Originally published 17 December 2015.
In my last post I wrote about the awesomeness of traveling on your own, but there are some definite benefits of traveling with other people, too. This post is dedicated to the joys of sharing travel experiences with friends and family!
1. There is Always Someone to Watch Your Bags
This is an excellent reason to travel with another person. Yes, the companionship part is great, but sometimes you just don’t want to lug all your stuff around to go to the bathroom or look for food in the airport. I know that sounds lazy, and it’s no one’s fault but your own if your bag’s too heavy, but seriously, travel is exhausting. Sometimes it’s nice to have someone else there to watch your bags. Or to let you be on bag duty while your traveling partner goes to find food for the both of you!
2. Splitting the Cost
Looking to travel inexpensively (but not necessarily cheap)? Try traveling with a friend who has the same tastes as you so you can order food and split it! Restaurants in tourist areas (especially those who cater to Americans) will be serving large portions, so there will be enough for two–or maybe three! So instead of hanging onto a box of food until you get back to your lodging, or instead of throwing out perfectly good food, just plan to order something you can agree on and split the cost. Hotels, B&Bs, and the like are always cheaper when you split the cost in half!
3. Having an Extra Set of Eyes
You will need to look for signage, and that second pair of eyes will definitely help! You’ll need to look out for road signs, train signs, bus signs, weather signs, restaurant signs, attraction signs, you name it! It is always helpful to have a second set of eyes on the lookout, because no one likes to miss something and feel lost. Or worse: have to backtrack!
4. Share and Share Alike
Ladies, you know you need to save space, but you SO want to have plenty of options when you travel. This is where girlfriends come in handy. Coordinate with your travel partners and figure out what works best for the group. Maybe everyone can go with one color scheme? Maybe someone can bring that scarf you’re always admiring so you can wear it to dinner one night? Maybe you can all get together and agree on a pair of “traveling pants” each that you can mix and match with? Get creative, and remember that it doesn’t count as rewearing if you wear a friend’s top (even if she already wore it)! Similarly, wouldn’t it be nice if you could bum some toothpaste or contact solution if you run out on the road?
Hands down, the best reason to travel with someone else is the unique opportunity you’ll have to get to know them on a deeper level. You’re both having experience that only you will have together, especially when traveling in another country. You’re both working through the language barrier, you’re both figuring out the cultural differences, you’re both trying to figure out the street system. You’ll probably get frustrated with each other at some point, but working through those bumps can also make you a better person and bring you closer to your travel buddy.
Footnote: Be empathetic to first-time travel companions. Remember, you were once a novice as well! Traveling with a similarly experienced traveler is usually a good idea, but if you do want to take someone for the experience of their life and take them traveling with you, be prepared to quell some fears or nervousness and take some extra responsibility!