I’ve been a solo nomad for a long time, where I worked and lived overseas on my own, or travelled to a country on my own to explore. It’s certainly taught me amazing life lessons that I will cherish forever. The prospect of having a partner to travel with me, while enticing, has never been a goal to me. In fact, even though I sometimes hoped for it, I would rather handle my own travels on my own, thank you very much.
Until we decided to travel together, my partner and I.
So, now that I’ve had the opportunity to experience both travelling solo and travelling with a partner, I can share my observations with you, dear reader.
Travelling solo versus travelling with your partner – the verdict:
When you’re travelling solo, you get to set your own itinerary (or not set any). When travelling with a partner, there are two people wanting to do things, go places, and you may not see eye-to-eye about everything on the agenda. That’s when compromise comes in. As well as a mutual agreement for some time apart so you each get to do your own thing every now and then.
In some places, you might find that if you’re a woman travelling alone, you might get more attention from locals than when you’re in a group or with your partner. Travelling with my partner was like a shield to the outside world – nobody really approached us to “just talk”. This isn’t a bad thing, but at times, I miss the interaction with strangers you meet on a trip. When travelling solo, somehow you always end up with tons of friends after your trip! On the one side, you’re more approachable and on the other, you make more efforts to go towards people and make friends.
Travelling solo, I always got lost. Thanks to my poor sense of direction and orientation. Travelling with my partner has been a blessing because he knows exactly where North is! Plus he can read Google maps better than I do (winks).
There’s something fascinating when in a foreign country and eating local dishes. Travelling with a partner means you can order different dishes and sample his or hers. Bonus! But that also means that if there’s only one chocolate chip cookie left, you might have to share it. Unless one of you called dibs on it.
“Excuse me, sir, could you please take a picture of me?” Travelling without a selfie stick (urrrgh, I have a profound dislike for that thing!), I had to trust total strangers with my camera (and hope they return it) for a picture. Travelling with your partner means you can take turns taking each other’s pictures. Of course, there are the odd times when you want a proper couple picture (not the double selfie one). That’s when you approach another couple so you can return the photography favour!
The only downside when it comes to travel photos I’d say is that you can spot a gorgeous photo opportunity first, only to see that same shot posted on social media before you had a chance to post yours. But minor details… First world problems, hey!
I surprised myself laughing more when travelling with my partner. I was apprehensive the opposite would happen (more tears or fights). The truth is, with the right partner, even though there will be disagreements and little fights, you’ll have more good times than bad together. Travelling with a partner can indeed boost your happiness levels – you laugh more, have common (and inside) jokes, share cute observations as you have fun together.
When you travel solo, you are the only keeper of amazing trip memories. Unless of course, you find yourself reunited with the friends you met on such and such trip. But often, we are alone when reminiscing the great times of a trip (even if Facebook does keep track of what you did two years ago, it’s not the same). When travelling with a partner, you’re both recalling your trip memories and better still, there are great details you forgot but that fortunately your partner remembers.
When needing to resolve an issue, you’re alone when travelling solo. You might need to wait for assistance or seek help from someone else. Or make a call. When you’re travelling with a partner, you can rely on each other, combine your clever heads and resolve any issue at hand. For instance, if your phone dies, you can use his/hers. If one of you has their wallet stolen, no problem, he/ she was not robbed and has money.
My partner being so considerate, had bought an umbrella (“Babe, we need one in case it rains”), even though I assured him a little rain won’t do us any harm but actually represents “new beginnings” (being a hopeless romantic!). On our last trip, we’ve had many rainy days and boy, was I delighted that he had that umbrella for us!
On the flip side, when one of you has an issue, it can become yours too. One example is when my partner nearly missed the train because I got stuck with my luggage on the other side. Let’s not talk about the time he waited for me at boarding gate while I was almost ‘detained’ at the airport!
Travelling solo, you get to budget your own money and have complete freedom on what you spend it on and how you do so. Travelling with a partner often means you share costs for accommodation, food, rentals – both an advantage and a disadvantage, depending on certain factors. For instance, my partner is comfortable to walk long distances whereas I prefer taking a taxi, especially when I have to drag my suitcase along. That’s an expense he didn’t have to account for when he travelled solo. On the flip side, you get great deals for couples when it comes to trip packages or when booking a hotel room, as the price is charged for the room (so you each pay half, and a single person pays the same price at the full rate).
So in conclusion, there are lots of advantages travelling solo, just as there are travelling with a partner. It all depends on how you enjoy travelling.
I’d say a good measure of alone time and being in the company of other people is the way to go.
Have you ever travelled solo? Have you travelled with your partner? How was your experience? Let me know in the comments below and if you’ve enjoyed this post, please feel free to share along.