10 Best Insights: Is It Me or Is the U.S. An Expensive Place to Solo Travel?

Since the start of the global pandemic, prices have increased for many products and services in the United States. Inflation has affected the travel industry equally, resulting in higher consumer prices. Those traveling in pairs or groups can save money by sharing the cost of their excursion.
Solo travelers face the challenge of being responsible for all of their expenses. One user on a solo travel board wonders if the U.S. is an expensive destination for people traveling alone or if it’s just their perception. The consensus is that traveling in the U.S. alone is costly for various reasons.

1. The U.S. Has a Weak Travel Infrastructure

Unless you’re embarking on a hiking or camping trip suited for solo travel, the U.S. lacks the infrastructure to support traveling alone at a reasonable cost. One commenter decries the scarcity of hostels, inadequate public transit, and a shortage of budget airlines in the U.S.

2. High Cost of Living Areas = Higher Travel Expenses

Some regions of the country have a high cost of living that travelers can’t avoid. A user on the thread describes their experiences traveling in the Northeast U.S. by themselves, writing, “Just came back from Boston. I think I spent like 1-2k in a week, lol. My first meal cost $65 and was essentially a snack.”

3. A Tale of Two Trips

Someone compares two trips they went on, a two-week excursion to Spain and a ten-day trip to Michigan, and the cost differences were astonishing: “Back in 2019, we went to Spain for two weeks and Michigan for ten days…it cost us more to go to Michigan and stay in a not so nice hotel in Muskegon than it cost to go from L.A. to Spain.”

4. The Tourism Industry Is Designed for Groups

The tourism industry in the U.S. intentionally attracts couples, families, and groups of friends because they collectively spend more money than someone traveling alone. One person on the thread confirms this based on their own experience, describing a trip to New York City and seeing that most tourists at the popular attractions were groups of people.

5. Rental Car Prices Have Increased

Since the pandemic, the cost of car rentals has exponentially increased. One respondent states, “Since COVID, the rental car has been the big issue in my solo traveling in the U.S. Paying 3x-4x the rate of what it cost just a couple of years ago is such a bummer. I can find cheaper airfare through budget carriers. But there’s no way around the rental car.”

6. Lodging Is Expensive

Unlike European countries, the U.S. only partially supported youth hostels, which are highly affordable hotel alternatives, especially in bigger cities. Making matters worse, some American-based hostels shuttered their doors due to the pandemic shutdowns. Somebody on the thread indicates they avoid paying for lodging by camping in their car on a road trip.

7. Uneven Currency Exchange Rates

Even though the U.S. and other countries are experiencing inflation, the strength and value of the U.S. dollar remain high. For travelers from other countries, their currency is worth less in exchange. This uneven currency exchange can make trips to the U.S. out of reach for those traveling alone.

8. Profiteering Is Rampant

The travel industry took a big hit due to pandemic shutdowns. To recoup that lost revenue, service providers are raising rates. “The profiteering everywhere you turn is getting outrageous,” an individual responds.

9. Length of Stay and Destination Matters

Another user observes that a two-week vacation versus a weekend getaway affects how much a solo traveler spends, and the destination matters. Some cities, like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York City, are notoriously expensive.

10. America Is Expensive, Period

Finally, this user acknowledges, “The U.S. is an expensive place to do anything.” Do you agree?
This thread inspired this post.

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