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How Do You Watch “The Herd?”

When it comes to travel, do you run with the herd? If so, are you out in front, jumping into action, or does the momentum just carry you away?

Right now the travel herd is strong and mighty, but it’s grazing in the fields, not running anywhere at all. On the news we see ambulances carrying people dropping dead from SARS. There are vague threats of terrorism. War in the Middle East. And if you’re American, we’re told, everyone now hates you. Almost nobody is even fllying out of their home town, much less flying across the world.

Maybe the herd is right, or maybe they’re just feeling the same way they did about shark attacks, the ebola virus, and anthrax. Remember those? It’s all about putting risk in perspective, however, and as an American living in a country where the prison population just hit two million, I’ve gotta say this isn’t exactly Disneyland where we are. When your time has come to die, it’ll probably be from a car wreck, heart disease, or cancer. Those are even odds. Being killed overseas would be a million to one long shot. (Unless you’re George Bush that is.)

There’s an ample reward this time for not following the herd. The bonus is some of the best bargains in history. Governments are slashing admission charges, foreign airlines are practically paying you to come over, and hotels are offering deals meant just to keep the lights on. You’ll have bargaining power no matter what you’re buying.

If you watch that herd grazing and decide to go hiking instead, you’ll be calling all the shots and living large in quite peaceful surroundings. Your ticket is waiting…