As 2013 draws to a close,
it’s time to look at what will be hot in travel during the New Year. Like
anything else, there are lots of fads in travel but sometimes these are more
than flash in the pan interests. Here's a look at what I think will be hot and
not in 2014.
It's not unusual to invite
the grandparents or aunts and uncles on a family trip, but this trend has been
growing in popularity in recent years. More than just inviting everyone on a
cruise, many families are now planning trips that are more action oriented like
ski trips, road trips and even a multigenerational trip to Europe.
Europe isn't just for the
extended family; it's also home to a growing travel trend – river cruises. For
a long time this sleepy industry was known more for carrying around aging
octogenarians than providing a fun vacation. But the new river boats that
cruise up and down Europe’s rivers are modern, sleek and fun. River cruise
companies have also added more experiential activities, appealing to a broad
range of people and allowing passengers to be as active, or not, as they like.
Luxury travel has been around
for as long as there have been leisure travelers. What's changed though are the
ways in which more people are catching the luxury bug. Budget travel is still
popular, but even more so is budget luxury travel. Sound like an oxymoron?
Well, it's not and there are many ways the average person can add some luxury
to a trip from cashing in frequent flyer miles to splurging on a nice hotel
room. These little touches can transform a trip from something nice to a truly
This is the shorthand for
Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms, another form of agri- and
voluntourism. Simply put, WWoofing is when volunteers find unique opportunities
around the world to spend their vacation time working on farms. This was never
an extremely popular trend, but whatever minor popularity it did have I think
is diminishing quickly. When people go on vacation they really don't want to
work, it’s as simple as that. It’s not a truly altruistic form of voluntourism
since you’re basically working for someone for free and not benefiting people
truly in need. It's a strange phenomenon and I’m happy it's (hopefully) going
Before you write that hate
comment, hear me out. I don’t believe that the concept of ecotourism, of caring
about one's environmental impact during travel, is going away. But I think that
the industry focus on it might be. Recent studies show that while people say
they care about green and eco-conscious travel measures, they don't base their
booking decisions on them. Because of this I think that the industry won’t
focus on these initiatives as much, although they certainly will always be part
of the travel experience.
I'm still on the fence about
this one, but I think 2014 will be the year in which many loyal airline
consumers start shopping around. In 2013 the commercial airline industry saw a
lot of changes in frequent flyer programs, and none of them good for consumers.
Points were devalued across the board, which means it’s harder and more
expensive to cash them in. Several airlines also added spending thresholds, so
that in order to get elite status you have to fly AND spend a lot more.
Finally, with the merger of American and US Airways, there's a lot of
uncertainty amongst both airlines’ frequent flyers. All of this together has
pushed airline loyalty to the lowest level ever, so those days of mileage runs
may be gone forever.
What trends do you think will
be popular in 2014?