Solo vs. Group Travel
So you’re reaching your tolerance threshold at work, your kids are driving you nuts, and if you have to sit in another hour of traffic you’ll absolutely blow a gasket. You’ve decided that it’s time to exit stage left, and board the next plane and gtfoh to recharge. But only one question now to answer, do you invite a few of your closest buddies, or do you slip away alone and unnoticed? Both dynamics have its own pros and cons, and choosing what’s best for you could mean the difference between flop or flourish. It’s important to be self-aware of your emotions, state of balance, and personal needs when making this decision. To help you make an informed choice, we’ll explore some of the most important factors in detail.
Advantages of Solo Travel
Meditation. Spending time alone with yourself is at the forefront of truly becoming acquainted with who you are at the core. It cultivates a sacred space for your mind to open, and unfold like the delicate petals of a blooming Moonflower. Limiting human interactions while traveling in unfamiliar places can help activate the powerful intuition of your third-eye, and allow for renewed perspectives. Needless to say, learning to trust your own instincts, and growing your discernment, is invaluable when it comes to navigating through the maze of decision-making while vacationing, and back at home. A little alone time is often exactly what you need to gain clarity, and achieve the balance you’ve been lacking. The practice of raising your vibrational aura is an intimate experience. Solo travel is an exceptional conduit for this.
Independence. If you’ve had it with schedules and the opinions of others for a while, then you may want to opt in for a quick getaway, party of one. Traveling alone, if nothing else, provides you with complete control. Everything is done, or not done, when you say so. You never have to consider who wants to rise before the cock crows, or who wants to sleep in for a few more hours, who wants to jet-ski versus visiting local museums, or who only eats hamburgers and fries, and doesn’t want to try that interesting corner restaurant you saw while souvenir shopping. There is an unmatched level of flexibility that solo travel gifts. Furthermore, the confidence that is grown while traveling alone has the awesome tendency to follow you home, and spill over into your regular routines.
New Friends. Have you ever caught happy hour by yourself after work, or on your lunch break, and ended up meeting someone so amazing that you actually decide to exchange contacts? There’s something inviting about being alone in a social atmosphere. People seem to be less intimidated, and more confident, about socially approaching strangers who are alone, especially if their demeanor is welcoming. It could be the light, vacation mood, or the depleted fear of being judged by people you may never see again. Either way, solo travel is proven to be an easy way to expand your network, according to a recent study commissioned by Intrepid Travel, an online resource for solo and group travel tours. Most importantly, broadening your friends list invites a new way of viewing the world, seasoned with compassion and understanding for people in general. That’s a super plus when it comes to being a decent human being in a sea of deplorable assholes.
Disadvantages of Solo Travel
Safety. “There is safety in numbers.”—Unknown. This age old aphorism certainly holds some truth, and shouldn’t be completely ignored. Before stepping foot in any foreign country, it’s a good idea to humble yourself, and remember that you will be a guest in someone else’s home. You are entitled to nothing, except the basic necessities to keep you alive. Therefore, ample research on customs, current politics, and even the weather can help to best prepare you to be an informed traveler. Try to abandon the ideology that everything that happens in a certain place will stay there as an excuse to make wild, consequential decisions, especially if sensible safety precautions aren’t practiced. Now is not the time to take shortcuts down dark alleyways at night back to your hotel to save a few coins. Call an Uber!
Loneliness. Although traveling anywhere alone certainly has incredible perks, like the ability to bask in your own amazing ambiance, and connect with self, the other side of that coin can be lonely. Particularly for those who are always used to being surrounded by others, it may be a little challenging to adjust. There won’t always be someone there at your disposal to take bomb Instagram pictures of you, nor will there be someone in the bed next to you when you awake to discuss breakfast options; unless of course you happen to meet the love of your life. It is very possible to spend the entire day exploring while completely isolated, and then return to an empty hotel room. Take advantage of these solitary moments. Being alone is an ideal time to remain still, and receive divine, progressive messages, and experience lucid reflection.
Advantages of Group Travel
Cost. Arguably the biggest deciding factor when determining which way the pendulum will swing in the choice between solo and group travel, the total cost of your trip tops every list. Rounding up a handful of your best buds for an extended trip abroad, or a quick getaway on your own turf is typically more cost effective than bearing the brunt of everything alone. The internet is a cesspool of group discounts and offers to choose from to the liking of every vice, activity and attraction. Your party may choose budget friendly accommodations like AirBnB, VRBO, or Home Away, buy groceries to cook, and public transportation. Splitting Uber rides when necessary is also an option. Sharing the bill for bottles of liquor to pre-game before heading out, or game-night in, will definitely afford you more coins towards experiencing more of your trip.
Relationships. Tragedy and celebrations strengthen relationships, and traveling together is no different. Uninterrupted time together with a group of people, or even just one other person, for an extended period of time, in an unfamiliar setting will inevitably illicit some adversity. Successfully enduring these trials reward bounteous outcomes. Experts report that “partners who travel together experienced improved communication, and that connectivity extended into their life back home,” according to a Texas A&M 2013 Journal of Travel Research article. Vacationing temporarily extracts you from the monotonous lull of routine. It stimulates all your senses, and while adventuring with a group, you create a synchronized tune to march to. The shared memories that each of you randomly recall once back home will forever keep you united when nostalgia strikes.
Disadvantages of Group Travel
Hi, I’m a tourist. There’s this unspoken rule when traveling, to absolutely avoid any overt behavior that may expose you as an entitled tourist. Imposing selfie-stick pictures in crowded, public spaces, clueless gawking and fumbling with maps, and no regard for the local language are some of the most common offenses. Unfortunately, bumbling about with an overpopulated, loud, tour group whose leader can be easily identified by some ridiculous signage, and microphone is the number one offender in this case. Although tourism is of course a financial positive, some locals may view this type of tourist as a nuisance. You may save yourself some embarrassment by adopting the nature of a beautiful butterfly, though. Be seen, and not heard.
Disagreements. Where there are people with opinions, there will be some debate. The high of being on vacation can wear thin, and sometimes be replaced with anxiety and frustration. The fact is that people do not always share the same sentiments, and while expressing your feelings is always healthy, this aspect of traveling eludes solo travel, but is definite within groups. If you are typically overwhelmed in crowds, and need to recharge frequently in solitude, then large group tours may not be suitable for you. You may find it easier to thrive in more intimate surroundings. Remember to evaluate your current state of balance and emotional requirements to help make a sound decision.
Strict Schedule. If you are anything like me, then the thought of rigid scheduling on vacation is absolutely terrifying, and certainly not even an option. Participating in group tours, particularly, tend to be extremely militant when adhering to time. Usually with no exceptions, but rightfully so. It may be helpful to plan an itinerary to abide by within smaller groups of friends still. That way, everything that was discussed, planned, and agreed upon prior to arriving in paradise can be accomplished within reasonable time, and without the added anxiety of rushing. That type of atmosphere will more than likely provoke adversity.
Regardless of the route you choose to take, planning and executing your trip in the best suitable way for your own personal needs is essential. Although traveling is something we do to escape, and renew ourselves from routine stressors, and it tends to illicit a light-hearted attitude, which is okay, it should be taken seriously. It is a time during which true healing, enlightenment, and restoration can happen. Make it a point to stop, breathe deeply, and express gratitude for being able to be there, wherever you end up, and acknowledge the beautiful detail in the small things that surround you. Upon your return, you should not be the same. You should be magnificently different, even in the tiniest way. And then you will know that you’ve done it right.
Love & Light,