Sorry for the lack of news lately, but our teams have been…traveling! Yep, we travel summer, winter, spring, and fall. In fact, we’re on the go just about anytime we can arrange it. And right now is a great time to plan a getaway.
While the airlines and cruise industries seem to be having serious problems due to the state of the economy (e.g. airline ticket revenues are down 25 percent for the first half of the year and many of the big boats are sailing with a lower occupancy than last year), sometimes there are silver linings to be found in “dark clouds”. We have noticed that several major airlines are still discounting tickets to Europe and there are some amazing cruise deals to be found for touring Mexico and Alaska. At this point, it looks like discounts on travel fares and accommodations may last into the fall.
While we realize that it is difficult for families to travel once school starts again in September, if you have the opportunity you should consider a vacation this fall to take advantage of the lower levels of leisure travel and the discounts that seems to be resulting from this phenomenon. Autumn is a wonderful time to tour Europe, although the weather can get “iffy” in northern Europe in late November and December. If you are thinking about soaking up the sun, Hawaii is great in the fall, as is coastal Mexico. Of course, the Greek islands can be magnificent in September and October, although you need to make sure that your favorite place to stay has survived this year’s slow summer travel season.
In other words, our advice is “GO”, whenever you have the chance. While travel is our business, it is also our avocation. We find travel educational, relaxing, enjoyable and important to our well-being. There are so many places to go, so many interesting places to discover and so many wonderful people to meet that we are already anticipating our turn to enjoy the world of travel. When will it be your turn?
Yep. We know. You want to wait just a little bit longer. Maybe next year? Maybe the economy will improve? If that is your position, we think someone may be giving you bad advice. We all hope that the economy improves, but we can guarantee you that as the economy improves, the price of travel will rise accordingly. Now is the time that you should be able to find bargains that you may never, ever see again in the world of travel.
Several items caught our eye recently. For those of you traveling to Greece, there is a new ban on smoking in public places, although there is some disagreement on how effective it will be since over forty-percent of the Greek population like to light-up now and then.
In Odense, Denmark there has been a curious turn of events. The Hells Angels have taken a stand against Muslims and immigrants in Denmark who hate, so the Hells Angels state “…the Danish culture and way of life.” Under the guise of rescuing the country from what it calls the “jackal mentality”, the Hells Angels are recruiting new gang members to help them with this task. Police believe that this is really a turf war in disguise between the Hells Angels and immigrant gangs for the control of drugs and other illegal activities. Note: there have been daylight attacks by the immigrant gangs in Odense, Funen, sometimes involving innocent people just wandering by.
Next, they must be having a good time on the island of Crete, since today it was hit with a magnitude 6.7 earthquake offshore of Iraklion, but it appears the quake was not felt by anyone asked.
For those of you in the U.S. American Airlines is having an air sale to Europe, but tickets must be purchased by July 15 for travel into the fall. See American’s website for details.
Finally, although not as newsworthy as more important things happening around the world, our new Guide to the Best Places to Visit in Rome is proving very popular with our readers. If you have not yet seen it, take a look at ThereArePlaces to try it for yourself.
An Associated Press article in the Seattle Times indicates that the airlines are discounting tickets to jump start the summer travel season. Most airlines have experienced low traffic over the last several months and are now trying to lure passengers into reconsidering traveling this summer, by offering what appear to be incredible deals on airfares. Unfortunately, the often airlines play “games” with their inventory, so you might not find many seats available at the lowest sale prices. However, it is clearly the time to take consider a summer vacation, as some of the discounts are outstanding. Naturally, it goes without saying that “you deserve a break.”
In another interesting story that may have implications for the cost of travel, Spiegel Online, reports that even Paris, one of the most popular international travel destinations, is suffering from a significant decline in tourism. Airline arrivals in Paris are down eight percent, year over year, hotel occupancy is down ten percent and restaurants seem to be suffering even more, as people are avoiding expensive, signature restaurants and turning to good quality, but less expensive alternatives (more “snacking and picnics).
We suspect that the decline in vacation travel is hitting most places and that the entrepreneurs who provide travel services are aware that they need to adjust their prices and improve their services to survive. For the traveler, however, this may convert to lower prices, better service and less crowds. In other words, now may be the time to consider travel, even if you are a little pinched. Real travel discounts, which are usually hard to find or misleading advertising, seem to be surfacing for travel this summer. So take a close look at what the travel industry is offering and see if they have something this year “just for you”.
Virgin Atlantic has a promotion running from now until September 12th. If you are lucky enough to live in the Northeast of the US, you might be able to snag a ticket for $143 each way! Prices are higher as you proceed across the US in a westerly direction ( = longer flights). Travel dates are extensive and, according to our sources, the fuel surcharge is included in the advertised price (although the September 11th security fee is not).