Why a recession could be the best time to travel

Like many people the recent and alarming economic headlines may have you rethinking your travel plans. However, extended travel might actually be one of the better ways to survive a recession or, if it comes to that, a full-blown depression.

Think about the basic math — traveling in Asia for a year I easily lived on $20 a day, often much less. With many economists predicting a marked rise in the price of consumer goods in Europe and U.S., your cost of living at home is going to be more than it already is and that’s likely quite a bit more than $20 a day.

Quite often, traveling can actually save you money.

Of course the wisdom of travel in an economic down turn depends on where you are financially. If you’re saddled with an expensive mortgage, credit card debt and other fixed expenses, then you’re right, putting off travel to get your financial house in order might be a good idea.

A good friend is seriously rethinking his plan to quit his job and travel for a year because he’s worried that if we do slide into a depression he won’t have many job prospects when he returns. While those concerns might be somewhat justified, he’s also aware that same logic means he could lose that job anyway. So why not just go?

Blogger Gary Arndt, who’s currently traveling around the world, recently posted some encouraging words for those worried about traveling in today’s economy:

But all the talk of money and finances aside, in the end, none of that really matters. The ultimate asset you possess is what is between your ears. Traveling can only help you. It won’t make you dumber. The experience you gain is easily worth the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree, if not more. It isn’t just the knowledge you pick up about other people and places either. With limited internet and almost no television, I’ve plowed through more books, audiobooks and podcasts over the last 19 months than I have the previous five years. I’ve been reading a lot of history, but also a fair amount on monetary policy, business in China, and even some fiction (which I seldom read). I’m a better photographer, I’ve learned some basic Photoshop, and have even gotten my feet wet with video editing. I’m certainly have more skills now than the day I sold my house.

Arndt’s experience more or less parallels my own, I wrote extensively about my travels on my blog and not only was it a fun way to keep in touch with friends and make some new ones, it forced me to write — and there’s nothing that makes you a better writer than doing it everyday. And, thanks in part to my experience and some contacts I made through my blog, I was able to land a full time writing job when I returned.

In short, the economy shouldn’t dictate whether or not you travel. If you have the money and were already planning to go, don’t let doomsday predictions or fears about the economic future keep you from the trip of a lifetime.

Posted by | Comments (7)  | October 15, 2008
Category: General

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