To the U.S. travel industry, now is the “election year curse” – a time when both domestic and international travel slow perceptibly. And this year, that sluggish trend apparently has been made worse by the terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015 and the terrorist attacks in Brussels in early March 2016. Though it’s too early to make a firm prediction, it’s possible that trans-Atlantic travel may decrease by 5 percent this year, and domestic travel by almost as much.
This creates a very special opportunity for Americans who love to travel. With planes and hotels at less than capacity, famous cities uncrowded, and museums and other attractions eager for additional visitors, the quality of travel will be better than in recent times. It’s important to keep in mind that the euro is selling at a rate of almost par to the dollar ($1 equals 1.12 euros), and the impressive Airbnb.com is now so international in scope that it permits the traveler to stay in authentic neighborhoods, where he or she can enjoy the uniqueness of foreign destinations at some of the lowest costs for accommodations in recent years. Though Airbnb.com may be under attack in the United States, it operates almost without problems throughout the rest of the world.
Here at home, this is the centennial year for the U.S. National Parks, a time when all these precious natural treasures will be hosting special events of great interest to the visitor. It behooves all Americans to consider a trip to one of these 400 parks, and if they have not been to the greatest among them – Yellowstone, Yosemite and the Grand Canyon – they really should take the time to plan such a trip.
But the greatest obligation of most Americans simply is to travel. To give up the precious rewards of travel is to hinder your own understanding of the world, and it deprives your children of some of the greatest educational experiences they can enjoy.
Note to readers: Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip. The information in this column was accurate when it was released, but prices are competitive, sometimes limited and can always change without notice.
Arthur Frommer is the pioneering founder of the Frommer’s Travel Guide book series. He co-hosts the radio program, The Travel Show, with his travel correspondent daughter Pauline Frommer. Find more destinations online and read Arthur Frommer’s blog at frommers.com.