Everyone I know is worried about the economic crisis.
And with reason.
401(k) values are plummeting. The safety net—if there ever was one—is fraying. Layoffs are becoming frighteningly common among people lucky to have a job in the first place.
But in the midst of all this bad money news, the economic crisis may just be an opportunity for travelers and travel writers.
Here are four reasons why:
1. One sector’s pain is another’s gain.
The somewhat diluted value of the dollar has had an effect on other countries’ currencies that benefits travelers.
Consider the Mexican peso, for instance. After enjoying a lengthy period of relative stability (with the exchange rate being about 10 pesos to every 1 US dollar), the peso’s value has plummeted, reaching a 15 year low. Mexico, long considered a budget destination for travelers, has become even easier on the wallet.
The same goes for Iceland.
Get there while the gettin’s good.
2. You can no longer justify your decision to keep your cubicle job because it offers “the comfort of a steady paycheck and benefits.”
The number one reason why people delay or forgo dreams of long-term travel or living abroad is the fact that they receive a steady paycheck and benefits. But with job insecurity plaguing nearly every industry, there’s no time like now to take that job and shove it.
3. The alleged death of print media might not actually be as terrible as it seems.
You’ll never get me to say that I hope electronic media will eclipse print media, but job cuts in print media shouldn’t freak you out if you’re a writer. Although gobs of print magazines and media outlets—O, Elegant Bride, Gannet, and Time, to name just a few—have cut thousands of jobs or gone under completely in the past two weeks alone, there may be a silver lining in this dark storm cloud.
If you’re writing for electronic media instead of print media, you’re likely to save on overhead. No more SASE’d queries (with the cost of stamps going up every time you turn around, such savings are a big deal), for one thing.
Get with the program and get online.
4. Press trips will be on the rise.
As tourism declines due to travelers’ fears that vacations are an expense they just can’t afford, I predict that tourism boards and other segments of the hospitality industry will start scrambling to do everything they can to get people on the road, in the air, or on the sea.
If I’m right, their pain may be your gain.
As they pony up the bucks to send travel writers on press trips, you’re likely to be able to travel for free (thus saving money!) while simultaneously gathering material for stories that you can sell (thus making money!).
In the meantime, make sure your resume of press clips is already in order. As opportunities become available, you’ll want to have your publication credits ready.
How can the economic crisis be turned around for travelers and travel writers? Share your thoughts below!
Photo: Roby72 (Flickr creative commons)
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Julie Schwietert Collazo is a writer, editor, researcher, and translator currently in New York, formerly of Mexico City and San Juan. She is Matador's managing editor and is the lead faculty member of MatadorU's travel writing program.
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