This blog post will be a little different to ones that you’re used to reading here on 3TravelBug! I am excited to announce that this will be a collaboration article with Nina Clapperton and her blog, Nina Out and About. I will be exploring the pros and cons and of group travel. Whereas, Nina will be explaining the pros and cons of solo travelling.
So let’s begin!
I usually travel with my friend Max and on occasion, some of my other friends. Racking up 31 different countries with a number of people has been an amazing experience and adventure. It would be strange to imagine those trips now without those people, as they’re one of the reasons those trips were so memorable.
After travelling so many times within a group, I think I can confidently talk about the pros and cons of this type of travel.
Pros of Group Travelling
My favourite bit about travelling with a group is definitely the sense of always having someone to do something with. Whether that be just going for a meal or doing an activity together, it’s always nice to have that company! Some of the things I have done and seen have been made better because of the people I did them with! For example: climbing Fuji, diving with sharks, dog sledding and seeing the northern lights in Iceland were all amazing experiences. But ones that were made even better because I got to share those experiences with my friends.
It can also help you be more comfortable and confident in a culture you might be unfamiliar with. Being with my friends for the majority of my travelling experiences has allowed me to be more confident meeting new people as well! During our travels we have met so many people from all around the world, I definitely think being together has helped that process. Although solo travelling makes you talk to new people, sometimes being in a small group helps you bond with other groups!
Another benefit of travelling as a group is you save money! When I travelled to Iceland and Norway I saved so much by travelling in a group. In Norway, we shared the cost of the car, tolls, petrol and insurance four-ways. We still spent a lot of money on these things, but the money saved is unimaginable!
However, we have also saved money on small things such as toothpaste, shower gel, sun cream etc. Although these aren’t big expensive things when travelling on long trips every little helps! Not buying a bottle of sun cream could buy you two or three meals in South East Asia.
Safety in Numbers
Now this one might sound cliche… And yes it is, but I have been in situations travelling where I have felt unsafe, but so glad I was travelling with my friends! When I was travelling India, I was involved in getting scammed and basically been forced to leave Delhi and go to Agra. The whole situation was quite dangerous as after looking on google, people had been mugged for not paying these thugs. Although I still got scammed, being with my friends did calm me a lot as I had safety in numbers. Maybe if I was a solo traveller, things may have been very different!
Although when we travel we only have a basic plan. This basic plan goes a long way! It allows us to know what we want to do, how we can do it and where we need to go to see it. But still allows us to have the freedom to do these things whenever we want to.
It is rare that if you travel in a group, no one knows anything about the place or things they want to do. I do like this kind of organisation and planning. Being able to rely on other people to have a suggestion and/or planning is really useful!
I think we have all been there, especially when on a long trip. You’re tired and just want to sleep or relax, even if that means missing out on something. However, when you’re with a group that rarely happens as you always have someone who tells you to get up because we have things to do! One example of this was when I was in Thailand, Krabi with my friends. Haydn wanted to sleep, before Max and I dragged him out of bed and got him downstairs drinking buckets of alcohol! I think there would have been many times where I would have slept longer, or just relaxed more and missed out on things if I wasn’t with my friends!
Cons of Group Travelling
Obviously, you have less freedom when travelling in a group. Decisions have to go through the group and not just yourself. My girlfriend is a solo traveller and she prefers to travel solo than in a group as she likes to do her own thing. The key thing about this is sometimes you have to prioritise what you can do rather than what you want to do, because you’re having to balance out everyone’s itinerary. Although I must say I haven’t really had this issue that much as I have always done what I wanted to do, as we do try and give ourselves time to see everything we want to see!
Now I know what you’re thinking… “Wait a minute, earlier he said it helped him meet people?” Well yes, I did say that. However, there is no pressure to meet new people if you’re in a big group. For example, when I went to Lisbon in a group of 6 we didn’t meet many people as we didn’t try or needed to. When I went to Krakow with a group of 7 the same applied. Obviously, when you solo travel, you have the freedom to do whatever you want. I have met many solo travellers who ask if they can sit down for a drink with us, or go on that tour with us, as they want the company! Solo travelling makes you meet people.
Although arguments with my friends are rare whilst travelling, when you’re that close with someone for near 100 days, disagreements are bound to happen. Little things start annoying you (like Haydn takes so long to do anything!!!). I know of people who have arguments who have then cut the trip short and came back because they argued so badly and ended relationships/friendships.
Something I do really cherish and enjoy is my own space. That might seem weird as I travel with my friends… A LOT. However, a pro of solo travelling means you can choose when to engage with people and when you want to just relax and be by yourself. I remember coming back from my Asia trip it was a weird feeling not having two people with me all the time. Although I did appreciate having my own room and my own space!
We all have our comfort zone and the reasons why we stick in it. Group travelling can exacerbate this as there is no need to get out of our comfort zones. The people we made friends with from home are now with us in a different country, continent and culture, so it is easy to stay within your comfort zone. I know a lot of people who say they go to Asia and only eat western food, or they wouldn’t want to climb a mountain because they’re afraid of heights. Nevertheless, travelling solo means you learn a lot more about yourself as you routinely come out of your comfort zone. It gives you a better chance to do things you may never have done before, or thought of doing!
If you’re interested in learning more about the pros and cons of solo travelling then click on the link below to read Nina’s article! Nina is an expert solo traveller, and currently is living and travelling solo in New Zealand!