But do vacations and leisure time match up with today's economic climate? As many forgo the second latte of the day in order to keep more change in their pockets, does that necessarily include traveling less too?
David Del Vecchio debunks the misconception that in this recession, people are traveling less. "It's not that people are traveling less, it's more so that they're getting more creative," he says.
Before opening up Idlewild Books located in the Union Square neighborhood of New York City, Del Vecchio worked as a press officer for the United Nations and has traveled to over 50 different countries. His travel experience ranges from visiting refugee camps and conflict zones to pure pleasure. Having just celebrated its one-year anniversary, Idlewild Books carries a wide array of literature including non-fiction, fiction, travel guides and maps. The store organizes its collections by country.
Since people are watching their finances more today, they're more concerned about how their money is being spent. "It seems as if people are looking to enrich their traveling experience by having a more authentic experience such as traveling like a local would," Del Vecchio says. That's where Idlewild books comes in—the store reports that they have seen an increase in novels and underground travel guides instead of the general Frommer's or Zagat's guides. Del Vecchio adds that maybe it's New Yorkers, but there has been a higher demand for travel guides that are critical and discriminatory, as in, "Here's where to go and what to avoid and why."
So where are people headed? Instead of Europe where the US Dollar isn't worth as much, travelers are headed to South America, Southeast Asia, and the Caribbean where the exchange rate is much better. There has also been an increase in travel to Brazil, Morocco, and Argentina since these places have a good balance of civilization that you'd find in a European metropolis but still allot for exploration. Places like Southeast Asia are seeing travelers in the off-season since it is cheaper when there are monsoons in the forecast.
The unemployed are not exempt from this travel trend. "I think people are weighing the option of getting away and traveling rather than paying rent in their apartments," Del Vecchio says. "Some people who have lost their jobs look at this new-found free time as an opportunity to enrich themselves, whether it be in traveling or a new hobby." Del Vecchio mentions that the same trend can apply to recent college graduates. With the job market looking so dry, graduates are seeking opportunities to work overseas, sometimes through an ESL program or through volunteer and missionary work.
"Seeking opportunities overseas is a good way for the 30s-40s crowd to keep their resume current, if they did in fact lose their jobs. I think that being laid off can be liberating and that is why people are traveling to different destinations than before," says Del Vecchio. "Traveling is a good way to return to your values and get a hold of your sense of self again."
For more information on Idlewild Books, go to IdleWildBooks.com.
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