9 Travel Trends We're Seeing in 2014 ...

I love to keep a watching brief on what’s going on in the world of travel and one of things that interests me is new travel trends. I don’t get all deep and try and relate them to socio-economic trends – I’m merely interested as an avid traveler and someone who is passionate about our world and its wonders. Here’s some of the new travel trends taking a hold in 2014.

1. Travel Sharing

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Travel sharing turns people not only into travelers but travel providers, and it offers a much more personal experience than traditional travel. Travelers can stay in other people’s homes, drive other people’s cars or ride their bikes, rent their RV, etc., usually at a fraction of the cost. You can even book a meal in someone’s personal home. There are websites that specialize in these sharing arrangements, like Airbnb, Private Motorhome RV Rentals, Relay Rides, Eat With, or Couchsurfing, among others. And if you have a spare bedroom or other travel amenity car you can rent to travelers, you may be able to simply make a direct trade. It’s one of the new travel trends that gladdens my heart because it shows an increase in green travel.

2. Health Travel

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Travel that enhances health or treats a medical condition could be considered health travel, and it’s really caught on in the last year. People needing surgery for health reasons or desiring surgery for cosmetic purposes may seek it outside their country, usually for considerably less money. However, travel options can include a spa vacation, vacationing in a yoga retreat, joining a weight loss camp, or anything that makes us feel like we are doing something good for our health.

3. Experiential Vacations

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One new travel trend is to not merely visit locations, but to fully experience the culture. Travelers are finding a number of ways to accomplish this, by doing things like harvesting grapes in Sonoma, rowing a boat through Venice, volunteering in the Amazon Rainforest, or working on a ranch. Not only does this kind of vacation take people away from the ordinary, but it immerses them in the microcosm of the lives of people who may be much different than us.

4. TV and Movie Inspired Travel

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People are increasingly booking vacations to locations where their favorite shows and movies are filmed. Ouarzazate, Morocco (the city of Pentos) experienced double booking since Game of Thrones, and fans of Dr. Who flock to visit Cardiff, Wales. Downton Abbey fans can take bus tours between Downton Village’s Bampton and Highclere Castle in Hampshire, UK. Wherever movies and TV shows are filmed, people want to go.

5. Increased Fees

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Airlines, having succeeded in charging fees for checking bags, expect more of the same for other niceties. It’s not limited to the airline industry, but hotels and other travel amenities. Some airlines are already charging for carry-on bags now, and they are charging for the luxury of choosing your own seat, as well as having to pay more money for window or aisle seats. As a result, families sometimes have difficulty traveling together. Hotels are already charging up to $50 per night for things such as housekeeping and concierge services. Expect this trend to continue even if it’s not one the new travel trends we really want to know about.

6. Technology and Gadgets

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While some still attest that vacations are a time to unplug from all their devices, technology has made travel easier for many. Smartphones, for example, can help us find our way to a great tourist spot or a restaurant, and we can change travel plans online if we want to. Smartphones can also be used as key cards in some hotels, and to share flight information with family and friends. Additionally, they can help you monitor your home when you’re away.

7. Pet Friendly Hotels

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It used to be that hotels that accepted pets were somewhat less-than-first-class. However, there are more and more well-known hotels and chains that are actively promoting their pet-friendly rooms. There are usually some restrictions and fees, but when you travel, it’s possible that the furry members of your family might also enjoy your vacation with you. Some major chains allowing pets are: Marriott, Fairmont, Choice, Best Western, and Kimpton.

8. Friendlier TSA

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This is one of the most-welcomed new trends in travel. It might seem counterintuitive given the press about TSA, but they are actually trying to make your experience less stressful. The TSA has implemented TSA PreCheck and Clear to get you through security faster, and internationally, there may be a trusted traveler program you can participate in that relies on prescreening and biometric identification. At some airports, passengers are told how long the wait will be, and there may even be soothing music and softer lighting in TSA lounge areas. Some TSA officers have the power to wave some people through that they perceive to be a low security risk.

9. Families to the Back

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Families with children are increasingly seated towards the back of the plane. Sometimes, shockingly, kids are seated towards the back while their parents are seated elsewhere. Airlines, for their part, want to accommodate passengers on long flights that want to rest and not be interrupted by children. Malaysia Airlines bans babies from first class cabins, for example, and many international airlines are adopting either kid-free zones or family seating toward the back of the plane.

Have a think about it. Have you been contributing to these new travel trends in the last 12-15 months in your choices and the way you travel, where you go etc?

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