Since I’ve got one book out on traveling to Mexico and Central America and another one called The World’s Cheapest Destinations, naturally I’m going to encourage people to fly somewhere far and go exploring. This summer though, I wouldn’t blame anyone who said, “Screw that” and decided to vacation close to home.
Which leads us to my MSNBC column this week, Traveling in Your Own Backyard.
This might be the year, however, when most people would be better off staying close to home. Besides the well-publicized airline woes, we’re also facing record-high gas prices for that family road trip, and hotel rates are hovering near record highs as well, especially in large cities.
I’m taking two far-flung family vacations this summer, but I’ll admit I hesitated a bit before hitting the purchase button on those airline tickets, anticipating the hassles that await us. I did stick with airlines I feel confident about though, which is a pretty short list in the U.S.
As Christopher Elliott noted last week, there’s a good chance we’ll see a new trend: that a lot of people are going to voluntarily put themselves on a no-fly list this summer travel season.
Now American Airlines is apparently trying to weasel out of compensating bumped passengers, as if they haven’t gotten enough bad press this past month for how they handled their maintenance crisis. United says it’s going to lay off 1,100 employees. At this point, where are they going to find 1,100 employees extra employees to let go? What are they going to do: eliminate checked luggage and put vending machines in coach?
Andy Rooney’s not going anywhere, but what about you? My fellow Americans, will you still fly this summer? Will you fly a foreign airline out of your home country, avoiding the sad domestic ones? Or will you figure out what’s within easy driving distance instead?