Between overcoming the fear of solo traveling and choosing a travel team
You might be considering your new adventure and you are thinking about the people you want to travel with. Or it might be that you heard that rather unusual story of that friend who went on a budget trip for weeks or even months alone. Yes, without any friends or family to share memories and adventures.
For most people, when it comes to
Is it a weird and unthinkable idea to travel solo? Certainly, solo traveling and group traveling have their pros and cons. So, before you discard the idea of traveling solo out of fear of messing up your holiday plans, let us define both ways of traveling and point some characteristics of both ways of traveling and finally make a conclusion that might be useful to consider for your next trip.
A travel team is a group involved in the planning of a travel itinerary for the sake of the having the best experience during a trip. I insist on the word “team” and not “group” for a good reason. An example of group traveling would be a father and mother planning the next holidays in that beautiful amusement park with the enjoyment of their kids as the priority. The kids are basically out of the planning part.
Some of the most distinctive characteristics of Team Traveling are:
- There is collective participation before and during the trip. Ideally, in the planning stage of team traveling, there is
discussion, brainstorming, and suggestions from everyone, so the budget, route, bookings are the outcome of everyone’s contribution. In my experience traveling with friends, some really nice ideas and experiences have come from that kind of planning.
- A travel buddy can cover your back when something unexpected happens. There are few things more comforting during a travel emergency, small or big, than a travel buddy to back you up. It can be that your resources went lower than planned, thievery or an accident. No phone call back home or travel insurance is faster than your friends or family’s presence when it happens.
- Great celebration moments are assured. It can be the triumphal dinner for having reached that mountain peak, the joy of reaching a special place after a long time on the road, of or just the celebration of fellowship at home and traveling. The fact is that the shared moments when traveling with friends and family have no comparison, and that is the main focus of team traveling.
- There is a higher tendency to spend more than budgeted. Call it social pressure or the fear of missing out, but the fact is that with traveling buddies, we all tend to go for a more expensive meal, or for a fancier adventure package if it is going to be shared with people we know, just like we would back home. But as I said before, your pals are likely to back you up.
- Awkward moments of tension. Traveling, especially on a budget, can strain your patience when your priorities and your pals’ are not the same. You might want to sleep while they want to go out. You might want to save some money for later but they would like to spend it at that particular moment. You and your friends have different priorities when it comes to change the plan due to unexpected events.
Simply put, I would define a solo traveler as the person who designs and executes a travel itinerary for himself. Below, some relevant characteristics of this kind of travel:
- A chance to tailor the plan according to your sole interests. This means more work too, though. You can work on a travel route faster in your head, including popular and personal interests, and then put it on a spreadsheet without asking anyone for their consent, but when it comes to filling up every stop of your trip, you need to do more extensive research regarding secondary points of interests. Dates, bookings, and entertainment are all up to you.
- Greater chances to meet new people. As part of the adventure or by need, getting in touch with other travelers and locals is something inevitable, and eventually, desirable. If you are the social type, the experience of traveling alone can be greatly gratifying. Besides, the engagement with other solo travelers or locals is
a directcontact with other culture and the fuel for future travels. It could be that you want to carpool, share a bigger meal for less money or get a group discount at some attraction. Believe it or not, other travelers and especially locals are usually curious and willing to know about your reasons to be there and your story.
- Unexpected joys can occur spontaneously at any time. I think this is self-explanatory, and I will just add that it compensates the moments when you want to celebrate. Suddenly you might be surrounded by a group of foreigners sharing a meal and drinks, or joining a local holiday.
- There is no need to please anyone else but yourself. When arriving at that scenic spot, there is no need to rush. One can only sit there and behold the greatness of that place not worrying that your travel buddies might be bored already and want to move on to the next big thing to see. On the other hand, there is more control over the budget.
- It can be a life-transforming experience. No doubt some people come back to their everyday routine after a solo trip with full intentions to start something new with their lives. As I put it on a previous article explaining why traveling on a budget is a good idea, traveling solo is a unique time to know yourself better, improve your self-confidence and win a greater sense of achievement.
- When possible, avoid that “extra luggage” friend that does not have any involvement in the planning. Travel together might cost you your friendship in the long run. Unless you are a very patient person and love to do all the planning yourself, the experience can be the same as to travel with a child you need to take care of.
- Good friends and relatives might not be good travel buddies. This because traveling means being with that person for most of the day, and not for some hours per week like when you are not traveling. Prepare yourself mentally to give in some personal interests for the sake of a healthy travel atmosphere.
- In some countries and regions, being especially a female solo traveler could mean a higher risk of occurrence of unfortunate incidents. Make thorough research before even booking flight tickets, prepare a culturally appropriate attire, and if you feel there is too much risk to take, consider team traveling.
Finally, we are ready to think twice on our next trip! Traveling alone can be challenging and even frightening for many, but once you try it, making the decision between these two ways of discovering the world is not so obvious anymore. Happy traveling!