The idea of traveling to a country that’s in economic crisis can be unsettling. You see images of protests, people yelling, long lines at ATMs. You read headlines that predict dire endings, total collapse. It can be hard to sort out click-bait subject lines from reality.
Here’s the good news: you can absolutely travel to countries that might be having economic trouble, and you can have a fantastic trip. Several of 2016’s most troubled economies according to Bloomberg were countries that are popular with tourists – places like Brazil, Greece, and Russia.
First, I can help you separate hype from fact. For example, while the thought of protests can sometimes be uncomfortable to U.S. citizens, it’s important to note that protests are a fairly common occurrence in places like Europe. Protests and strikes are much more a part of the social fabric for average citizens than they are for people in the United States, and often under the drama of signs and shouting, conditions in a particular country might still be very normal and relatively calm. And as long as things are stable and it’s safe to be in that country, there’s no reason to avoid it.
Here are a few other things to keep in mind if you decide to an economically-distressed country. If you prepare properly, you can protect your investment and maximize the enjoyment of your vacation.
Get travel insurance and make sure you clearly understand all the details. Insurance can help protect your purchases in the event that a tour company or resort goes out of business. Just make sure you understand what’s covered and what isn’t. For example, if a protest or strike is predicted before you get on your plane, your travel insurance company may refuse to cover your expenses. Talk to me or contact your insurance provider directly to make sure you understand the terms clearly.
Book with credible airlines and tour operators. For U.S. citizens, this means booking with providers approved by the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA). Package deals also tend to protect the consumer more than buying each service separately.
Bring a variety of ways to pay for your holiday, including extra cash in the currency of the country you’re visiting. Most hotels, restaurants, and tour operators will still take credit cards, and often the cash limit at ATMs that’s in place for citizens will not apply to foreign visitors. Federal credit regulations allow travelers to file credit disputes if a service wasn’t provided because of bankruptcy. Still, it’s a good idea to bring more cash than you would normally, just in case there’s an interruption in credit card or ATM services.
The recently-instituted value-added-tax (VAT) increase in Europe may slightly affect prices on some goods and services. For tourists, this mainly affects things like hotel prices and restaurant food — though there are plenty of ways to still get great deals on these services.
Consider exploring areas of the country that you know will be quieter. Downtown in major cities like and university campuses tend to be common rally areas. Often, the countryside or smaller cities offer gorgeous views, plenty of amenities, delicious meals at affordable prices, and friendly citizens who appreciate the boost of tourist dollars. Take advantage of an opportunity to experience an amazing place — and help boost a discouraged economy.
Make the extra effort to connect with citizens. Strike up conversations in coffee shops. Ask questions at your hotel front desk. Take an extra moment to learn about what’s going on from an inside perspective. What you see in the news does not reflect the nuance of human experience. Your trip can only be enriched by connecting with the people who live in the country you’re visiting.
Do you have a place in mind but have questions in an uncertain global economy? Contact me today and let’s see how we can make your vacation a reality. You’ll be so glad you did! www.BeaconTravelLLC.com to schedule your Unique Planning Session.
I am a travel agent so I am undeniably biased when it comes to discussing the benefits of booking through a travel agent. Below are my top five reasons to trust a travel agent when planning your next vacation whether it be domestic or abroad:
1. Cut Through the Noise
When researching your next vacation, the internet can be both wonderful and overwhelming. An experienced travel agent will weed out the mediocrity and focus your attention on top personal recommendations.
2. Completely Customized
Travel agents have all the tools to seamlessly piece together the exact trip you are looking for, which can be challenging and time consuming to do on your own. They have an ever-expanding list of trusted contacts and suppliers, from private drivers to luxury VIP experiences.
3. More Money For Souvenirs
Travel agents not only save you time, but they can also save you money. Agencies who belong to larger networks, such as InteleTravel, can land you deals like special pricing on hotels and airfare that you can’t access on your own. They are also sometimes able to offer special bonuses like complimentary room upgrades, spa discounts and more.
4. Service from Start to Finish
Travel agents see your trip through from your first consultation until the time you land back home. Agencies will typically offer a 24-hour emergency line in case you run into any unexpected delays or issues while traveling. They can even quickly assist you in the case of widespread delays such as airline strikes or major storms. Long hold times with airlines can mean all the good alternative flights are taken by the time you speak to an agent. One quick call to your travel agent, on the other hand, can provide piece of mind while they take care of getting you on the best possible flight.
5. Feel Like a Celebrity
Some travel professionals have connections with top tourist destinations due to their high volume of sales. On occasion, travel agents can organize VIP experiences such as private after-hours tours of normally crowded exhibits, exclusive access to areas closed to the public, or highly-sought after event tickets that sell out quickly.