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Cancel Your Trip? Why Now?

July 2, 2008

corey says…When I left the US for Ireland at the end of April, gasoline was holding at $3.80 a gallon, analysts were still developing formulas for how Hillary could secure the Democratic nomination, headlines were finally retiring the word “subprime,” and a Tourism Ireland representative I spoke to was still referring to travel to Ireland as “very affordable.”

It feels as though I’ve come home to an entirely different place now in July. The headlines are overloaded with pessimism on the economic outlook, the polls reveal that Americans aren’t traveling too far from home this year, neighbors are bemoaning the rising price of gas and food, Ireland has announced their country is in its first recession since 1983, and there seems to be almost a panic among our listeners and readers about traveling right now.

I don’t blame anyone for having concerns about how much their trip will cost them. However, I’d like people to take a deep breath and relax for a moment. Sure, if budget is the number one factor in making your decision, then Ireland might not make the cut this year, but the success of most vacations are not measured on cost. With that in mind, there are several emails I’ve answered in the last two weeks with advice I think others might benefit from…

• Think twice before postponing plans to take your 80-something parents to Ireland. God willing, they will have many years ahead of them, but situations…especially health…can change too quickly. Make the memories now and enjoy them for years to come…and who knows, you might be planning another trip this time next year.

• You’ve been dreaming about this trip for decades…you’ve been planning it for two years…and now you’re getting cold feet? Bite the bullet and travel smart to help keep costs down…this trip means too much to you to put it off.

• It’s your HONEYMOON. If Ireland is where you want to spend it, you don’t need to compromise…especially since the most popular honeymoon destinations are also the places offering the best promotions right now.

All these emails wondering if trips should be canceled or plans postponed has me wondering what made people change their minds…I was getting budget-oriented questions in April, but not “to cancel or not to cancel” questions.

I suppose all this media coverage of gas prices and summer travel are contributing to a general feeling that travel is expensive. However, for anyone who already booked their trip, neither the prices nor the value of the dollar have changed much since April or May.

It’s understandable that Americans seem to be bracing themselves for tight budgets for who-knows-how-long…and the idea of an overseas trip may seem a bit too extravagant for a family looking to tighten the purse strings.

Before you start thinking about changing your plans, be sure to ask yourself what has changed since you started making your plans. If you’re basing your decision on a news article or the comments of one family member or friends, be sure you look at the big picture. Sometimes, you just have to establish the right expectations and think of your trip as an investment…in memories, in quality time, in personal enrichment, whatever works for you.

If you have any thoughts on this topic, I’d love to hear them.

Also, I’ve updated our website to include all the latest podcast show notes. You can visit them at…Episodes #44-51.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. McDevitt permalink
    July 4, 2008 12:53 AM

    I’m not canceling my trip and thanks for reminding me that I’m not crazy for going. I have a co-worker who says I’ll be spending double when I get there. Looking at your expense report, I think I have a pretty good idea of how much things cost.

  2. Dan permalink
    July 13, 2008 5:49 PM

    My wife and I along with our two young children had been planning a trip to Ireland for years. This was the year to go, then prices started to rise! Rather than cancel, we made some modifications. We went in April rather than the higher-priced summer peak season. We stayed at a self-catered cottage for a week rather than B&Bs and hotels, ate breakfast and many dinners at the cottage, took picnic lunches during the day, and ate in pubs when we were out. We concentrated our travel in the west and cut down on fuel costs by driving less and seeing things more in-depth. Sure we missed some of Ireland, but that is just another excuse to return!

  3. July 15, 2008 4:05 AM

    Dan, these are exactly the types of travel tips we like to hear about. I’m sure you saved hundreds of dollars without sacrificing a fantastic experience.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting them.

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