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A group of people having a picnic in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

Solo Travel vs. Group Travel: Why Not Both?

Secret's out: you don't have to choose. EF Ultimate Break combines the best parts of solo and group travel to create epic opportunities for 18–35-year-olds to see the world.

by Jamie Imperial
EF Ultimate Break traveler

Here’s a dilemma: you’ve been itching to travel, but none of your friends or family want to come with you. They all have an excuse—studying for exams, a huge project at work, saving PTO for something else. It doesn’t really matter, because they’re all saying the same thing: NO.

So what are you going to do? Stay home? Binge watch New Girl on Netflix again? Instagram hate-stalk that girl who constantly posts selfies from somewhere exotic? Um, absolutely not.

We’ll tell you a secret. You don’t need anyone else’s permission to travel.

Instead of waiting for someone to join you, you could travel solo and bop around between countries doing whatever you want. But going truly solo comes with some logistical challenges, like planning all your transportation from A to B, figuring out where to stay at each stop, booking local guided tours, researching the must-sees and hidden gems—as well as more serious concerns like safety.

Another option? You could book a group tour by yourself and relax so you don’t have to agonize over travel logistics. EF Ultimate Break is all about group travel. Duh! And in fact, up to 60% of travelers actually BOOK their trips solo. That’s because they're getting the best of both worlds. EF Ultimate Break coordinates every little detail for you, from accommodations to activities and even an expert Tour Director that’s with you the whole time. And the trip itineraries bake in plenty of free time to get your solo act on.

Pretty sweet, right? But if you do still have questions about solo travel vs. group travel, check out the pros and cons below.

A girl standing alone in Amsterdam overlooking a canal.

Solo travel

Benefits of solo travel:

  • You’re on your own. You don’t need to consider anyone else when you’re planning out travel activities. You can do whatever you want, whenever you want.
  • You will become more confident in yourself. Traveling on your own will force you to learn how to problem-solve on the fly. Once you learn how to deal with canceled flights, navigating a foreign city, lost reservations, or anything else that makes you sweat, you’ll become a much more confident person.
  • It’s easier to plan your budget. Budgeting for one is much less challenging than budgeting with a whole group of friends.
  • You have lots of chances to meet people. When you’re traveling with friends or family, it’s easy to stay in your own little bubble with them, but you’ll miss out on chances to meet other cool or interesting people, whether they're visitors like yourself or locals. Solo traveling gives you room to make new friends from around the world.

Drawbacks of solo travel:

  • You’re on your own. You’re in charge of everything, which means you have to stay on top of flight times, train and bus schedules, hotel/hostel bookings, and all your activities, plus a million other things you haven’t thought of yet.
  • Without other people’s input, you could miss out on local gems or tours. Sure, there’s Google and Tripadvisor, but what if you want to see more than all the popular sights? It’s hard to figure out all the best things to do and see when you’re on your own.
  • It’s easy to get lonely. This one is tough when you’re traveling. Some experiences are simply better when you share them with others. If you don’t have someone to share an incredible sunset with or capture your Mamma Mia! moment for Instagram—it’s easy to feel a teensy bit sad for yourself.
  • You have to be more careful and alert on your own. Safety is a top priority while you’re traveling. Unfortunately, traveling alone means that you’re at a higher risk of getting taken advantage of. As a solo traveler, you’ll have to be even more careful than normal.
A group of girls posing for the camera in front of a scenic city canal in Switzerland.

Group travel

Just because you don’t have a group of your own to travel with doesn’t mean you can’t be part of one! Booking a group tour is a great way to travel and meet new people without needing to work too hard.

Benefits of group travel:

  • You can save money by going on a group tour. Booking the right tour could save you hundreds on flights, accommodations, activities, and more. When you book an EF Ultimate Break trip, you even have the option to pay for your trip in small monthly installments, so you have time to save money for the important things, like pasta and beer. (Here are 9 more ways to save money on travel.)
  • You don’t have to stress about booking anything. On a group tour, you have the itinerary all laid out for you. All the hard stuff is handled, including accommodations and flights (unless you wanna book them yourself) so you’re free to enjoy the best parts of traveling.
  • You’ll meet a group of new people to share special experiences with. When you book a group tour, you have guaranteed company with you for your entire trip. You'll get to meet and bond with people who may become lifelong friends.
  • With a quality tour company, you won’t miss out on anything. The best group tours make the effort to show you everything you want to in a country—and other things you never would have dreamed of.

Drawbacks of group travel:

  • Not all group tours are created equal. Some group travel companies aren’t very flexible or don’t give you free time for other activities outside of their regular tours. What’s the point of traveling if you can’t do everything you want to do?
  • Some group tours aren’t friendly to solo travelers. While EF Ultimate Break takes pride in welcoming solo travelers, other group travel companies cater more to families or big groups or certain travel styles that may not be your jam. Being the lone solo traveler on a tour like that isn’t very fun!
  • If there’s a huge age range in a group tour, you might not be able to connect well with the whole group. It might be hard to relate to the rest of your group if you’re a young adult and on a tour with a lot of older people or younger kids. It’s easy to feel isolated when you can’t relate to your fellow travelers, which is a real damper on your trip.
A group of girls posing for the camera in front of a scenic city canal in Switzerland.

EF Ultimate Break gives you the best of both worlds

If you can’t decide between solo travel and group travel, I’ve got great news for you—you don’t have to choose!

EF Ultimate Break combines the best parts of solo and group travel to create epic opportunities for 18–35-year-olds to see the world. (Basically the Hannah Montana of group tours.)

Here’s why an EF Ultimate Break trip would be perfect for you:

  • Everything’s included. When you book an EF Ultimate Break trip, your accommodations, daily breakfasts, metro passes, ferries, and so much more are all included. We'll even handle your flights if you want. You can also pay for it over time in monthly installments without any interest or extra fees. (Here’s everything else that's included.)
  • You don’t have to deal with any pesky travel logistics. All the hard stuff is handled for you—all you have to do is show up! (Explore all the trips you can take!)
  • Your dedicated Tour Director will be there for you during your whole trip. You don’t have to figure out where to go or what to do on your own. Aside from expertly crafted itineraries with built-in excursions, your multilingual Tour Director is there to make sure that your trip is as awesome and as smooth as possible. They’ll basically be your local guide, logistical wizard, and fun guru all rolled into one.
  • Your safety is a priority. Your safety matters most. With EF Ultimate Break, not only do you have the safety of traveling with a group, but you also benefit from a worldwide network of support teams and in-country experts, with EF staff on the ground 365 days a year, in over 50 countries, as well as a Safety & Incident Response team available 24/7. (Read more about how EF is traveling safely.)
  • You still have free time to do what you want in each city. On an EF Ultimate Break trip, you have plenty of baked-in free time to do what you want to do. Want to explore a local neighborhood and snap some cute Instagram pics? No problem! Want to relax and sip drinks on a beach in Greece? Hell yeah! Can I join? (Just kidding. Kind of.)
  • You’ll be surrounded by likeminded travelers and soon-to-be-BFFs. EF Ultimate Break is committed to making trips that are welcoming and inclusive environments for all travelers aged 18–35. On our trips, you’re sharing a special experience with people who are at similar life stages as you. That means that if you sign up solo, you might end up making new friends that will last a lifetime!

Whether you’re a nightlife aficionado, adventure junkie, history nerd, hardcore foodie, beach bum, or a little bit of each, there's a trip for you.

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by Jamie Imperial

Jamie Imperial is a content marketer and taco enthusiast based in Los Angeles. She was always obsessed with traveling, but was never brave enough to go without her friends until her first EF trip to Spain, France, and Portugal. Now she’s almost too confident when she travels. Jamie also writes about self-development, mental health, and relationships. Check out her full portfolio here.

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