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Why We Should Stop Traveling Alone

I don’t like traveling alone. It’s not because I am afraid of being on the road all for myself. I honestly don’t believe that in terms of security it makes any difference if I am traveling on my own or in a group. Traveling on one’s own is great. Sometimes you simply won’t have another choice because you won’t find anyone who’s coming with you. I believe that we all should travel on our own at least once in our lives and I have made some great experiences when I was traveling alone. But let’s face it: It is even greater to have a travel partner.

We should stop traveling on our own. Even though it has its advantages: Those who are traveling alone don’t have to compromise or enter into a commitment. They can do whatever they want. Anywhere, anytime. Lonely travelers will rarely feel lonely because it is pretty easy to get to know other lonely travelers on the road. Those who travel on their own never have to comply with anything or anyone.

Solo travelers are rarely traveling alone

But: Lonely travelers rarely do travel on their own. Most of the time, you’ll meet them in groups, partnerships of convenience. They’ll usually gather at some place to find company for a part of their way. They’ll cover a certain distance together before they split up once again to follow their own tracks and meet new people. The travel companions we meet on the road are easily replaceable. We make friends just as fast as we lose them again. We befriend each other on Facebook. And in the very moment in which we say goodbye and promise that maybe sometime we’ll visit each other at home in different parts of the world, we really believe in our words. We would love to do that. But in most cases, we just won’t. Ever.

There are three things that make travel the awesome experience it is. They are anticipation, traveling itself, and the afterglow of the experiences made while traveling. It is wonderful to know people in different parts of the world. But they are loose contacts, no matter how deep your relationship felt at the time you went traveling alone together. They’ll never become our friends. Instead, when we come back home after our travels, we try to tell our real friends about our experiences. We talk about things we did with people that are completely foreign to them. We show them photos of people from Australia, Italy and South America. People they don’t know. To our friends, our experiences are important but they can’t relate to what they see on the picture – they lack the basis of our experience.

Wouldn’t it be much better if our friends, partners, or family had been traveling with us in the first place?

We can only ever reminisce in collective memories with people that have shared our travel. But since these live anywhere in the world and have traveled on different paths and with different people as well, it is hard to catch up with them. Thanks to Facebook it may work for a while, but it will rarely work forever. You know that. Whenever we are with our friends and tell a story about our recent or past travels, nobody will be there who can fully understand the meaning of our story. Years after our travel we might not find anyone to talk about it at all. Wouldn’t it be much better if our friends, partners, or family had been traveling with us in the first place?

Besides, there are some purely practical reasons why having a travel partner is better than traveling alone. It is a lot more fun because you can rely on the fact that there’s always someone whom you can share your observations with. Because you know how that person will react to what you say. And because it can get really wearisome to get to know knew people all along the way and tell the same story over and over again. Given that you want to travel at a higher standard than dorms and hitchhikes, traveling alone is much more expensive. If you don’t travel on your own you can share a great part of the costs.

About the Author

Anna loves travel, photography, and writing. All at once, everyday. She collects entrance cards, plane tickets, and old atlases and has been searching for the perfect globe for some years. Follow Anna on Facebook or Twitter!

12 Comments

  1. I know how you feel. At first it is nice to meet people and to get to know them. Then it does get tiring to constantly answer the same questions over and over: how are you, what do you do…. etc. etc. But I feel that when you travel alone it pushes you to open up your boundaries, to do things that scare you for the fear of missing out. Traveling with friends and family makes you comfortable. You dont HAVE to meet other people or talk to people, which can also be limiting.

  2. Hey Anna,
    I most of the time travel with a partner. Has been 11 months that my husband and I started our nomadic life. And I agree with you talk about sharing memories, costs, adventures.. It´s great to have a partner and a friend (in my case also a lover) on the road, but I thing everyone should also experiment a solo journey once in life. Travel alone is an incredible experience, and it makes you see yourself and other people in a different perspective…
    Anyway, the important thing is to keep travelling.. doesn’t matter if it is alone or in a group…
    Happy travels,
    Nat

  3. Interesting article! I personally have always been a solo traveler and at my age I think I’m okay with that. Solo travel or non-solo travel it is all subjective. As long as each traveler is happy with their choice and it benefits their travel style then that is all that matters!

  4. I loved my solo travel days in my early 20’s, though since getting married only ever travel now as a couple, and love having a companion to share each experience with. I think both forms of travel has their perks, though you do reach a certain stage I’ve found where it’s time for a bit of a change 🙂

  5. I’m a huge fan of traveling with a companion … in my case I always travel with my best friend, who just happens to be my husband. Dan and I like to discuss our various observations as we go, so it’s like we see twice as much that way. We each also choose an activity that interests us – then we do both together. It has broadened our horizons and helps us understand each other a little more.

    One of our most enjoyable travel experiences is related to food. We try to order different dishes and then share. Sometimes we share a bite, other times we each cut our entire meal in half and swap plates halfway through.

  6. Carol Colborn

    Interesting. I never wanted to travel alone. I was lucky to have found a travel partner when I turned 60 and we have been traveling full time for six years now!

  7. Lovely post, Anna, and so true. I am grateful for all the opportunities I have had for travel – many for work when I would travel solo, but to welcomes from people on the way. I am even more grateful for the experiences I have shared with my wife and/or friends ….. and the big “no no” – don’t rave on endlessly about the experiences with others who haven’t shared them 😉

Your thoughts are welcome!