by R.D. Miller
A good reason to travel: Each new year some potential travelers will receive a pre-selected vacation destination whether unsolicited or subscribed.
These global destinations are more than just great beaches, food and music. For many expatriates who have migrated from these places, some may not even be aware that their native land has these global attractions, or some could not afford to visit before migrating for better economic opportunities.
Besides the lure, travelling offers the best opportunity into different cultures that can change misconceptions from the outside. More importantly, a vacation has incredible benefits that enable people to relax, revisit one’s heritage, and re-connect with families.
Undeniable, despite the marketing temptation into these breath-taking places, the appetite to travel are sometimes lessened by means of smart electronic devices that have become a window into these destinations without leaving the comfort of one’s homes.
Although technology has brought us closer to these getaways, society still seems further apart.
The late Anthony Bourdain “Parts Unknown,” a popular television show on CNN has made a significant contribution to his viewers on different food, cultures and sometimes political structures.
Before his travel series, numerous travel-related magazines, or agencies were an avenue into the global world, but these publications and offices have diminished or moved online.
Few copies can be found at one of today’s remaining book stores, or a coffee shop located in a central station stuck between a lifestyle magazine.
Countless times, I have tabbed a travel magazines page on a highlighted destination and drifted on to a beach, mountainside, or danced in a street, but quickly realized that I was only stuck in traffic on public transportation with my head down in a story.
But those most of my tabbed pages next to-go destination list have also become more difficult to reach. It is like a first-class seat that is just a walk by concept to the cabin.
Finally, you have gotten over some fear from few media footages of some geopolitical events, you surrendered and decided on a place and ready to go after finding a reasonable lower budget deal, but suddenly one realizes that the best suitable option especially if it is an international trip is to sit in an airport that can reach upwards of 10-16 hours if you cannot afford an upgrade to a more suitable flight time slot that they suggested is more suitable.
Occasionally one must stay an extra day, get back a few days earlier, and make sure you check carefully because inbound flight may not be returning to the airport where you departed.
Now the fine prints: Sometimes if you found a good deal, you can become dejected having to navigate limited options and restrictions.
Now; let us navigate some of the lowest fare restrictions.
- There is not enough time between the connecting flights;
- Pay more to extend your leg for a seat that may not recline limiting the ability to stretch;
- Seats assigned at check-in;
- Not eligible for upgrades;
- No flight changes or refunds;
- Board in the last group;
- No, carry on allowed, and one small personal must fit under the seat;
- Baggage fee’s increase if not checked in from home;
- Talking to someone at the ticket counter may result in an extra fee;
- Pay an extra fee per ticket if you would like to change your ticket within 24 hours, and that may result in a (higher ticket price);
- Price has just increased because 20 other people were watching;
- You must now convince yourself despite a connecting flight with 1-2 hours, it is a non-stop flight.
A Disconnect: What next? standing option, check your wallet and pocketbooks if it is over five lbs, or an extra fare for being pregnant if the average age for a full-price ticket is now age two.
These destinations can fade immediately from what seems to be a disconnect by some carriers in understanding the budget-stricken customers.
For local tourist boards, it seems they have a small table to negotiate better air and hotel rates to attract more visitors in places like the Caribbean, and other poor and developing countries whose economic viability depends on tourism?
Shareholders’ wealth is important because I own a few airline stocks, but an appearance has emerged that next best-published destinations a must read-only for the wealthy.
Even a treasured trip on some railway destinations as an escape into a scenic view, booking and boarding some of today’s trips have become worse than an airport with similar prices and restrictions.
Today’s algorithm dictates all the rules surrounding one’s travel.
“What happens to grandma?” I thought. Many like her do not have a smart telephone, and still, have her old landline without a caller (Id), but likes to travel.
Ok! Let us Go: After a period of having several travel websites opened, maneuvering online, I visited Morocco from a prior featured destination.
I had a travel magazine tucked at my side making sure what the writer wrote was about to become a reality as my busy life back home was forgotten for those hours. After I landed in Casablanca, I was on a train for about 5.5 hours to Tangier simply to see the country on my blank schedule.
The train stopped in several towns and rural communities, and the people who boarded greeted me with a smile, and curiosity despite the language barrier.
Although my train car could use an upgrade, after an occasionally 30 minutes nap to be awoken by the sound from the train tracks that sounded like a tap dance, the scenery was priceless for the duration of my trip.
Seeing this landscape, and culture upfront could not have been captured on my overpriced smart telephone. After this trip was wrapping up, I realized that flying is like an Amazon economy where only the prime customer rules.
I am not against some reasonable airline fees or taxes, check bag policies. It is important to keep travelers safe, such as the government-imposed September 11 passenger security fee, that supports infrastructure, and other employment that is contributing to the economy.
And this industry is not a charity program, and should be able to make a profit.
USA Today online published 2-7-2019: Southwest Airlines takes in $642 million in other fees and up 13 percent from 2017. This is not a surprise because other reports noted that more people are flying today.
The reality: Few airlines will try to minimize the damage from customers’ feedback and will urge travelers to read all the rules in advance and that is important, but it often comes back to generate more revenues.
People are still looking forward to holiday breaks, or even from a long brutal winter, but gradually putting those images captured into reality has become only a dream for the average vacationers.
Social media platforms cannot replace the human touch. To be sure, this is my experience because what you may have seen from likes or thumb down on social media may not be the true picture.
There are legitimate public safety concerns that remain high in some of these places, but essentially only in person one can feel its true impact like a contact sport of a country’s culture.
For your trip, you must evaluate the risk and diplomatic relations, and other geopolitical issues. After you arrive at your chosen destination, equally important, those local leaders and businesses should continue to make public safety a top priority for everyone.
There are reports of sexual assaults and other violence in some gated resorts. Furthermore, make sure that the local roads are safe getting people to excursions to reduce traffic accidents and fatalities, or simply getting tourists back to their destination on time.
And occasionally; if visitors opt for a local taxi to enjoy a local meal outside these protected zones, charging a significant amount over the average price is not welcoming because these trips are tactically planned to maximize a low budget.
From your next cultural pick, do not worry about travel experts’ airline’s rating because some of the high-ranking carriers do not fly to your low budget destinations.
Simply, put, be safe, keep your mind open, explore and know the local deals in advance and keep traveling.