01 April 2017

Reddit Travel Rants, No. 5: Everyone and their Mom in Iceland

Ever since long-haul low-cost carriers have made Iceland and other countries in Scandinavia their hub, then you suddenly saw travel newbies gung-ho on visiting Europe. It used to be the case that whenever Americans travel to Europe, they go to the United Kingdom, France, or Italy, with London, Paris, or Rome/Venice being their target destinations. However, now that you can fly with long-haul low-cost carriers across the Atlantic for cheap prices that have never been seen before, then you suddenly see a surge of interest in new destinations, like Iceland. This creates rather interesting situations.

First of all, Iceland is basically what New Zealand was back in 2005. It seems that there's a shortage of tourist infrastructure now, since there's just so many visitors. I used to have Iceland as a destination I was considering, but given the current demand, I think I would wait until the demand subsides a little bit. After all, it seems that American visitors are now outnumbering Icelandic locals, which then contribute to the Disney-fication of the country.

Now, let me talk about these travel newbies and low-cost carriers. Most of the time, these are people who don't know the basics of travel. People who don't know the difference between legacy carriers and low-cost carriers. People who don't know that there are things that are given in legacy carriers but are not free in low-cost carriers. People who don't know that food is not automatically provided in long-haul low-cost carriers. People who don't know that low-cost carriers typically have worse customer service, who will not rebook you to a partner airline (because they rarely have partners) in case your flight is delayed or canceled.

Basically, plenty of travelers are out there who see the "sale" and immediately book a ticket without reading the fine print, and when what they expect doesn't happen, then they get their panties tied up in a bunch.

I've perhaps successfully visited Myanmar and Iran before the surge of visitors: I visited Myanmar in 2014 and Iran last year, and so I avoided this situation of having more demand than what the infrastructure can supply. I might have missed the boat on Iceland, as well as Cuba, but we'll see. There are other destinations worth visiting. And of course, this is a cycle, a boom will go down eventually. Nowadays, however, I just find myself scratching my head sometimes when I see people who have no clue about international travel trying to "see Iceland" in 2 days.

2 comments:

  1. Problem is with these low-cost flights, there were originally great for a quick city visit, as in "spend a weekend in Paris/Rome/Prague" etc. Which is arguably too short but it made sense. Now, you aren't supposed to rush through the entire country just because you damn flew there...

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    Replies
    1. Zhu,

      Exactly. Coupled with the checklist attitude to traveling, this results in a whirlwind trip that I doubt anyone can comfortably enjoy.

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