There was a time when backpacking was a thing only Europeans (particularly Scandinavians) indulged in. Maybe some other countries like Australia and New Zealand had an active community of backpackers or frugal travelers but it certainly was not a widespread activity. However, for the past decade, the number of people traveling on their own is on a rise.
According to a stat by Princeton Survey Research Associates, in 2017, 58 percent of millennials worldwide are willing to travel alone. The same report also says that 27 percent of the women have already traveled solo. There is no denying that more people are now interested in affordable travel. But have you ever thought about the downside of traveling cheaply?
Pros of Frugal Travel:
1) It’s a Rare Opportunity to Grow as a Human Being
If you live in a big city, you will know what I am talking about. It is difficult to find opportunities in a city that can help you grow as a human being. Apart from expensive and shiny places to hangout, a city does not have much to offer. Solo and cheap travel allows you to explore territories you never knew existed. By learning how to handle difficult situations by yourself, you learn and grow as you broaden your horizons.
2) Build Confidence by Meeting Different People
Traveling solo is a great way to build your confidence and faith in yourself. Plus, you also become more sociable as you get to meet people from different cultures and backgrounds than yours.
In addition, socializing or making friends is quite easy for a solo/frugal traveler. All you need to do is book a cheap hotel in your destination city and wait to meet several other travelers arriving from around the globe.
Cons of Frugal Travel:
1) A Low-Cost Flight May Not Be as Comfortable as Others with a Regular Rate
With the help of a low-cost carrier, you can travel the world without a bank account loaded with cash. You don’t need a stable high-paying job, or even a steady flow of income. However, what most newbie backpackers don’t know, there is a significant cost attached to low-cost flights. Uncomfortable seats, unhygienic food, and shrinking legroom are only a few problems faced by frugal travelers. Some affordable airline tickets don’t even include extras.
2) Safety Concerns
Pickpockets and local criminals are always on the lookout for naive and oblivious-looking backpackers. Unless you know how to blend in with the locals, you will have a hard time fending off pickpockets, hecklers, beggars, and all sorts of unfriendly people. Needless to say, this is more likely in an under-developed country.
Furthermore, there are still plenty of places in the world where there is no proper cell phone service. By wandering away from civilization, you could easily get into trouble. There are countless reports of backpackers harassed, robbed or physically harmed while being lost in a desolated area.
These are the pros and cons I have discerned from my research on frugal/affordable/solo travel. If you are like most people, you will be ecstatic in the initial phases of your solo travel. Particularly, if it is your first time in a foreign country. But with time, you will notice that–like every other thing in the world–frugal travel also has its pros and cons.