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11th April 2016

Lone wolf or pack animal?

Evangeline Katz weighs up the pros and cons of travelling alone

Effectively a rite of passage for students everywhere, travelling poses both a hoard of opportunities and challenges to prospective roamers. But one dilemma facing nearly every one of them is whether or not to travel alone. The ideal travel companion is no doubt an elusive concept—finding a close friend with the urge to explore the same destinations and a sufficient bank balance is a feat in itself.

But of course, a ticket for one is an option that cuts out the middle man completely. If you’re exploring the likes of South East Asia, many would even recommend it as you’ll undoubtedly meet fellow travellers along the way. What’s more, it can also bring the most introverted amongst us out, of our shell, thus returning a changed man or woman. Riding solo also allows sufficient freedom to go your own way, exploring every country as you wish to explore it.

But travelling alone isn’t for everybody—and unfortunately, the prospect can even deter some from travelling altogether. For the females of the species in particular, it can be a rather daunting prospect. Although Manchester may have hardened you in comparison to the likes of Oxbridge students, the big bad world gets far meaner than Moss Side. If nothing else, travelling with a partner will hopefully give your parents the peace of mind to permit them a wink or two of sleep during your absence.

If you’ve been fortunate enough to find a companion, don’t celebrate just yet. Travelling can make or break even the strongest of bonds. A little planning before you make concrete plans can help save conflict down the line. Compromise is invaluable when on the road. More often than not, that activity you just weren’t so keen on could be the highlight of your trip, so be flexible. “When in Rome” should always apply and a companion can often be the key to pushing you outside of your comfort zone and embracing new experiences.

Aside from all of the incredible stories and lifelong memories, travelling can equally be pretty damn scary. It’s important to evaluate how well you cope without the support system you have at home in the UK before you go off gallivanting. Ultimately, it’s a question of sink or swim. If you’re taking the plunge on your own, just make sure you’re not going to cave in and book an early flight home to see Mummy a week later.

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