While some of us do not have the gusto to set out traveling solo, many of us couldn’t imagine doing anything but. Traveling solo does not mean being by your lonesome. It means meeting more people, having more experiences, and gaining more confidence. Do you want to be more approachable? More willing to venture into spontaneity? Accept the invite to that local village? Get smashed with a native? You’ll be more likely to if you’re solo.
Want to save money? Think about the flexibility of being on your own. No budget compromises.
It is easier to get into that popular hostel in Slovenia. It is easier to get that last seat on a bus, train, or fly stand by.
Does your gloom index have you singing the blues? True: It is harder to get over those feelings of loneliness when your solo…. but those were some of the best techniques I acquired on my last trip. Lessons in ‘go with the flow’-ity and ‘why be upset’-ness? Lessons that cured temporary anxiety problems without a prescription.
That said, traveling with good friends can increment your happy level exponentially. Some of the best times of my life have been traveling with a group of 5 other people I met on the road. Taking the two day slow boat up the Mekong River from Laos to Thailand with my Canadian soul sister and group of four rowdy Swiss boys provided more laughs and feelings of “all is right with the world” than I’ve ever had in my life.
So maybe a good trip consists of a mixture of both.
Before you set out on an extended trip with a companion, think about it. Do a lot of communicating. Manage expectations. Here’s some advice from former departed (and arrived) of things to think about.
Determine one’s travel profile
Could your travel partners be considered sports enthusiasts? What about eco-adventure maniacs? Go-getters, philanthropists, party animals, beach bums, culture vultures? There are about as many different travel profiles out there as there are people. It’s a good idea to have some indication of the type of traveling that is expected by you and yours.
Discuss your travel profile
Spell out how you would like to spend your time and the expectations you have about the trip BEFORE making plans.
Sketch out special needs
Any group is likely to have at least one person with some special requirement. Someone may be a light sleeper and therefore anti-hostel, one may suffer from severe motion sickness and therefore not willing to travel by bus. Getting a preliminary idea of some of the limitations you may incur by other people’s special needs can allow for extra consideration and ease tensions that might occur while on the trip.
Don’t Create a Detailed Plan
Build in flexibility. Negotiate. Plan to split up and meet again if necessary. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Be open to a changing itinerary.
Whatever the case, the situation, or the argument, remember this: You are on holiday. Relax, enjoy.