2016 was the year of the “Eat, Pray, Love” style bloggers that country-hopped from destination to destination, praising how amazing soul-searching is in a foreign place. A majority of these bloggers traveled with a partner to document their experiences or with friends or family, but there were a few travelers that trekked alone. Surprisingly, traveling alone is becoming a growing trend with young people. With services like Air BnB, traveling solo is cheaper and more realistic for more and more individuals.
Traveling alone: Why people do it?
Do you remember your family vacations? I sure do and no matter how much therapy I’ve gone through, I can’t forget them. My mom always over packed, my dad always got lost and my sister and I somehow always got in trouble for having a “shitty, ungrateful attitude”. For most, the memory of traveling with family is enough to make them never want to do it again. There is solace in knowing that you make your own agenda for each day without having someone that doesn’t want to join or bails at the last minute. If you’re a thrill seeker, you don’t have to worry about waiting for the apprehensive partner, or if you’re into seeing historical sites, no one will be telling you how they’re bored. When you travel by yourself, you make your own rules and that’s more appealing to me than any vacation you could possibly tempt me with.
There’s also the issue of money. Traveling with people tends to mean that you’re spending more money than you would be alone. Even in your hometown, we tend to spend the most money on dining. Going out to eat with your friends means more options and that one person always says “ Why don’t we just share everything?” Well, if you’re like me, you’re not the sharing type and even if you are, more food means more money. People are starting to travel to less popular destinations, which means they are spending less money for food. One up and coming popular and cheap destination is Thailand. Street food can cost between $1-$5 US and sit down dinners between $6 and $17 (Source). Food that is tasty, fun and cheap is hard to come by these days no matter where you go, therefore feeding just one as opposed to many is much easier on your mental health and your wallet.
The past few years have been amazing for small start up businesses that have grown into billion dollar corporations. For example, we have things like Uber and Air BnB. The fact is that going online and renting out someone’s house for a short period of time used to be a little taboo, but now it’s normal. Remember that movie with Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet, The Holiday? Ah, I know it’s a crappy rom com, but that honestly set the stage for how opening up your home to a stranger could be an amazing opportunity. Air BnB, became the pioneer and a conduit for people to be able to travel on a budget. The service offers relatively cheap housing for people traveling, especially for people that just need a room. Other sites like Hostel World and Hostel Bookers are also trending with solo travelers for their accessibility and the cheap price tag that comes along with them. They are also a great method to meet other travelers along the way. Of course, with that comes the great responsibility of keeping yourself safe above everything else. I also recommend not watching the movie Hostel before you travel to one.
Traveling alone, although some might say it’s dangerous, is a beautiful way to connect with yourself in the most authentic way. There are beautiful people to meet and experiences that can only be had if you’re alone. That being said, traveling alone always poses a safety risk. Staying safe is easier if you do your research first. As appealing as spontaneous travel is, it could leave you in a really crummy situation if you didn’t think everything through. Figuring out your exchange rate, where you’re going to stay, what you’d like to do and see first helps you plan out an outline for your trip and takes you out of the hands of luck and gives you more certainty for your vacation. The more you plan, the less you end up like those tourists that wanted to backpack through Iraq and ended up captives of the Taliban. Two thumbs down on Trip Advisor right?
Travel with someone, or travel alone or if you’re really brave, travel with your family. The point is traveling, whether it be to the outer edges of the Outback or three towns over for their summer festival, get out if your budget allows it because there’s nothing better than stepping foot on a place you’ve never been.
Veronica "Wildchild" and her sister Alyson are the writing duo behind Wildchild Society's blogs..