I recently ran into a friend who works for an über-luxury travel magazine. He was bemoaning how hard it is these days for his publication to remain relevant. Even folks who can pay for $1,200 a night rooms find it a little, well, excessive. After all, we're in a moment when places like the Arctic Club Hotel in Seattle are rebranding as three-star instead of four-star—hoping to appeal to a broader market.
Welcome to our world! We're happy to have you. Scoring deals isn't just something that should be in vogue (and, literally, in Vogue) in tough times. The thrill of the hunt has always been a point of pride for Budget Travel readers, and we have all the more fun for it.
Recently, I took part in a panel discussion for Travel Weekly with several magazine editors in which we discussed what the economic downturn meant for our readers. While I don't want to sound naive, I just don't believe people are willing to stop traveling—it's such a part of what makes life worth living. You, no doubt, agree. In a poll on BudgetTravel.com, we asked where you intended to go in 2009. More than 550 people jumped in to respond, talking about enticing last-minute deals and plans for everything from a rafting trip down the Snake River to a list of spots chosen because they begin with various letters of the alphabet. This last itinerary came from a woman whose goal was to tick off all 26 characters: "Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar, and Peru will all give me a letter I haven't visited yet. Will still have A, J, K, O, Q, X, and Y to go. Yemen, anyone?"
Yemen isn't on my itinerary for 2009, but now that my daughter has hit the 3-month mark, I'm getting ready to join you out there. There are just far too many bargains right now for me to pass up.