Solo, With Friends, or Even a Partner
If you're a female travelling alone... well, you're not alone. Travel company AirMiles says that 55% of its customers this year are female, and 10% of those travel on their own. Solo lasses tend to head to exotic destinations like Thailand, while solo lads prefer beach holidays in the Med (pah!).
In a recent gapyear.com poll, we asked you lasses whether you'd consider going backpacking on your own. A smug 21% of you had already done so, while 51% said you'd be up for it. That left 14% of you who said you would backpack solo but only in a familiar or western country, while another 14% said you wouldn't fancy it. It's important to make up your own mind on this issue - solo travel doesn't suit everyone, and if you're unsure it may be best to go with a mate or on an organised tour or placement. However, we think you'll agree that these results are incontrovertible proof of the general feistiness of female members of gapyear.com!
Travelling alone is perhaps not for the first-timer. However, if you're a bit more experienced and feeling brave, it's fantastically liberating. You can do what you want, when you want, and leave as soon as you want. What's more, when you come home you'll be one of those irritating individuals who oozes serenity and confidence and wins friends wherever they go.
Just take a bit of extra care with your forward-planning and your personal safety, and don't set your sights too high. There are some things you might do with a mate which you wouldn't want to do alone. The good part is that you're the boss - if you don't wanna do it, you don't gotta. However, some people are better to travel with than others! It's a bit of a balancing act but here's our guide on who to travel with.
Here's an email we received from Kirsty, a gapyear.com member who's travelled solo:
"I just wanted to let you know that I've recently got back from a six month round the world trip. Your website really helped me make up my mind to go. I wanted to travel alone after uni but lots of people - my parents, some friends - thought it was too dangerous going solo. In the end I did go on my own and I had the time of my life. I was never really lonely because I met so many people - probably more people than I would have met if I was travelling with friends. So I just wanted to tell others not to be afraid of travelling solo - it's easier than you think!"
Travelling with Friends
Travelling with friends can be amazing. Who better to travel with than the people you laugh with, cry with and pull with?
It can also be really hard work. You know those little foibles that make your best mate who she is? Her control-freakishness? Her tendency to sing tunelessly to pass the time? They're gonna drive you insane by the time you reach Heathrow.
Just make sure you talk about what you each want to gain from your gap year before you make any kind of pact. If you have totally different attitudes, don't risk your friendship by agreeing to travel together. When you've decided who to travel with, sometimes it's best to have an open and honest discussion with your friends - at the end of the day, it's your trip and you don't want to travel with someone, even if it's a besty, if they're going to drive you crazy!
Once you're on the road, don't expect to do everything together; a bit of space is important. Arrange excursions with other people, or chill-out days on your own. Trust us, you'll need it!
Travelling with a Boyfriend
I've never travelled with a boyfriend. Maybe it's because I'm a boy myself. Anyway, we once again turned to our gapyear girls to see what they had to say on travelling with a boyfriend. Jess Fitch answered:
"I've had some great times travelling with my fella. It's convenient to have someone on hand to snog when you see a beautiful sunset over the mountains, or whatever. And now we're back, it's lovely to have all those shared memories.
"However, we also discovered why in the real world couples have jobs, hobbies and friends. It's so they don't have to spend every godforsaken minute of every interminable day in each other's company. Schedule some time apart into each day. Trust me, you'll need it."