The Rapid Evolution of Travel: Will Taiwan be Able to Adapt?

By February 12, 2019 May 17th, 2019 No Comments

Years ago, the only available mode of travel was by horse and buggy. This meant that people did not venture too far away from their homes. Over time, things changed with the introduction of railroads. Trains began zipping across tracks, allowing the rich to travel to destinations unknown. However, non-wealthy citizens were still stuck at home with nowhere to go.

As soon as cars became the standard method of transportation, families began heading out for vacations whenever they were able to take time off from work. The destinations were usually kept simple and close - a beach two hours away or a small town away from the big city. Unfortunately, these families were usually stuck with the same vacation destination. As long as the spot had been chosen, they knew that their family vacation would be held there for the next couple of years.

As soon as airplanes were introduced, people became really excited to reach places further away. Buying air tickets, booking hotels in another country or ensuring that you have your own vehicle for transportation became a hassle. This was where travel agents/agencies came in to play. They were kept busy by those who wanted to fly out to embark on an adventure of a lifetime.

Those types of vacations were still quite rare for some time, as not everyone could afford a major vacation like that every year. Yet, when vacations were planned, families could be seen arriving at the airport ready to go. There were no last-minute details to arrange, as the travel agent would have taken care of everything. Therefore, everyone could quickly get on the plane, eat their on-board meal, and land, all ready to pick up their rental vehicle and follow their itinerary.

Nowadays, travel looks a lot different, especially to millennials who prefer to explore new locations in the most authentic and local manner. Tourist attractions, top-rated restaurants, and commercialized activities could be included on checklists. But, generally, groups enjoy travelling like locals and discovering hidden gems, such as understanding the aboriginal ethnic groups in Taiwan. Travelers are much happier making their own travel arrangements, which is partly due to the fact that everything is easy to arrange online or even on-the-go.

There are tons of websites that recommends travelers to must-visit places, the must-eat local cuisines and the must-do activities in the country. Unfortunately, the articles that you read online or information you have gathered are usually written by travelers themselves. Locals share information with their fellow countrymen, but usually in the language they are most comfortable. For Taiwan, there are numerous online forums/platforms and mobile applications that help locals travel within the country and recommend local cuisine unique to a particular city. However, all this information would not be able to reach travelers who genuinely want to explore Taiwan unless they are able to read Traditional Chinese.

It is normal for travelers to plan their own trips due to a greater love for travelling than in the past. Three to four trips a year are quite common among millennials, especially among university graduates travelling around Taiwan for their graduation trips. Some might view them as the YOLO (you only live once) generation. But, ultimately, travelling allows them to discover their true self and, at the same time, recharge before heading back to the fast-paced city life.

With all the last-minute deals and online booking platforms, it gives people a stronger reason to travel more frequently. Travelers have many more choices than just hotels, and some prefer to book an Airbnb over any of their other options. Couchsurfing is another popular option, especially amongst the younger, single travelers, because they can crash on someone’s couch for free. That saves them a ton of money that they can then use for their next trip.

While there are numerous cities around the globe to visit, many travelers are vying for those off-the-beaten-path adventures. It is not unusual to hear someone talking about the safari they just undertook, where they spent their days and nights out in the wild. Others might discuss local delicacies and cafes found hidden in a dimly lit alley.

Back in the day, no one really talked to people that lived in the areas they were visiting. But, that has changed immensely in today’s world. Nowadays, travelers look to the guidance of locals, as they know that they have a wealth of information that they can share. By talking and interacting with locals, travelers are able to find local restaurants that serve delicious and authentic cuisine at a reasonable price. Locals are also more willing to share with travelers the attractions that are worth visiting as well as those they should skip. In addition, they might even share hidden gems only known by locals!

As for like-minded travelers from all other parts of the world, they each have a wide spectrum of knowledge that could be really helpful, which is why travelers are less-shy interacting with one another. It is even possible for people who didn’t know each other before their trip to connect and become the best of friends.

Travel has come a long way over the years and it will probably change even more in the future. Travel need not be necessarily expensive nor a hassle. The only thing that will not change is a person’s love of visiting faraway destinations and immersing themselves in unique cultures. Taiwan is not a big country for sure (well, it is really big if you compare to Singapore), but that are still many places, food, cultures yet to be discovered that even native Taiwanese are not aware.

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