The UK discussion continues…

Not out photo. The continuing rise in the cost of food  in the UK was one of the key contributors to December’s consumer price inflation of 5.4% © REUTERS (An article from Financial Times, with their link here.. See the article below in bold type)

A lot of our readers live in the UK. After reading our post from a few days ago stating that we won’t be staying in England during our two-month itinerary gap until the next cruise, many of our readers wrote to us, mainly those who live there. There were approximately 25% that didn’t agree with our reasons for the change in our plans, due to high prices, stating that prices hadn’t changed, but 75% said they are appalled by how much prices have increased in the UK since the onset of the pandemic.

I wrote back to many of our readers in a personal email, but when the comments were too many to reply to individually, I had no choice but to address it here. Sorry if this topic doesn’t appeal to you, but if you are a frequent, infrequent, or full-time traveler, like us, these facts will have an impact on your travels if your financial situation requires tight reins, like ours.

Undoubtedly, some world travelers are wealthy, and the cost of living in each country they visit may not be relevant to them. But, for most of us, research is imperative to budget and project future travel expenses.

Don’t get me wrong—some travelers dream of spending time in England. If visiting the island is the fulfillment of a lifetime dream that has been carefully studied and budgeted, my and our reader’s comments may be meaningless. But, we’ve already spent quite a bit of time in the UK (except for Scotland, which we’ll visit down the road), and going over budget for a gap-filling period is not what we’d like to accomplish at this time.

We love England for its deep and rich history, warm and friendly people, charming rural communities, and the modern hustle and bustle cities. Much to a contrary view by many, we’ve loved the food in England has had some of the best meals in our world travels.” Sunday roasts” are a divine experience at many establishments, resulting in dining experiences we’ll never forget.

Now, after two years of basically staying put due to Covid-19, we need “new” and unique experiences, people, and cultures. Returning to countries we’ve already explored doesn’t appeal to us. Of course, the exception has been Marloth Park, South Africa, and other parts of Africa, which always intrigues us.

Also, a new consideration right now is what’s happening in Ukraine. Does this create concern for travelers heading to Europe for their summer? If this war extends beyond Ukraine, we may choose to “hunker down” in safer parts of the world. At this point, it’s imperative to watch the news, deftly discovering reliable sources (duh) that may or may not indicate if European travel makes sense right now.

I don’t want to be an alarmist, but none of us knows right now what the future holds regarding this onslaught by Putin. We have no interest in putting ourselves anywhere near a war. We love adventure but not that type. Our hearts break for the Ukrainian people, and we wish they all had the freedom to extricate themselves and their families from these horrors.

Back to the high cost of living in the UK…I research some news articles that may be reliable such as the following:

UK cost of living crisis intensifies (from Financial Times)

January 19, 2022

“Consumer inflation jumps to the highest rate in 30 years; oil prices continue to rise…

New data today showed UK prices rose at their highest rate for 30 years in December, fuelling the country’s cost-of-living crisis and putting more pressure on the Bank of England to raise interest rates. Consumer price inflation hit 5.4 percent in December, up from 5.1 percent the previous month, and could yet pass six percent in the spring when energy price rises take effect, just as new tax increases kick in.

Both will hit poorer households particularly hard, as will the continuing growth in food prices, one of the key contributors to December’s increase. Inflation was also running significantly ahead of earnings, which rose at just 3.8 percent in the three months to November, despite labor shortages. Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey, speaking to MPs in Westminster this afternoon, acknowledged that higher inflation would last longer than initially forecast. Investors now expect four UK rate rises from the BoE by November.
Pressure to increase rates to combat inflation is being felt by policymakers worldwide. In the eurozone, bond market investors are betting that central banks will speed up their attempts to withdraw stimulus programs, while in the US, investors are now pricing in up to four rate rises from the Fed this year. Fear of rising inflation has even spread to policymakers in Japan, a country that has battled against deflation for decades.
Meanwhile, oil prices continued their upward trajectory, hitting a seven-year high on Tuesday. The US has urged leading producers to speed up production to help control inflation, but Opec and its allies have stuck to their plan for more gradual increases. Bookmark this: Our global inflation tracker allows you to track data and trends by country, including house prices and food costs.”
Line chart of YoY change in consumer price index (%) showing UK prices rose at their fastest annual rate for 30 years in December

There are countless such articles online espousing the same facts. In the meantime, we are waiting to hear if our cruise from Istanbul on June 29, 2022, from Istanbul to Istanbul, Black Sea, with our scheduled sailing on the back-to-back on the same ship, Istanbul to Athens, Greek Islands. These two cruises account for 21 days at sea which we were looking forward to.

Now, we wait and see what Azamara decides to do about changing the ports of call that are scheduled to visit Odessa, Ukraine (two days), and Sochi, Russia (13 hours), among other locations not in Ukraine or Russia but located on the Black Sea. Once the new itinerary is posted, we will include it here, at which point we’ll decide if we are content with the changes.

If not, everything will change. There will be no need for us to go to Europe at this time. Our next grouping of cruises will begin in Athens and end in Athens sailing to Egypt and Israel. We hold our breath in anticipation but are not worried or stressed. Our future travels are of little significance compared to what is transpiring in Ukraine.

Be safe.

Photo from one year ago today, March 6, 2021:

Two years ago photo when we couldn’t upload new photos due to WiFi issues. This blind priest prays in this position all day, standing outside the  Eklingi Temple in Udaipur, India. Silver was used in embellishing the interior, and it was stunning. As a functioning temple, no photos are allowed. For more photos, please click here.