As we pull the curtains on 2017 I thought I’d look ahead to what the world of travel holds for us in 2018.
And I think it’s going to be mostly good — sprinkled with a bit of bad and a dash of ugly.
So let’s take a look at some of my travel predictions for 2018.
Air travel — cost and quality
This is a mix of the good, the bad and the ugly.
The bad: we are getting nickel and dimed to death.
The good: passengers are able to pay for what they want and not pay for what they don’t need.
The good: more low cost carriers and the expansion of existing low cost carriers to new markets. This means increased competition so fares will hopefully (fingers crossed) not rise. Some industry experts predict a slight rise due a better economy. Others say fares will remain close to 2017 levels.
The bad: sometimes you get what you pay for — so buyer beware! These low cost carriers sometimes have issues with losing bags and not being very on time. Do your homework.
The ugly: the US carriers don’t even break the top 30 (out of 100) for best airlines in the world.
Predictions: I think we’ll see competitive prices for flights both within the US and internationally.
While quality may not increase, passengers will have options which is a good thing.
And I also tend to think that passengers are going to raise hell when there are problems.
This is definitely a good thing.
Use your voice.
The airlines are listening.
There’s no doubt about it that this is a good aspect to travel.
With my T-Mobile account I was able to text as much as I wanted and use unlimited data — albeit at 2G speed — when I traveled to Ireland and the UK in 2017.
I had access to Google maps, my email, text messaging, Facebook, my credit cards and bank all at the touch of a finger.
The bad and the ugly is that too many of us have our noses buried in our phones or tablets and aren’t paying attention to what we’re experiencing.
There’s a time and place for the technology.
Prediction: we’ll see more travel apps coming our way to make travel easier. But we’ll also continue to see those who would rather be posting their photos versus those who really want to experience where they are.
Loving places to death
This is one of the ugly issues in travel these days.
Places like Venice, Machu Picchu, the Galapagos, Santorini, the Cinque Terre and some of the US National Parks are curtailing visitors due to the impact we are having on these international treasures.
It’s sad that we have to keep people from traveling to places that are so unique and beautiful.
But I also see this as a good because we are preserving them for generations to come.
Prediction: I think we’ll see more destinations and sites limiting tourism to protect what makes those places special. Be prepared and be okay with it.
Remember: it’s not all about you.
Pop culture and its influence on travel
I’m not a big tv watcher though I do love movies.
So when I was in Northern Ireland I heard all about Game of Thrones and the various filming locations there.
I heard about Star Wars: The Last Jedi filming at Malin Head in the Republic of Ireland.
There’s no doubt about it that this is a mix of the good, the bad and the ugly.
It’s certainly good for tourism to that location.
And it’s a boon to the tv show or the movie.
I do think it’s wonderful to see folks traveling to places that they see on the small or the big screen and to see them get into the characters, the stories, etc.
But there is the fear of having the above happen – loving these places to death.
Prediction: We’ll continue to see pop culture influence travel and travel decisions. And we’ll see tourism boards use this for marketing. The downfall is we’ll see some of these locations becoming a bit overrun with tourism.
Travel to connect with locals
This has been a growing trend and one that I see as nothing but good for travelers.
And it’s a trend I think we’ll continue to see in 2018.
I truly believe in the power of travel — it’s a way to connect with the local people and culture.
In the process you learn about the world around you.
And you also learn about yourself.
I call this “more meaningful travel” or “deeper travel” as it’s not just about seeing a destination or a site and ticking it off your list.
It’s about truly building a relationship with a place and its citizens.
And in the process you create memories that last a lifetime.
Prediction: More travelers will seek out more meaningful travel in 2018. And that will make this personal travel planner very happy!
The continuation of the “selfie” and the idiot tourist
This is the ultimate ugly in my book.
Bear with me as I tell a story.
Back in 1995 (yes a very long time ago) before smart phones and all this damn technology, I went to Colorado with my then boyfriend, P.
We were in Rocky Mountain National Park where I was having so much fun photographing with my SLR film camera.
Yes I said film.
We stopped along the road as there was a herd of elk.
Everyone was snapping photos including me.
But one idiot decided he needed to get closer. So he began approaching the herd.
Now elk are big. Bigger than deer.
There was a park ranger among the crowd keeping an eye on things.
And she called out to idiot tourist, “Sir, please stay away from the elk!”
He didn’t listen.
She called out again, this time putting her hand on her gun.
I remember P being so impressed that she was willing to shoot to save the herd.
Thankfully the idiot tourist listened and no elk charged and no park ranger fired any shots.
So bringing this story back around, as my friend, Julie says.
How many of you have heard of someone trying to get a selfie with some wild animal — I’m stressing wild here — only to be charged by that animal.
Or the person trying to get that selfie and they fall off of a cliff.
Seriously people — no photo is worth your life.
Prediction: Sadly we’ll continue to see this trend. I’ll simply call it the culling of the herd. And as harsh as it sounds, well, sometimes the truth hurts.
Selfies and the glamour girl (or boy)
I’m okay with the occasional selfie.
But these glamour girls (and some boys) are a bit much for me and my hippy-Gen X ways.
I’d like to see more real selfies and not the ones that look like a Hollywood production with hair and makeup, beautiful clothing and that just perfect pose.
Sometimes I find it all a bit narcissistic.
That being said, I took more selfies on my trip in 2017 than any other time.
And most of the time I was out walking or hiking with wind-blown hair or a hat on and no makeup.
As a photographer I’m a fan of being behind the camera and not in front of it.
So as a result I don’t have a lot of images of myself.
This trip I wanted to rectify that.
Here’s the thing: I’m okay with some selfies and get that you want a photo of you in front of Stonehenge or at the Eiffel Tower.
I wanted photos of myself as I walked the West Highland Way in Scotland.
But let’s not make it about wearing the perfect outfit or having your face made up.
If you are truly happy traveling then your inner light is going to shine through.
This makes you an incredibly beautiful person.
No need for flawless makeup, perfect hair and gorgeous clothing.
The beauty of your bliss is enough.
Prediction: We’ll continue to see the glamour girls (and boys). But I also think we’ll see more natural and real selfies. I applaud this.
My 2018 travels
At this point I don’t I have a plane ticket but I am working on it.
So what are my plans?
Wales is at the top of my list so I can visit my friend, Lynn, as she continues her graduate school education.
Hopefully this will include a climb up Mount Snowden in Snowdonia National Park as she lives close by.
It’s the one country in the UK I did not visit in 2017.
But before I go to Wales I may travel to Ireland yet again.
I’m always happy to see my friend, Aedín. Seeing good friends is an added bonus for me as I travel.
My main focus is to revisit some destinations in Ireland I haven’t traveled to in a few years.
And I’ll sprinkle in some new places as well.
Beyond that I’m not sure.
With WOW Air flying out of Cincinnati now, I’d love to take a trip to Iceland.
So perhaps I’ll make a short visit there later in the year.
Because I’m a Europe specialist I’ll be focusing on this continent.
And you’ll have to be patient as I’m working on a 2018 Europe Destinations document that should be ready to go in a couple of weeks.
But here’s one hint: Iceland is on the list.
The rest is under wraps.
It’s a varied list with some of my personal “wish list” destinations on it.
I promise that it’ll be worth the wait.
Your 2018 travel plans and predictions
Do you have any predictions for 2018 travel?
Is there one thing that you think the travel world will see or experience?
And what about your travel plans for 2018?
Do you have some plans set? Or at least in motion?
I’d love to hear your answers so feel free to drop a comment below.
Happy New Year and Happy Travels!