Traveling with Others > Traveling Alone > Not Traveling At All

I know, I’m an ass for putting anything to do with math in a travel blog post. If it’s been awhile for you, the signs (>) you see in the title stand for greater than. So, this title (which is just my opinion of course) reads Traveling with Others “is greater than” Traveling Alone “which is greater than” Not Traveling At All. And after my short time in Central America, this is how I truly feel. I’ve read a lot of posts about this topic from other travel blogs, and as many have pointed out before me, your preference for how/who you travel with will often come down to your personality. I am an extrovert, to the fullest meaning of the word.

I love being around other people, I love sharing everything I can with everyone in my life (which is half of the reason I started a travel blog in the first place), and I honestly don’t feel complete coming home (or back to my hostel) without the company of friends. Many people out there may scathe at the idea of having to wait for and deal with others wants and needs, but I think it adds immensely to the pleasure, and adventure of travel. Some of the most memorable moments of my trip were when I was doing something someone else wanted to do. And why were they memorable? Because I was stepping out of my comfort zone and into a situation I might never have found myself in without the influence of friends.

Yes, there are negatives to traveling with others. Sometimes sacrifices have to be made. Sometimes you have to slow down your pace to give someone time to look at something you have no interest in. Sometimes you might spend an entire day doing stuff you aren’t really interested in, all because other people with you want to do them. But to me, these are all small prices to pay to be able to share some of the greatest experiences of my life with the people who are closest to me.

With all of that being sad, I must acknowledge the rest of my title. It isn’t always the case that others can travel with you. Whether it be work, school, or some other concern, it isn’t always guaranteed you’ll have a “travel partner”. I am faced with this reality for my upcoming trip to South America after the first of the year. It appears as if I may be doing the entire three month trip completely by myself. But guess what? Traveling alone is better than not traveling at all, even for people like myself.

While in Central America there were a couple of weeks I spent traveling alone. But in reality, I was never actually alone. There might have been a bus ride here or there where I didn’t have anyone to talk to (because of empty seats or language barriers) but more often than not I was able to find other groups of travelers to enjoy myself with. In fact, without my support group of friends, I was actually forced to branch out and meet people in order to keep my sanity. So, although it might not be my favorite form of travel. I’ll take traveling alone over sitting at home any day.

Now as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, all of this is simply my opinion. And it has a lot to with my personality type. It’s up to each and every traveler to decide what is best for them and their travels. At the end of the day, you have to do what is right for you.

So, how do you prefer to travel? With friends and loved ones in tow? Or at your own pace with no extra baggage?

{ 15 comments }

Ted Nelson August 26, 2010 at

I like to have a mix of both if possible. I love to travel with others yet sometimes it is good to be on your own and make your own decisions. This is the best part about traveling alone is you can make that decision. When you are traveling with someone you are stuck with them for better or for worse. If traveling with a friend it usually is positive, but there are times that long periods with someone you thought you knew can turn disastrous. When traveling alone if you decide to travel with someone else you can always decide to bail and split if things don’t work out.

Enjoy your 3 month trip. If you are an extrovert you will have no problem finding people to hang out with. I have found that the best part of traveling alone is it not only forces you to meet other people, but you are also more likely to hang out with the locals than if you were with someone. Meeting people and hanging out with the people from the country is one of the best parts of travel in my opinion.

Matt August 26, 2010 at

Some great points Ted. The locals thing is definitely a true statement. You have to branch out or else you are in for some long boring days! I am definitely excited for the challenge ahead of me.

ayngelina August 27, 2010 at

I’m traveling for a year and I couldn’t imagine doing it with someone else. Like you I’m rarely alone but when I want to be I can do so without hurting people’s feelings.

Matt August 27, 2010 at

heh, I’m just not too worried about people’s feelings! But yea, I completely understand. Sometimes easy access to some “me time” is a needed.

Poi August 27, 2010 at

I’ve just started travelling with my girlfriend……..I’ll report back in a few weeks how I prefer to travel.

Matt August 27, 2010 at

haha, I look forward to the report back. I traveled with mine for a little bit but nowhere near as long as what you and Kirsty are doing. Next year though I’ll be able to weigh in on that hopefully.

mikeyz September 30, 2010 at

i look forward to linking up like old times! galpagos islands? australia?

Matt September 30, 2010 at

Wherever you want man!

Arun October 8, 2010 at

I enjoy it either way, weather traveling alone or with others. Both have their goods. A good company is nice to have. And while I am by myself, I get to explore a lot more and do things without bothering about if others might enjoy it as well.

Globetrooper Lauren October 20, 2010 at

Love the post Matt. I struggle with this question a lot because I am the opposite to you: an introvert, but I love to travel with other people. I just have to remember to give myself some ‘me time’ every now and again to re-energise.
I also agree with what you said about the best times being when you do something that someone else has suggested. It may not be your cup of tea, but it makes you step out of your comfort zone and share an incredible experience with someone.
Check out my website if you’re keen to meet people on your trip, we may be able to help. Look forward to reading more about your journey 🙂

Matt October 21, 2010 at

Hey Lauren, thanks for the comment! I’ll definitely check out the site. Very interesting concept to say the least! I’ll be back in Central or South America early next year by myself so your site may come in handy!

Connie October 20, 2010 at

I traveled to Peru on my own a few years ago and made some excellent friends there from Copenhagen. We stayed in touch and the following year, on the anniversary of our Peru trip, we met up again in Copenhagen! Traveling alone can be, well, lonely at times but you do meet some amazing people and you end up not traveling alone for very long! I hope you have an AMAZING time in South America and I look forward to hearing your stories and adventures with your new friends!

Matt October 21, 2010 at

Yea I definitely stepped out of my shell and met a lot of people I may not have met had I been with my circle of friends. The South America trip may be turning into a Central America trip again so I can hit up all the places I missed. I’ll be figuring it out soon!

johnny November 4, 2010 at

“happiness is only true when shared” – couldn’t agree more mate. I always try to convince friends to join but it’s true that you are never truly alone with so many other backpackers around.

Strongxu December 15, 2010 at

I think the big question is how to find someone who share the same opinions and have the same interests with you.I think it is a total disaster if you travel with someone who have different personality with you

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