I don’t like where this is going.
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico- I’ve stayed in three different places in Puerto Rico. In two of them I didn’t see another person. This isn’t hyperbole. I literally did not see another human during my stay.
I checked in via my phone, I was given a combination for either the door or a lock box with a key in it, and that was it. If I needed anything I was directed to text. I did not see anyone who worked at these places. I did not see any other guests. At the other place that I stayed at I may not have seen anyone either except for the fact that I arrived 15 minutes early and caught the cleaning lady before she was finished.
They’re called self-check-in hotels / apartments / hostels, and they’re the future of travel.
I remember the first one I stumbled into around five or so years ago in Singapore. It was a full-fledge party hostel … with no staff. There were just surveillance cameras everywhere and an email providing check in and check out instructions. At that point I realized that I was traveling into a very different world.
The places where you stayed used to be one of the main social zones for the traveler. Hotels / hostels were where you made friends, created business connections, and found people to hook up with. Look how the old hotels were built with these giant reception areas that were full of seats and places to hang out in and fully stocked with multiple bars, restaurants, and lounges. The entire reason why you used to stay in hostels — other than to save money — was to meet people. I remember using the receptionists at hotels to collect local intel and source recommendations for the stories I was writing …
But as I traveled through Puerto Rico, getting Ubers to and from the airport, driving a car all by myself between towns and staying in places where I didn’t see anyone else, I realized that if I didn’t put the legwork into meeting people that I could have easily spent the entire time not talking to a single other person.
Perhaps this is what some travelers are actually looking for. Not me. Travel is about people. Places, historic sites, attractions, beautiful vistas, pristine beaches are all empty without people.
Our smartphones are incredible technologies which paradoxically bring us together while at the same time separating us far, far apart.
The future of travel is lonely.
Maybe that guidebook company was onto something …
Let’s go on an intriguing journey together to uncover these treasures that await us there. You must book hotels in Srisailam for the best experience.