Where should confused travelers be going these difficult days?

By David Wilkening

Families and other travelers looking to make summer plans are finding a blighted moon-crater-like landscape of choices. If you’re also somewhat confused about where in the world to plan your trip, it’s understandable because of recent catastrophic events.

The Iceland volcanic ash canceling normal European flights and a possible massive oil spill that could stain some of the world’s best beaches were hardly the only concerns for anyone planning a trip.

But consider also the status of the US State Department’s “Travel Warnings.” No surprise that Thailand and perennial Mexico are included but there are more than two dozen other countries including Saudi Arabia and Israel on the long list.

Anyone pondering their next trip has to wonder: what does a travel “warning” really mean?

“Travel warnings are issued to describe long-term, protracted conditions that make a country dangerous or unstable,” says the State Department. They are used when the US government’s ability to assist Americans is “constrained due to the closure of an embassy or consulate.”

North Americans and others looking to make summer and future travel plans are faced with difficult choices — even if the more than dozen countries of concern are not on their list.

The most recent problem area — like the volcanic ash and many other issues — unexpectedly and out of the blue popped up only a few weeks ago.

“A massive oil rig commissioned by a massive international oil company seeking energy to feed the world’s massive hunger for black gold set out on a massive operation. Out of the blue an explosion lit the sky with towering flames of red. Something had gone horribly wrong,” wrote Anita Mendiritta in eTurboNews.

Eleven lives were lost.

“And then the spillover of the tragedy — it was not only tears flowing. So too was crude oil,’ she wrote.

She terms the event the “spill-over of our efforts.”

That spillover includes not only a loss of money from the wasted oil but also the costs of a clean up, the price of the potential tourism loss, economic losses across the board and many other negative factors.

All this comes as the US launches high-tech space rockets. “How is it possible that on the same day that we launch a rocket into space we cannot plug the hole?” asks CNN founder Ted Turner.

The strikes in bankrupt Greece have discouraged some travelers but most commentators are reassuring that such events in Europe are often no more than expressions of discontent that are seldom violent or threatening to tourists.

But consider Thailand? The problem there is it shows how political unrest is popping up worldwide as a way of expressing pent-up and often invisible problems.

Of course, unmentioned for North American travelers is the dollar exchange. The current currency rate in Buenos Aires is now close to four to one; in Europe, it is also unfavorable and discouraging to many cost-conscious travelers.

So with all this in the wind, people will still travel.

But experts say the best advice now is to consider more carefully than ever all the factors involved in choosing a destination. Gather information before making decisions and then, perhaps a long-time Mexican phrase sums it up: “Vaya con Dios or Go with God.”

What else can anyone do?

Original article At Travelmole.com


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