We all saw what happened to the tourism industry in 2020. Cruise ships became ghostly quarantine pods, airline stock plummeted, border restrictions sprung into place, many tourist spots closed their doors and a few limitations to solo travel. Travel came to an eerie standstill and the worst part was none of us knew when it would go back to normal again.
Flash forward to June 2021 when vaccines are widely available, countries are opening their borders again, new flights are being added back to websites each day, and businesses are starting to make a steady recovery. Travel is back on the menu but… something is different. The hiatus of 2020 created a fundamental change in the way we think about travel. Do we go back to group vacation package deals? Do we wait for the once-a-year opportunity to pool our allotted time off to go to a single destination?
The answer is solo travel. With more millennials choosing to put off having a family, group vacations are bound to see a decline as adults feel comfortable to set off on their own. The rise of remote work has created a unique post-pandemic environment that has made travel historically more possible than ever before. With remote work here to stay, there is no longer a need for people to bundle their meager allowances of sick days and vacation days for one-week annual vacations with their families. Remote workers are free to go anywhere they want at any time, provided there is Wi-Fi to connect to their jobs.
While we are returning to a sense of normalcy, safety precautions still play a major role in any travel currently taking place—and this doesn’t just mean masks and vaccines. Traveling alone poses a significantly lower risk of COVID spread. Airlines and hotels are ramping up their capacity to pre-COVID levels, but many believe that those decisions are premature and risky. By solo traveling, you are lowering the risk of infection for both yourself, others around you and the cultural communities you interact with on your trip. A happy consequence of having that valid safety reason to leave behind piggybacking relatives is that you have the freedom to build your own itinerary.
In 2021, new and seasoned solo travelers will find that the best part about traveling to places alone is the empowering revelation that you can be totally in control of your own decisions when it comes to where you want to go, where you want to eat, how much you want to spend, the activities you’re interested in and what you want to experience. The inner confidence and self-love you develop from solo traveling are things that will live within you even as the pandemic passes over us.
After the economic crisis that COVID-19 caused, many people have struggled to recover financially yet are still itching to travel after being cooped up inside for a year. This is where solo travel comes into play. If you’re traveling by yourself, booking flights, accommodation, and creating an itinerary is much cheaper without the added expense of other people. Even if others are carrying their own financial weight, traveling alone ensures that each penny you spend is spent how and when you want to. You’ll never run into an awkward issue if your friend wants to go to an expensive restaurant while your bank is near dried up. Traveling with friends can be fun, but if you are someone whose wallet is still reeling from the pandemic and you still want to hop on the summer 2021 travel bandwagon, know that you are able to travel cost-effectively much easier when you are going solo.
The travel industry and travelers in general have experienced a rollercoaster of events between 2020 and 2021. While we can expect many things to go back to pre-pandemic normalcy (like high flight prices, sadly), there will be some major shifts in attitude towards travel. The pandemic has forced people to come to terms with the fact that our world is not just school, work, and sleep and that solo travel is actually quite cheap. Now, those who previously thought travel was inaccessible due to budget, job, or family constraints are suddenly finding doors swung open before their eyes—all thanks to the emergence of solo travel.
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By Sarah John & Chizoba Anyaoha
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