When it comes to traveling, you can join a group (group travel) or travel on your own (solo travel).
Group travel is when you book to join an organized tour that has a set itinerary and schedule everyone in the group follows, led by a tour guide. It is designed and arranged by travel companies and has a specific number of participants.
Solo travel is when you book your trip, create your itinerary plan, and go your own way. Simply, it is a DIY tour of a place, with you arranging all the details.
Depending on your preference, personality, and goals, both can be fun.
While each has its pros and cons, it will still boil down to what will give you a more enriching and memorable experience.
Let’s take a close look at each travel arrangement, so you can better see which is ideal for you as a traveler or for your next trip.
Solo Travel: Your Wanderlust, Your Way
If it’s your first time traveling alone, and you have no idea what to expect, these will help you make an informed decision.
Pros of Traveling Alone
Freedom and Flexibility
With solo travel, you get to decide if you want spontaneity in your trip and discover off-the-beaten-path places as you go. There’s no rigid schedule or itinerary to follow. There is more flexibility if you like a particular place and decide to extend your time there to have a more immersive experience.
Traveling alone means you own your time, and you can make adjustments without having to check in with anyone or slow down or rush them to suit your drift.
Ultimate Me Time
Solo travel is great for self-discovery! This is the way to go if you’re going for an Eat Pray Love experience. It is an excellent opportunity to spend good alone time with yourself.
If you’ve been feeling stressed lately, a change of scenery may help clear your head, soothe your soul, and rejuvenate your body. Set on an adventure, discover new places, reflect, face your fears, and gain a new perspective on life.
With solo travel, there’s no group chatter and clutter, so you can focus more on what you think, how you feel, and who you truly are.
Cheaper Travel Cost
Another major perk is that you can personalize your trip based on your budget. You can pick a low-cost carrier, book an inexpensive hostel, eat cheap, skip tourist traps, and explore retail districts in the outskirts for some thrift shopping.
There is also no added expense for guided tour services and transfer arrangements because you DIY everything. It’s just you, a map, a GPS app, and local cabs and trains getting you around exploring places.
Cons of Traveling Alone
Limited Chance to Make New Friends
Solo travel may give you few opportunities to meet and make new friends. There’s no one you can talk and bond with meaningfully during your trip unless it is while exchanging pleasantries at the hostel.
There may be places or cuisine that would be more fun to explore with other like-minded travelers.
Taking Photos and Videos Can be Challenging
Taking great photos of all those scenic places can be limited if you only have your hands and your monopods to rely on. You may feel uncomfortable asking other tourists to take your photos, especially if they’re preoccupied with sightseeing.
You’ll need to improvise ways to capture moments or use video editing tools with great features.
Possible Risks to Safety
Traveling alone in an unfamiliar place may come with a risk. You should be extra mindful of your surroundings because pickpockets may see you as easy prey. After all, you’re not a part of a herd.
Also, when you get sick or have an emergency, there’s no ready help available, unlike when you have a guide and a travel group.
Lack of Travel Assistance
You will be solely responsible for every trip detail, from your transportation to accommodation, transfers, food, and special needs. Thus, you have to plan for contingencies in case a mishap happens, like a wrongly booked room, getting lost, or rebooking your flight.
Group Travel: Getting Social in an Adventure
But before joining an organized trip group, know these pros and cons, so you can better prepare to travel with people you’ll be meeting for the first time.
Pros of Group Travel
Meeting New People
This is the top benefit of joining group travel. Some even choose this because they want to learn about other cultures and gain new friends. The group’s shared experience usually leads to friendships and a chance to build a network with people of different cultures, professions, or nationalities. Having people to laugh, eat, capture moments, and share stories with can add to the enriching experience of traveling.
Travel Details are Sorted
Vacations should not cause stress because the whole point is to get away from the grind. An organized tour takes the responsibility and the possible stress and headache of taking care of your travel details. You simply have to pay, show up, bring your stuff, and go with the arranged flow. It’s a hassle-free way to explore a new place.
Professional Tour Guide
When traveling, you also want to learn more about a place and culture, and a guided tour delivers that to you. Having someone educate you while you see sights and wonders adds value to your adventure.
Access to Discounts and Travel Perks
With group travel, you may have a more premium experience in accommodation because many hotels provide special rates for group tours. You can also enjoy special rates in tourist places like museums and galleries because of the travel company’s affiliation.
Greater Confidence and Safety
When you travel with a group, you feel more confident and secure roaming around because you know you have company. Those who prey on tourists will think twice before victimizing you if they see you surrounded by a bunch of travelers with their eyes and cameras prying around.
Cons of Group Travel
With group travel, you don’t have much private space and time because your group moves about and experiences things together. You also need to think of others and not just do what pleases you.
You cannot simply disrupt the planned itinerary out of whim because it is already set, and everyone is expected to follow. You cannot travel at your own pace and rhythm with group travel.
Because the travel company takes care of everything, and you don’t have to plan the trip, expect the service to cost you more than a DIY solo trip. The perks you enjoy can come with a price tag, but if you see the benefits outweigh the cost, the extra dollars are justified.
Tips For Traveling, Whether Solo or With a Group
Know Your Goals
When planning group travel with your friends or joining an organized tour, you must know what you want to experience and gain from it. Whether you want to go on a digital detox tour alone or visit all the restaurants with live music in a bustling city – you need to think through all the details.
You wouldn’t want to leave things hanging and undone on vacation. Assign people in your office to take over your tasks, ask someone to check your house and feed your dogs while you’re away, arrange for an international mobile comm service, and pack all the things you will need, including emergency kits and medicines, gadgets, and climate-appropriate clothes. Book your tickets and accommodations early enough, have travel insurance, and ask questions to your organizer, so you would know what to expect.
Plan Your Itinerary and Arrange For a Tour Guide
If you are going on a solo trip, you may book a local tour guide or photo and video companion to help maximize your itinerary. It is best to create an itinerary, so you can go to the must-see places and not miss a thing. If you’re on an organized tour, Google information about the places you see, so you can make the most of them, given the set time you will spend there.
Document and Film Your Trip
Filming travel videos is a great way to capture and document your journey, freeze special moments and bring them back home with you. Whether it be days spent at the beach, hikes in the mountains or exploring unique cultural landmarks, travel videos help to bring the experience alive. With modern technology, there are numerous ways to create interesting and unique videos by using different techniques such as reverse video, stop-motion, and split screen.
Places to Travel with Friends
As a bonus, here are some must-see vacation places for you if you plan on traveling with friends instead of solo or with strangers.
Weekend Beach Getaway
Planning a fun, sunny, and relaxing trip to sandy beaches with your girls? The Florida Keys are always a sweet escape if you’re in the US. If you want a tropical vibe overseas, you can’t go wrong with Waikiki, the Bahamas, Mykonos, Palawan, Bali, Bermuda, Maldives, and Bora Bora. These pristine shores offer breathtaking scenery and a good mix of relaxing and rejuvenating atmospheres.
Cultural and Heritage Sites
If you want to experience culturally rich places with heritage sites, vivid local scenes, and an exotic vibe, explore Silk Road destinations like Armenia, Azerbaijan, Croatia, Greece, Romania, and Montenegro.
You can also go east and experience the exotic appeal of India, Indo-China, Kyoto, Jeju Island, and Thailand, or immerse in the old-world charm of European UNESCO Heritage Sites. Take your pick from 34 destinations grouped into thematic itineraries; Royal Europe, Ancient Europe, Underground Europe, and Romantic Europe.
Instagram-worthy scenery awaits you in places like Lucerne, Tuscany, Cotswolds, Prague, or Vienna. You can also take a scenic train ride in Europe or the Grand Canyon and Napa Valley Train rides in the US while exploring charming towns
If you and your pals want an outdoor bonding time for an unforgettable thrill, you can consider the extraordinary nature of Zermatt Switzerland, Whistler Blackcomb Canada, Niseko Japan, and Aspen Colorado for good hiking and ski experiences.
Time to Book That Trip!
With these informative guides and travel ideas, you can make plans and decide whether to travel alone or join a group. Let your heart guide you, research, and prepare for a life-changing trip that could inspire you to live with a sense of adventure and anticipation of what life has to offer!
Ready to start planning? Check out our Plan Your Trip page for more advice and booking resources to help you plan a great trip no matter if you are going it solo or in a group.