Top 10 takeaways to help you plan your next vacation
Why we went?
Every year, influencers in the travel industry gather for one of the most prestigious travel shows in the world, the New York Times Travel Show in New York City. Here travel providers share what's hot (and what's not) in the travel world with both travel media and consumers.
We share this insider knowledge with you because we think it can better inform your travel decisions for the coming year. So read... and then go!
1/Travel will be big in 2018
It’s official. People want to travel, and they want to do it more often. This year is already on track to be a record year for every segment of the travel industry. In the keynote panel discussion, Jennifer Tombaugh, President of Tauck, said, “2017 was a banner year for us, and 2018 is right now the largest advanced booking year in the 93-year history of our company. Italy is rebounding big time, and Africa, in particular, is on fire.”
Our advice to you? Book early!
2/The Caribbean is back
And yes, that includes Puerto Rico! And the Caribbean needs your business desperately. We heard representatives from several Caribbean countries saying that there’s been a lot of confusion in the press about which islands were affected by hurricanes Irma and Maria last fall. One tourism official told us, “Everyone just assumes the whole Caribbean was affected, and that’s affecting business throughout the region.” There’s also the misperception that many of the islands that were hit aren’t ready for tourists when, in fact, many can handle tourists and need the visitors. The economies of these islands are heavily dependent on tourism dollars, so the sooner tourists return, the sooner they’ll be able to fully recover.
So if you’ve dreamt of being able to afford a sun and sand beach vacation, this is your year. There are deals to be had all throughout the Caribbean, so take advantage. Think of it as giving back to the relief effort!
KidTripster Tip: One cool deal that we heard about: for every tourist arrival in Belize (which was not affected by the hurricanes), $1 goes to hurricane relief funds.
3/Ireland is hot
In 2017, visitors to the Emerald Isle from North America were up 16% from 2016. Ireland now welcomes 10% of all Americans visiting Europe. Also on the hot list, according to many of the travel experts speaking at the NYT Travel Show: Africa, Australia, Italy, Israel, New Zealand, and Alaska - particularly for cruising.
Wondering where KidTripster thinks families should be traveling in 2018? Read here.
4/The USA is not hot
In 2017, the number of international tourists visiting the USA dropped 4 percent, in what many experts at the travel show referred to as the “Trump Slump.” Four-percent may not sound like a lot, but when you consider that it’s about $4.5 billion of the economy, it’s nothing to sneeze at. Alejandro Zozaya, CEO of Apple Leisure Group said, “I have to say, the brand USA is hurt. A lot of associations and corporations in the travel industry are getting together to try and come up with campaigns like “everyone is welcome,” but the rhetoric and the things we are hearing from the President have affected the desire of people to want to come… So ultimately, that’s taking a toll.”
The good news for you? There are good deals if you’re traveling domestically.
5/Experience & custom travel is popular
In 2018, luxury travel is less about getting the biggest suite but instead more about access and authenticity. Travel agents and tour companies that design and deliver custom experiences are fueling the luxury market. People, including families, are seeking out new experiences like cooking with locals.
6/This is the year of the travel agent
If you’re looking for those authentic, custom experiences, travel agents can often save you time and money. If something goes wrong, good agents have your back. And the place where an agent can save you the most? A cruise, if you use an agent who specializes in the cruise industry. Often the agent has access to better pricing and extras, like on-board credit.
Small groups, small ship cruising, intimate experiences - it’s all about more personal attention and feeling special.
KidTripster knows that! Read why we love small ship cruising for families here.
8/Families have more choices than ever
Family travel is a $200-billion industry just in the USA, according to the Family Travel Association. And these days, family travel isn’t just about Disney. Families have more options than ever all around the world. A survey by the Family Travel Association found beach vacations are tops with families. And families’ favorite destination outside of the USA? The Caribbean.
Cruise travel is on the rise, too. Some 15 years ago, only about 13% of cruise passengers were families. Now it’s a third.
And more families are traveling with Grandma and Grandpa. Last year, 32% of grandparents traveled with their grandchildren. Looking for ideas? Check out KidTripster’s Pinterest board on multi-generational travel.
9/Travel is more affordable than ever
Lucas Peterson, who writes The Frugal Traveler column in the New York Times, says frugal travel isn’t about being cheap. “Frugal travel is about working the system and getting the best experience possible for the least amount of money.” He says travel is more accessible and affordable now than ever before, largely due to the internet.
10/Travel is magic
No one summed it up better for us than Andrew Zimmern, host of Bizarre Foods on the Travel Channel, when he said that the magic of travel is that it’s transformative. “(When) you travel somewhere else - and it can be to another borough, it can be down the block, it can be to another country - you are less risk averse, you’re more curious, you’re more engaged with other people because you naturally have to ask for help. You’re willing to do a whole host of things that you’d never do in your life sitting on your couch at home. So as an advocate for travel, (I say) the power of travel is transformative. It literally changes who we are and how we think. You can’t help but change your ideas about other people (when you) travel around the world and engage with them. My request to you is three words: Pass it on.”
We couldn’t agree more. Pass on the love of travel to your kids. It will forever enrich their lives and yours.
Marcia Breen is an American writer who went to London, met an Irishman with a Russian name, and followed him to Bermuda. Nearly a decade later, they are married and living in New York City with their 3-year-old daughter.