I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not, but lately in the travel blogging world, solo travel empowerment posts, explaining the multiple benefits of traveling alone, are being published almost daily. I’m all for traveling alone, and finding independence, but not all of us enjoy traveling alone. Talk about how awesome, liberating, life-changing it can be, but you’re most likely not going to convince me that solo travel is better than traveling with others. I’ve experienced traveling alone in South America in my younger days, and I wasn’t a big fan.
Here’s the deal. I’m a social butterfly. In fact, my love language is quality time; I enjoy people in my life! Traveling alone doesn’t necessarily empower me, but makes me wish I had someone there to experience it with me. This may be one of the many reasons why I’m married my best friend and travel partner 4 years ago.
To say there is only one right way to travel is completely dumb. It’s like saying chocolate ice-cream is better than vanilla- It’s all a matter of personal opinion. I just wanted to get this post out there for all us social loving people.
Whether you like to travel solo or with others, you’re making memories and experiencing a new way of life, and that’s the most important thing. :)
Why is traveling with others so awesome?
1. You can watch each others bags at the airport. Since Derik and I primarily travel with backpacks- we often take our 65L backpacks and one carry-on. Having to tote around four full bags together can be kind of a drag in the airport, but it’s a lot better than having to wait in line at baggage claim. One of the worst parts about traveling alone is that you have to take your bags with you everywhere you go, including lugging them into the
dirty bathroom stall. When you travel with a buddy you can leave your bags with them, and then go to the bathroom without being weighed down by luggage.
2. Sharing airplane food. Sometimes airplane food is great, sometimes it’s not. When it comes to meal times on the plane, usually two meals choices are provided. Derik and I get both choices, and then figure out what we like best. I’m a big fruit and veggie eater, so he usually gives me his and I give him most of my meat or bread choice. Works well!
3. Using each other as pillows for sleeping on. Airplane seats are crazy uncomfortable, and its almost impossible for me to fall asleep. Having a travel partner helps because you can prop up a pillow between the two of you, and both can benefit. I also enjoy giving my legs relief from hitting the seat in front of me by occasionally draping them over Derik’s. He put’s up with a lot. Shoulders are also remarkably comfortable to sleep on!
4. Taking each other’s pictures instead of awkwardly setting up a tripod and taking a picture of yourself. Although I’m the shutter bug, Derik has gotten better about taking pictures of me as well. Or at least offering. I’d rather be behind the camera instead of in front of it, but Derik worries that when we look at pictures down the road it’ll look like he was the only one that went on vacation. :) I also hate asking strangers to take my picture. You never really know if they’ll just take off with your camera or not. Also, what if you look stupid in the picture they took?
5. Staying safe. A travel partner can discourage pickpocketers, swindlers, and people just generally trying to take advantage of you. Why? You have twice the amount of ears, eyes, physical force, and brains. When faced with something that appears a little sketchy, you have someone to bounce thoughts off, and you can work out issues easier.
6. Not having to go through food poisoning and other sicknesses alone ( although sometimes solidarity may be the more pleasant option). There’s nothing worse than traveling and getting sick. It’s inevitable, especially if you’re visiting remote locations, that you’ll get food poisoning once or twice. Going through that alone just sucks. No one’s there for you to give you cold, refreshing towels, make you drink water, and go buy you medicine.
When we were traveling in January I came down with a 104 degree fever (getting off the subject of food poisoning). There’s absolutely no way I would have been able to transport myself to the Urgent Care clinic alone. Derik was a huge help to me!
7. Twice as hard to miss a flight, bus, or tour because of sleeping in or forgetfulness. One of my biggest fears on a trip is sleeping in too long and missing a flight! When you travel with someone you’re twice as less likely to sleep past your alarm or forget something…which is AWESOME!
8. Not having to eat in restaurants and cafes alone. Some people like eating alone, but its depressing for me to get a ‘table for one.’ I’m also a talker, so having to eat in silence is no good!
9. Seeing the look of childlike wonder on your travel partner’s face. There are certain things in life that should only be experienced with the ones you love. Watching the look on your husband’s face as you summit a mountain and take in the views, or hearing his giggles while night swimming with manta rays makes the trip a million times more meaningful. Those are the moments that count and the ones you’ll remember.
10. Having someone to relive memories with. It’s one thing to tell your friends stories of your travels, but an entirely different thing when you can bounce off memories and amazing places you’ve been together with your travel partner! Certain details are always forgotten, but when you have someone to refresh your memories about certain random moments, it allows you to appreciate traveling so much more!
What about you? Do you like traveling alone or with a partner?