Solo Travel vs Couple Travel vs Group Travel (PROS & CONS)


I stopped to buy a coconut in rural Cambodia when these kids came out of nowhere and wanted me to help them with their English.

Are you ready to get really geeky? Ready or not, here we go!

In general, there are three major types of traveling: Group Traveling, Couple Traveling, or Solo Traveling. In this article, we are going to compare and contrast the different types of travel. They each have PROS and CONS of their own. This will help you decide which type of trip you will be most interested in taking.

Before we get started, you must understand these basic definitions. To get significantly more technical about the definitions, be sure to read about the different types of Solo Travelers to fully understand what’s going on.

Some Basic Travel-Type Definitions:

A Couple

A couple represents 1 extra person besides yourself. They can be a girlfriend/boyfriend, husband/wife, or just another friend. This friend could be of the same or opposite gender, and also could be a family member or non-family member.

A Group

3 or more total travelers that you already know (you + 2 or more)

Guided

When an organized tour package of some kind is purchased in which a tour guide is with you, almost always.

Unguided

Did not purchase a tour package. You will organize everything on your own and not follow a tour guide.

Introvert Traveler

A traveler that generally doesn’t like to be around others.

Extrovert Traveler

Generally likes to be around others (local people).

Also keep in mind, I will not tell you which type of travel you should embark on. I believe that you should weigh all of the PROS and CONS of each, and determine which option sounds the best for you. You can find more information at the bottom of this article. 

If you haven’t read the article about the three major types of solo traveling, I highly recommend that you do. This will help clarify the subtypes that you are about to read, below. Lets begin.

Just days before I started my Solo Traveling journey.

List of PROS & CONS: Solo Travel VS Couple Travel VS Group Travel:

Guided Group Travel PROS

  • Share Your Experiences with Someone
  • Hotels, Food, & Transportation Costs Can Be Split
  • Not Lonely
  • Safer
  • Travel Plans Are Pre Organized and Solidified
  • Efficient Travel
  • Someone Will Help if You Become Sick

Guided Group Travel CONS

  • With the Same People Every Day
  • Not Easy To Meet Local People
  • Little Privacy
  • Worry About Wants/Needs of Others
  • Small Disagreement / Argument = Awkward Trip
  • Doesn’t Build Much Self Confidence

Guided Couple Travel PROS

  • Share Your Experiences with Someone
  • Hotels, Food, & Transportation Costs Can Be Split
  • Not Lonely
  • Safer
  • Travel Plans Are Pre Organized and Solidified 
  • Efficient Travel
  • Someone Will Help if You Become Sick

Guided Couple Travel CONS

  • With the Same Person Every Day
  • Not Easy To Meet Local People
  • Little Privacy
  • Worry About Wants/Needs of Others
  • Small Disagreement / Argument = Awkward Trip
  • Doesn’t Build Much Self Confidence

Unguided Couple Travel PROS

  • Share Your Experiences with Someone
  • Hotels, Food, & Transportation Costs Can Be Split
  • Not Lonely
  • Safer
  • Usually Non-Efficient Travel
  • Someone Will Help if You Become Sick
  • Builds Self Confidence

Unguided Couple Travel CONS

  • With the Same Person Every Day
  • Not Easy To Meet Local People
  • Little Privacy
  • Travel Plans Are Not Pre Organized and Solidified
  • Worry About Wants/Needs of Others
  • Small Disagreement / Argument = Awkward Trip

Guided Solo Travel PROS

  • Not With the Same Person Every Day
  • Safer
  • Lots of Privacy
  • Travel Plans Are Pre Organized and Solidified 
  • Only Worry About Yourself
  • Small Disagreement / Argument, Never See Them Again
  • Efficient Travel

Guided Solo Travel CONS

  • Don’t Share Your Experiences with Someone
  • Hotels, Food, & Transportation Costs Can’t Be Split 
  • Lonely
  • Not Easy To Meet Local People
  • No one Will Help if You Become Sick (depends on the type of tour)
  • Doesn’t Build Much Self Confidence

Unguided Solo Travel PROS

  • Not With the Same Person Every Day
  • Easy To Meet Local People
  • Lots of Privacy
  • Only Worry About Yourself
  • Small Disagreement / Argument, Never See Them Again
  • Builds Self Confidence

Unguided Solo Travel CONS

  • Don’t Share Your Experiences with Someone
  • Hotels, Food, & Transportation Costs Can’t Be Split 
  • Lonely
  • Less Safe
  • Travel Plans Are Not Pre Organized and Solidified
  • Usually Non-Efficient Travel
  • No one Will Help if You Become Sick

PROS vs CONS Explanations:

This should provide a little bit deeper explanation of each PRO and CON.

1) Hotels, Food, & Transportation Split

In general, when you are traveling alone, you must absorb 100% of all costs. A meal, a hotel, or even transportation. But when you travel with another person or even a group, the cost of a hotel, transportation, or even some meals may be divided amongst each other to reduce out-of-pocket costs for each individual.

2) Share Your Experiences with Someone

Almost everybody has a commonality with each other – we enjoy sharing fun moments with other human beings. For some reason, doing something fun alone is usually more fun when that moment is shared with someone you know.

Local people invited me on a boatride near ShenZhen, China.

3) Lonely/Not Lonely

There in fact are moments while traveling solo that can get lonely. But I think it’s rare. Usually, we can choose whether we want to be alone, or not – the choice is up to you. Some people enjoy being alone, and some people enjoy being around other people. If you choose to be alone for a few days, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you feel lonely.

But if you attempt to be around local people but nobody is interested in hanging out with you because you are a foreigner, then yeah – you may get a bit lonely. But I again must say, this last scenario is rare. Generally, it’s pretty easy to find local people to hang out with. Be sure to read my tips on meeting people while traveling.

4) With the Same Person Every Day

When you are traveling in a group or with your significant other, you are with them every single day throughout the trip. Sometimes being around someone 24 hours a day for multiple days, or even weeks, can get a bit frustrating. Even if they are someone who, generally, you enjoy being around. Too much of a good thing is not always a good thing.

5) Safety

Traveling alone makes it easier for a criminal to do bad things to you. Traveling in a group generally prevents criminals from cheating you or stealing from you. Obviously there are extreme cases in both scenarios, but in general, this is how it works. The bigger the group, the safer you will be. Be sure to learn about the ways stay safe during your trip.

6) Easy To Meet Local People

If you enjoy meeting local people, it definitely becomes more difficult when you are traveling with another person or are in a large group. From the perspective of a local person, you are now unapproachable because they do not want to disturb everybody in the group.

But if you are traveling alone, you become much more approachable by local people. If you have never traveled to different countries all by yourself before, you might be surprised to see how many local people approach you and want to be your friend. Click the link above for a good guide about this topic.

Riding a Camel with a local girl in the Jaisalmer, India.

7) Privacy

When you are traveling with a group or even with just one extra person, it becomes a bit difficult to have complete privacy. Generally, you are always traveling together and even sharing a hotel room with each other. Sometimes you will feel the urge to just separate for an afternoon, and this is a completely normal feeling.

8) Worry About Others

When you are traveling with other people, you must always be conscious of the feelings of others and the desires of others. You must be considerate about what they want to do and where they want to go. Not everything is about you. When you are traveling completely solo, it is significantly different. You can go wherever you want, do whatever you want, eat whatever you want…whenever you want. There’s no need to make decisions based on other people.

A group of people invited me to a gathering in Manila, Philippines.

9) Travel Plans & Organization

When you are traveling completely solo, you will be responsible for organizing every single activity, restaurant, Visa, hotel, taxi, and everything else. 100% of the burden falls on you. But when you have booked an organized tour, depending on what type of tour you have purchased, the vast majority of these things are already taken care of. You do not have to think about them or stress over them. Everything is already done for you.

10) Small Disagreement / Argument

Even if you are around the people that you love the most in the world, eventually when you spend enough time around each other, there will be disagreements. Sometimes small disagreements can turn into days of awkwardness. If you are traveling with multiple people, it is best to try to be courteous about what the other members want to do. The downside is that you may have to sacrifice during the trip. But, it will prevent awkward disputes.

11) Efficient Travel

Depending on what type of guided tour you have purchased, most of the tours will be organized and extremely efficient. You will be part of an organized schedule that will provide transportation from point A to point B to point C and so on. If you want to have a trip that is highly organized and efficient while solo traveling,

I will say, this can be rather difficult (and sometimes impossible). As an Unguided Solo Traveler, going to multiple locations in one day can be very difficult, and therefore, quite stressful. Remember, every country is organized in a completely different way than what you are used to, plus, there’s probably a language barrier as well.

12) Sickness

There is nothing quite like getting sick in a foreign country and you are all alone in a room. Nobody will come to your aid. But, on the flip side, if you are traveling with another person – they will take the time to help you during your days of sickness. They will also help organize hospital visits if needed. This can be an incredibly daunting experience if you are all alone in a foreign country with no to help you.

13) Self Confidence

As you are traveling completely solo without any type of guided tour, you will need to plan and organize your trip all by yourself. After a few days of traveling around a foreign country, you will start to get the hang of things…and this will absolutely boost your self-confidence. You will then realize the potential and the capability of yourself. 

Overlooking a river sunset in Bangladesh

Some PROS Are CONS & Some CONS Are PROS

That sounds crazy. What do you mean? Well, just to give you an example, I have put ‘Lonely’ as a CON within Solo Travel. But keep in mind, a) some people really enjoy being alone and dislike being around people, and b) just because you are solo traveling does not mean that you will always be alone. 

I am actually a hardcore Extrovert Solo Traveler. I have always been a Solo Traveler, however, I try to spend the majority of my time meeting local people. I am rarely alone. I rarely feel lonely. The only time I would feel lonely is if I try to meet people within a country, and nobody wants to talk with me or hang out.

That particular scenario has been extremely rare for me. The reality is, if you want to hang out with local people, you will not feel lonely. If you want to be alone, awesome. Be alone. So, in general, the whole PRO/CON thing is based on your own perspective.

In addition, based on the definition of being a Solo Traveler, hanging out with a local person and traveling with them is still solo traveling (as long as they aren’t a tour guide). So technically, you can share experiences with another person as long as they are native to the country that you are traveling in.

I met another foreigner while traveling in Udaipur, India

Go On a Solo Trip Even Though You Have a Spouse

To be honest, if you have a husband or a wife and you choose to go on a solo trip, it sounds a little bit weird to me. Simply leave your spouse behind while you go out and have tons of fun. 

Obviously, I cannot judge every situation. Maybe there is a legitimate reason that one spouse needs to do this while the other spouse remains at home. Maybe one spouse is dealing with a mountain of stress at work and just needs to get away for awhile. There’s two sides to every story. 

Here’s an interesting thought – maybe you both will do something awesome like go on a separate trip for a week. And when you return back home, both of you can share all of your photos, videos, and stories with each other. In a weird way, that would be fun! But, ultimately, the choice is yours! By the way, if you are wondering which country you should visit, be sure to read this helpful guide.

These Couple/Group/Solo Travel PROS & CONS Should Be Weighted

Keep in mind that these PROS and CONS should not be added simply up based on quantity. Just because a type of travel has 5 PROS and only 3 CONS, doesn’t mean that you should automatically choose this type of traveling. What you need to do is determine the weight of each PRO and CON based on your own personality. 

If you look at Introvert/Extrovert Solo Traveling, you will see that there are some pretty big negatives. Can you imagine being in a foreign country while sick and there’s no one to help you but yourself? That is a pretty scary situation in the eyes of most people. 

What about the feeling of being lonely? Can you handle that? Each person thinks about these PROS and CONS a little bit differently. I, for example, am absolutely obsessed with Extrovert Solo Traveling. I absolutely love traveling all alone without anybody next to me.

I completely enjoy being around local people and love immersing myself into the local culture. This type of activity makes me so excited and happy, this is why I am willing to take the risks listed under the CONS. Again, weigh the PROS & CONS according to your own personality.

Remember, there is no right or wrong form of travel. Everything boils down to personal choice. I hope this guide helped you in some way. 

Brock

Hey - I'm Brock. I grew up in the USA, and I have been a full-time Solo Traveler since June of 2016. I am also a Travel Vlogger on YouTube where my primary focus is to simply hang out with local people around the world. My full story is here: About Me

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