Lost Opportunities

April 6, 2009 on 9:33 pm | In Italy, ThereArePlaces.com, personal travel, things travelers need to know, travel | Comments Off

After I wrote our brief blog on yesterday’s destructive earthquake in Italy, I continued to scan the news reporting the loss of life and the incredible devastation of many towns in the Abruzzo region of the country.  In addition, I noticed that the Baths of Caracalla in Rome suffered modest damage from the temblor.  In turn, this started me thinking about how fragile we and our heritage can be when faced with natural or man-made disasters, or even with the vagaries of everyday life.

For some reason we take it for granted that both we and the attractions we want to see will be here in the future when we have the time and money to see them.  If history teaches us anything, it is that there is no time like the present to realize your dreams and take those journeys.

In the course of your life, you might take thirty vacations that involve travel.  Noodle on that for a minute – let’s find a way to make it real.  

Imagine that you put thirty golf balls in a jar and have taken one out every time you went on vacation. How many golf balls are still in your jar?   If you are like most people, there are a bunch of balls in the jar, waiting for you to find the time to see the places you have always dreamed about visiting.   Well, the balls won’t take themselves out of the jar and no one except you can plan that vacation.  So, get started!

The other side of the equation is your belief that the things you want to see will be there when you find time to visit.  Once again, history has a message for us.  Many of the world’s prominent antiquities no longer exist (you know, those shows we keep watching on the Discovery Channel).  Of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, only the Great Pyramid of Giza still exists.   We still are blessed with many of the wonders of the medieval world, but who knows how long before an earthquake or other calamity damages one or more of these icons? 

Living in a world of “would’a”, “could’a”, “should’a” isn’t very satisfying and knowing that you could have seen one of the wonders of the planet, if you had just made the effort, won’t make you feel any better about missing it.  So, just do it!  Make those reservations, book that vacation and get on the road with your life’s list.  Tomorrow is promised to no one – nor is it promised to our heritage sites.

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Big Earthquake In Central Italy

April 5, 2009 on 11:30 pm | In Italy, Italy travel, ThereArePlaces.com, personal travel, things travelers need to know, travel warnings | Comments Off

The small city of L’Aquila, about 60 miles/90 km east by northeast of Rome, was struck by a 6.3 magnitude earthquake in the early morning hours on Monday.  It was reported that at least twenty people have died and thousands of houses have collapsed in the town, which is located in the Abruzzo region of Italy.  Although Rome was rocked by the Quake, no damage was reported.  For more information see this article by the BBC

Travelers should avoid the area damaged by the quake for the next several weeks.

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Travel Decline and Travel Deals at Home and Abroad?

April 2, 2009 on 8:19 am | In Air Sale, Europe travel, Paris Travel, personal travel, things travelers need to know | Comments Off

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”.

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