Solo traveler in Paris
Credit: Westend61/Getty Images

This summer, a funny word began popping up in the travelsphere: mobilemoon.

“Babymoons” and “buddymoons” have become passé travel trends. In 2019, who needs a travel companion when you have your cellphone — apparently.

The “mobilemoon” is a more plugged-in version of the “solomoon” the New York Times tried to make happen earlier this year. Basically, it’s just a solo trip where you’re using your phone.

If you’re wondering where the “trend” came from, you can pin it on Expedia.

Last month, the travel company issued the results of a survey which said, given the ultimatum, 33 percent of American travelers would rather take their cellphone on a trip than a travel companion. Expedia christened this phenomenon the “mobilemoon” and quickly tied the trend to their mobile app, which they said has many helpful features for a solo traveler.

Roughly two-thirds of travelers told Expedia they “prefer the freedom of traveling alone and meeting new people over the desire to have a vacation companion.” The numbers were especially skewed towards youth. About 80 percent of Millennial travelers and 83 percent of Gen Z agreed with the statement.

Perhaps, for younger travelers, the motivations behind travel itself are changing. A vacation isn’t necessarily about connecting with a partner or sharing experiences with friends. Respondents told Expedia they traveled solo to “meet new people and explore new places, disconnect from work and life, and improve their independence and confidence.” It seems that, increasingly, travel is being seen as a catalyst for change or for resetting oneself. Five percent of the Expedia respondents said they were motivated to travel solo after seeing/reading “Eat Pray Love.”

Solo travel is, in our humble opinion, one of the best ways to get to know oneself. A solo traveler is often forced out of their comfort zone, learning to ask strangers for directions, strike up conversation in a restaurant or navigate a route and itinerary on their own. But with the ubiquity of mobile technology (and ease of staying connected while on the road), the hurdles of seeing the world alone are becoming less daunting.

Sure, this could be a new travel trend. Or we could just call the “mobilemoon” what it is: solo travel in the digitally-dependent age.

But if the whole idea of wigs you out, you could just book yourself a digital detox and see how you fare without even a phone as companion.