Guest Author - Jim Fortune
You may have made some travel resolutions for 2009. I know some people that make them every year. This year we are going to go to Europe or Canada or Australia. We have a friend who tells us every year that THIS is the year she is going to France. And I always ask to see her travel saving account statement. Show me the money is what I really mean. No money means no trip in my book.
What I do every year is to make travel goals for the year and I work on goals that will help me or save me or help someone else. Here are some goals that I have for 2009 that may give you some ideas for travel goals of your own.
My first goal is to join a hotel/motel rewards program for the places where I stay frequently. Holiday Inn and Best Western are two that come to my mind right off the bat. I am already a member of the Hyatt rewards program. I used my points with the Hyatt program when I stayed at the Hyatt in Grand Cayman. Like airline travel, you get points for each stay and the points add up quickly. Another perk of a hotel rewards program is that once you get your card, you can often get room upgrades just by having the card and not based on how many point you have.
Each pay check I will trade $ for € for the first few months of 2009 while the dollar is high against the Euro. When I went overseas the last time in October, the dollar and the Euro were a lot closer together in values than they had been in the early part of 2008. Right now the dollar is still higher than it was in July, 2008, for instance. So I will consider this money to be my bank account. I am actually going to get the currency and keep it in a safe deposit box. The next time I go to Europe I will already have my money and it will be converted at rates favorable to me.
Right now the Euro is equal to $1.32. In the summer of 2008 the Euro was closer to $1.55. You can easily see what the conversion factor is by going to Google and typing in "euro to dollar conversion" without the quotes. The first entry at the top of the page will show you the conversion rate. You can also see what the currency forecast is for this year by going to Currency Forecasts and seeing what the forecast is for the Euro to the dollar. Scroll down the page and look for the chart that shows what the projection for 2009 is projected to be. It might surprise you. If you go there you will see that the worth of the Euro is predicted to go up - or the value of the dollar will go down against the Euro during the summer. And when do people from the States go to Europe? Most of them go in the summer and the rates will be higher then.
I am going to donate my air travel miles I get from the airlines to charities. I will not get enough miles to get a free trip this year and some organization can use these miles for trips for deserving families to go to St. Jude or for military families to use for travel.
I am going to start learning a foreign language this year. I am thinking it might be Italian but I see more value, where I live, to know how to speak Spanish. It will be one or the other.
Until next time, let me know what is on your mind, and how you are doing, O.K.?
Jim Fortune - the Bella Budget Travel Guy