The Best and Worst Travel Trends of 2018
At Jetsetter, it’s not hard to find travel trends to look forward to, like more gay-friendly guides and tech-free tours for those who are a little too addicted to Instagram, but we’d be lying if we didn’t also talk about those trends we’re seriously sick of. (After all, who can ignore this year’s insane number of in-flight pet problems?) Here are seven travel trends of 2018 we’re loving—and seriously hating on.
What We’ve Been Loving
We’re all for working remotely—who doesn’t want to log on from the beach?—but at some point, you need to actually unplug on vacation. Off the Grid helps millennial travelers do just that. The company offers 10-day tours in destinations like Portugal and Peru, but with a catch: you must put away the smartphone. Guides will give you a burner phone that can only make calls (no internet or camera), a travel journal, analog watch, and paper maps of the city (how retro!). Travelers can bring a camera—film preferred—but the outfit also provides a professional photographer who will be tagging along on the trip, so you can still get all the shots you want.
If you haven’t heard the news, Germany, Australia, Malta, and most recently Bermuda have all legalized same-sex marriage in the past year, showing their support for the LGBT community. This, in turn, has opened the door to more inclusive tourism. W Hotels, for example, just announced a new group of gay-friendly digital travel guides for each of its hotels, starting with W Mexico City and expanding to W Atlanta, W Istanbul, and the just-opened W Brisbane. The brand also has a traveling Queer Me Out speaker series with panel discussions about hot-button LGBT issues. Meanwhile, Marriott is a leader in the LGBT travel community thanks to its #LoveTravels multi-media campaign, gay-friendly experiences, and partnership with Man About World to launch the first LGBT Business Travel Guide.
High-end hotels are hiring in-house specialists to provide guests with out-of-this-world personalized experiences. The St. Regis Mexico City has a cultural curator who arranges private tours around three main categories: art and architecture, kids and family, and history and culture. This means you can get behind-the-scenes access to some of the city’s top landmarks as well as exclusive invitations to special events. At the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado in Santa Fe, there’s an adventure architect who leads a team of archaeologists, art historians, and veteran national park rangers to give guests guided hikes, horseback rides, and cultural excursions around Santa Fe National Forest. Other favorites include the Ramen Hunter at the Palace Hotel Tokyo, the Genealogy Butler at The Shelbourne Dublin, and the Crawfish Concierge at The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans.
Cruises Making a Comeback
Cruises have finally ditched the kitsch and reinvented themselves as a luxury travel option. Gone are the days of bad buffet food: Princess Cruises just partnered with Bon Appetit to create exclusive culinary experiences like private cooking classes at a chef’s home in Greece. Some new cruise lines are attached to glam brands like the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, which features 12 duplex suites and private terraces with hot tubs. Small ships are giving access to hard-to-reach locales (like the Delfin Amazon River cruise) and can provide over-the-top excursions, such as Azamara’s helicopter ride over Sydney Harbour and Australia’s Hunter Valley wine region. You may also pick up a new skill: learn how to sail on one of Sunsail’s private yachts around the Mediterranean or have a naturalist teach you about the Galapagos Islands’ local flora and fauna on a National Geographic ship.
RELATED: Cruising for People Who Hate Cruises
What We’re So Over
Missing In-Flight Entertainment
Look, we’re still upset that free WiFi isn’t offered on flights—after all, who doesn’t want to check Facebook at 40,000 feet?—but now airlines are taking away our TVs, too. Seatback screens are being phased out, mainly because they cost a whopping $10,000 a pop to install. Instead, carriers are looking to provide streaming services as well as their own custom content that passengers can access on their personal mobile devices. But with finicky airline app connections and pricey in-flight WiFi packages, we’re still hesitant to jump on board.
Overtourism Ruining Destinations
Let’s talk about sustainable tourism, shall we? As Jetsetters, we live for travel. But sometimes, too many visitors can hurt a destination more than it helps (looking at you, Lisbon). In fact, places like the Galapagos Islands, Cinque Terre, and Machu Picchu—which is now on UNESCO’s endangered list—are limiting the number of incoming travelers in order to save the sites. Santorini is now limited to 8,000 cruise ship passengers a day (which is still too many, if you ask us), and Thailand’s Kho Khai islands off the coast of Phuket are banning visitors after 80 percent of its coral reefs were damaged due to tourists. Even the remote continent of Antarctica—which is melting faster than anyone thought possible—has cracked down on cruise operators, letting only 100 people on shore at a time. So, as much as you may want to get that Santorini selfie, let’s maybe consider some under-the-radar alternatives.
Pet Problems on Planes
This year, a record of pet-related plane incidents has got us worried about flying with Fido. There was that time a puppy died in an overhead bin, and another when Toto accidentally got shipped to Tokyo instead of Kansas. Luckily, airlines are taking note and changing their safety regulations to keep your four-legged friends safe on flights. Starting June 18, United Airlines will debut its updated PetSafe program, which was created with the help of animal advocacy organization American Humane. Now, snub-nosed breeds prone to higher adverse health risks like pugs and persians will be banned; only dogs and cats are allowed to fly (sorry, emotional support peacock); and international routes or multiple connection flights will be restricted. United is also teaming up with Petmate to offer safer cargo crates. And just in case that’s not enough, concerned owners can download the new Digi-Pet app, which has live video streaming and real-time alerts so you can check in on your pet en-route.
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