Travel Troubles

We are in the midst of revolution fever and it’s catching.  What started as the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia has now spread to Egypt and while one can admire those brave souls who stand up and demonstrate for democracy there is no doubt that the resulting travel chaos has spread far and wide.  Tunisia was a cheap and cheerful destination offering sun and sand with an exotic flavour and very well priced packages.  Egypt has always been in the top ten of Bucket List destinations so the impact of cancelled tours, flights and cruises is huge.  At the moment we are dealing with those travellers with imminent departures to Tunisia and Egypt but for those who are booked to travel later in the year the dilemma is whether to change destination now while cancellation penalties are low or to ride it out and see if the country settles down.  I wish I had a crystal ball.

We are being besieged on all sides with floods in Australia, volcanic ash in Indonesia and mixed feelings about travel to Mexico in the light of recent shootings and traffic accident scams.  While I applaud being cautious and researching a destination properly I think that we also have to be careful not to fret over isolated incidents in foreign places and nobody can control or predict Mother Nature.

You take the same risks by staying at home.  I remember one year renting a  houseboat on the Shuswhap in July. Wow we had a water slide, a hot tub, a boat to tow behind us.  What happened?  It rained steadily for a week.  No – it hurled down buckets and buckets.  Desperate pleas over the two way radio system came through regularly – “Hey does anybody know if there is anywhere on this lake that it isn’t raining?”. 

Then there was the time we were in Vancouver for a weekend of R and R.  The weather was perfect and we had a lovely hotel on Robson.  I was looking forward to long walks in Stanley Park and great dining.  Oh and the date?  We arrived in Vancouver on the night of 10 September 2001.  So on the morning of 11 September we, with millions of other people, watched in disbelief the events unfolding in New York and found that our flights were cancelled, the hotel was overbooked, people sleeping in the lobby and not a rental car in Vancouver to be found.

Life happens – and staying at home doesn’t make things easier or safer.  So travel, enjoy but be careful out there!

By Lesley Keyter

Lesley Keyter is the face of travel in the fast growing city of Calgary. Every week since 1997 she has has featured live on the Morning News Global TV.

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