Solo Travel vs Travelling in a Group

Travelling solo versus travelling in a group/with friends. It’s a topic debated by many travelers around the world and I’m here to offer my share of wisdom on this topic. I may not have an abundance of knowledge on this, however; I have done both and therefore feel like I am adequately experienced to provide some good and valid insight, so here we go.

All my life I have traveled in a group, whether that be for a school trip, a family holiday, a lad’s holiday, or anything in between and they have all been great. On the other hand; I have also traveled a few times alone, recently on my month long backpacking trip to Thailand, which again was amazing. Now there are obviously pro’s and con’s to both, and that’s what I’m here to discuss, starting with travelling in a group.

The obvious benefit of travelling with other people is that it’s cheaper. 1 room split between 2 people, for example, is the best and most obvious saving. But the savings don’t stop there. Depending on the size of your group you can save on things like tours, taxi’s, entrance fee’s etc, granted this isn’t a guarantee, but with good haggling skills it can be achieved and sometimes with great success, and depending on where you are in the world, it can save you a lot of money.

Another positive for travelling in a group is that you have someone to share your incredible travel experiences with, something that will make you closer with that person and something that you can reminisce about together for years to come. In my opinion, it’s always better to share these moments with others, especially friends, however; I do understand that solo travelers prefer the more personal feelings of travelling alone, I just prefer to share these experiences with others.

Travelling in a group also means you won’t, or are less likely to, get lonely. Sometimes you just want someone to talk to, and if you are travelling solo this is, sometimes, not an option. But obviously if you have a travel partner/s you will always have someone to lift your spirits and mask the feeling of homesickness which might creep in from time to time. Travelling is not always easy, it can get stressful as things won’t always go to plan, therefore having someone you know with you is often very beneficial and again can keep your morale up and get you through the challenges of travelling.

On the other hand, solo travel also has its benefits. The main one is the fact that it is you and only you making all of the decisions. In a group people will have differing opinions on where to go, what to eat, where to stay etc. This could mean that you miss out on something you wanted to do due to the fact the majority of your party chose something else. Also, it could slow you down as it can often take a while to come to a decision on said subjects. Furthermore, the feeling of total freedom you get travelling alone is unbeatable. It’s very intimate, and evolves you as a person in ways you could never imagine. It’s just you and the earth, and that is so powerful.

However; obviously the best thing about solo travel is the fact that you will meet new people and make some great new friends. Whilst this isn’t restricted to solo travel, you will be more inclined to go out and interact with new people more. This can lead to new friendships made and a massive growth in your confidence. I mean, if you can go to a completely foreign country, overcome an insane amount of culture shock, meet new friends, gain amazing new experiences and just have an overall amazing time, then it is quite clear solo travel is definitely worth it, and in my opinion can be more rewarding than travelling with a group, particularly due to the amount of personal growth you will achieve.

So there is my two cents on the subject, I hope you enjoyed reading this. Stay tuned for new posts and keep smiling 🙂

 

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My Travel Bucket List!

Travel related posts are always my favourite type of posts to write and they are usually the ones that go down the best, so, despite my lack of travel at this present time, I decided to compile my ‘Travel Bucket List’. A large proportion of my life consists of me reading or watching travel related articles/books/videos and through this I have discovered many activities that have significantly fuelled my desire to travel the world.

One of my dream travel destinations is Iceland, so naturally this post will feature various Icelandic adventures. The first quite obviously being to see the natural phenomenon, the Northern Lights. Even looking at pictures is enchanting, so to experience this in real life would be a truly remarkable experience. One more thing Iceland adds to my bucket list is to experience the ‘Blue Lagoon’. In a country known for being stereotypically cold, it may come as surprise that Iceland offers a geothermal spa with water temperature ranging from 37-39 degrees but, due to it being located in a lava field, it does and my god it looms relaxing. Plus it’s good for the skin and who doesn’t love skincare! One final thing I would love to do in Iceland, and it was hard to whittle it down to just 3, believe me, is visit the ‘Skaftafell Ice Cave’. In the country of ice there are obviously many ice/snow attractions; however, this one appeals to me the most purely for the fact it just looks incredible and quite extraordinary, I mean just look at the picture of it!

Okay, away from Iceland now. South East Asia is also a part of the world that I am eager to explore. The street markets in Asia particularly appeal to me due to the fact they combine culture with shopping and offer a great chance to interact with and immerse yourself with the locals. One specific market that stands out is the ‘Chatuchak Market’ in Bangkok. This weekend market has around 8000 stalls and is split into 27 sections (AKA it’s frickin huge) and pretty much sells everything a human being, like myself, would desire. Thailand is also the host of ‘The Full Moon Party’. The full moon party, whilst pretty crazy nowadays (I mean there’s drugs, sex and everything in between), is something that looks like so much fun, if done sensibly(ish). 40,000 people crammed onto the beach dancing throughout the night, having the time of their lives and consuming the occasional alcoholic beverage, okay a lied, a lot of alcohol is consumed, but that only adds to the fun haha.

So there is my travel bucket list. I tried to keep away from the things you would normally see on a typical bucket list. For example; The Taj Mahal, bungee jumping etc (although I definitely want to do those too). And obviously there are a lot more things I would love to do so maybe I will write a part 2, who knows. Let me know any of your travel aspirations and keep smiling, Harrison.

p.s If you would like to check out my ‘Dream Travel Destinations’ do so here (I will love you forever).

iceland            Blue Lagoon

My Dream Travel Destinations

As someone who vows to explore the world and immerse myself in various cultures and climates, I thought why not share with you some of my dream travel/backpacking destinations. These places, as you will probably notice, are extremely different in both climate and culture, but equally as appealing and awesome and one day (after education) I’m sure I will give them a visit. This is in no particular order.

Okay so first up is Finland. My initial desire to travel Finland came after watching this video by travel vloggers ‘VagaBrothers’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMkqSrEa_Sw where they explored Helsinki (the stunningly beautiful capital) in the summer. With amazing scenery, incredible architecture and design and a sun that never sets, Finland really does have it all. Finland offers both the city and country style landscape and culture, and with various towns and villages to explore, as well as the old markets and infamous Finnish sauna experience, there really is no getting bored and that’s enough to persuade me.

Finland

Next on my bucket list is India. As the majority of my interest lies in budget travel, India is definitely a must. India offers an experience completely different from anywhere in the world (I mean there are elephants and camels walking the streets) and much like neighbouring countries in South East Asia, it can be done on an extremely tight budget. The chaotic streets, endless amounts of tourist attractions and one of the best cuisines in the world all combine to make India standout to me as a must to travel. Many travellers agree that India is an eye opening experience and that chance encounters with beautiful, poverty stricken children can prove to be life changing. If you can avoid the scams, because, unfortunately, they do exist, then India will most definitely deliver you the experience of a lifetime. And what’s more is you can get a beer for 50p!

india

One final place I intend on travelling is another country in South East Asia, Thailand. Probably the most famous backpack destination in the world, and for all the right reasons. It’s cheap, beautiful, and easy to get around (although those Tuk Tuk’s do look rather scary) and offers a culture which blends the religious and historical elements with crazy nightlife and hectic, and very cheap, markets. Thailand is also home to the ‘Full Moon Party’, which is arguably the craziest party in the world that brings around 10,000 people to a beach once a month to have the night of their lives. Whatever you desire from your travels, Thailand has it. Exotic beaches, amazing food, and a pleasant mix between the old and new, Thailand is one place I dream of one day getting the pleasure of visiting.

thailand

Okay so that was my list, I could have gone on forever with this but wanted to keep it brief (may do another list at a later date). Let me know your dream travel destinations in the comments, I would love to know, and maybe even learn about somewhere I’ve never even thought about myself! Thank you for reading. Keep Smiling, Harrison 🙂

(None of the pictures used are mine)

The Journey to Lake Garda, Italy!

Lake Garda, the largest most elegant lake in all of Italy, surrounded by exquisite scenery and man-made beauty, and right in the heart of Italian culture. The excitement for the promised beach days, themeparks, hot sun and the world’s best pizza was too much to contain. Everything would be perfect once we got there, I say that hesitantly as how did we choose to get there, no, not the short 2 hour flight available, instead the genius minds at my college colluded and decided to take the option of a… 24 hour coach ride! I’m not digging at my teachers or anything, I really do like them, but come on, 24 hours; I think I’d be better suited swimming the channel and walking through France and Switzerland than enduring a day long coach trip. I clearly took this idea with great apprehension, as any sane human would. I mean watching Harvey Specter strut around in a suit and be a badass, whilst extremely entertaining, does not quench the unrelenting boredom for too long, not even the smooth sound of Paolo Nutini managed it. However, other than this lingering feeling of downright boredom, the journey wasn’t actually that bad. That and the obvious lack of sleep, hours of severe pain thanks to a seat as hard as the Rocks abs, the nauseating stench of various bodily odour and the drivers strange and rather weird obsession with 80’s disco music, in particular ABBA, were most definitely worth it. The satisfaction of standing up and relieving the high concentration of pain from my body’s derriere combined with the open armed greeting of Italy’s 30 degrees heat definitely made the journey worthwhile and quickly forgettable in the end. Now where was that pizza?

A picture of me at the top of a mountain in Lake Garda (Monte Baldo)

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Keep Smiling, Harrison 🙂