Essentially, you have two broad choices to make when it comes to deciding on who to travel with -- go with a friend or two...or go alone. Some travelers might also want to consider joining an organized tour group to make traveling easier. Think about the following to help you decide what's best for you.
Traveling with one or more people definitely has its benefits. Besides security and companionship, having a travel partner will allow you to lighten your load by sharing some items (ie. laundry soap and travel guides) and costs. Some people also find it much more enjoyable to be able to share experiences with someone else -- to talk about and share the memories.
But their is a limit to how many people you want to be traveling with (including people you meet while abroad). Having too many people in a traveling group makes getting into attractions, restaurants and onto transportation more difficult. Arriving at a crowded hostel at the end of the day and finding several vacant beds is virtually impossible. As well, the more people there are in a group, the longer it takes (and the more difficult it is) to make decisions. So try to keep your group as small as possible.
Considering who to travel with would appear to be an easy decision. But an honest consideration is essential before you depart. To begin with, choosing your travel partner will probably be based on common sense: How long have you known this person? How close are they to you? As well, there are other considerations to be made that are just as important when choosing a travel partner:
Because you are together all day, every day, traveling can break even the best of friendships. Small habits seem to become larger. Decision making and agreeing on daily plans becomes more and more difficult. But dealing with such problems is not entirely impossible. Try some of the following strategies to help minimize conflict while away:
No matter who you travel with, you will always have the option of going your separate ways if tensions do arise. While I was traveling in Africa with three friends for five months, the difference in our traveling desires eventually became apparent and we ended up breaking into 2 groups of two for the benefit of us all. Looking back, it was a wise decision at the time. We returned from our trip with the same excellent relations as when we went to Africa. All travel groups will inevitably have flare ups due to differences or irritating habits. The key is to try and minimize the problems if at all possible. By thinking about some of the above mentioned points before hand, problems can hopefully be reduced.