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Solo or with a good friend?

Travel Forums General Talk Solo or with a good friend?

1. Posted by white_iris (First Time Poster 1 posts) 10y

I'm leaving on my first backpacking trip at the beginning of January 2006 with one of my best friends. We are spending three weeks in Thailand, a month in New Zealand and then an undertermined amount of time in Australia (most likely 4 or 5 months).

A concern I have is that me and my friend will not make good travelling companions and will end up hating each other. Has anyone else travelled with a good friend and ruined their friendship? How can one prevent this happening if you are going to be spending every waking second with someone? Also, will this make opportunities of meeting lots of people less likely?

Maybe it's just cold feet. Haha. Anyways, how do you like to travel? Solo or with a friend, and why?

Thanks,
Vanessa

2. Posted by danalasta (Travel Guru 519 posts) 10y

if you already have a pre-conceived feeling that both of you may not get along well while travelling, my advice is dont do it...because it is those little things that will spoil the holiday for both of you...i am basically a solo traveller but along the way if someone hooks up with me, we normally work out a plan to duties...based on our strong points,etc.

dana

3. Posted by SuperBrat (Full Member 107 posts) 10y

I've come out on my work holiday with my best friend. And because we had been practically joined at the hip before, pooh poohed all the stories about people falling out whilst travelling. As far as we were concerned, we were mates and this was a trip we had both dreamed of for a long time.

Sadly, while it seemed like a good idea at the time, learnt the hard way that its a completely different ball game when you live in each others pockets and are forced to make decisions and sacrifices to accommodate both parties 24/7. Gets a bit tiring after awhile, especially when you are after all, 2 different people with different interests and expectations. I never thought I'd say this, but familiarity does breed contempt
I would give anything to have 2004 back so I could do things differently

I would think about it long and hard if I were you

4. Posted by angela_ (Respected Member 1732 posts) 10y

I travelled with my best friend for a month last summer and we are still best friends. I would say, if you have travelled together before (even if it was a short trip) you should be able to judge how well you travel together on longer trips.
Try camping out for a weekend and staying together 24/7 the whole weekend. If you hate her after the weekend, well then it's obvious you won't cope with the longer trip.

5. Posted by SeeTheSky (Respected Member 558 posts) 10y

well, i havent had bad experiences, but i know damn well when travelling with someone would or wouldnt work. in your heart, you know.. you can feel the differences in lifestyle or choices that will cause seperation. however, on the other side, if you know the person has similar ideals and feelings as you in this aspect, it can be an amazing unforgettable experience, im sure. i think its such an amazing thing to be able to share a journey with anyone, but it can be even more amazing to do it alone, just for you, all desicions yours to make (thats what cuases problems with others)

though ive always dreamed of joining someone mid-trip to while wandering. thats why ive always kept a no-plan policy, just take it as it comes. unfortunatley ive never gotten someone to join me or had the oppurtunity to join someone else. ah well, itll probably happens someday.
once again, a seemingly short answer became increasing long-winded.
thanks for listening.

6. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 10y

A concern I have is that me and my friend will not make good travelling companions and will end up hating each other. Has anyone else travelled with a good friend and ruined their friendship? How can one prevent this happening if you are going to be spending every waking second with someone? Also, will this make opportunities of meeting lots of people less likely?

Last point first, it will but not much. A M/F combo can be the worst for that because people are less likely to start random conversations with couples (whether they are couples or not is irrelevant - just being in a M/F combo gives that impression). Obviously as a solo traveller you have to make more effort to communicate with people, but it doesn't neccessarily make it harder when your with a friend, especially in more tourist/backpacker areas. In some countries, areas, being with a friend actually helps meet people - locals etc will overhear your converstaions and join in, whereas if your alone and not talking to somebody, you are often left alone.

For the first part, DON'T SPEND EVERY WAKING SECOND TOGETHER!!! Seriously, just doing a few different things freshens up friendships easily - whether it's just going on seperate day trips, a weekend apart with a planned meet up later (two people never want to see/do exactly the same thing all the time) or even doing different things in evenings.

I haven't ever lost a major friendship that way, but i've seen it happn lots. Some of my best friends, i KNOW that i could not travel with them - certainly for not more than a specified period, of maybe a week - so I wouldn't try, Most of my best friends however, are people i've actually met when travelling anyway, so we already have that experience together and know where uit will/won't work.

Angela makes an excellent point, in that you can normally work out well enough if it will work on just short weekend or few day trips. If you have time, go away together somewhere in your own country first as a kind of trial run (it's also a good test to see how you cope with big rucksacks, and discovering practical things like - oh cr*p, my bag won't fit through doors/on luggage racks etc/theres no way in hell i can carry this more than 100metres without collapsing)

I'm primarily a solo traveller myself - some of that is circumstance (allot of my travels are work realated and happen at very short notice), some is style (i travel so much that i have my own way of doing things and living almost unconsciously, and I know that the same things don't work for most people), and some is simple adventure - i never know where i'm going next, and much prefer to make things up as i go along. Traveling alone, i have maximum flexibility, can do what i want when i want and never have to compromise. In addition, i tend to be incident prone, and a couple of weeks traveling with me tends to leave people looking for new ways to kill me... I'm quite happy to travel with other people (some of my friends work perfectly as compnaions with my style), arrange to meet up with people i meet on line periodically (i have nothing to loose, if it goes well, i gain a great friend, if not, sh1t happens and we do our own thing) or simply on the road (even more so than arranging to meet beforehand, there is no expectation at all, and you can split as and when (or if) it feels right.

If in any doubt, seriously consider going alone, or at least agree between you that you will split iup for short periods on the way, and not neccessarrilly spend every waking moment together.

7. Posted by SuperBrat (Full Member 107 posts) 10y

Yup - makes sense to agree beforehand that you will both have things that one will want to do and the other will not, and it will be inevitable to be apart for a bit if neccessary. That way you both know you have a someone there in case of anything, but at the same time, not lose out on the experiences that you set out to gain by travelling together and as an individual. It also cancels out either one of you feeling slighted or left out in any way. 'Cos sometimes what you might consider a "small matter" could be perceived as a big thing to the other person and vice versa Hence the whole "familiarity breeding contempt" issue, see?

I just have to say one thing - a couple of trail weekends together is cool, and will be nothing close to travelling abroad for 12 months or so at a go ;) Just my 2p worth anyway.

Good Luck!

8. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 10y

[quote=Gelli]For the first part, DON'T SPEND EVERY WAKING SECOND TOGETHER!!![quote]

Gelli's got it right. (Again! Makes me wonder why we just don't get rid of the forums and just have an "Ask Gelli" text box.).

I was in Costa Rica, just a little two week trip with some friends. We'd travelled together before, but only to an all-inclusive resort. It was the first time we'd backpacked together (and I think the first time a couple of the people in the group had backpacked at all). It was the first time I'd ever travelled with someone as well.

We spent all our time together for the first week, and then had a MASSIVE blow-out one night. Too much tension and a little alcohol will do that. After that, we started doing day trips by ourselves, going off and doing our own things at times, and things really improved after that.

Greg

9. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 10y

Gelli's got it right. (Again! Makes me wonder why we just don't get rid of the forums and just have an "Ask Gelli" text box.).

Cheers Greg, that's very kind. I really don't know what to say to it, so i'll just sit here and be embarrased.

10. Posted by SeeTheSky (Respected Member 558 posts) 10y

yea id say gelli got it right. im more of a solo traveller also, but to be honest with the right people, together it can be awesome.