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Why I don't want to travel overseas for the next few years

In a junket helicopter in Japan

Chris Tham Chris Tham Tuesday, 11 October 2022 at 11:00:00 am AEDT 3 min read

Many of us have pandemic fatigue and it is tempting to book that overseas holiday now that restrictions are being lifted and borders are opened. Some have family members and loved ones that they haven’t seen in years. Those who have deferred travel plans may have travel credits they may wish to use.

Unless you have an urgent need to travel or expiring travel credits, I would avoid cross border travel for the next few years. Why? Let’s deal with the most obvious, and less important reasons first.

First of all, cost and frustration. Travel is relatively expensive at the moment, due to high inflation and fuel costs. Airlines globally shed staff during the pandemic lockdown, and the industry have collectively lost a lot of efficiency and effectiveness. Expect delays, cancellations, lost baggage and missed flights until things get sorted out again.

Secondly, the pandemic isn’t over. Last I checked, hundreds of thousands of people are still catching COVID-19 every day around the world. Vaccinations that protect against newer strains are only just coming out. There may be a new more deadly or infectious mutation around the corner. Borders can re-close very quickly and travellers could end up being stranded just like in 2020 when people were desperately trying to pay $50,000+ for first class tickets in a last ditch attempt to return home.

Thirdly, we have never been closer to World War III than right now. As you know, Russia invaded Ukraine but isn’t winning. Russia’s economy is tumbling due to the combined effect of funding the war and economic sanctions from other nations. Putin’s future is increasingly shakey and rumours are his health isn’t that great. The temptation to push that big red nuke button must be stronger each and every day and he has already threatened it. Biden has hinted retaliation in kind if that happens. China’s economy isn’t looking too great either due to the zero covid policy and collapse in the construction and tech industries - China might well be tempted to invade Taiwan if WW3 breaks out because China thinks the US will be distracted. All this translates to massive disruption and risk in travel. Remember MH17 was shot down over east Ukraine, and that was before the current conflict. Sure, none of this might happen in the near future. Or, it might.

Lastly (and the best reason): world markets are in severe decline due to a combination of fears (see above), inflation and rising interest rates. The best time to save money is RIGHT NOW. As a friend of mine used to say, a market crash is like an end of year clearance sale at your department store - it’s time to hunt for bargains. Eventually it will be a great time to invest. Our portfolio doubled in value after the GFC. Any money you save can go towards making you more money in the short term. All it requires is patience and a keen nose for bargains.

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