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Guilt Trips on the Rise

At the beginning of every year, like many travelers out there, I make planning my vacation days a priority. So, for the most part, I already know where I’m going in 2009, who’s going with me, and how much money I need to save to get there.

But I’m feeling a little awkward about those plans this year. In light of the recession, many a naycationer has given me a funny look when I’ve said I’m not planning to cut travel in 2009. I could tell them it’s because there are great deals everywhere, because Europe is cheaper than it’s been in a long time, because I have ready-to-expire caches of frequent-flier miles and flight vouchers; mostly, I just gloss over details and change the subject. In fact, sometimes when people assume a trip I’m taking is for work, I sort of let them believe that. My travel guilt hit a new high the other day when someone I hadn’t seen in a few years told me he’d heard I’d joined the Peace Corps. No, I had to tell him, just been traveling…a lot.

Apparently I’m not the only frequent traveler feeling guilty about her decision: I came across an interesting Fodor’s forum addressing the subject that’s worth a look (I love the lady who says, “You could always tell people you won a sweepstakes prize!”). There are a million reasons to travel this year (and always), but it also feels like there are more people than ever judging those who do.

So is your travel guilt on the rise in 2009, and how do you deal with it?


My name: Michelle Doucette

How I earn my keep: I'm an editor at

Favorite way to get around: Some of my favorite trips involved renting cars in foreign countries and driving through the countryside, stopping on whims. You get a feel for the culture away from the big cities and meet interesting people on the road, including, I must admit, an embarrassingly high number of local policemen. I suppose it would be prudent to learn all of the traffic laws ahead of time.

Best meal I've had while traveling: Since a succession of gelato cones probably doesn't count as a meal, my favorite must have been a fresh crabmeat lunch prepared by a St. John sailboat captain while we took a break from snorkeling in the Caribbean. Sharing baklava as the sun came up over Paros, Greece, (while, once again, not technically a meal) was also memorable.

Travel ambitions: Since climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, I've figured out that I'd like to keep trekking while traveling. I've got my eyes on epic hikes in Nepal, Bhutan, and Peru.


Camels & Chocolate

Not at all! Someone’s gotta be pumping money back into the economy or things are never going to get better…might as well be me, right? RIGHT?

Anne & May

Yeah, I’m kind of a “smoke ‘em if you got ‘em” type. But you could use your vacation to visit a laidoff/underemployed friend.

When I was underemployed, I loved visitors! At last I have a chance to catch up with people! Help me take my mind off things! Let’s play Scrabble all night!

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