5 Ways the Economic Downturn Benefits Travelers

February 1, 2009

While the economic downturn has discouraged many people from traveling, it has also opened up opportunities for those wishing to go to Europe this year. From lower cruise fares to smaller crowds, now is the best time to reap some travel benefits from the current economy.  

1. Better Exchange Rates

During the past year, the dollar has gained strength against the euro. That's great news for US travelers going to Europe. Dining, sightseeing, and hotel rooms will be cheaper now than last year, particularly in the UK where the exchange rate is $1.60 to the pound. (compared to $2 just last year).

2. Tour companies may be ready to negotiate 
Feeling the pinch, tour companies, in an effort to secure your travel dollars, may be more willing to sweeten their deals with extra perks or companion discounts.  

How to Benefit: Work with a travel specialist to be your advocate. Travel specialists often have close working relationships with tour providers and may have the leverage to negotiate with them where you may not.  

3. Serious Cruise Discounts 

Too many cabins, not enough people to fill them is forcing many cruise lines to cut fares. To win your business, they are offering advantages such as reduced deposits, extended cancellation periods, discounts for booking early, and reduced airfares.  Added to that, as oil prices drop, a number of cruise lines have begun to suspend fuel surcharges.   

How to Benefit: Book cruise packages that include flights, onboard credit, offshore activities, and pre-paid gratuities.  Bundling these products often makes your vacation cheaper than booking each item separately.

4. Less Stressful, More Authentic Travel Experience

As fewer people travel overseas, you will notice smaller crowds and shorter lines at the airport and popular tourist sights, allowing you to really savor Europe’s splendors. Fewer people traveling often means better service at hotels and restaurants, as these businesses will be overjoyed to see any customers during this time.   

How to Benefit: Book sightseeing tours with "skip the line" access in advance of your departure. Also, pack as lightly as possible and check in online the night before your flight, so you can zip right to security .

5. Cheaper Hotel Rooms

Hotels are struggling to keep their rooms filled, which provides you the opportunity to find a great deal in the form of lower rates or add-ons such as free nights, upgrades and dinners. You can even find deals for luxury hotels.

See also:

Planning a trip to Europe

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