita, via Facebook.

“I enjoy traveling with a friend or more then you have someone to share adventures and memories with. People don't quite feel the true impact of a story unless they were there.

But also understanding one another's boundaries and temperament – if you need day apart, do it.” - Kat Makowski, via Facebook.

The cons of traveling with friends

"After my friends started ditching my plans, and people turned the trip into a nightmare and disaster, I started traveling solo. It's been years, and I have never looked back to seek any company.

Some of the best experiences I could ever have would only happen being solo. I can tag along with anyone, anytime and still be me.

Last year, I left my job and traveled solo through the Himalayas for more than three and a half months, in three Himalayan countries. I made new friends from all over the world. I’ll always prefer being solo." – Rajesh Singh, via Facebook.

“Traveling with people always sounds like a great idea, but inevitably, differences arise, and I resent the usual lack of commitment to the cause. Solo travel for me.” – Nidia Lorenzana, via Facebook.

“As a group, you have plenty of fun, but it can be frustrating trying to please everyone. And you mainly socialize with only that group.” – Kate Blanquita, via Facebook.

The pros of traveling solo

“As a solo traveler, you can do as you please, and often make lots of friends as you go.” ­– Kate Blanquita, via Facebook.

"There’s a time for everything. For me, it was good to travel alone. I learned a lot about myself, I became calmer and more flexible with plans. It’s also easier to get to know new people." – Ly Dia, via Facebook.

"Solo travel is way better. When I’m by myself, people (especially the locals) seem to be curious as to why I’m there alone. They tend to go out of their way to make sure I enjoy my time there. I have also made a lot of genuine connections with the locals on my solo travels, something I don't think would have happened if I was with someone else." – Adrienne, via Facebook.

"I had the opportunity to visit Japan a few years ago. Being alone forced me to interact with other people in the hostels, make new friends, and talk to strangers. I never felt alone, and had a great time.

I spent three months learning the basics of Japanese to speak to the locals, find directions, food or the toilet." – Melanie Audet, via Facebook.

“With solo travel, I find myself lost in big cities, and with that experience, I can find my own way through them, and see the ins and outs of a place.

I’m more vulnerable to the land and the locals, and I rely on the kindness of strangers sometimes.

I can find myself the only foreigner on a local bus or train, and I have no choice but to engage with the people and learn about the culture.

My brain always has to be switched on, and I practically have to count all my steps in a new place so that I don't lose my way – at the end of the day, I only have myself to rely on.

This enhances my overall experience in a new country, a new city, and any new place.” - Jenny is Free, via Facebook.

“Solo travel allows you to do what you want, when you want, how you want, without having to consult a group of people. It also means you’ll make new friends while traveling.” ­ Bradley James Paterson, via Facebook.

“I enjoy the freedom to decide where to go and when without needing to compromise or work around others’ schedules. It also removes the risk of being let down by others.

You’re rarely alone for long – and you’ll meet some interesting characters along the way.” – Nick Harbour, via Facebook.

“You’ve got the freedom to choose any itinerary, more opportunities for interesting and thought-provoking conversations with locals, many temporary friendships made on the road, and the uniqueness of being on your own in a strange place – these are just some of the reasons why to travel solo.” – T.C Rusk, via Facebook

The cons of traveling solo

“Often, you’ve got no one to share the wonderment you come across, and long journeys can be boring and a little lonely sometimes.” – Kate Blanquita, via Facebook.

“After 10 months traveling, I came to really miss sharing experiences with someone, and having a confident person close by.” – Ly Dia, via Facebook.

“When things go wrong, it’s easier to solve problems and get past challenges you face if you travel with others.” – Everett Tosetti, via Facebook.

Still can’t decide? Try a small group tour

"I've done it all many times, and as sad as it sounds, I prefer guided group tours. You get to meet a group of like-minded people, and you get to see so much more in a shorter time – without having to think too much." – Paul Febry, via Facebook.

“I like to leave home solo, but meet up with a small tour group. I’ve still got freedom, but I have made some great friends from all over the world.” – Jenny Hughes, via Facebook. 

"The wisest advice we received? Just travel. Plain and simple. The society we live in causes stagnation, so the only way to ease tension is to travel with or without a companion. Safe travels, just enjoy.” ­– Nicola Mandaracas, via Facebook.

What do you prefer? Solo travel, or travel with friends or a partner?

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