Should You Travel With Friends, Family, Your Significant Other, or Just Yourself?

 

As a “millennial” (ugh, I shudder at the word), I can say that no other generation has romanticized leisure travel as mine has. A lot of my acquaintances have proudly succumbed to wanderlust or to “soul-searching,” as they like to call it, and quite a few of them continue to do so despite the considerable toll it takes on their savings accounts (YOLO, as they would say).

 

Regardless of which generation you belong to, however, travel will and should always be a cherished way to refresh your soul. Nothing quite compares to the sight of a beautiful and unfamiliar city and the promise of vivid new memories in it, especially when your body and mind are in need of relief from boredom and drudgery, yes?

 

This brings us to the question of who should accompany you on your longed-for vacation. Should you go abroad with your family, your friends, your significant other, or *gasp!* should you fling caution to the wind and go it alone?

 

Traveling with the Family

 
Traveling with the Family Should You Travel With Friends, Family, Your Significant Other, or Just Yourself?

Image Credit: holidaylettings

Pros:

 
  • They pay for everything! Let’s face it, parents have way more bank than a single twentysomething starting out on a career (unless you’re Jennifer Lawrence). If they take you and your siblings along on a trip, they will most likely foot the bill for major expenses like airline tickets, hotels, and tour guides. You will also probably get some pocket money if Mommy and Daddy are generous.

 
  • Quality time means exactly that. Because the family would be far away from the pressures of work and/or school, everyone gets to let their hair down. With the relative absence of tension, you get to enjoy each other’s company better and come away with a renewed understanding of each other too.

 

If you already have your own family and are bringing your kids along, being alongside them as they see and come across wonderful things for the first time could only strengthen your bond, and you’ll have so many shared experiences to talk about for years to come.

 
  • You get to create some unique and lovely memories with the family, and beautiful pictures to boot! Yes, you can make lots of new memories without leaving your backyard, but there will always be something special about that time you and your siblings (or your children) got to see cherry blossoms in Japan or swam alongside the whale sharks in Sorsogon. And if you brought your GoPro or selfie stick along, you should have some priceless photos to gaze at any time you want to relive that particular trip.

 

Cons:

 
  • Preparing for the trip can be a pain in the backside. Besides organizing the passports, visas, and other pertinent travel documents, there are also leaves to be filed at the office and perhaps even at the schools of your siblings or your children. If you have an OC mother, she can drive everyone nuts while packing everyone’s luggage and ensuring that everyone comes back from vacation to a spotless house. But if YOU are an OC mom (or any mom, for that matter), the prospect of having to pack for everyone (how else will hubby or little Teddy remember to bring their toothbrush or mouth guard if you don’t do it yourself, right?) can make the entire endeavor feel like a one-woman production.

 

This part gets easier when your kids are older, though, so take comfort.

 
  • Overexposure. At home, you can retreat to the privacy of your room (or leave your kids at grandma’s) if being around your family (or your kids) gets a little too much. If you’re stuck with them on a cruise ship, however, there is no such escape.

Traveling with Friends

Traveling with Friends Should You Travel With Friends, Family, Your Significant Other, or Just Yourself?

Image Credit: travefy

Pros:

 
  • You get to know them better. You may have been friends with Angie for twenty years, but you probably wouldn’t have appreciated just how exceptional her navigational skills are until she got both of you home safe and in one piece after a night out on the streets of New York. If you’re traveling with a group of friends, you will quickly find out who among them would be most inclined towards seeking out the best street food in the city, bungee-jumping off that cliff, or even for just spending a quiet afternoon in a café in between your adventures.

 

Knowing such things only means you’ll be able to choose a better activity the next time you want to catch up with a certain friend.

 
  • Friends serve as your companions, but not your guardians. The biggest contrast between your friends and your parents is that the former are in no way obliged or inclined to police your behavior. They are actually more likely to encourage you to do things outside your comfort zone, whether it’s rolling down a hill in a large, inflatable globe in New Zealand or chatting up that Aussie cutie at the bar.

 

And you would have more courage than usual to do either or both of those things, because…

 
  • …you would be among people you trust. Not only do you have friends who can watch your stuff for you when you go off and take that selfie, but you can also count on them to have your back in case something goes wrong during the trip.

 
  • Traveling with friends is cheaper. If there’s a group of you all going to the same place, you can avail of package discounts and then divide the savings between all of you. It’s also more cost-efficient to go grocery shopping and then cook up meals for a group at the hostel since supplies are always cheaper by the bulk.

 

Cons:

 
  • You get to know them better. Being away from the usual restraints of school, work, and home can unleash a side in your friends that was previously unknown to you, and it won’t always be pretty. Add alcohol into the mix, and you may just find yourself wondering how you’ve never noticed their irritating tendencies.

 
  • Long vacations with friends can make you sick of each other. They say familiarity breeds contempt, and that very much applies when you spend weeks fused at the hip with your best friend. Before long, his or her initially charming mannerisms could get on your nerves, and you may find yourself willing your return date to come faster.

 

A remedy for this is to allow for solo jaunts during the vacation. Let your friend spend the day at a tourist site that s/he likes while you stay in or shop, and then simply arrange to meet up for dinner.

 

Traveling with a Significant Other

 
Traveling with a Significant Other Should You Travel With Friends, Family, Your Significant Other, or Just Yourself?

Image Credit: POPSUGAR

Pros:

 
  • There will always be someone around to take your photo. No need for those embarrassing selfie sticks (not that I’ve ever used one *looks around shiftily*).

 
  • You’ll have someone to share all those romantic views with. Taking a gondola ride in Venice or seeing the Eiffel Tower all lit-up at night takes on a whole new meaning when you are with your special someone.

 

Being in a foreign country with your SO also lets you channel your Before Sunrise fantasies without any stranger danger issues. It’s a win-win.

 
  • If you share essentials, you can afford to pack less (and have more room in your luggage for souvenirs. No need to pack your own charger or your own shampoo if you’re sharing those with your boyfriend or girlfriend. Heck, if you go shopping, you can even put your purchases in your better half’s luggage since he’s bound to have way more room.

  • The experience can strengthen your relationship. There’s a reason why lots of guys propose to their girlfriends at the end of a trip: traveling together is a good way to gauge how the two of you work through challenges and how comfortable you are with each other when no one else is around, so it’s not unusual for a guy (or a girl) to realize that s/he’s found The One after a month of backpacking in Central Europe.

 

Cons:

 
  • You’ll have to tag along to all the places they want to go to. If you’re traveling with friends or family, they’ll usually understand (and generally leave you be) if you want to opt out of a certain destination, but say that to a clingy SO, and you’re in for the silent treatment or the “Why else did we travel together if you won’t come with me?” card, mate.

  • Say goodbye to any form of alone time. Chances are, you’ll be sharing a room and a bed, so you’ll have to get creative if you’re the sort who needs a few quiet moments each day to decompress (or a good night’s rest that’s uninterrupted by loud snoring).

 
  • Traveling can also bring out the worst in your partner. Just as some couples end up engaged after a trip, quite a handful also opt to break up. Facing setbacks and frustrations on the road can sometimes reveal a dark side to your Prince Charming or simply prove that you and your dream girl just aren’t meant to be.

 

Traveling by Yourself

 
Traveling by Yourself Should You Travel With Friends, Family, Your Significant Other, or Just Yourself?

Image Credit: The Abroad Guide

Pros:

 
  • There is no need for compromise. When you fly solo, you call ALL the shots. Feel like sleeping in today rather than going up to Hong Kong’s Ocean Park? Sleep away. Want to line up for two hours in the rain to see London’s Museum of Natural History? No one will stop you or complain. Don’t feel like sharing that glorious pork cua pao bun at the Taiwan Market? It’s all yours, baby.

 
  • You find out who you really are. Back home, we grapple with so many constant external influences like bosses, parents, siblings, friends, and significant others. When you travel by yourself, these influences disappear momentarily and you get to find out who you are outside the labels of worker, son/daughter, and spouse/girlfriend/boyfriend, and what you truly want out of life. And in an increasingly loud and confusing world, such knowledge is priceless.

 
  • Making new friends is easier. Approaching one person to get to know them is much easier than approaching a whole group, so you’re bound to meet more than a few interesting people. You’ll also be dependent on the kindness of strangers as a solo traveler, and you’ll be pleased to find that there are still a lot of good people in this world of ours, language and culture barriers notwithstanding.

 

Cons:

 
  • Solo travel is more expensive. Because you have no one to split costs with, you will have to pay full price for everything. And unless you manage to make friends fast enough on the road, there’s no way you’re availing of that tour guide’s package rates.

 
  • You will be on your own. You will literally have to pull your own weight, watch your own stuff, and take care of yourself if you get sick while traveling. Also, even if you enjoy your own company well enough, you will inevitably get lonely unless you try to socialize with the locals or any other solo travelers you might meet along the way.

Serena Estrella

Serena joined iRemit back in 2016, and has tormented its Marketing Head constantly ever since. To get through the rigors of writing about grave concerns like exchange rates, citizenship requirements, and PH-AU news, she likes to blast Mozart, Vivaldi, ONE OK ROCK, and Shigeru Umebayashi in the background. She does a mean Merida voice in her spare time too.

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