Unraveling Traveling: Play To Your Strengths

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Wendy Perrin, consumer news editor at Condé Nast Traveler, joins us every Thursday this May as part of our month-long series on travel. Today's topic: weak-dollar travel strategies. French Riviera too expensive? Consider laying your towel on a Croatian beach!

Have any questions for Wendy? Comment below!

Travel was the #1 suggestion in our Word of Wisdom segment.


Wendy Perrin

Comments [37]

Laura from Manhattan

My husband is British, and when we go to visit his family, we always go over Thanksgiving week - it's off season over there. The flights to England are much cheaper at that time. Then we fly mid-week via the cheap British Airlines like Easy Jet and Ryan Air to other cities, like Barcelona or Rome. We can get really cheap flights - much less than a direct flight to Rome from New York. By going mid-week in the off-season we get really good deals on hotels too, and lines for museums are smaller.

May. 15 2008 10:52 AM
Suzanne Iannaccone

Don't forget to mention-
Travelling provides the graduating students a perspective outside of the American media's

May. 15 2008 10:52 AM
Nina from NYC

This discussion about college kids no longer travelling for some obscure socio-cultural reasons is preposterous - your Conde Nast editor lives in an upper-upper-middle class bubble. Only the rich can afford to support their kids on travels through Europe and most of the rest of the world these days!! Travel everywhere is a lot more expensive these days, and the times when one could bum one's way across Europe are sadly gone. Even a cheap trip is beyond the reach of most college-age kids trying to pay for travel from their earnings from summer or part-time work - and one caller's point about the cost of college swallowing everything else up and making extras out of the question is right on. This is all deplorable and another symptom of our out-of-whack plutocratic economy in which the rich stay in power by making education -- travel being a crucial element in a well-rounded education -- out of reach for everuone but themselves.

May. 15 2008 10:51 AM
Tom from Belmar, nj

I just bought Euros for my short term study abroad to study the European Union. I paid close to $500 for %300 Euros. At least it's being paid for mostly by student loans.

May. 15 2008 10:51 AM
SuzanneNYC from Upper West Side

Boomers were able to travel during and after college because it was so cheap! In the 60s and early 70s you could get to Europe for next to nothing (remember Iclandic airlines?) and then back pack around staying at hostels all over western Europe. People went to India for the spiritual adventure. And then, of course many young men went to Indochina courtesy of Uncle Sam. But this is why it's so totally odd that our current President W Bush never traveled abroad in his youth -- and he had money! Everyone traveled it was absolutely the thing to do at the time.

May. 15 2008 10:51 AM

Renting an apartment in various European cities is one of the cheapest ways to travel. If you search the web for good deals, you can often find deals that are cheaper than hostels and in more convenient locations.

May. 15 2008 10:50 AM
Lisa from Brooklyn

My main reason for not traveling after I graduated in May 2007 is the debt I accumulated while attending college. I went to two inexpensive universities, as higher education goes, and still racked up over $70,000. Now I have to pay it off. Deferring adds %550 a month in interest to my total, and that's after consolidating.

May. 15 2008 10:49 AM
Sandra D from Soho

How "green" is traveling? How responsible is it globally?

May. 15 2008 10:49 AM
Mike from Northern Manhattan

Go to Morroco! Don't even worry about booking a HOTEL, you'll find it there the day you arrive.

Also, Aussies live in such a remote part of the world, they almost have to travel to get an idea how the world really works. Also, I met an Aussie in Harlem who said flights within the USA are very cheap compared to anything in EU, Australia, & South East Asia.

May. 15 2008 10:47 AM
franziska beveridge from nyc

Yes! Travel!

When I graduated from college, I worked for six months. put the money in my pocket, bought a Eurail pass and went to Europe.

Crisscrossed the continent for three months non-stop and ended up staying in Paris for five years, and working there.

It changed and formed the rest of my life.
It should be a law! Travel first!


May. 15 2008 10:47 AM
hjs from 11211

i just got back from spain. i did not notice the exchange rate being that bad.

May. 15 2008 10:46 AM
Elissa SIev from new york, new york

I am graduate student planning on going to Israel at the end of June to visit family. To travel Europe my husband and I are trying to make a few day stop-over in Europe. Last time we did this two years ago we stopped in Amsterdam for ten hours but now the flights with stops overs are almost as expensive as direct flights! Any suggestions how to make our stop over flight cheaper?

May. 15 2008 10:46 AM
Phoebe from NJ

@Dirk: When I graduated high-school 20 years ago in the UK, travel was the preserve of the (upper) middle-class. Despite lower student loans over there, American salaries are significantly higher after college graduation so there is more a perception that Europeans can afford travel above Americans.

There is a far greater perception of the "value" of travel in the EU; first there are many cultures a stones-throw away, and then in the wider world vacation allowance is 5-10 weeks which allows more time when kids are growing up.

May. 15 2008 10:46 AM
Matt from Jackson Heights

A large "gap year" industry has developed in the U.S. in recent years for high school seniors who want to see some of the world and gain focus before starting college. Many colleges now encourage prospective students to take a "gap year", as so many European students have done for years.

May. 15 2008 10:43 AM
Laura from Brooklyn

My boyfriend, our friend and I drove across country after we graduated in '04. We did it on $1000 each and we were gone about two months. We did it cheaply by camping our way across the country and of course staying with generous friends.

It was a good opportunity for each of us to cement our friendships as we transitioned into adulthood. And we all had a burning desire to see New Orleans where we stayed in the only hotel of the entire trip. This was of course pre-Katrina and I will never forget that trip.

May. 15 2008 10:43 AM

After graduating from college I road my bicycle across the united states. It was a life changing experience. I found that I learned to appreciate the diversity of the US in a much deeper why as a result.

Furthermore, the cost was very very low. I camped every night which also kept the cost down.

I've traveled all over the world and I am baffled by the fact that most Americans tend to forget what an incredible country they live in and focus so much attention towards Europe...not that Europe isn't wonderful.

May. 15 2008 10:43 AM
jonny goldstein from washington dc

I suspect part of the reason recent college graduates don't travel is that they are more burdened by debt than people a generation ago.

Also the helicopter parents probably don't approve of "aimless" traveling.

May. 15 2008 10:43 AM
Shannon from Astoria

Croatia? Really? I've heard for the last few years that Croatia has actually become quite expensive--the beach areas in particular.

May. 15 2008 10:42 AM
Wendy Stephenson from Brooklyn

My husband and I just spent 5 weeks traveling in Thailand and it was very affordable, and safe and easy to get around and the food, of course, is fabulous. We generally spent around $20 a night for a room in a guest house and could have a fabulous meal for 2, with several courses for $10-20.

May. 15 2008 10:42 AM
dirk from queens

compare education costs from 20 years ago to now.

fewer and fewer students can afford it! other countries pay for most (if not all) of its citizens' higher educations.

they can afford to travel. we can't.

May. 15 2008 10:42 AM
spnyc from Washington Heights

You missed a whole continent: Africa! Forget safari, which is for the rich. Explore sub-saharan Africa, open your eyes to how millions of humans survive on this earth and rethink the way you plan to live your life back in America.

May. 15 2008 10:42 AM
rich from Stuyvesant town

ARGENTINA-----great food-especially meat eaters--great WINE -wonderful cities-Buenos Aires-great looking people---and of course Patagonia-and so on

May. 15 2008 10:41 AM
Dan from Brooklyn, NY

TRAVEL TO DO VOLUNTEER WORK! Americans need so much to understand the great differences between the privileges at home, the hard situations abroad and the link between the two of them. There are easy and cheap ways to go to developing coutnries, help and learn from people, connect with them and even strengthen your resume.

May. 15 2008 10:41 AM
Justin from Brooklyn

Just to follow up, South America is amazing,

May. 15 2008 10:41 AM
scott from manhattan

after graduating college in 1995 (Pre-911...) - I went to London to try to get a summer job. Advice - HIDE YOUR RESUME! UK customs found my resume on my way into the country and after holding me and questioning me for 4 hours (including reading my personal journal and discovering I did want to work in London that summer)- stamped my passport stating I had to LEAVE the country after 2 weeks!

May. 15 2008 10:41 AM
Phoebe from NJ

And for travel within Europe, don't forget the low-cost airlines (RyanAir, EasyJet, BMIBaby) where you can get tickets for 0.2c + taxes if you're flexible with timing...

May. 15 2008 10:40 AM
Justin from Brooklyn

I travelled internationally the first time december right after 911. I went to England Ireland and Spain and it was amazing. Since then I sold my Karman Ghia, went to across country, across europe and also went south america for 3 months alone. I met many friends in all countries and my girl friend (hopefully soon fiance) in peru. She is Brazilian and is moving to NYC in August! And as an architect and someone who loves culture and language travelling is paramount. Also, I HIGHLY recomend going alone as well. You can learn a lot about yourself.

May. 15 2008 10:40 AM
tim from bryant park

Just a correction to Wendy's comments about the Amercian dollar against the Panamanian currency: Panama's currency IS the American dollar.

May. 15 2008 10:40 AM
edward from Clinton Hill, Brooklyn

I would highly suggest brazil. Not only is the exchange rate generous but it's such a huge, beautiful country with a fascinating and unique culture that there's plenty to explore.

May. 15 2008 10:39 AM

I drove cross country with a friend after graduating from college which was amazing. Although gas is obviously much more expensive, you can save a lot by staying with friends, family, and your friends' families (parents love to have their kids friends over, even if the child isn't there).

I went to live abroad as my first job which didn't pay much but left me enough to travel in the area (I was in Asia) when I finished with the school year. That way, I saved and traveled which was great.

May. 15 2008 10:39 AM
barry from Manhattan

Has Jet Blue jumped the shark? They just started charging $100 to make a change on a flight.
2 weeks ago it was $30
If you travel West for business you know what I mean,
Too bad i loved Jet BLue

May. 15 2008 10:39 AM
Jake from UES

Sri Lanka is an awesome place to go and our dollar goes SO FAR and it really helps the local economy.

May. 15 2008 10:38 AM
michael winslow from INWOOD

India is the place to go.

The initial flight may be big however once you get there you can live well and enjoy a whole new culture for very little money.

I'd advise going for more than a month!

May. 15 2008 10:38 AM
Phoebe from NJ

Despite the dollar, Europe can still be cheap if you backpack, stay in hostels, eat in local resturants etc. Eastern Europe in particular is reasonable (excepting Russia), and has really opened up to travel in the past 5 years.

Mirror Linda; South America is a low-cost and very interesting place.

China and India are great places to visit with a good infrastructure.

But where-ever you go, leave preconceptions at home and get to meet the locals in their own haunts. And have fun!

Oh to be graduating!!!!

May. 15 2008 10:38 AM
Zippy from Bushwick

My friend has setup a great program in Mexico for students.

Here is the plug:

Got time on your hands this summer?
Want to travel in an alternative way and meet local people?
Join an HOY participatory trip and see Mexico like never before.

Special Summer Discount for Students
$250 per week!!
Nonstudent standard price is $300/week
(Fees include lodging, breakfast and program of activities.)

We believe that Travel + Community Work = A Better World for All. HOY's participatory trips offer a chance for travelers who wish to engage with local people and projects to take part in a variety of projects in and around Cuernavaca, Mexico. A lasting positive development for community and an enriched experience for volunteer are the aim!

Programs run from Sunday-Saturday, with added dates in June and July.

Summer dates for 2008 are:

Contact us at with the dates you’d like to visit, and we’ll send you a registration form.

May. 15 2008 10:37 AM
Baby from Forest Hills


Can you tell me where I can find out information about what medical prescriptions I can bring on airlines. I have to take a prescription called Byetta and I have to carry needles to administer it?

Thanks for your help.

May. 15 2008 10:19 AM
Linda from Sunnyside Queens

Mexico is still a vary affordable destination for Americans, as is most of Latin America. The airfare can be pricy, but beyond that, eating and accomadations (not 5 star) are very cheap. Why not see some of the wonders of the world like Macchu Picchu? Or how about the beaches of Nicaragua, the Pacific coast of which is a favorite of surfers? Northeastern Brazil has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and are typically located in rural areas with small villages at which you can stay for around US$50 a night or less and eat cheap too. Even better - you can just rent a hammock and sleep on the beach!

May. 15 2008 09:46 AM

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