We hear it every year, that now is the best time to travel. And it’s quite often true. Resources to find affordable (and even free) travel options exist these days in droves. The west is benefiting from a strong currency, oil prices are cheap, and with increasing uncertainty in some Middle Eastern and South Asian countries, the geopolitical situation of many nations could deteriorate to the point where you missed your chance to go.
The best time to travel
Everything we need in order see the world can now be ours for cheaper than it ever has been before, and there has never been a better time to take time off and explore the globe. There truly are no more excuses that money is an obstacle to experiencing the world, and while it’s an overused cliche, it’s true that if you delay your travels until “someday”, it’s likely that your departure date will never come. What is the best age to travel the world?
The following are 4 reasons why now is the best time to travel.
Favorable Currency Exchange Rate
This section will only be relevant for those living in the western countries with strong currencies (ie GBP or USD). The US Dollar for example has been hitting all time highs against currencies in the developing world, and a strong dollar means higher purchasing power for westerners.
Last summer, Brazil’s Real, Colombian Peso and Indian Rupee all hit a 12 year low against USD. The main reason behind the strong dollar is the healthy employment picture combined with the prospect of FED raising the rates in the United States. What is the best time of year to travel the world?
For example, when I started my journey in Colombia in early June last year, the exchange rate was 1USD to 2500COP. By the time I left in late August it was trading at 1USD to 3100COP. It had appreciated almost 25% in just 3 months.
You see this pattern in every major currency of developing countries, though in developed countries too. A big lunch with fresh glass of juice costs $3.5 in Colombia or $2.5 in Thailand. Travel luggage that costs $49.99 from Spotlight Australia is only $37 when converted to USD. The same applies currencies such as the Euro, Swiss Franc and British Pound.
Cheap Flight Tickets
Thanks to a combination of a strong USD and the collapse in commodity prices (oil, natural gas, jet fuel etc), the price of a flight has come down quite a lot. Low cost airlines hugely benefited from the decline in oil prices. Increasing competition from other airlines also hugely drove the prices lower this year.
Take a look at the available options for cheap flights online. There are many sites and apps at your disposal (PriceScanner, Kayak and Google Flights) that will allow you to search for cheap tickets to anywhere in the world given your destination point and start date. Is it safe to travel now?
Google Flights even has a price trend map that shows the best days to book the flight tickets. Or you can utilize flight hacking companies to find the cheapest flights for you. Is international travel safe at the moment?
There is such a wide array of tools and technologies available for budding travelers to help plan and enhance their travels. Personally I use many apps to manage my travels. Check my blog post regarding the technology you should be using in your travels for a few ideas. Why travel now?
People now have the freedom to film or photograph themselves in front of exotic landscapes and landmarks with the aid of the selfie stick (while some may find them incessantly annoying, they do serve a purpose!). The GoPro 4 Hero is a great camera choice for adventure and adrenaline seeking travelers. These days you can capture moments and memories which were never possible to see on film before. Should I wait before I travel?
Google Maps, Maps.me, Hostelbookers, Facebook, Whatsapp, Airbnb, XE Currency, TripIt, Google Translate – there are so many apps which now make every aspect of travel a complete breeze. There is no more need for a language barrier (there are apps for that), no more need for lugging heavy guide books (there are apps for that), and no more need to wait 2 weeks for your film to develop before you can share photographs from your trip.
The technology of today means that there has never been a better time to travel the world. Is it better to travel when you’re younger or older?
With increasing uncertainty in some Middle Eastern and South East Asian countries it might be better to travel to these countries NOW before the situation could get worse in the future. Why you should travel now.
What do I mean by that? In Myanmar a pro-democracy party under Suu Kyi’s (who was exiled and under house arrest the last decade) recently won the majority seats in the parliament. This could mean positive news for travelers (some would challenge me on this), which means more domestic reforms and ultimately more choices for foreign travelers. But given the country’s history I wouldn’t be surprised if there is another military coup to reclaim power.
Egypt and Turkey are fascinating destinations steeped in history and archaeological wonders, though with an increasing threat from terror groups based in the Middle East like ISIL, the safety situation in the future could be drastically different to that of today. And historic relics and landmarks could disappear. With the recent demolition of the Palmyra ruins in Syria, ISIL has demonstrated they have no interest in preserving any historic structures or cultural artifacts. This is what once stood.
To further the point, as of now, free tourist visas can be obtained for Jordan for those who enter via Israel or Saudi Arabia, but this policy could change once tourism starts to really take off. Starting this year, India allows visa on arrival for most western citizens, which is great given the lengthy process to get an Indian visa. Argentina may be better to visit now rather than later; the country has always been on the edge of bankruptcy, and a full scale default could very well occur. best time to travel is right now. Why is now the best time to travel?
At the end of the day, many things may influence your decision to travel. Though I hope given the above points, you might choose to travel now, when the situation is still favorable for most western citizens.
I would welcome your comments and reaction to this article and provide other useful tips that might help to influence more people travel the world.