Saturday, October 25, 2008

Travel in a recession

So you really enjoy travelling but the dollar is plummeting in value. Do you stop travelling? Some of us cannot. It is almost like an addiction. We can’t stop exploring this beautiful world a bit at a time. There are five things we do (and so can you) to plan your next trip without pinching pennies or worrying about emptying your kids education fund.

ONE: Identify destinations where the dollar is strong. While US dollar is weak against Euro and Pound, travelling in areas where Dollar is still strong such as within US, Central and Southern Americas is highly attractive. If you ever wanted to visit Hawaii, Alaska, Maine, Costa Rica, Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Chile, Ecuador, just to name a few, now is a great time to consider these places. If you have the time, places further away in Africa, South Asia and Eastern Europe are great destinations.

TWO: Use airline frequent flier miles. Almost all credit card companies these days give you rewards or points for a specific airline carrier. If you have miles or points that you can convert into mile awards, this is a great time to use those miles.

THREE: Prepay as much of your costs in U.S. dollars as you can. Instead of exchanging cash at the airport, and paying higher exchange rates and commissions, use your credit card or the ATM card to pay for your expenses. Use your ATM card to take out only the amount of cash you might need for a few days at a time.

FOUR: Use local or a small travel agent to plan your trip. Instead of using a large tour operator or luxury travel company, use a local or niche travel agent to create a personalized and perhaps a private itinerary at lower cost.

FIVE: Identify and create a themed experience for your trip. This will help focus your trip on the “must see” and help eliminate all the other extras. Many years ago, my husband and I went to Egypt. Both of us had just joined the professional workforce, so were short on cash. Instead of an all encompassing, luxury trip, we chose instead to focus only on the ancient Egypt and created a private itinerary with the help of a local travel agent. We saw all the ancient monuments, landmarks and artifacts, travelled exclusively in a private rail compartment and by car, and included a few highly unique but absolutely charming off the beaten path highlights to our trip such as a visit to the Valley of the Queens and High noon tea by the Nile river for an incredibly unique experience. As you can see we still rave about that trip. Since then we have travelled to Mexico, Italy, Costa Rica, India, Hawaii and many other places but there has always been a theme to our trips.

1 comment:

RBK's Realm said...

Excellent tips especially for single parents like me who would like to travel but worry about the extraneous costs. Keep the good stuff coming.