What’s it gonna take to get travelers packing in recession?

Last week, the AJC reported that summer airfares from Atlanta will be cheaper by an average of 19 percent than prices travelers paid to fly out of Hartsfield-Jackson last year. Summer travelers will be able to fly round-trip to Florida locales like Miami, Orlando, Tampa and Fort Myers, for less than $190 or enjoy 13 to 17 percent drops in prices to European, Mexican and Caribbean destinations.

That’s great news for a recession-minded leisure traveler. And let’s face it…every traveler seems to be recession-minded these days. All around, the travel industry is advertising rock-bottom prices on hotels, transport, restaurants and cruises. Some groups are actually offering vacation specials for people who have been recently laid-off (Intrepid Travel, Globorati.com); or refund guarantees if you lose your job between booking your trip and the date you travel (JetBlue Airways, Norwegian Cruise Lines, CruiseOne and more).

MSNBC recently reported its “five recession travel tips”, which ranged from using those bank rewards travel points up now (before they’re completely void of any value) to taking advantage of package deals or buying $25 gift cards for only $10 on sites like restaurants.com. It also gives travelers advice on how to buy souvenirs for less money and ensure they stick to a spending budget on the trip.

“Budget”, “discount” or “cheap” seem to precede the word “travel” in every advert I see, and I wonder how many people are buying into it.  From a travel-lover’s point of view, it makes sense to seize these amazing deals. For a stressed-out employee in an uncertain workforce or the laid-off worker facing a depressing job market, the sirens’ call of a (cheap) escape from it all could be difficult to ignore. The recession isn’t going anywhere, so why not take a little break from it?

Of course, any travelling – or spending in general – will in some small way help boost an economic recovery. The key is you have to be willing to spend. That’s a difficult thing to do when you’re surrounded by messages of economic doom and gloom.

Are you looking at all of the travel deals out there? Has economic uncertainty forced you to cut back on your travels? Or have you taken a trip that you might not have otherwise taken despite concerns about your financial future?  

How low do prices need to go to motivate you to pack our bags in times of economic woe?  Would you feel better about booking a trip if it came with a “lay-off refund”?  If you have lost your job, would consider one of the “laid-off, take off” deals?

What are your best tips for traveling during a recession? If you’re getting a tax refund this year, will you use any of it to travel?


7 comments Add your comment


April 15th, 2009
5:05 pm

We’ve been saving by staying in state for our vacations. Using sites like the ajc and exploregeorgia.org to find travel deals and look for those “undiscovered gems” that make for great weekend getaways.


April 15th, 2009
6:24 pm

We’re lucky that our lifestyle has not been affected by the economy. It has actually helped us! Thanks to slow sales, the resort we are going to in September offered a deal and we were able to upgrade to the penthouse suite for only 100 bucks more for the week! We are also already booked for spring break 2010- and the kids travel free!! Good times!

just me

April 16th, 2009
8:49 am

We are renting a condo at the beach but we are eating in instead of out while we are there. Also, we will not spend money on any shopping trips while we are there.


April 16th, 2009
10:01 am

There will be no traveling this year.Vacations will be soent at home.


April 16th, 2009
11:21 am

You people have it all wrong! Do as the government does..

Borrow money for your vacation! Twice as much as you need!! Have a blast and let your children worry about paying it back. That is the progressive thing to do. And after all…, the same thing Congress is doing to America.


April 16th, 2009
11:29 am

We went to Disney and stayed at a Holiday Inn by Universal Studios, instead of one of the expensive Disney hotels in the parks.

Tom Davis

April 16th, 2009
11:46 am

Go to Mexico where it is Cheap. The added benefit is that you may be beheaded so you won’t have to worry about money.