Archive for the ‘Travel Trends’ Category

At what point do you just opt out of flying?

In the past week, the hullabaloo over airport security checks has reached heightened levels, to say the least. Few travelers – or anyone for that matter – can have escaped news stories detailing the Transportation Security Administration’s move from back-of-the-hand pat downs for passengers who refuse full-body scans to searches where security personnel use the front of their hand.

Concerns over privacy loss from full-body scanners’ well-defined images seem to have led to some travelers enduring more personal or uncomfortable techniques. Groping, sexual assault and probing “where the sun doesn’t shine” are just a few of the printable descriptions some fliers are using for the new screening techniques at airport checkpoints. The result? Reports of a growing frustration among fliers and airline personnel, along with a week’s worth of video of long security lines, travelers receiving pat downs or frequent fliers worried about the long-term health effects of repeated body scanner …

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What are the best and worst things about travel in the 2000s?

In two weeks, the 2010 holiday travel season will be in full swing. When it’s over, we will have crossed over the threshold into 2011 and the dawn of a new decade of travel. TripAdvisor.com released yesterday a survey of travelers, which asked among other things, for people to name the best and worst travel developments of the past decade.

Their response? For starters, travelers have become quite fond of online check-in since the beginning of this decade. Twenty-six percent of those surveyed said the ability to check-in for their upcoming flights was the number one development of the past 10 years.  Candid travel reviews and increased options for online travel bookings tied at 16 percent each for the next best development for travelers. In short, the Internet appears to have helped travelers — whether they’re jetting round the globe or driving round the state — make the most of their journeys in recent years.

On the flip side, the traveling public stood strong in its distaste …

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Are you an adventurous traveler or a cautious one?

The other day, I ran across a headline that described vacationing Americans as the least adventurous as compared with citizens on holiday from four other similar countries. A survey by Intrepid Travel revealed that among Americans, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders and British travelers, Americans were least likely to try a variety of vacation experiences. The Kiwis were the most adventurous.

Intrepid Travel organizes tours to small, off-the-beaten-path locales, and encourages travelers to meet with, and often stay in the homes of, locals as part of their vacation experience. Among the questions the company surveyed were whether travelers in each country would be willing to eat deep-fried tarantulas, go on safari, sleep in a hilltop village hut, explore ancient ruins and haggle at local markets. In essence, travelers were asked how willing they were to embrace the culture and people of their travel destination.

Within the United States, certain regions showed they were …

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Are you on board for a birthday vacation?

I was reading recently about movie director James Cameron’s desire to spend his 56th birthday in the depths of the world’s oldest and deepest lake. Weather-permitting, he was to submerge nearly a mile below the surface of Russia’s Lake Baikal, located in southern Siberia. (Weather-not permitting, it sounds like he will do what many adults do to ease the transition of crossing the threshold of another year. He’ll toss back a few strong drinks and enjoy the scenery.) 

If all goes well, Cameron’s underwater voyage should make for quite the memorable birthday trip.

It’s not exploring the deep, dark waters of a remote lake, but even average Atlantans like us can often do with a little birthday getaway. We are, in fact, traveling a short distance this weekend to help a friend celebrate her 40th on Lake Lanier. Similar to destination weddings, these getaways are something like “destination birthdays”.               

In the past few months, many of our friends and neighbors have …

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Vacation for one? Would you travel alone?

Most of us have “flown solo” at some point in our lives – to a dinner party, a club, a class or family reunion, or somewhere else. Now, many Americans who like to travel are also “flying solo” – and lodging solo and sightseeing solo.

Traditionally, Americans on vacation tend to travel together – in pairs or groups – and the majority of us stick to that traditional model. Still, at least a quarter of all vacationing Americans last year set out for rest, relaxation or a new adventure without a traveling companion. Time has even named solo cruising one if its top ten travel trends.         

As people divorce, marry later, or forgo marriage altogether, the number of singles with the time, money and inclination to travel is significant. Some travel to meet new people, and some don’t want to forgo the pleasures of experiencing new places just because no one else can go along. Others set out on their own to find out more about themselves. Think the new Julia Roberts movie “Eat, Pray, …

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Good morning star-sign, where should I go? Horoscopes as a travel tool?

Sometimes your boss tells you where your next trip will take you. Other times, your family or friends’ wishes are the deciding factors in a vacation destination. But when you have the freedom to travel wherever you want, how do you choose where to go?

Costs have a way of narrowing our choices down quite a bit. Personal preferences toward certain climates or geography help as well. Even taking those into consideration, the eager traveler could still have a hemisphere of choices to muck through before they book a flight or hotel.

It’s a fortunate predicament to be sure, but no one wants to spend money on a trip and come home disappointed. Now some globetrotters and road trippers are letting the stars do their planning and trusting their vacation dreams to their horoscopes. The AJC recently ran this article, which describes a new horoscope feature on Tripbase.com.  Tripbase.com is a website that recommends destinations based on travelers’ holiday preferences (warm destination, …

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Do you support a peanut ban on planes?

If you enjoy munching on that complimentary bag of peanuts when you fly, you may not be for much longer. According to CNN, the Department of Transportation (DOT) is considering a ban of all peanut products served on planes. The prevalence and the potentially deadly consequences of severe peanut allergies have prompted the DOT to consider such a ban on flights covered by the agency’s disability rule.

The DOT is considering banning peanuts on commercial flights. Clipart.com

The DOT is considering banning peanuts on commercial flights. Clipart.com

Some carriers, including AirTran, already have a peanut ban in place. Other airlines will offer a “buffer zone” around a passenger with a peanut allergy, in which several rows of passengers around the allergic passenger will be peanut-free. The DOT is considering three different options for its peanut policy, ranging from a comprehensive ban to providing buffer zones to air passengers who request a peanut-free flight. You can read more about the options and give the DOT feedback at the Regulation Room.

Do …

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Are hotel stays a thing of vacations past?

As business travel slowly declined over the past several years and travel in general took a hit during the recession, room rates and hotel occupancies fell to their lowest levels in decades. Now that leisure travelers are beginning to ease their way back out on the roads, trains and skies, how many of them will return to the traditional hotel?

Not long ago, I read a news article discussing the troubles the hotel industry is facing. It’s not just the recession (though that has clearly played a part), but it’s also a fundamental change in the way many vacationers travel, brought on in part by the internet.

The article got me thinking about my family’s approach to lodging when we go on a trip. Early in our marriage, we would always book a hotel wherever we traveled. With three children and an aversion to hearing the TV in the next room or the footsteps in the hallways, however, we began to limit our hotel stays considerably about ten years ago.  

When the kids were smaller and …

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Are you getting away this Memorial Day?

Memorial Day is a few days away, and lower gas prices combined with a more stable economy may end Georgians’ trend of staying home over the holiday. Auto Club AAA estimates 884,000 Georgians will take a trip over Memorial Day this year, which is about the same as last year when the number of travelers had declined for the fourth year in a row.

While the overall decline may be bottoming out, fewer Georgians are expected to take to the skies over Memorial Day. Only 64,763 will by flying, so the bulk of those traveling will be out on the roadways.

In this AJC report, AAA Auto Club South says that many Georgians scaled back vacations for the past couple of years and are in need of a break this year.  

“There’s really a pent-up demand people have to travel,” said Jessica Brady, spokeswoman for AAA Auto Club South. “A lot of vacations were not taken the past couple years and it wasn’t just Memorial Day. The past couple of years travel has just been down. People have not been …

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Would you travel with a pride of cougars?

My adolescent daughter will eagerly tell you that I live in a pop culture vacuum. I blame it on the fact that I have never really gotten into reality television shows, from which so many pop culture references derive. While I have obviously heard of American Idol, I have never watched anything but the ads for it. (Check that – my daughter did show me the YouTube of that man singing “Pants on the Ground” the other day.)

However, even I have heard about “cougars”, the pop culture nickname for single women in their 40s and 50s who seek sexual encounters with young, 20-something men, called “cubs”.  (For the record, I have also heard of the Courtney Cox’s television program, Cougar Town.) So if they have been around long enough for me to know about them, I’m not surprised that there are enough self-described cougars out there that have begun traveling in packs – make that prides – on “cougar-themed” trips.

Last week, Carnival Cruise Lines said it would no longer book singles …

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