Autumn 2021. In theory we could travel to other continents, but destinations we had in mind such as Japan or the United Kingdom were impossible to plan ahead. Instead we organised a rail trip to Eastern Europe, travelling to Berlin, Gdańsk, Wrocław, Karlovy Vary, Pilsen, Bratislava, Poprad, Vienna, Linz and Salzburg. By travelling to Germany, Poland, Czechia, Slovakia and Austria, we explore an area which was in the (not too distant) past bonded together by the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation and by Austria-Hungary.
Sometimes I travel alone. Most of the time I travel with someone. Most of the time that person is Danny. Or Oriol. Or Tim. Or Steve. Or Thanh. My 2015 visit to New Zealand was with Tim and Oriol and with Julien. An even number.
In Karlovy Vary we were three: Sam and Danny, and me. As we ware all adult males and Sam and Danny ánd myself want privacy, we got two rooms. So I’m taking this opportunity to compare a room for two, which is pretty much the norm and a room for one.
What strikes most is the price. We normally don’t talk prices on Trip By Trip because hotel rates or flight prices vary much. But in this instance it’s pertinent.
For a week, Danny and Sam paid 996 euros for their room. I paid 726 euros. Half board. So breakfast and dinner included. A good price for a five-star hotel.
I’d like at this point I’m not having a go at Hotel Imperial. It’s just that we booked the room simultaneously, for the same amount of days. So we have a unique comparison.
726 euros is 72.89% of 996 euros. But did I get 73% of what Danny and Sam got? No.
My room wasn’t small at all. It had a bathroom, a vestibule and sleeping quarters. A desk. A balcony. Two coffee cups, a large coat rack. A really small and unpractical cupboard.
But it was visibly much smaller than Danny and Sam’s. I had a single bed. One set of towels.
Logic you say? Why? It felt like boarding school. No bed sports allowed. I get hotels don’t like outsiders to come in, but what if I want to hook up with another hotel guest?
For sure, for one or for two, a room needs a bathroom, a bed, a television, furniture etc. As people living alone know, turning on the light is the same for one or for more.
So yes, it’s pretty understandable single rooms are not half the price of double rooms. But 73%? It feels I just received a reduction for not having a second mouth eating breakfast and dinner.
That’s not right. If that is the price calculation, I just might as well have had the same room size, a double bed and two sets of towels.
You find it normal travellers get a reduction for being efficient and sharing a room? Why don’t I find a travel mate? Why don’t I travel with organised groups, which often pair up solo travellers?
On the first point: yes I accept double occupancy is somewhat more advantageous. But in the Grand Scheme of Life people living alone are always paying more. In Belgium, single-person households are almost punished for being single-person households. The travel industry doesn’t mind adding insult to injury.
Secondly. Yes, I often do. But not always. Finding a travel mate is not easy. I’m sure there are some kind of ‘dating’ apps and sites where you can find travel mates, but that’s not for me. In my group of friends I have a few candidates, but aligning travel interests, expectations, budgets and not least of all calendars, is not a guaranteed success.
Organised travel? No. I’m too old for youth travel and too young for senior groups. There are probably organised trips for forty-somethings, but
- I have never encountered an itinerary which really interests me;
- organised travel is more expensive as you obviously pay the service of organising;
- I am not that social. I don’t want to share a room with a stranger and I don’t want to do after-drinks all the time.
But maybe I’m terribly wrong and I’m missing out here. I doubt it though. I’d hate being set up with other solo travellers on a cruise, for instance.
This is 2022
This is 2022. Isn’t it time we face reality more and more people are alone, live alone and travel alone. Not only for business but also for leisure.
Can we stop stigmatizing solo travel and can we stop ‘punishing’ solo travellers?
That was a rhetorical question.
2021 Rail Tour of Imperial Europe
- POTSDAM 2021 | Schloss Sanssouci.
- 1945 Potsdam Conference’s Cecilienhof Palace.
- Potsdam 2021.
- REVIEW | InterContinental Berlin.
- BERLIN 2021 | Pergamon, ‘Das Panorama’.
- BERLIN 2021 | Humboldt Forum in the Berlin Palace.
- BERLIN 2021 | The Bundestag in the Reichstag.
- Berlin 2021.
- By train from Berlin to Gdansk via Szczecin.
- Stopover in Szczecin.
- REVIEW | Restauracja Ritz in Gdańsk.
- REVIEW | Holiday Inn Gdansk.
- GDAŃSK | Museum of the Second World War.
- GDAŃSK | European Solidarity Centre or Europejskie Centrum Solidarności.
- A walk through Gdańsk.
- Gdańsk 2021.
- POLAND | PKP Intercity Gdansk to Wroclaw via Warsaw.
- Wrocław Museum of Architecture.
- The Dwarfs of Wrocław.
- Poland 2021.
- By train from Wroclaw to Karlovy Vary.
- Karlovy Vary.
- REVIEW | Hotel Imperial Karlovy Vary.
- Czechia’s Great Spa Town of Europe Františkovy Lázně.
- CZECHIA | Pilsen Historical Underground Tunnels.
- CZECHIA | Pilsner Urquell Brewery Tour.
- CZECHIA | Pilsen.
- CZECHIA 2021 | Cheb and its castle.