Top 8 Travel Predictions for 2014

Bloomberg has a couple of interesting predictions:

You’ll pay less for many flights within the U.S. (It’s about time!)top 8

Given that US Airways and American Airlines just merged I’d expect less competition on many routes. While JetBlue and Southwest keep expanding I can’t see major capacity growth. Given that demand will probably stay strong I think this one is wrong.

You’ll pay the same for flights to Europe-and they won’t be cheap.

Summer flights to Europe have been in high demand in the recent years and so have the air fares been rising. Given that there are some new entrants like Aer Lingus and Norwegian we may actually see a small decrease in average airfares.

South America will be hot.

Brazil buzz will be huge, what with the World Cup there in June/July and the Summer Olympics in 2016, and many of those Brazil-bound travelers will add stops in other South American countries. Peru is a big draw: It’s South America’s gastronomic capital, thanks to the aforementioned Gaston Acurio and the new Peruvian cuisine he gave birth to (see #3), and cool hotels are popping up all over, from the artsy Hotel B in Lima to the Palacio del Inka in Cusco to the uniquely tilted “Unbalance Hotel” built on the side of a cliff. Chile will have its 15 minutes too: A series of hot new boutique hotels have just opened or are opening in 2014, including The Singular, Hotel Cumbres en Lastarria, and Castillo Rojo in Santiago; Hacienda Hotel Vira Vira in the Lake District; and Uman Lodge in Patagonia. And Colombia—both Cartagena and Bogotá—is on virtually everyone’s to-do list nowadays. There’ll be plenty of new airline service to South America to fan the flames.

Travelers will increasingly choose homes over hotels.

It’s nothing new to want the space, privacy, local flavor, and savings that come with renting an apartment or vacation home. (Indeed, I’ve been selecting the best villa rental agents for eight years now.) In 2013, though, the biggest vacation-rental-market disruptors grew even more disruptive: Airbnb started training its home owners in the art of hospitality, and HomeAway introduced a new site focused on luxury villas. Next year hotels will need to find new ways to keep customers loyal or new services to sell.

More hotels—and even cruise lines—will join the 21st century and offer free Wi-Fi.

Wi-Fi is a necessity just like running water, and any hotel that charges for it will rethink when they find travelers taking their business elsewhere. The latest luxury hotel group to cave was Rocco Forte Hotels, which announced last month that in-room Wi-Fi is now free. (Here’s HotelChatter’s chart showing which hotel brands now offer free Wi-Fi.) As for cruise lines, Regent Seven Seas plans to offer free Wi-Fi to some passengers starting late next year, Viking Ocean Cruises has promised free Wi-Fi for all on its Viking Star launching in 2015, and Silversea already offers a free onboard service that provides news broadcasts and newspapers to passengers’ Wi-Fi-enabled devices. Several other cruise lines are planning technology upgrades that should make onboard Internet access faster and, if not free, at least cheaper.

More families will vacation in Africa.

The number of families wanting to take their kids on safari has grown exponentially, and safari operators are meeting the demand by creating more child-focused trips. &Beyond, for instance, recently started a WILDChild program that makes safaris fun and educational for little ones, and lodges across southern and East Africa have been adding family suites. South Africa’s malaria-free game parks are favored by many families, since the kids don’t need to get shots or take drugs. For something more affordable, think Kenya, where there are plenty of deals, thanks to the Westgate Mall terrorist attack last September that has unnecessarily scared off some travelers. (If you’re worried for your safety, just avoid Nairobi.)

Hotels will rent you office space (complete with spas and bars).

That would be a great trend. However most hotel rooms double as hotels for the working nomad very well as well as they are not the regular Tokyo hotels that are just a bit too small usually.

You’ll look forward to layovers. Seriously.

The article makes specific mention of layovers on award tickets. Well yes we all would like more layovers we can actually use. The 23 hour layovers are a good idea but it’s hectic and not easy to book. Most award programs have made it harder to book stop overs. The only rescue can come from the AAdvantage oneworld Explorer award with unlimited stopovers – let’s hope it sicks around!

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