Travelling is one of the greatest pleasures of life especially for those who have been bitten by the bug of wanderlust. Travelling brings great joy and wonderful memories, but how you travel is one of the biggest considerations in how much fun you have, both while planning and while actually travelling. There are two common types of travelling: solo travel and group travel. Both have their strengths and weaknesses and which you choose will have a big impact on your travels, besides questions of choosing your destination and duration, to budget, baggage.
Before we launch into some of the considerations you should make when deciding how to travel, we want to just go in depth a bit more on what each of these methods entails.
Solo travel does not necessarily mean you are going alone. Solo travel means you are choosing to create the plans, make connections and reservation, and coordinate all the aspects of your travel yourself. This could be done with a friend or partner, or you could even be going alone, or with a guide on a private tour.
Group travel is an easier option where you find a pre-arranged tour with a group of people – often who are strangers to you – and you pay the guide of the tour to make all the arrangements. When travelling as a group, you do not get to make any of the decision for where you go and what you’ll do, which can be restrictive to travellers who like to choose for themselves. However, it is very simple. No planning necessary.
We have compiled a list of some of the most important factors to help you make an informed decision when the time comes for you to make a choice.
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There are a number of things to consider when making a decision about whether to go on a solo trip or a group trip. There is not a one-size-fits-all solution. In fact, every trip has different factors that will play into the decision. That is why we think it is a good idea to consider these 7 things to determine which is best for you.
This is perhaps the most important thing that will determine the quality of your trip. Group tours are often more expensive than solo trips because of the inclusion of a planner and guide. You have to pay for the service of having someone plan for you. So a luxury group trip will cost significantly more than a luxury solo trip.
A solo traveller can make a large number of impromptu decisions to save costs which are predetermined in group travels, such as the choice of a less expensive hotel, getting a cheaper meal, or using the less expensive option for transportation.
Group travel does not allow you to adjust the cost. It comes with a set cost. However, you will know the full cost of the journey (minus incidentals) before you travel. For someone who doesn’t like surprises or the chance of unforeseen expenses, group travel is more certain.
Often discounts are available for group travellers but, in general, a solo traveller has a better chance of saving money.
The independence which comes from travelling solo is unmatched. Solo travel provides you with a wide range of experience which won’t be compromised by someone else’s schedule. Only solo travellers can decide to leave a place early or spend more time in one part of the trip.
The biggest annoyance tends to be that you cannot make your own schedule and you are at the mercy of everyone else on the group trip. If someone arrives late back to the bus, you all must wait for them. If you want to stay longer at a particular destination, that is not going to be possible.
If you are the type of person who needs to have autonomy or flexibility and does not want to go along with the herd, then a group trip will not be ideal for you.
In contrast to independence, travelling with other people can greatly enhance the joy of travelling. It also allows you the opportunity to get outside your comfort zone, try new things, and meet new people.
On a group trip I took to Danang, I met some really great people who I ended up spending the whole trip getting to know. We became fast friends and even kept in touch after the trip was over.
Both group travel and solo travel give you a chance to make new friends and expand your own viewpoint on the world, however, these are likely going to approach in different ways.
On a group trip, you will have the companionship of all the people in the group. This will give you a chance to make friends with people you are traveling with. It also gives you someone to experience things with when you do not have a travelling partner. For those who would not otherwise have anyone to travel with, and do not think they would enjoy travelling alone, it is a great way to feel comfortable and has more fun.
Solo travel, on the other hand, gives you a chance to meet people from a great number of different backgrounds, speaking different languages and having a diverse view on things in life, as long as you are willing to put in the effort to talk to locals and other travellers around you.
On the other hand, a solo trip can provide you solitude and a time for self-reflection when you need it, whereas this is hardly possible in group travels.
We have found that destinations, where we do not know the language or are not able to do a lot of research in advance, are more difficult to enjoy without a guide.
One important reason why group travels are popular is because of the ease they offer in travelling whereas solo travel is challenging in many regards.
A solo traveller has to research every tiny detail of the trip from scratch and if anything goes wrong during the trip then he has to take responsibility and make alternate plans. If it is a destination you do not know, you also have to find the good stuff, which can be difficult without a guide.
In group travel, though, the traveller has no management tasks as someone else is making all the reservations and taking care of everything. All the traveler needs to do is show up. If something goes wrong, the organizers will take care of it.
One of the biggest concerns while travelling in foreign lands is that of your personal safety. Even though most places are generally safe to travel alone with the proper precautions, there are still a large number of things one has to be mindful of.
When travelling alone, you take all of the responsibility for your own safety. You need to know what areas you should not be walking alone in, you need to know the area’s travel scams, and you need to plan ahead for any accidents or health issues that might occur. Travel insurance is very important.
Safety is generally not a major concern when travelling in a group because plans have been enacted to mitigate against risk and tour guides are prepared. Your safety is greatly in the hands of the group organizers.
It is very hard to define the quality of a journey, as there are no tangible parameters to judge this. However, it has been seen that solo travels give you a greater feeling of satisfaction, whereas travelling in a group is generally a rushed experience.
You can make your solo journey richer by exploring things in detail, whereas group trips have to follow schedules. There may be activities you want to take part in, but they are not included in the trip. Having the time and ability to follow through on things that interest you the most is the number one reason to choose a solo trip.
However, group travels usually have tour guides with them who have extensive knowledge of things and they can explain more in a short time which you would find in a much longer time on your own. They can also take you to places which you may have missed because of incomplete research.
You can weigh all these factors against each other and see which things are more important to you as compared to others and based on those parameters you can decide which is the right way of travelling for you: solo travel vs group travel.
Whether you decide to travel alone or in a group you can rest assured that there will be both highs and lows.
Know yourself, consider the options, be flexible with your plans, open to compromise and change.
Then take that leap into the unknown.
There is no way to know how things will turn out, without taking that first step.
Alone or in a group, go, travel, and have the time of your life!