Travelling as a couple is amazing! You always have a friend to share your experiences with, someone to take your photo or watch your bag when you nip to the loo and a dining partner for every meal. I’m fighting the urge to break into a Michael Jackson singsong here… “You are not alone…!”

Looking across the Strait of Gibraltar from Europe to Africa at Tarifa

Looking across the Strait of Gibraltar from Europe to Africa at Tarifa

Ahem, where was I? Ah yes so, because of this constant companionship, you can end up being a little unsocial at times. You don’t have to put yourself out there and make friends the same way as solo travellers do – you have your very own perma-travel buddy! Most of the time we don’t stay in dorms, when we consider the cost of two dorm beds it often works out cheaper for us to get a private room or our own apartment so hey, why not have some privacy? We need couple time after all!

We’re Not Weird Loners – Honest!

All on our own in Cordoba

All on our own in Cordoba

Now, wait a minute, we’re not weird loners who don’t want to talk to anyone else and only want to be with each other! We do make friends on our travels and people do travel along with us from time to time but we understand that because we are two, it can be that bit more intimidating for fellow travellers to approach us and spark up conversation. No one wants to be the third wheel, now do they? Also, because we have each other to watch Netflix and chill in the evenings we don’t always seek out banging nightlife on our travels. (Not because we’re a little older; no not at all!)

Travelling With a Group

Last month we went on Busabout’s Iberian Adventure for a week, a travel company we had never heard of until quite recently. What is Busabout you say? It’s a travel company that literally ‘bus you about’ – they specialise in hop-on-hop-off, freestyle bus trips around Europe, kind of like the interrailing ticket but by bus. You get on and off at different destinations, you choose where you stay, eat, what you do, etc.

Enjoying the luxuries of group travel at the windmills of La Mancha

Enjoying the luxuries of group travel at the windmills of La Mancha

They also have some more organised, trips for one or two days, to a week or more and the Iberian adventure is one of these more organised guided tours. As hard core independent travellers we didn’t quite understand why backpackers would want to be ferried around from place to place without planning and sussing out everything for themselves. Is that not the whole magic of travelling?

BusAbout Iberian Adventure

Watching the incredible Flamenco show in Granada

Watching the incredible Flamenco show in Granada

With a week to spare before our house sitting assignment started in Southern Spain, we wanted to visit some places we hadn’t been to yet in Spain, like Granada and Cordoba and have some typical Spanish experiences like seeing a Flamenco show and eating more tapas than we should! This trip was ideal to see as much as possible in our limited timeframe and with our last minute planning, we would never have lined it all up in time. Although it was quite a whirlwind, whistle-stop tour, visiting three countries and two continents in one week was really enjoyable. In fact in one day, we had breakfast in Portugal, lunch in Spain and dinner in Morocco – pretty cool!

Hassle Free

Visiting the famous Alhambra in Granada - Hassle Free!

Visiting the famous Alhambra in Granada – Hassle Free!

Most people on the bus were taking a break from planning their itinerary all the time and instead, just sitting back and enjoying a week of being guided around before returning to independent travel. Some people said they loved having all the stress and hassle of planning bus and train times and booking tickets taken out. With limited time, people wanted to maximise their enjoyment and experiences – makes sense to us.

The Social Element

Hanging out with friends from around the world in Lagos

Hanging out with friends from around the world in Lagos

The social element and time saved by doing one of these trips are clearly the main draws. By the end of the week we were like a little family, with our amazing guide Marysol and driver Bruno being the unofficial mum and dad of the group! In Lagos, Portugal we even had an entire house just for the Busabout Crew, with our own private pool- incredible! Everyone got along great and we had a brilliant group of people on our trip. We met amazing friends from South Africa, England, Portugal, Venezuela, and of course ‘Stralia! (Stralian for Australia!), those Aussies taught us well!

The Pros of Group Travel

Enjoying one of the add-on excursions: Kayaking in Lagos

Enjoying one of the add-on excursions: Kayaking in Lagos

We stayed in dorms, we played drinking games and had fun with ice breakers on the bus. We all shared travel tips from our home countries or places we’d been that others hadn’t and were heading to next. Everyone’s bucket-lists grew massively from swapping stories throughout the week. It was like a backpacker networking session! We did all the add-on excursions on the trip and it was such a joy not having to worry about booking tickets, arranging times and all the usual odds and ends that come with organising things yourself. Of course, travelling independently is a huge part of how we like to travel but it was nice not having to worry about missing a bus, train or flight.

Busabout, we never thought it possible, but you opened our eyes to the pros of group travel!

Do you prefer to travel independently, in a group or mix it up? Let us know in the comments below.

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Noelle Kelly
Noelle is a foodie, red wine-o and a huge dog lover. She is a bit of a chocoholic (ask her friends - she keeps an emergency stash of it in her bag - also known as "Nelly's shop"! Along with Barry's Irish tea bags when on the road). She's also a travel junkie and the sensible one in the relationship! Noelle loves to really get to grips with the culture of a country and the mindset of the people. She also enjoys picking up a few words in the local language wherever she is and, of course, sampling the local food!
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