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If you’re reading this, you probably already believe travel is better with someone than solo – at least some of the time. But we thought we’d take the opportunity to count some of the reasons why.
So here are 9 reasons to travel with a pal:
1. It’s practical. Let’s get this one out of the way first. You’re in an airport, it’s too early to check in for your next flight and you need to find a bathroom, now. How nice is it when you have a friend to stand guard with all your luggage, so you don’t have to wrestle it into a cubicle?
2. It’s safer. Having a travel buddy makes you less of a target for petty thieves and other kinds of unwelcome attention, and can make you feel far more at ease in certain situations, such as strolling back to your hotel after dinner in a foreign city (particularly if you're a woman).
3. It’s fun. This is another big one: we travel with others for companionship and camaraderie. There’s nothing like sharing experiences with a friend or loved one when you travel (and the memories when you get back) and laughing together when things go wrong. You don’t have to be joined at the hip the whole time – in fact not doing some things together ensures (a) no one feels bad for compromising or missing what they really want to do and (b) you have plenty to stories to swap over dinner.
4. No single supplements! A single supplement is a surcharge tour operators, cruise lines, hotels and other travel companies often charge solo travellers who want to have a room or cabin to themselves. Their rationale is that they’re losing revenue by having only one guest in a twin or double room or cabin, but it means that solo travellers can pay up to 100 per cent more than room-sharing travellers on the same trip. Travelling with someone lets you sidestep single supplements, giving you more spending money. Win, win!
5. No surprises. Some tour operators such as Intrepid Travel and One Ocean Expeditions will waive the single supplement if you’re willing to share your room with a same-sex traveller. The problem is you won’t know who you’re sharing with until day one of the trip. Booking with someone you know, however, means you can avoid a single supplement AND relax because you already know at least a little about your room-mate (by making contact after finding each other on GoPal).
6. It’s cheaper. Apart from liberating you from single supplements, having a travel pal can save you money. The cost-sharing possibilities are endless, from splitting the fare for a taxi or tuktuk to renting an apartment for a fraction of the cost of staying in a hotel.
7. It can make you more adventurous. Travel buddies can talk us into all sorts of things we might not consider doing otherwise, in a good way. We’re not (necessarily) talking about skydiving over the Grand Canyon; travelling with someone we know can help us step out of our comfort zones, by encouraging us to try new things and new foods and see the world in a whole new way.
8. It’s social. Whether you’re exploring a new city or hiking in the Swiss Alps, being there with a friend can make you more approachable than when you’re travelling solo or with a partner, making it easy to chat to locals and fellow travellers. That’s Travel Psychology 101: people are attracted to those who look like they’re already having fun.
9. Trip planning is easier. Two heads are better than one when it comes to doing pre-trip research. Sure, you might have someone else to consider when making decisions about where to go and what to do, but that someone can also help weigh up the pros and cons of various destinations/tours/hotels and offer suggestions you might never have thought of.
*Louise is GoPal founder Bruce Southerden's daughter as well as an award-winning travel writer, the author of three books and a regular contributor to Fairfax Traveller. You can read more of her writing here and on noimpactgirl.com