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STILL TRAVELING IN 2009?

I just read in a paper that people are cancelling their international travel plans for 2009 because of the economy and it is expected to see more cancellations. The article said they anticipated travel in Europe to majorly decline. We are still planning to go in August - is this impacting any of your travel plans or are you hearing of this effecting many others?

Posted by
4555 posts

It's making me book my airline tickets even earlier! I figure that airlines are already cutting capacity for the fall into next spring because of this, so prices aren't going to get any cheaper as the months' advance. And, hey, it may mean shorter lineups at various attractions :)

Posted by
12040 posts

Nope, still going to Belgium and the Netherlands in two weeks, and going back again for Christmas.

Posted by
3313 posts

You raise a good issue.

The collapse of the economy has been a shock to many. I'm not surprised that folks are forgoing their travel plans this year.

Let's remember that this site is oriented to those who want to travel economically. What that means is a matter of individual perspective, but I think here it is generally staying in one or two star hotels. Eating a memorable meal in a family-run restaurant instead of something with Michelin stars. Learning the joys of picnicking from markets.

You won't see discussions here about the merits of the the Crillon compared to the George V. You won't see too many people asking recommendations for private drivers. You'll see some, but not too much discussion of the "right" scarf to wear or "cute" shoes or "dressing for dinner". We are fortunate here that few posters flaunt their affluence in a time of economic crisis.

For the most part, this is a community of people seeking to add to their lives' adventures in a way that those of us of modest, if not middle class, means can afford.

I hope we all can continue to travel. But doing so on a budget is necessary for many of us - and also for those hoping to host us in Europe.

Posted by
1446 posts

I agree with you, Doug. Traveling frugally has always been our mode - we are lucky to be able to continue with this.

Posted by
182 posts

Yes, and Yes.

In regards to the later, I know of a few who have modified their plans already.

For me personally, it's having a very discouraging and gut wrenching affect. I have a 10 day trip planned for July (Germany-Austria for a car pick-up and then a driving vacation). All plans are in place, but...... At this writing, I'm giving it a 50% chance of happening, and this figure changes almost daily. Sometimes it goes up, but usually gets lower. (Fortunately, all deposits can be retrieved as long as I cancel by the beginning of June if necessary - including the car deposit which is the reason the trip was planned).

While I personally feel alot of what's going on around us is affected directly based on news reports (sometimes I wish we could turn off the news for everyone for the first 15 minutes), it is having an affect on business coming into a relatively new company I started in the past 20 months. Yes, it was bad timing but it didn't look so bad when I began.

While I am still planning on going, I need to be realistic about things.

Posted by
182 posts

And no, my trip wasn't an over-the-top vacation (thought I should say this based on some posts I'm reading above). Even with a modest budget (with only a few special treats), I'm affected. I've considered many revisions to the itinerary, but if business doesn't pick up soon, it really won't matter :(

Posted by
119 posts

It's not affecting me at all. We're still going to Germany and France this July. I can't wait! I think the news reports are far worse than they really are and people are panicking. I don't see awhole lot of slowing down when it comes to people buying stuff and going out to eat. You can hardly find a parking place anywhere you go.

Posted by
6898 posts

Still traveling. It's a week in Yellowstone this summer (before it blows up) and then 3 weeks in England in September. We have to spend our money before "O" gets it (and I don't mean Ophrah).

Posted by
1890 posts

No changes for us. Even added a trip.
Heading to Italy middle of May for a bike tour, added a trip with my son to Germany in September.

Already paid for both trips. Will have expenses when there, and that will be on a budget. Just wont' be buying much more than food, entrance fees and train tickets.

We are cutting back at home....won't do any thing to the house, except that which is needed. Not eating out as much. Travel is much more important to me than the latest fashion, new car..keeping up with the Jones....

Posted by
380 posts

Going to Italy this year actually a year earlier than planned. Rates were great that I couldn't pass up and the dollar is the strongest it's been in a few years. Also figure if I don't spend it on vacation, it will disappear with the rest of my retirement funds! I also know a few other people that have found some good deals and are taking some extra trips than planned as well.

Posted by
671 posts

Wasn't planning on going to Europe this year, anyway. Our December trip is a road trip and can be completely cancelled up to 48 hours ahead of time, only losing $10 of a one night's deposit I had to put down in Yosemite.

I am being cautiously optimistic, but the reality is my employer IS doing lay-offs, and my ex-husband already lost his job in December.

Posted by
959 posts

Thank goodness, my husband and I haven't been affected at all by the economy. We have secure jobs and have actually been taking advantage of the economy with the good sales/prices. Not to mention that the city we live in is doing great and industry is actually growing here. We never ate at Michelin rated restaurants and probably never will eat at them anywhere, Europe or here. (We don't feel comfortable eating in snooty places anyway.) We've always been frugal. I think that's why some people are in such dire straits right now. Many Americans live beyond their means in their quest to keep up with the Joneses (I personally can't stand the Joneses)... Anyway, we have a trip planned in September to Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland. And we're planning a cruise for next spring. I thank God every day for how blessed we are!

Posted by
10391 posts

We had a two week trip to Europe over the holidays and have another three week trip planned to New England in October. My husband and I are very fortunate that we both have secure jobs with our local government. We both have a lot of seniority, so the odds of us being laid off is very slim. Of course I could always be furloughed... :( We just added a trip to Ireland next month because I found fantastic airfare from Sacramento to Dublin. Our splurge there will be to have a car (I can't believe all the extra charges!). Our lodgings are all very modest and reasonable in price and I'm sure we will picnic a lot, as we have always done. I would rather travel now, while we still are healthy physically, and we can save so we can pay for our trips as we go. We rarely go out here at home, which helps pay for our travels. My heart goes out to all the people who have been adversely affected by the economy. My neighborhood is full of houses going through foreclosure.

Posted by
368 posts

I have not cancelled any plans but have put plans on hold.

In 2008 I worked for two companies that went out of business due to the economy. One was a 113 year old law firm that was a victim of the credit crunch. However, I am still checking this site and have chosen my next tour. Rick's new France tour. It sounds perfect. I always tell people who ask that I work to fund my travel habit. I hope to be back to the habit very soon.

Posted by
187 posts

Nope! I started thinking about my upcoming trip when the dollar was at $1.55, so even now when the dollar is weaker than it was a week ago, we are still itching to go. Our itinerary and budget are made, we have the tickets bought and have 49 days to go! My wife and I are fortunate in that this is, for us, the best times of our lives. In my opinion there can always be something that could hold you back from your dreams but why give in? There's no time like the present.

Posted by
32264 posts

Doug, compliments on your most interesting and articulate post! I'd never thought of myself as a person "seeking to add to their lives' adventures in a way that those of us of modest, if not middle class, means can afford but I suppose that's an apt description.

Sharon, the current state of the economy hasn't impacted my travel plans yet, but hopefully I'll be able to "keep on traveling" (as Rick says) well into the future. I'm fortunate to have a secure job with a government agency and I'm close to retirement so in a bit better situation than if I was just starting a career.

I'm also fortunate not to have any other "recreational pursuits" that would siphon money away from my travel budget. I don't have any of the "hobbies" that many others do such as skiing, golf, fishing, RV'ing, etc. I drive a 7-year old used Car and don't go out much except the occasional movie. I do like gourmet restaurants once-in-a-while though! European travel and photography are what I enjoy, so those are my budget priorities.

I've booked another RS France tour for this spring, which will include some self-guided travel in Italy as well. As the tour is paid in US dollars, the exchange rate is definitely going to "hurt", but the alternative is to stay home and that's NOT an option! Hopefully I'll continue to enjoy good health and be able to keep travelling well into my retirement years. It will sure be nice to have the flexibility to pick my travel dates when they're convenient, rather than according to the schedule at work!

My thoughts and prayers are with those who have been adversely affected by the current situation, and I hope things improve for them sooner rather than later. It was interesting to watch Dateline tonight, as they provided a good analysis of the events that created this situation.

Cheers!

Posted by
582 posts

Four years in a row I went to Europe. Each time I booked six months in advance. This time I'll book about two months ahead. I know it wont be cheaper waiting, but by then I'll know better how my finances are. I want to go to Paris and London, and it's more expensive there! I keep feeding my savings!

Posted by
156 posts

We are fortunate that our travel plans are not affected at all as we tend to travel budget anyway. The added bonus was the British Airways special for one week at the end of November last year which offered two for one with frequent flyer points so we were able to travel from North America to Europe for 25,000 points each...a huge saving which I hope they will repeat again this year. There are lots of budget accommodations and hostels in Czechoslovakia and Austria where we plan to travel and we have to eat here or there.

Posted by
34 posts

We are keeping our travel plans this year. To be honest it has been a bit stressful seeing the meltdown and planning our trip at the same time. At times it has felt inappropriate but so far me and my wife have managed to keep our jobs.

On the brighter side, I am hopeful we can find some good deals on hotels, etc. if not as many people are traveling this year. We will see.

Posted by
2023 posts

We have our trip booked and much of it already paid for so we look forward to leaving in seven weeks--two weeks in Italy and one week in Switzerland. It will be expensive but we travel in a conservative mode--some splurges but eat cheaply when possible and never go overboard shopping, etc.

Posted by
98 posts

I am really bummed that we had to cancel our Europe plans for this summer. With 7 of us we have to start planning early. When the gas was sky high last summer/fall and airline prices were doubling we knew we couldn't afford that. We made plans to rent a beach house and drive this summer. Once all heck broke loose and prices plummeted so did my heart. If we had only known prices would drop we could have been in France. Now we will be at the beach.

Every time I get an email update about fare sales I want to cry. My mom is losing her job in June and my sister had her hours cut so next year will probably be out as well.

Posted by
11507 posts

Our family is not really affected by current economy woes. We have continued on a path they has kept us safe ,, we don't spend what we don't have, and we don't buy homes we can't afford..
We both have secure jobs.( and that I know is just luck) .

So, my travel plans are not affected at all, but, the euro is painful, so I will travel frugally when I can , moderately other times.

Posted by
6788 posts

We're not doing any international travel this year. I was laid off from work in January, so we'll be staying close to home for a while. Fortunately we were able to get in a good trip to Europe this fall. In fact, we were there when the big economic collapse started to blow up in late September. We were watching all the dire news on TV and my wife asked if we should cancel the rest of the trip and go home early. My answer was: as long as the ATMs keep giving us Euros, and as long as the airline we're using for our flight home doesn't quit flying, I see no reason to pull the plug on the trip just because Iceland has gone bankrupt. We had a great time, and the memories will have to tide us over until I get back to work. Once things stabilize, we'll start traveling again.

Posted by
9109 posts

Sometimes one can turn job loss into a travel opportunity. About four years ago my brother and his GF lost their job, got a decent settlement out of it, and embarked on a year-long bike ride from Boston to the "bottom" of South America. Obviously if someone has a family to support this is not an option. But for some unemployment can be like winning a travel "lottery".

Posted by
356 posts

I won't be travelling this year as my job is insecure and I don't have a lot of disposable income to begin with. I am pretty frugal anyway, but to be honest I am going to be cutting back even more over the next few years even if I don't lose my job. I need to get on the housing ladder (which is incredibly hard in London) or I face a miserable old age in a rented hovel. I don't feel that left out re: not travelling. Many of my friends have been made redundant or are finding it hard to make ends meet at the moment. I only know two people who have booked holidays this year and they are now both regretting it as one has just been made redundant and the other is a freelancer and has noticed a dramatic drop in work.

Posted by
15675 posts

The opposite for me, personally. When I saw how quickly and dramatically my IRA balance shrank last year, I decided to use it to travel before it evaporates completely and while I still have the energy and health to enjoy it!

Posted by
875 posts

Don't know if I would have made my 2009 travel plans in the midst of the financial meltdown, but since I've already paid for most everything, we're definitely going! It's a trip I've looked forward to for many years and, God willing, we're not backing out now.

Posted by
3580 posts

I'll be traveling to London then Paris next week. I bought my plane tix to London for under $600 in January and have already bought my Eurostar tix London to Paris and return. I will mix hotels with studio apartments for my 27 nights in Paris and London plus two nights at airport hotels at both ends of my trip. I expect the total for everything to come to about $4000, or about $135 per day. I don't eat out all the time and when I do it's "budget" type eating. In Paris that means Chinese takeout and picking up things like sandwiches and quiche at bakeries. In the apartments I'll do a little cooking and microwaving, which will save some. I plan to buy a monthly Metro pass and visit a few museums, paying one at a time rather than buying any passes. I find that I can really enjoy only one museum a day, so museum passes don't work for me. I may take a couple of daytrips to places near Paris, such as Chartres and Rouen. This year I may go to Europe once rather than twice. With deposits on apartments and hotels, and plane/train tix already paid for, I've already paid for about half of my European vacation. I expect to pay for the rest in cash from ATMs in London and Paris. If I had a travel partner to share lodging costs, the $ per day might be a little less.

Posted by
1170 posts

Yes, we will be travelling this year. Most of my friends have never made travelling a priority so they will either take a short trip in the US or to Mexico as usual.

I have a feeling that most of the folks who have been travelling (like those on this and other travel boards), will still be making their trips.

Posted by
446 posts

While the downturn has had the effect of making me more cautious about spending money, I couldn't resist an incredibly low airfare offered by KLM/Northwest -- $530, including all taxes, round trip San Francisco to Berlin, Germany, in mid-May. I've always wanted to visit Berlin. A modest hotel also gave me a good rate of 77 Euros a night, for 13 nights.

While the Euro seems to be going up a little, the unbelievably low airfare should offset the cost of my trip quite a lot.

Posted by
7710 posts

I think it is best to say that the economy has made me pause to think. I would like to think my job is secure...but one never knows. As others have mentioned, when you see airfare in the $500 RT range, it is very tempting to do a spur of the moment trip, especially since I have a brother in Germany with a 3 BR home to himself, I have 3 weeks of vacation built up, and the Euro is not terrible. To add insult to injury, My Brother is in the midst of the Mosel Valley and not far from Frankfurt-Hahn and it's budget fares to many wonderful destinations. Still, that trip is planned for September (as it was for a year) and we did grab cheap flights to Mexico to take advantage of the cheap Peso for a week. Even then, I now find that getting away from work is harder, we have reduced staff, and between the work load and it appearing callous to flaunt 3 weeks in Europe, I am hesitant. Also, in the back of my mind is if the money is better spent eliminating debt or tucking away in case the unthinkable occurs. So in summary, yes it is a concern, but I probably will not let it affect my plans greatly.

Posted by
23 posts

My husband and I are still going on the Best of the Adriatic tour in May. We booked it in October. We're very fortunate and both have jobs. We don't spend a lot of money on luxuries so that we can travel. My only regret is booking air in December - it's half price now, although I may not have gotten the flights I wanted. Keep on travelin!

Posted by
2744 posts

I haven't decided yet. On days when the market is up, I feel like I should go. On days when the market is down, I think -- no way. Not very rational, but that's the way it's going.

My husband and I are both employed, but I work in the investment management business. (I was not one of those who got the million dollar bonuses!) We've already gone through one round of layoffs, and if the stock market goes down again, we may have another. I have the cash to go, but my retirement savings have taken a hit, so I'm trying to increase my savings. On the other hand, I hate to pass up the bargains and good exchange rates.

I want to go to France in September, and I've started research and have a very general itinerary. I am reluctant to get into more detail because I don't want to get my hopes up. I am watching air fares in hope that they will come down. If they do, I'll probably go for it.

Posted by
591 posts

We are still going to England next month. Got a cheap airfare and the dollar is worth a lot more there now than it was last year. Travel has a high priority with us, so we cut expenses on other things.

Posted by
75 posts

As Rick says, we "travel low to the ground". A yearly trip is the one luxury we allow ourselves, and on a shoestring budget. And we enjoy the challenge! You can still eat well and inexpensively if you make an effort to and the airfare was irresistable being less than we've paid to get to Italy since 2000!

Posted by
189 posts

Sharon, my wife and I will be traveling in the Benelux countries and France for 4 weeks mid April to mid May and have found our B&Bs to be less that it was on our European trip in 2008 and 2007. Dorsey

Posted by
208 posts

I'm still going for 18 days in Sept. France, Germany,Austria, & Switzerland. Had planned this trip in 08 but $vs euro changed that and then lost my job in Nov. Now working part time some weeks and full time some weeks so things are better and will go as planned. Guess things work out for the best as I did not like the job I lost and now enjoy the new job. Kind of hoping they don't ask me to go full time as I enjoy the flex schedule. Most of my reservations are made so now just trying to pass the time till Sept. I can only offer the advice I got after I lost my job from many of those who post here.
Just Go, don't cancel if any way possible to go. I followed advice and it worked out.

Posted by
1003 posts

I've been saving for almost 2 years to go back to Italy. Hoping to do 2 weeks in CT, Tuscany, and Bologna/Parma late fall. But I might seek insurance this time around, just in case.

Posted by
1265 posts

I'm still traveling. Our family departs June 25th, for Paris, Inverness, Edinburgh, Cambridge, and London.

Posted by
98 posts

Our travel seems to be on the increase though we are putting a great deal more thought into finding bargains and reducing expenditures both at home and while traveling.

Last summer we started cutting back on eating out, going to the movies and unnecessary expenditures. The savings allowed us the opportunity to take advantage of making a trip to London, Paris and Edinburgh the first two weeks of March this year.

We tightened our traveling budget by eating at a restaurant only 5 times in 14 days, restrained our shopping and took advantage of local deals and 2for1 offers. We didn't feel deprived in any way and in fact budgeted so well that we are looking at a second European trip later this year. For us, staying in posh hotels, eating at expensive restaurants and loading up on souvenirs isn't what makes our trips memorable.

As several posters have mentioned, airfares are good (and getting better) exchange rates are not bad and I much prefer spending my money on travel than just watching it dwindle in my retirement account.

I don't think the economy is going to bounce back in 2010 so, for us, traveling in 2009 is still a good option. In times like these, I'm grateful for this board and all the money saving ideas shared by posters.

Thanks to everyone for their continued posting, positive attitudes and willingness to share how and where to save $$.

Posted by
30 posts

We had to use our FF Miles before mid-May... so off to the UK we go, 2yo and all! :)

Posted by
1449 posts

job not secure so no Europe trip until the fall (maybe). It's a shame because airfares have come down steeply compared to what I paid last year, and prices for hotels etc. might be better. But we may need the money to eat ...

Posted by
2033 posts

We are continuing to travel, and looking forward to our 3rd European trip in 13 months. We spent one month in Italy last September, came home and opened the bank statements 3 months later. My thought? We shoulda stayed over there for 4 months...at least we'd have had a belly to show for something that used to be money! There are some good deals out there now, and balancing with reality, we hope to carry on.

Posted by
484 posts

Still traveling? Oh yes! Its the only thing that keep us going all year - our trip to Europe.
In August/September we are traveling to Germany and Austria and it can't come soon enough for us. I wish I had bought my euros a few weeks ago when it was at 1.26 to the USD but maybe it will come down again. All my hotels are booked and now I am monitoring the airfare into Munich and out of Frankfurt. We did have some lay-offs at my company early this year but my job is fairly secure for now. Travel is a must for my family as we don't do much else in the year.