Let me begin by being completely honest: I am a terrible traveller. I love flying, I adore a ferry, but in terms of actually exploring a country or being a tourist, I am absolutely useless.
I have done an awful lot of travelling that has been both incredible and abysmal. For me, it all comes down to the company you keep. Whether it’s a holiday with friends, a packed tour bus of strangers, or even just yourself for the company, here’s what I’ve learned as a reluctant traveller.
Travelling with friends seems like the ideal way to experience a holiday: you know each other inside out!
Friends are the family you choose for yourself which means, if you are confined to close living quarters with them for days at a time, you might find yourself wanting to kill them.
Make sure to decide well in advance where you want to visit, who’s sleeping where and how you’re going to split the bill. Otherwise you might be in for a very quiet plane ride home.
Tour package holidays are, by nature, incredibly organised, with everything already paid for and generally very little time to wander off on your own adventures.
Depending on what company you travel with, your interaction with your fellow holiday-goers is relatively limited. Most of the time, you can decide for yourself whether or not to make friends.
However, there are notable downsides to tour groups. Take it from someone who spent two hours on a bus beside a woman adamant to marry her 26-year-old son off, who kept showing me pictures of him in the hopes that I’d be interested. Best advice? Make sure you can move seats if you need to.
Travelling alone can be a real mixed bag. On the one hand, you are free to go wherever you want at your own pace. You can spend all day in a hotel room if you wish, with no one to slap a sun hat on you and drag you sightseeing.
On the other hand, the responsibility of organising the trip, getting to and from the destination, and paying for everything is yours and yours alone. It can also be incredibly dangerous to travel on your own, especially at night.
Keep your family and friends at home in the loop with your whereabouts when you can, and more importantly, keep your wits about you.