By: Huzaili Aris
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After everything was said and done in 2008, the outlook for the coming financial quarters was very bleak. With companies going bankrupt left and right and employees getting laid off in the hundreds of thousands, it's no surprise that analysts expect spending to slow down in the coming year.
Spending on unnecessary goods and services is still expected to decline even further. This trend has so far driven even big companies like General Motors into dire financial straits. The travel and airline industry has also so taken a very big hit of late, as made apparent by the numerous cost-cutting measures companies are using. But just because the economy isn't doing so well doesn't mean that you have to cancel all your plans to travel.
Questions at the Starting Line
Yes, it is possible to have something as seemingly unnecessary and frivolous as travel in this ailing economy. After all, just because the stock markets crashed and the banking system is in a tizzy doesn't mean that you're left completely penniless. It's just that you now have to face additional financial realities, and then somehow get around each one. Here are some questions you may want to address before finalizing your travel plans.
Do you have debts? This is a very important question, especially if you joined in the nationwide, credit card-fueled spending spree of the last several years. Pay your debts before booking your flights. Traveling with an already considerable debt to the banks will just add to that debt and increase your interest payments. Isn't paying for that debt already hard enough as it is?
Do you have financial security? Addressing this question means you'll have to look at your balance in the bank and assess your current employment. Do you have enough to support yourself for a month, if need be? Do you have the security that your job will remain yours, at least for the next few years? You need to be able to answer affirmatively to both questions before traveling becomes a sensible option for you.
Never, ever travel without first having a financial safety net like insurance or funds in the bank stored up. Not only is traveling a costly pastime, but it's downright dangerous to find yourself in a compromising situation in a foreign land without a cent to your name.
The Power of Planning
Don't ever underestimate the power of planning and acting ahead. While many other travelers pooh-pooh at or underestimate the process of planning trips, it's actually the best and surest way for you to reduce expenses and optimize your cash. Planning and booking ahead, for example, will get you much lower rates for airfare than if you were to get a ticket tonight for a plane that leaves tomorrow.
Hotels and other accommodations typically work the same way. Reserving and making arrangements several weeks beforehand could get you bigger discounts or better amenities, especially if you negotiated with the management. Early action will save you oodles of money at every step of the way and in every leg of the trip.
An economy going through a recession doesn't necessarily make travel impossible. If anything, it only makes travel a little more difficult. But if you're confident about your finances and meticulous about your travel preparations, then the downward economy shouldn't stop you from taking to the sky.
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