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Keeping it relevant: Driving around in unfamiliar cities can be extremely daunting, but with apps like Ask A Stranger, you can find real-time travel advice personalized to your exact location, weather conditions, and interests. For example, “Hi, Maggie! I see you’re traveling by foot in Wicker Park, Chicago. It’s cold outside, so may we suggest some warm pho at Penny’s Noodle Shop?”
Take it in: Enjoy a chocolate-making class in Saint Lucia, join a foodie tour in Italy that takes you from farm to table, and learn how to make traditional crafts in Southeast Asia. Taking last year’s authentic/local trend a step further, you can now plan travel with a stranger via social media apps or use the Tripr app to meet up with fellow travelers nearby.
Havana nights: Famous for their fantastic food culture with entrees such as arroz con pollo, ropa vieja, and let’s not forget the Cuban sandwich, culinary tours to Cuba are quickly gaining ground. US-based passenger airlines will open flights to Cuba in 2016, and travel to the island nation is expected to double next year.
Globetrotting Travel: With business travel to expand 5.4%, companies are growing their business trip scope to the global sector next year. But beware, hotel rates will rise by an estimated 6.5 - 7.5% to accommodate increased demand.
Have time off, will travel: Americans will be getting out more often as increasing numbers of employers offer unlimited holidays. A few famous ones? Prezi, Virgin, and Netflix.
Tiny travel: You’ve heard of packing up your suitcase and going on a trip, but have you heard of toting an entire HOUSE? Yep, you can hitch these 100-400 square foot beauties to the back of a truck or SUV or even book a reservation at places like the Tiny House Hotel in Portland. Companies that are popularizing these compact casas include Tumbleweed and Getaway.
Ready to mingle: National Geographic grows into a major hotel media marketer with the introduction of its new Unique Lodges Around the World. Discovery Channel is following suit with the hotel/resort-finding tool, Discovery Destinations.
Try before you travel: You wouldn’t buy a car without test driving it. Why not enjoy a virtual tour of a destination before setting your luggage down? With wearables like the Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR, travel agencies are giving us a real sneak peek.
Freaky fast: How scary is it that supercomputers know what you want before you do? As unsettling as it sounds, personalization can have two huge benefits--understanding the traveler, and speeding up the discovery and decision process for anything from booking rooms to choosing restaurants.
Driving Miss Daisy: Remember when we talked about the Mercedes that could drive itself? Next year, the UK plans to introduce self-driving pods which use Bluetooth connectivity to provide visitors with information relevant to their location.
Totally checked out: When was the last time you felt that you truly got away from it all during your getaway? Growing options for relaxation, spirituality, exercise, and mental health motivate health-conscious travelers to focus on their personal journey instead of their destination.
The young and restless: Watch out! Millennials are joining Baby Boomers on the road. They favor more authentic, less touristy locations and attractions. According to MMGY Global’s Portrait of American Travelers, one-third of millenials plan more vacations next year than in previous years. 10% of them will devote more of their budget to future trips in 2016.
Beards and brews: People are scouting out locations before they’re cool. “Hipster holidays” have included such novelties as staying in a beehive-style treehouse, brewery yurts, or communal camps. Be on the lookout for the new hipster yuppie hybrid, the “yuccie.”
It’s a bird, it’s a plane: You’ll see several breakthroughs in the air industry next year, including the birth of the Stratolaunch Carrier, the world’s first “mega plane” that will span more than the length of a football field and send astronauts into orbit. In other news: emissions-free flights are projected to sail in Europe next spring, and Americans are squeezing into cabins designed for even higher passenger volume, referred to as “sardine flights.”
Merger madness: Marriott International just announced their plans to acquire Starwood. If the deal goes through, Marriott will become the world's largest hotel chain, with 5,500 hotels spanning a 30-brand empire. Other big companies keep on getting bigger: Expedia bought HomeAway and merged with Orbitz Worldwide.
Google did WHAT?!: The 66 billion dollar software company is trying travel on for size. When searching for a hotel room on Google, users can start working on their reservations in a few clicks. Field experts and consumers fear Google because, well, they’re Google. T RAV E L
www.yourcls.com 888-852-5100 Some images courtesy of the Noun Project