It’s been a little over nine weeks since I’ve written. In that time, I’ve lived in New York, spent more on cabs than I ever thought possible, and done fairly well earning airline miles for having next to no money. These should be able to fuel me through three more semester location changes, despite the recent re-valuation of the Mileageplus program. Much has happened in the world since I stopped writing, much of it relevant to travel.
So here’s an eclectic ride through the summer news, with short bits of commentary from yours truly.
The United Kingdom decided it didn’t want to be in the EU anymore by a narrow margin of 52% Leave, 48% Remain. Scotland doesn’t want to go, though.
Ok, enough Buzzfeed. The immediate macro effects were clear. The pound plummeted overnight and continued falling the next day from a high of $1.52 to around $1.32 over the course of a single day. The loss was unexpected, so of course the stock market reacted badly. It’s since recovered in the US, however, the FTSE 100 still hasn’t made its recovery. Exports should go up in the near term for properly positioned firms. Airlines basing flights out of London may run into problems in the future. The banking industry could pack up and leave if single market access is not preserved. If you’re in the market for a glass tower formerly occupied by bankers, this is a great time to buy. In good news for would-be London tourists, the UK is now on sale. So go, have a few pints, and enjoy the 12% discount.
The summer has not been easy on Turkey. First, the horrific terror attacks at Istanbul Ataturk Airport. No upside exists in this situation. People are dead, and Turkey loses even more in possible tourism income, as does the rest of the travel industry. Later, in July, an attempted coup paralyzed Turkey for a weekend. Immediately, the Lira rapidly declined against reserve currencies. The fallout and subsequent crackdown have endangered Turkey’s chances to join the EU (threats to reinstate the death penalty), removed a large amount of senior military officers, police, teachers, and academics. It is still too early to conclude if stability will return.
The spate of attacks in France and Germany does not reflect well on the security establishments in both countries, nor does it give hope to a more peaceful future in Europe. Lone-wolf self-radicalized extremists are difficult to detect and are unpredictable. Uncertainty stemming from the Bavarian ax-attack and mall shooting, Nice Bastille Day truck rampage, police couple killings, and the most recent knife attack in Belgium will undoubtedly slow the down travel from the US and other countries. Carrier capacity is up, but passenger growth is slowing, leading to lower ticket prices on many carriers. While this is advantageous to some, the events do not bode well for the future.
Stock Market Highs
I know right. I guess everyone is a bit confused as to how we can have a summer like this and still see market records. Many hypotheses have been posited, ranging from mutual fund return desperation to pure irrationality. Whatever it is, the end result is likely not positive. Bubble bursts often aren’t. The question still remains as to will it burst, or is it a bubble in the first place. Only time will tell.
Enough world events, I can see that I have less and less to say as I go. In terms of fun news, rumor has it that Chase is bringing out a new elite credit card to compete with Amex Platinum and Citi Prestige on August 21. Will it actually happen? Will I qualify for it? First, no idea, second, probably not. But that bonus sure does look enticing. In fact it would let me get that United Round-the-World ticket. But wait. They just got rid of that in their Mileageplus adjustment scheme. United, come on. Oh well. It’s good to save money and points for a rainy day. In self-aggrandizing news, upon reading some travel blogs throughout the summer to kill downtime, I’ve found that points blogging often suffers from the same problem Top Gear did. Nothing they review is really all that attainable for the average person with something called a job. We can’t all be full-time travel bloggers. Statements like “This was a great redemption deal, only 125,000 points” sure do seem ridiculous to most. To solve this heinous problem, I’ve decided to review coach seats in a profoundly serious deadpan manner. Where the vast majority of people sit anyways. Any accidental upgrades will not affect my review in any way, even if the airline pays me. I do not have a price.
And as summer fades away, remember that nothing gold can stay. Shut it Robert Frost. Stay golden, Ponyboy!