TRAVELING THEN AND NOW

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TRAVELING THEN AND NOW

PHOEBE XU, TRAVEL SECTION EDITOR

    Just picture it. You’re having the time of your life traveling all over Europe and imagine- for only $8 a day. You spend weeks in one country and a few more in another. Well, in the ‘80s and ‘90s, you could have had this experience. Ellen Smith, wife of Tom Smith and mother of Sophomore Samantha Smith traveled all over Europe after college and had the time of her life.

    “We did not stay in youth hostels because they were pretty gross and did not want to get our stuff stolen,” Smith said. “We always stayed in places that had a private bathroom, but basically, we were able to travel to most places and budgeted for $50 a day for lodging and activities. When we traveled to Greece, we only spent $8 a day, which saved us a lot of money for the rest of the areas that we were traveling to. We originally anticipated to be in Greece for only a week but ended up staying there for three weeks.”

    So, what has changed over the last 30 years that has made traveling harder? One important change is the rise in airplane fares. According to The Business Journals, “The real price of flying has risen sharply since the dawn of deregulation and far outpaces the inflation rate of the last 40 years.1975 fares, even the cheapest ones, were fully refundable. Today’s cheapest fares aren’t. Your only alternative is to spend another $50 or so to purchase trip-cancellation insurance from a third party–and even that doesn’t guarantee a full refund.”

    Along with cancellations, amenities are also not included in flight tickets. According to the Insider, “Air travel in the ‘90s meant that all passengers of age, economy class included, could indulge in free liquor on international and domestic flights. Meals, though bad, were also included, seats were outfitted with phones, and in-flight entertainment was in its nascent stages.”

    As flying rates have increased drastically, there have been significant changes in our generation today in how we spend.

    “I don’t see kids do as much, buy as much, or put as much money into the economy because your dollar isn’t worth as much,” Smith said. “If the rates go up, your money is worthless, and you have less to travel with. Airplane fares have gone up through the roof, and hotels are more expensive.”

    Junior Jack Brown has traveled all over the country but has also seen the detrimental effects of higher rates.

    “Expenses should be lower for traveling because it prohibits those who do not have excess money from experiencing the world,” Brown said. “Many hotel and airplane fares are constantly rising and are often highest during the best times to travel, such as holidays. I feel like this prohibits people from ever gaining an awareness that other cultures exist.”

    There has been a growth of hospitality services like Airbnb that are used as substitutes for hotels and their high rates, but there are not any alternatives for traveling to far places. Airplanes are the easiest means for traveling to other countries, but as long as prices stay high, the number of younger people trying will stay low.

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