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I’ve been doing a lot of solo travelling lately, and whilst I do enjoy my own company and the freedom involved, my most recent trip to Germany has reminded me just how great it is to travel with a few close friends. Here are some of the many reasons you should plan a group holiday with one or more people you get along well with.
1. Bumping elbows with the person next to you on the plane or public transport isn’t such a big deal
2. If you have enough people, you can occupy an entire carriage on the train
3. You can help each other with your luggage
4. You can leave your stuff with someone you trust
This is especially helpful for when you need to use the restroom at a train or bus station. No need to (a) practise contortionism in the teeny weeny restroom cubicle while trying to squeeze in your luggage and daypack and avoiding dropping things onto unsanitary floors, or (b) pray that your morality radar was accurate when you asked that stranger to mind your things. Also handy for little tasks like scouting for directions or purchasing tickets.
5. 2 (or more) heads are better than one
It’s much less frustrating when there’s someone that can help you to work out directions, signs and unfamiliar contraptions.
6. No botched selfies
7. In fact, you could end up with some very nice and unexpected candid shots of yourself when you get home
8. Tripod? Who needs one when you have a friend to lean on?
9. “Wow, look at that!” moments
There’s someone there for those views that are so spectacular they simply have to be shared. Indeed, I’ve sometimes been unable to contain myself and uttered that phrase to a total stranger as they slowly and warily stepped back from me.
10. Don’t wanna miss a thing?
H strikes again, catching us clearly more interested in opposing views
Everybody has different likes and interests and therefore different perspectives, so your friends will ensure you have every great sight covered. Believe it or not, I walked around the entire Frankfurt Marktplatz and missed the Font of Justice that was standing guard over everything and taking pride of place right in the middle of the square. I must have been too enamoured by the Christmas market stalls to look up. Yay for friends who pointed her out to me (at the expense of a few laughs).
11. Better dining experiences
Our splurge meal at Tantris in Munich
I’m perfectly at ease enjoying a little picnic in the park or people watching in a quiet corner of a cafe on my own, but sit through a fancy 3 hour or so degustation meal with nobody to discuss the nuances of each dish? No thanks!
12. Being able to try more foods
13. No need to feel self-conscious attending a show
Like casual dining vs fine dining, I’m perfectly happy watching a movie by myself, but for some reason, I feel that a concert, play or other stage performance is best enjoyed with company. It’s probably an extension of number 7, and the fact that there’s usually an intermission.
14. There’s someone to talk to and share jokes with
15. Travel is cheaper in a group
Not only can you share accommodation costs, cab costs and grocery bills, there are actually passes designed for pairs or groups. The first time I went to Germany, we bought a Twin Saver Pass instead of the standard German Rail Pass for an individual and saved a ton of money. This time, with a group of 4, we mostly purchased small group tickets (kleingruppenkarte) that allow up to 5 people to travel together on the 1 ticket. Heck, if you really want to, you can even skimp on toilet money by going into one of those public toilets with a friend. They’re big enough for the other person to stand facing the wall, and the doors only open and the disinfection process begins after 20 minutes.
So there you have it – dial a friend or 2 today and start planning your 2015 holiday!
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