How To Travel In A Recession
There’s nothing quite like travel, is there - exploring new countries, savoring different foods, opening ourselves to different cultural experiences - we become more ‘present’ during our travels than at any other time in our daily lives. This mindset of exploration and discovery is the reason why I view travel as an investment. Your Holiday Is More Affordable Than You Think!
Having said that, it’s time to face the truth. After years of living beyond our means, Western society is suffering the equivalent of a nervous breakdown. Thanks to Wall Street and the Global Financial Crisis, extreme volatility in the market place, and a free fall in job security world wide, consumer confidence has been sideswiped. And as travel is considered discretionary spending, one can be forgiven for thinking we need to ‘spend less, travel less’.
So what do we do? Does this spell the end of exploring our world? Definitely not! I’m a firm believer in seeking out opportunities in the face of adversity. And for the passionate traveler, there are certainly plenty of travel opportunities out there for the taking. That is, if you know where to look. The key to traveling in a recession, therefore, is to cut cost without cutting out the travel. And this can be done in a number of ways:
1) Check Out Bargains Via On-line Booking Sites:
The cost savings in flights, accommodation, and tour packages have never looked so good as they have in a recession. Revolutionized by on-line travel booking systems, it makes all the sense in the world to look at your flights and accommodations far in advance so that you can compare prices and take advantage of good rates and packages. Be flexible with dates and choices of accommodation and carriers.
2) Consider Closer Destinations:
While Americans are choosing to visit Canada and Mexico over Europe, Australians are now shifting their travel preferences from Europe and the United States to Southeast Asia and the South Pacific. Destinations that offer value for money, with favorable exchange rates, are looking more attractive than ever as price becomes a key issue during difficult times. Check these destinations out with a travel agent or over the net.
3) Check Out Your Own Backyard:
Called a ‘near-cation’, the recession is seeing more travelers experiencing what their own country has to offer. In June 2008, 12.9 million Americans researched in-state vacations on the Web — 47% more than the prior June, says research firm Compete Inc. of Boston. The whole idea of travel is to step out of your day-to-day routine and explore something new. So until your budget allows travel further afield, your own backyard is looking pretty good.
4) Look At Low Cost Carriers (LCC):
Apart from the substantial monetary savings gained by introducing booking engines on their websites, LCC’s have given us the freedom of booking our flights and accommodation on our own laptops. This has made it so much easier for travelers to compare prices of various airlines operating on the same route in one click.
5) Rethink Your Accommodation:
From pensiones and hostales to Bed and Breakfasts and serviced apartments, there are a plethora of affordable accommodation to choose from. A don’t forget about “vacation rental by owners”, where the traveler can make their accommodation booking directly with the property owner. The advantages of smaller properties are twofold: a substantial saving on accommodation coupled with a more authentic travel experience. It is also now becoming commonplace for 5-star hotels to offer 3-star prices, or to promote very attractive package deals.
6) Take Shorter Breaks More Frequently:
If you don’t have the time or budget for a longer overseas trip, don’t underestimate the benefits of more frequent weekends away.
7) Go Cruising:
Cruising continues to experience unprecedented growth as it provides great value for money, particularly when you’ve got kids. With an average duration of 10 days, you can visit multiple destinations on one itinerary and take advantage of packages that include meals and entertainment.
As to how long the recession will last, it’s anyone’s guess. However, travel is great for the economy. It keeps the dollars (and pesos, and rupees, and pounds) circulating around. And as for passionate travelers, they are not ready to give up completely on their adventures.They may be feeling the pinch, but not feeling the pain.
A holiday does not have to translate to "expensive". Check out the flight and hotel specials, or explore staying at B&B's. Compare prices between the online booking sites and get the best travel deals anywhere in the world.
Step out of your comfort zone today and book your holiday. It's more affordable than you think.