Solo travel is one of the greatest and most challenging things you can do. Once you take the plunge and go on your first trip it irreversibly changes you. You become more confident, an expert navigator and dab hand at organising a stellar itinerary, but for better or worse, solo travel ruins travelling with anyone else forever. It will never be the same again.
Solo travel gives you the freedom to do whatever you want when you want. So when the time comes for you to travel with a buddy, the experience is somewhat tarnished because solo travellers just aren’t that good at compromise (or at least, I’m not!). If you’re a solo traveller and you’ve agreed to go travelling with friends, here are a few tips to help you muddle through it.
Plan your itinerary together
Solo travel teaches you to plan like crazy because you have no one else to lean on during your trip. As a result, it feels strange allowing someone else to take the reins because it goes against everything you’re used to. If you do all the planning it can lead to resentment on both sides because you’ll end up feeling like you’re doing all the work and they’ll reproach you for turning them into a tag-along. To prevent this, make sure you designate some time to sit down with your travel buddy so you can include them in the planning, that way they will have no excuse. Research your destination with them so you can both get excited. Your itinerary will feel more balanced between you and it will help to ease the stress of one person doing it all.
Share activity must-dos
There’s nothing worse for a solo traveller than feeling like they’re missing out on activities because someone else doesn’t want to do them. Personally, I like exploring every inch of the destination I’m in. I will literally walk until I drop. The last thing I want to do is lie around in my accommodation all day because you don’t spend money on expensive flights to do what you already do at home. That being said, you do need some down time on your trip. You’ll just burn out if you try to do everything and a hectic itinerary will only lead to frayed tempers.
To keep a good balance between activities and downtime, share your absolute must-do activities with your travel buddy and let them return the favour even if you’re not so keen on what they offer. Ensuring that you both have activities you won’t miss will give you a more fulfilling trip. You may not be able to do everything and there will be a fair amount of compromise but at least you won’t feel like you’ve missed out!
Much like sharing your itinerary it’s important to split travel responsibilities. You have no choice but to book and plan everything when you travel solo but when you’re with someone you have the chance to divvy them up or risk becoming the designated tour guide. Take a step back and let someone else be in charge of booking accommodation or transport. You can afford to relax and not take the reins because this time you do have someone else to fall back on. Enjoy it.
Don’t put pressure on yourself
After enjoying the perks of solo travel, travelling with a buddy can be more challenging because you can’t just breeze about on a whim. You’re also spending 24/7 with someone which is bound to test even the mildest mannered patience from time to time. It’s easy to find yourself comparing solo travel to a trip with friends but it’s important to not put pressure on yourself. Each travelling experience has its own positives and challenges. Yes, you might have to compromise more but you will always have someone there with you.
Don’t try to make the trip perfect because you’ll set it up to fail. Instead, the best way to get the most out of travelling with someone is to find a happy medium between you and accept that there will always be differences. Help yourself out by only agreeing to go with someone you can get along with for more than a few hours. Of course, you’re not obliged to go on a trip with them at all if you don’t feel comfortable about it. You don’t have to be a solo traveller to know when a travel buddy won’t work out.
Thanks for reading,