Before I get started I just wanted to define what I mean when I talk about a group since many people could think about something else; I mean the tour you can take for about 10-14 days around a country with a guide and a group of other people where everything is pre-planned and taken care of. Whereas when I am talking about traveling alone I mean completely alone – no friends or travel companions in sight – at least not in the beginning!
When making travel plans the questions sooner or later appears if you should do the trip by yourself or with a group, especially if none of your friends have the time to come or you would rather do this on your own. I know that sounds very contradictory: wanting to travel on your own but choosing a guided tour through a country.
But it does make sense!
You are starting the trip alone but you make friends very soon and easily because everyone is a foreigner in the country you are visiting and you spend a lot of time together with all the tours and trips the group is taking. Also experiences bind a group together and your stay -when traveling with a guided tour- will be full of experiences. But on the other hand, always being with a group and having every day planned from start to finish doesn’t really give you the opportunity to meet locals and get to know the culture better.
The perks of traveling with a group to me would be that everything is planned for you and you don’t have to worry about anything. They plan your trip, they make sure you show up on time and they get you from one place to another. They feed you when you’re hungry and they make sure you have done some awesome stuff during your stay. Probably more than if you would have gone on your own.
But that is also the downside. Not having to fend for yourself and not being able to make plans on your own can make a trip also less memorable because eventually you don’t pay that much attention anymore to the things you’re doing. It can make you grow a lot as a person when you are completely on your own in a foreign country having to figure everything out for yourself without anybody holding your hand. You get to learn how to solve your own problems, so in a way, a vacation taken on your own can be not only an unforgettable experience but also a lesson for life!
The obvious reason though, and there is no argument against that, is that traveling in a group is a lot safer than traveling on your own, especially if you’re planning on spending some time outside of a city where there is limited reception and also a limited amount of help provided. There are groups that offer trips into the wild so being with a guide for those tours is a must since you can get severely lost or hurt yourself and have no chance of getting help. When you are traveling on your own, you are more likely to get into situations like this, especially when you have been traveling on your own for a while since you just get used to the feeling of being able to do everything alone.
For many people the thought of being alone on a trip is not very appealing, since you want to share your experience with someone other than yourself. It can be scary to think that your are completely on your own with nobody there to help you. But even though being on your own makes you vulnerable there are so many nice people on this planet who will help you with anything you could possibly ask for. But without being in need of help you will never get the chance to meet these people.
I do not want to push anyone in any direction; while writing this I tried to be as objective as I could. But I do believe that if you are playing with the thought of traveling on your own you should definitely try it because I believe that it makes you so much more aware of the country you are visiting and you get to know so many great people during your trip! But still: stay safe and make smart decisions!
And if you ever come to Iceland- on your own, with a group/ your family/ friends whoever- make sure to stop by at Norðurflug and take an unforgettable helicopter ride with us!