When To Go

When To Go

Everyone in sub-Saharan Africa is gearing up for an expected surge in tourists in just a few weeks. Oh how they’ll be disappointed.

The uncertainty of airline schedules, the flux in which European airports in particular continue to alter their in-and-out rules, much less the reliability of lodge and hotel services following more than 14 months of closure will make those travelers who actually have booked early departures balk before stepping on the plane.

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Not Yet

Not Yet

Why shouldn’t you buy a current RyanAir ticket for $11.85 between London and Shannon? Because you can use those funds to buy a cup of coffee and actually drink it.

Western travelers excited about returning to Africa and other far off places have a number of hurdles facing them. The most important one is how to get there. Current enticements by ridiculously discounted air tickets is not a solution.

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Calamitous Covid

Calamitous Covid

“But the greatest of the sins” is the sin of transmission. Ethnic cleansing is taking place at this moment, a novel genocide by a novel virus. The foot soldiers in this crime against humanity are we, the privileged, who have begun to travel too soon.

The unforgivable relaxation of our restrictions socially has led to large amounts of travel. This is heartbreaking. The virus will not be contained sufficiently if the privileged who know how and are capable of protecting themselves accelerate transmission to those less fortunate.

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Covid Collections

Covid Collections

An entire industry has now arisen to recover funds for travelers who have lost deposits because of the pandemic. Like timeshares, ambulance chasers, J.G. Wentworth and scores of others, the more well-off who are pissed as hell that some of their vacation money might be forfeited, are now themselves preyed on by dubious advocates.

To some of us it’s a delight to see capitalism eating itself to death.

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Getting Ready

Getting Ready

It will probably be three to four years before the effects of the virus stop impacting travelers to distant lands. Efficacy of the vaccines, mayhem in airline schedules, widely differing and radical airport rules for transfers and most importantly, the hugely damaged vendor communities are all just now being recognized as the travelers’ principle hurdles.

There’s little good evidence yet on the last three hurdles for a good prediction into 2021, although I venture some speculation below. On the vaccine issue, however, some things are coming into focus.

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Corona Crests

Corona Crests

This blog is about travel prospects to sub-Saharan Africa, but in preparing it my jaw dropped.

South Africa has a sixth the population of the United States but has tested a million of its people. Comparatively that’s two to three times better than the U.S.

The U.S. handling of the pandemic is a chaotic mess. South Africa and other countries know this, and it’s why the prospects for Americans traveling to Africa is getting worse and worse.

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Calculating Corona – I

Calculating Corona – I

American’s travel dollars are at greater risk than likely any other investments they hold. This is the first of three blogs explaining why and what to do in the era of Covid-19.

I’m going out on a limb, here, so it’s important that you follow my reasoning so that you can perceive its weaknesses and let me know. I’m as anxious as any traveler to find the looking-glass.

This first blog explains why these dollars are at such a risk and always have been. Tomorrow’s blog does my best at projecting when travel might be possible, again, and what other parts of the world – particularly Africa – will look like. And Wednesday’s blog will give my recommendations on what to do.

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Corona Insured

Corona Insured

Travelers generally come from privileged classes so it pains me to talk about the unexpected suffering attending travelers, today. But that’s my job. It’s where my life’s been anchored.

Airlines and travel insurance companies are screwing travelers royally. In fact, they’re abusing them. Most larger non-American airlines unbound here by the stricter regulations constraining them on their home turf are exploiting the disastrous incompetence of our government to wave American passengers off with the finger. It’s turned our industry into a pack of thugs.

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Coronavirus

Coronavirus

No coronavirus cases have been confirmed in sub-Saharan Africa, but they’re expected. The two main airlines from Africa to China, Ethiopian and Kenya Airways, have suspended many of their flights and Ethiopian is quarantining all incoming passengers from China.

What does this mean for upcoming safari travel?

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Too Much Trump

Too Much Trump

lovetrumpAfrican leaders scramble while their citizens shout and scream, terrified that they will be added to Trump’s ban list.

On America’s most watched morning political show today one of the regulars asked why Trump’s travel ban didn’t include “Kenya?” This is a show that we know Trump and much of the Senate watch. The commentator finally brought into the open what everyone is secretly worried about.

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You Can Take it With You

You Can Take it With You

residentinskyWhy are air fares going up so fast? Because travelers are rich.

Air fares have been used by all of us in all areas of the travel industry as predictors or leading indicators of travel in general. That’s because they are bought more through reactive responses to instant offers than the considered thinking of some measure that usually goes into planning a vacation.

That type of reactionary buying reveals the nature of you, the consumer, better than anything.

“Air fares are high, because planes are full,” reports a frequent flying expert.

Fuel prices are at historic lows, but air fares are up 17% over last year according to the LA Times and there’s absolutely no indication they’re going to go down anytime soon.

Why? Didn’t you recently hear from your favorite media pundit that the “recovery” isn’t widespread? What about Europe’s “new recession?” Isn’t China in a muddle?

Yes to all the above, but planes are full, because flying is expensive, and the rich are doing just fine thank you.

This is capitalism at its sweetest. What it illustrates is a turf war between the bullies. American Airlines versus GE Capital. Cathy versus the Chinese Communist Party. There are a lot of very rich people in the world, and air travel and vacations are becoming their exclusive purvey.

The reaction is widespread in all the industries that make vacations. In the one I know the best, East African safaris, prices are going up after a ridiculous dip caused by the now widely accepted irrational fear of ebola.

Before the ebola scare our industry prices hit a new high. That wasn’t because there weren’t good deals, there were and still are. But just fewer of them. The excellent mid-market companies like Sopa and Serena in East Africa and the Drifters and Kwandos and lower end Sun Internationals and Proteas in the south are still offering excellent prices.

But there’s many fewer of those than there used to be. Fewer in capitalism means less capacity and less capacity in a balanced market means higher prices, but that isn’t happening to the lower ends of the travel market in Africa.

Rather, there are more and more luxury, high-end properties whose prices are moving upwards.

The low and midmarkets are struggling.

If you’re a budget consumer looking to go on safari, you better move fast, because your choices are diminishing and in the current climate might not even exist in a few years!

But if you’re one of those Etihad Airlines passengers who just spent $20,000 (one way) for a 3-room suite on a flight from London to Dubai … no worry. You really don’t have to know how to work your personal wide-screen TV or microwave: you get a butler, too.