The Internet is a wonderful resource for quick facts and information, lists (here are a few of mine), and tidbits of knowledge you can easily absorb when planning your next trip or vacation. The problem is that facts and information change – but you knew and accept that. Human beings are very good at noticing and remembering sudden change (think Iceland’s economic collapse or protests in Bangkok) but much less adept at realizing slow change (think Iceland’s economic recovery or South Africa’s improving crime rate).
You all know to brush up on the ‘free stuff to do in Sydney‘ when researching for your next trip but you should brush up on the subtle “mesofacts” to ensure you stay on budget and consider all of the places you didn’t because they were too dangerous, expensive, isolated, or whatever.
What Is A Mesofact?
According to Samuel Arbesman a mesofact is something that doesn’t change too quickly or slowly, but is in the “meso” or middle and may be causing your reality to be out of date.
How They Mess With Your Travel Plans
You read that there is a terrorist bombing in Mumbai or that there is a conflict in Lebanon and they’re off your plate. It ends up as the basis of so many of those “up and coming places” lists or articles about how Syria is “suddenly” a safe place to travel. It’s news to you but in reality the change has been happening all along, you just haven’t noticed.
- From there you can go either of two ways; reject the new information or be impressed at “how quickly” things can change.
Most times though, people don’t bother to update the knowledge they’ve learned some time ago. You can talk about what a bargain Istanbul is and book a trip there only to go seriously over budget or never book that trip to Panama because you haven’t heard of anyone else going there.
Updating Your Reality
In the planning stages before any vacation or trip make a list of all the places you don’t want to go see. Countries you feel aren’t safe, interesting, or simply never crossed you mind. You might even have to break out that trusty globe to find a destinations and put them on paper if you don’t know where to go.
- Get Online and Check The Dates – When you do a Google search about a place odds are you’ll get older information rather than newer. You might happen on someone’s old travel blog posts that haven’t been updated in a while or tourism sites. During your search to update your reality make sure to check the dates of the articles you’re reading or do a Google news search for the latest information.
- Twitter – You don’t need a Twitter account to do a search for information. Go to http://search.twitter.com and look up anything you want to know about a given locale, political situation, or simply get firsthand advice from people who’ve already traveled there.
- Use These Online Budgeting Tools – There are a number of good online tools that can help give you an idea of what you’ll need to save up and set aside for your simple travel budget.
- Budget Your Trip – Gives you cost estimates for cities around the world based on other travelers’ experience.
- cost4travel – A similar budgeting tool with an emphasis on social networking.
- Economist’s Foreign Exchange Map – See how any two currencies are moving against each other on a daily, weekly, or annual basis.
- Ask Travel Bloggers – There are people blogging right now from most everywhere in the world and are an excellent up-to-date local resource. You can look under my local blogs section to find some, email some of these RTW bloggers, or get in touch with me and I’ll try to help or at least point you in the right direction.
How Current Is Your Travel World?
You can stay on top of the slooowly changing world by being one step ahead of it. You can visit places before they become expensive tourist hot spots by noticing the warning signs of losing that cheap destination or figuring out the best places to travel on a weak dollar. Another way to see all of the places you aren’t considering is to realize you make your own reality and you can really visit most anywhere on Earth with proper planning. It’s the safest time in human history and despite the rising and collapsing economies you see on the news, the change is subtle enough for you to afford.