I’ve always considered myself an independent traveler. I’ve enjoyed making all my own arrangements and often travelling by myself or with my partner. Occasionally I’ll travel with groups of friends or more recently with colleagues and fellow researchers. Here is a short summary of my different travel companions and what I consider the pros and cons of each and why I’m changing my travel style.

I’ve travelled with many different travel companions; my partner, friends, colleagues and more than often than not, me, myself and I. Every travel group has it’s benefits and drawbacks so I thought I’d add a post on how I realised that travelling with others can make a travel experience more rewarding. But how do you work out what’s best for you?

Travelling Solo

The benefit of travelling solo is that you have complete freedom on where you go, when you go, how you get there and what you do when you’re there. It’s the ultimate choose your own adventure style of travel. The major downside is that you don’t have anyone with you to share these amazing experiences. I’d share them on social media, talk about them with family and friends on my return, but there’s no one there to share it with you in the moment. Simple things like having dinner can be lonely affairs. It’s also more expensive unless you want to share a dorm.

Best memories: I have complete freedom

Worst memories: Wishing I could share this with someone.

Travelling with your Partner

Relaxing in a hammock as the waves lap gently on a nearby beach with just you and your loved one can be an amazing way to share a holiday. Having someone to share your experiences with is exciting, although generally one person has to do most of the work in getting that ideal holiday off the ground. They say that you can test a relationship by travelling together; the stresses of travel can bring out the best or worst in your other half. Travelling as a couple you often meet other couples and may share travel suggestions or even the odd dinner.

Best memory: Sharing a new destination with a loved one

Worst memory: One partner generally does all the planning and carries the stress of organising it – will the other partner enjoy it?

 Travelling with Friends

A group of friends can make great travel companions, each bringing their own interests and travel styles. Often these trips have quite the party element to them and are full of fun, excitement and lots of memories to share. It can however be hard to get your friends (especially the ones you want to travel with) to be available to travel at the time you want to and the destination you want.

Best memory: Being pushed to try new things by sharing friends interests.

Worst memory: Finding the time when everyone is available.

Work Travel

Often this is the least desirable travel group. You don’t get to pick who you travel with, where or when you go. While working you have little time to explore outside the office you’re going to visit. However if you manage to score a cool colleague who has similar interests you can have a great time and explore somewhere you may not have ever considered visiting.

Best memory: Travelling with someone with similar interests to fill some weekend hours.

Worst memory: Travelling with someone you don’t mesh with. 

How to combine the best and avoid the worst memories?

With a wide range of possible travel partners, how do you choose the travel companion that will give you the most out of a destination? I’ve found that while I love independent travel, I’ve always had more positive memories when I’ve travelled with someone else. They just seem to be more memorable and I find that I’m pushed to try new things and experience more than I do when travelling solo. Unless you’re extremely independent and love your own company, I’d almost always recommend travelling with someone else. But Who?

How do you pick who to travel with? If you have a partner, always bring them along when they are available. You’re with them for a reason and it’s great to share new experiences outside the home with them. But that doesn’t mean you have to travel with just them. Friends and family are the obvious solution for who you’d like to travel with, but unfortunately the reality is that everyone’s circumstances are different and this means we rarely all get the time or money to travel at the same time to the same destination.

This is where I think group tours are a great way to build your travel party and have rewarding travel experiences. It’s great if you don’t have a partner as you can travel with others. Most of the arrangements are made for you, meaning you’ll both be able to enjoy the holiday without worrying about the next thing to do. The group will expose you to similar and different experiences that you’ll be able to share and often remember more positively. Importantly with groups, it comes down to matching your travel style, with the tours available.

When looking for a tour operator you should consider the type of people that are attracted to that operator, as often like minded people will be attracted to similar operators. What style of travel does the operator provide? Is it luxury, budget or somewhere in between? What destinations do they visit? Is it only famous destinations or is it smaller off the beaten track destinations? What sort of activities do they include? Is it shopping, sightseeing or experiences? How much time do I have for myself? Who runs the tour? Is it a local or someone else?

Find an operator that offers the style of travel you are looking for and more than likely the other guests will be similar to you, resulting in a group of new friends with similar interests to share your next travel experience. The best tours have a good balance between planned experiences and free time to give you the freedom to choose your own adventures or share private moments with a loved one.

I hope this has helped you define your travel style and select a tour operator that brings out the best in your travel experience. I really believe that tours have all the benefits of sharing experiences with new, likeminded people and reduce the stress that surrounds travel planning. What are your recommendations on selecting a tour operator or picking your travel group?

You can learn about the YourTrip travel style by reviewing our current tour package or reading about what makes our tours different.