July 7 2009 by Chris McGinnis
Here we are in the midst of the peak summer travel season. Everywhere you go, people are talking travel. And not all the stories are positive.
As a matter of fact, mid-summer is the time of year when you can't escape the stories of airport strandings, oversold hotels, broken down rental cars or unexpected traffic jams. Everyone seems to have his or her own personal anecdote of travel misery that can out do anyone else's.
The next time you overhear someone heading down that path, consider spicing up the conversation with the OTHER side of the story.
Travel has never been better as far as I can see. Here's why:
- Technology has vastly improved the overall travel experience. Ten years ago, who would've thought you could take an online virtual tour of nearly every hotel in the world? Communicate wirelessly via laptop from your airplane seat or hotel room? Take a photo or make a video using your cell phone and send it to others instantly? Get step-by-step driving directions from a GPS device on your dashboard that's not much larger than a deck of cards? Check in for your flight with a boarding pass stored on your mobile phone? All amazing!
- The airport security experience is much better. Remember having to arrive at the airport extra early just to get through airport security in the years immediately following 9/11? Lines and significant delays are now the exception rather than the rule as travelers and the TSA seem to have finally gotten the drill down. While I was sad to see the Clear Card express lanes at airports shut down last week, it pointed to a blunt reality: The card did not provide much benefit at a time when the average airport security wait time is less than 10 minutes.
- This summer, prices for nearly everything travel-related are at or near all-time lows. Average airfares between most major cities are jaw-droppingly low. Even though fares have firmed up a bit over the last month, last-minute specials keep trickling out. The same goes for hotel and resort rates, the likes of which we have not seen since the summer after 9/11. Gasoline is about $1.50 less per gallon than it was last summer.
There is so much more that's good about travel these days. So sit back, relax and enjoy your next trip-and focus on the positive.