Solo Travel vs Traveling with Mates

Ah, the old dilemma. When on the road, should you go out and do your own thing, or take a mate or two to enjoy the ride with you?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a yes or no answer. I’ve had some trips where I’ve been happy to have the extra independence and freedom that comes with solo travel.. however I’ve also had trips when I’ve been happy that I had someone there with me to experience it.

So, I guess the only thing to do?

Pro’s and Con’s List Time.

Traveling Solo


  • Total freedom! Solo travel gives you complete control. Want to go stay in Poland a few more days? All good. Need to leave Guatemala a day early? No sweat. Traveling alone means you don’t need to worry about screwing up someone else’s travel plans.

  • Find your independence. Traveling solo means you are responsible for everything. Booking flights, accommodation, directions… all you. While this may be daunting, it is the fast track way to being independent. Without having someone else to rely on makes your organisation skills and independence sky rocket!

  • Puts you in a great position to meet other travelers and locals. I find that when I travel in a group, I meet less people when it’s just me. Why? Probably because when we surround ourselves with familiar faces, we are more unlikely to put ourselves out there and make new friends. If you’ve got no one to go out drinking or to get a bite to eat with, you’re more likely to approach others! Solo travel has led me to find some incredible friendships.


  • You need to be responsible. Flying solo means you can’t rely on anyone else. You organise the accommodation. You get the directions. You get the flight details. You find out where the train station is. The list goes on. While usually these jobs can be shared around, when you are on your own the whole responsible aspect of travel falls on your shoulders.

  • No one to mind your bags. THIS is probably the number one reason I get annoyed when traveling solo. Sometimes you just need to pee or fill up your water bottle without loosing your seat at the station or airport. Too bad. No ones there to look after your stuff and save your seat. This might not sound too bad but god daaaaaaaaaamn it is annoying!

  • Loneliness. I had a real bad bout of this in Wales last year. I hadn’t seen my family in months and missed having familiar faces around. And the thing is, this is going to happen if you solo travel for a substantial time. Go here to get some tips on how to beat the lonely feels when you’re on your own.

Traveling with Mates


  • You’ve got someone to enjoy the experience with. I found that sometimes when I solo travel I don’t do as much as I would if I had someone to share it with. For example if I find a cute little cafe, I don’t bother sitting alone because I’ve no one to engage in conversation with (depending on where in the world, it can be considered odd if you start a convo with a total stranger. Feel free to do this in Australia, we often do!)

  • Someone else to share the responsibilities with. ‘I booked the hostel, so if you can get us those train tickets that would be great’. This makes travel a lot easier. Having another person or persons to organise and book shit means you don’t have to always be stressed about where you are going and what you are doing.

  • Safety in numbers. It sucks, but unfortunately it is safer to travel with friends. There will always be someone who knows where you are or where you are going, and therefore someone to know if something goes wrong. It is always good to have someone watching your back, and gives you some peace of mind that if shit does hit the fan, someone will notice.


  • You’ll have to work around someone else’s schedule. It can be a little frustrating if your friend wants to go somewhere you have already been, or wants to spend longer in some places rather than others. Traveling with mates means you need to negotiate your time.

  • Not meeting as many people. When you’ve already got someone to hang out with, you are less likely to put yourself out there to meet new people. While this isn’t always the case, I’ve found that flying solo makes it easier to meet new friends.

  • Timing. It’s hard enough trying to organise your own time off work, let alone someone else’s! It can be hard to make plans when you are dealing with more than one schedule. Perhaps your friend needs to be back in their hometown by a specific date, or can’t leave until after your holidays have begun.

So! Do you go it alone or bring a buddy with you on your next adventure? That entirely depends on what sort of trip you are looking for and who you are. Are you a first time traveler? Or a ridiculously social being? Maybe it’s best to have a friend along for the ride.

On the other hand, if it’s a spiritual and coming of age adventure you are seeking, and you know how to take good care of yourself, maybe it’s time to venture out alone.

Remember though, you can always combine the two, it’s not black and white! I usually find it best to have loose plans with friends, but make sure that if for any reason it doesn’t work out, you can reschedule to go it alone. Maybe meet up with friends in one city, travel to another and then part ways to meet up again later!