Monday, January 21, 2013

Travel Forecast 2013

As you know if you've studied my 25 things post, I am a magazine junkie!  This time of year especially, it's a bit frustrating because it's our crazy busy season and I just don't have the time to read them.  Yet, they continue to arrive in the mail and my pile grows larger.  It makes me a bit crazy because I know the pile is full of great info and I'm missing out.  So I scan the covers to see if there is anything pressing that needs my immediate attention.

One thing that caught my eye in the January issue of Travel and Leisure magazine was their annual Travel Forecast.  Each year T and L magazine comes out with the travel trends they feel will have the most impact on our travels in the upcoming year.  Here are a few things from their list.

Air Travel
~ We will cheat on our airline ~
Airfares are predicted to rise as much as four percent this year.  Reduced schedules result in less seats.  Fuller planes make it more difficult to redeem award travel.  As miles become more difficult to redeem, we'll find ourselves shopping around.
~Airports will be more fun ~
I think most would agree that the airport experience sure isn't what it used to be!  It has now become the least favorite aspect of travel and because of this, airports are expanding and looking to become more entertaining.  San Diego will complete $1billion in improvements, adding a public New Media Lounge.  LAX (Los Angeles) is adding a 150,000 square foot shopping and dining hall.  Las Vegas opened a 2 million square foot terminal in June with free Wi-Fi and 300 slot machines.  Hopefully other airports are not far behind and this trend will make the start of our vacation experience enjoyable again.

Mobile Apps ~ Paper tickets will become passé ~
Actually they have been pretty much non-existent for several years, but with phone apps like the Apple's iOS6 Passbook app, we will no longer need to print our electronic documents to bring them with us.  Passbook gives us easy access to our electronic documents (such as tickets and boarding passes), but it also manages all aspects of your trip in one place.  It's already been embraced by several of the big carriers and I bet the others are not far behind!

Security ~ Airports will get (even) more clubby ~
Want to avoid long lines?  Better get into one of these clubs:
  • Global Entry - Allows travelers who have submitted to background checks to simply swipe their passports at a kiosk and speed through customs.
  • PreCheck - Eliminates the need to remove shoes, laptops and liquids at nearly three dozen airports.  
  • Clear - For an annual fee of $179, members get to jump to the front of the security lines in select cities.
Tech ~ You will stay connected at 35,000 feet ~
In-flight Wi-Fi by Gogo is available on 1,500 planes flown by 9 North American carriers.  Jet Blue is launching free service early this year - a welcome change from up to $40 per flight some of the other carriers charge.

Cruising ~ We will sail through uncharted waters ~
Traditionally, cruise lines have focused on the Western Hemisphere.  That's changing.  We will have more opportunities to sail itineraries in the Far East.  Wonderful places such as Burma, Vietnam, Cambodia and Malaysian Island to name a few.

Tours ~ Luxury tours will become more affordable ~
Luxury tour operators are coming out with more casual trips that appeal to a broader range of travelers.

That's one of my favorite things about this industry.  It's always changing.  In my opinion, looks like the changes coming in 2013, are definitely changes for the better!

Until next time...

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