Going Somewhere?

Going Somewhere?

If you’re planning to take an airplane sometime in the next month or two… well, consider driving… or swimming … or just using your xBox. I didn’t mention trains, because in London anyway, they’re on strike.

I’m not talking about traveling to safaris, either – that’s another story. Safaris are not rebounding as expected. The turmoil in air travel is all in the U.S. and Europe.
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OnSafari from Above

OnSafari from Above

I just love the flight down from Europe to East Africa! Whether from London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Zurich or Paris most of the flights are day time and travel over some of the most dramatic scenery on earth!

This time I started from Frankfurt flying over the gorgeous springtime greenery of what many of us Americans consider an overly manicured Europe. But you’ve got to admit those perfectly planted farm fields with bursts of little thick forests all around them are definitely where the Pied Piper is hiding his kiddies!
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Not So Good

Not So Good

Things aren’t going well for tourism. It’s best in America where local travel has doubled over last year and is only about 15-20% below pre-pandemic levels. Europe is a close second. It’s really bad in Africa and the Middle East where current tourism is still only a third pre-pandemic levels. And the worst of all, of course, is Asia where China is learning the hard way that you can’t wipe out the virus like the Uyghurs.

Soon I return to Africa with 9 travelers, and as disappointed as I felt with the less than full safari my guys on the ground are ecstatic. At least I’m coming! Tourism in Africa isn’t anywhere near the level that was predicted, and this is leading to some very interesting stuff.
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Time Out

Time Out

At 10:05a Chicago time, 4:05p London, 6:05p Kyiv today, the air planes flying over much of the Northern hemisphere were exactly as shown in the picture above. The question is how much larger will the blank circle now positioned over Ukraine grow.

Don’t ask a travel agent. The Washington Post did yesterday and miracles of miracles you can’t believe how surprisingly safe and wonderful traveling to nearly any part of the world is! Better journalists at NBC asked consumers and travel investors, and there’s no question that the surge to travel has come to a near full stop because of the Ukrainian war.
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Relax & Enjoy

Relax & Enjoy

Imagine at long last! You wiggle happily into your preferred economy seat that you agonized over buying. Not bad. As the stream of pushing and shoving passengers push down the aisle to the back of the plane you smile quietly nodding your head to yourself. Preferred economy was undoubtedly the first right decision. Sighing you just hope that all the other decisions will prove just as good!

Vacations were never as important. As problematic. As uncertain. The long time since you last left home because of the pandemic grew so depressing that it was difficult to spring out of! The first difficult decision was just to do it! And you did! Congratulations!
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Covid Rant

Covid Rant

Travelers’ frustrations are growing. … What a stupidly simplistic statement: everybody’s frustrations are growing. But I’m talking about travel and I’m about to scold you if you travel.

Travelers are venting their anger on us, their suppliers. They want to know why they can’t get their money back for trips that the virus scuttled. This is my answer.
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2-3 Weeks

2-3 Weeks

2-3 more weeks before we know how Omicron effects upcoming travel. The demographics of Omicron patients are right now being compiled: age, are they vaccinated and how many times and with which vaccine, are they a breakthrough? Laboratories around the world are mixing their serum with the antibodies current vaccines produce. What happens? One, two, a hundred experiments aren’t enough. 2-3 more weeks.

America is a horrible place to try to figure this all out. We’re either alarmists or aggressive reactionaries to alarm. But there are authorities and sources that if we’ll just be patient enough will give us good answers. 2-3 more weeks.
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Should You Go?

Should You Go?

What’s the greatest risk to an international traveler right now? Obviously, Covid, but NOT for the reason you think! A vaccinated traveler is very unlikely to get sick from Covid. More vaccinated travelers are going to get hurt and some die from slipping on the stairs of the jetway than from Covid. More vaccinated travelers headed into wild jungles (who are taking malaria pills) will still get sick from malaria than from Covid.

The Covid vaccine is as much a game changer as Delta. Its efficacy is better than all the vaccines before it, better than malaria pills, better than attending daily mass, better than practically anything! So what’s the problem?
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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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