Hello LCC! This is Devon, and as I said in my last post, having fun should be priority #1 when you’re traveling. Naturally, the people with whom you travel plays a large part in how much fun you have. I have traveled with a lot of different kinds of people, so without further ado, I give you the pros and cons of traveling with…
I can expand on this more another time, but I think it needs at least a little backstory. I once went to Penang, Malaysia on a total whim (booked the flight 4 hours before departure) with a complete stranger named Sophie. Another time I went to Bali, Indonesia with two guys named David and David (meet them above!) that I’d only met once before.
– You will absolutely have an adventure. If you’re the kind of person willing to travel with people you have never met, or have only met once, I think you can say you’re a little adventurous. That means they are too. You have something in common!
– It’s not that awkward. You know literally nothing about these people, so you can spend all of your time getting to know them! Just think, the conversation topics are endless! No silences! And on top of that, a lot of stories and new perspectives!
– You might get cut up into pieces and fed to sharks. That obviously didn’t happen to me, but hey, I hear it happens.
– You could also maybe end up hating this person, but go in with an open mind and see the above adventure-loving pro.
– You know what you’re getting into. This friend has seen you at your best and your worst, and somehow still wants to spend their precious time with you. They know how long you take to get ready, and how you like to spend your money, and your general problems that upset you at weird times. It’s easy to communicate with them, and that makes everything easy!
– You always feel safe. You’re not going to get duped, you can trust them 100%, and you’ve got them in your corner no matter what happens. You are also in theirs.
– If you’re lucky, you only have a few close friends. So this likely means you’re in a smaller group. First con to that is this: so many awkward selfies and solo photos of just you in front of some kind of beautiful backdrop. It’s almost as if it is impossible to grab a photo of just you and your people.
– You learn new things about this person. Just because your friendship is practically iron class, doesn’t mean you won’t learn new ways to annoy each other. For instance, I just did my cross-country road trip with my friend from high school, Taylor. Taylor hates to hear knuckles crack. I love to crack my knuckles. Neither of us knew this going into this. This is by no means a deal breaker in our friendship, but it’s kind of uncomfortable when you annoy a close friend.
– The more the merrier. You can talk to so many different people, make more friends for more trips. Everyone is focused on having fun, and so everyone pushes you to maximize your time together.
– You can basically do anything you want. There will be people in your group that want to do different things, so some will shop while others will want to lay on the beach or go to a pub.
– Cost is cheaper. Between group discounts and cramming as many people into a hotel room as you can, it’s much more affordable traveling in a large group.
– Drama and misunderstandings. Someone is always left out of the picture (and it’s usually the one with the niecest camera).
– When you do get that group picture, sometimes your iPhone gets stolen out of your back pocket, because you are in a large group, and so of course people are going to touch your butt. Why should that cause any alarm?
– Coordination is difficult. There has to be a leader, and sometimes it is not you. Sometimes it’s your friend. And sometimes your friend is in charge of booking the hostel, and accidently books the hostel in the wrong city, which is more or less fine if he hadn’t gotten totally hammered the night prior and had his credit card put on hold for unusual activity, and if he wasn’t currently drunk from plane booze. When that happens, it’s a headache.
– Transportation is really hard with a lot of people, as I’m sure you can imagine.
– There are little cultural differences. You’re from the same area so you have a lot in common right of the bat.
– Like strangers, conversation topics never run out.
– Unlike strangers, you already know them fairly well because you’ve spent significant time with them in some kind of capacity, but not 24/7 for along time.
– They quickly become like family. This isn’t to say that my other friends haven’t—I talk to my buds in Europe like basically every day and consider them like family, but something about knowing that no matter where you go, you’ll be physically close to these people, makes it easy to bond with them.
– They’re new friends so you still have to make somewhat of a good impression. You’re in between strangers and old friends here. You know them well enough, you like them, and you don’t want them to think you’re a complete psycho. That gets stressful sometimes. The good news is, they’re in the same boat as you!
– Your family, especially your parents, are biologically programmed to love you unconditionally. This means that when my dad is snoring in the middle of the night and wakes me up in the hotel room, I can throw a pillow at him, wake him, and tell him to stop it, and he’ll still love me the next morning. While it does not mean that you can be an ungrateful brat, it does mean that you can get away with being a little more particular.
– Finances. This is probably wrong to assume for all people, but sometimes parents want to buy you dinner and stuff because they are embarrassed to see you living off of noodles.
– Family memories (duh). Your family’s going to be there till the end. Make it count for something. If your family does Christmas cards or holiday greetings or whatever, these are perfect times to capture a photo that shows you are putting the ‘fun’ in ‘functional.’
– They are your family so they will obviously, for whatever reason, piss you off at least SOME of the time. That’s what family does. Just circle back to that unconditional love though.
– You can do literally anything you want. Stay up late, wake up early, eat your feelings, don’t eat anything, sleep on a bus more times than you sleep in a bed (I did this)—anything. You answer to no one.
– You get a lot of time for reflection. This is also a con.
– You have no one pushing you to try something new. You have no perspective but your own.
– You have no one to split the cost of anything with.
– You have no one to talk to, unless you make new friends, and then go back to the top and see traveling with strangers.
– When you get sick from not giving your body a rest because you’ve been sleeping on more overnight busses than you have beds, there is no one to help you. Being sick alone is terrible.
– You see other people traveling with friends, and you get jealous. No one wants to be jealous. That is such a wasted emotion I hate it.
In the end, whoever you are going with, you’re going to have to be with that person for all hours of the day, every day. Make sure you can tolerate that, and make sure that person doesn’t take away from any of your fun!
Until next time, Devon
Written and Curated for the LCC by Devon Harman