In recent weeks some of my normally fearless traveller friends have asked me whether it’s a good idea to travel right now.
It’s a question on many people’s lips at the moment, and understandably so. Global unrest has seen some stalwart tourist destinations become effective no-go zones, while the question of aviation safety was brought back to the fore after some high-profile incidents in 2015.
Here at Rough Guides we’re taking a positive look at the year ahead and continuing to do what we love doing best – travelling to exciting destinations (notepad and camera in tow) and inspiring others to keep exploring the world with us. From low flight prices to a revolution in travel tech, here are six reasons to keep travelling in 2016.
1. Because flying is actually safer now than it has ever been before
It will surprise some people to learn that 2015 was statistically the safest year in aviation history. With an accident rate of one in five million flights, according to industry analyst Flightglobal, you’re actually far more likely to be struck by lightning or attacked by a shark than find yourself in an aircraft accident. If crunching the numbers doesn’t help alleviate your fear of flying, check out our piece on how to cure your phobia of flying in a day.
2. Because flying is super cheap right now
While we’re on the topic of flights, data scientists at travel app Hopper have announced that airfares are currently at a three-year low – and around 15% lower than they were this time last year. The drop is largely due to cheap oil and increased competition. And good news for Americans – it’s predicted that internal US flights will be the cheapest of the bunch.
3. Because recovering destinations need you to keep travelling, and spending
Simply visiting a recovering country and spending your money there helps more than you might imagine. Both Haiti and Nepal are now welcoming back tourists after suffering major natural disasters in recent years. And while you get an unforgettable trip, your tourist dollars are helping their economies get back on their feet.
Similarly, countries going through financial or political crises – such as Greece – need all the continuing tourism they can get. No doubt the locals will be waiting to greet you with open arms. If you want to take it one step further and are interested in taking part in a volunteering project, check out these seven tips for volunteering abroad
4. Because there are destinations that are looking forward to a great year
While news reports naturally tend to focus on negative events around the world, there are loads of on-the-up destinations to celebrate and explore in 2016. With the loosening of US-Cuban relations last year and the resulting influx of tourists, Cuba is seeing creative openings across the island, including a whole host of exciting new bars, restaurants and arts centres like Fabrica de Arte Cubano in Havana.
Resilient Sri Lanka, too, is more popular than ever, with visitor numbers set to continue to rise in 2016 as the country embarks on an era of greater political stability.
There’s a whole host of new tourist attractions opening up across the planet, from a new Louvre in Abu Dabhi to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Hollywood.
5. Because tech is making travel easier and more fun than ever before
Even if you’re not much of a tech geek, there are loads of great new apps and websites out there, making travel easier and more fun with just a few clicks.
Hipcamp is being touted as the Airbnb of camping, allowing you to rent a patch of grass for the night. Periscope allows you to broadcast live videos from anywhere in the world (as popularised by the tongue-in-cheek Drummond Puddle Watch in early January). While Adventurely helps solo travellers to meet up with other people with a similar itinerary. For more, check out our rundown on new travel tech in 2016 here.
6. Because you only live once
Our ethos at Rough Guides is “Make the Most of your Time on Earth”, and to be frank, that doesn’t mean sitting at home waiting for experiences to come to you.
We travel because we love that inimitable feeling of arriving somewhere new, because of the incredible people that you meet abroad (and indeed the not-so-incredible ones), because of the food, because of the weather, and – more than anything else – because you only live once, so you may as well get out there and discover the world. If you need inspiration on where to start, our list of 50 things to do before you die should help to get the feet itching.
Bon Voyage! We look forward to seeing you on the road.
Header image from Unsplash / CC0.