TravelMole.com, an online travel and tourism resource, reports that in 2011 adventure trips like safaris and hiking among glaciers will be popular. Travel to spiritual retreats or spas for meditation, yoga, and stress reduction will remain popular, as will vacations with educational or service-related components.
Of those surveyed by TravelMole.com, a whopping 87 percent plan to take the same number or more vacations in 2011, a positive sign that leisure travelers feel more confident about the economy.
Travel news and trends for 2011
Business and leisure travelers can expect airlines to offer new, value-added services this year to offset what will likely be higher ticket prices.
- Continental Airlines is offering a service called "FareLock," which allows you to lock-in itineraries and ticket prices for up to seven days with no obligation. Fees start at $5 for a 72-hour lock and $9 for the seven-day option. The service applies only to flights operated by Continental.
- Southwest Airlines has updated its "Rapid Rewards" program, the first major changes to its frequent-flier program since it was established nearly 24 years ago. The number of points earned now rise with ticket prices, with bonuses for full-fare tickets and elite status fliers. In addition, Rapid Reward points won't expire as long as the member has had some activity during the previous two years.
Airline and travel reporters at USA Today, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, and other national news outlets are all predicting higher ticket prices in 2011. Rising fuel and other operating costs are cited for the increase.
- Airlines pay attention to the fares charged by their competitors. If one airline raises prices, others are likely to follow.
- Basic economic principles of supply and demand rule the industry, so book flights early. Surcharges for travel during peak periods are likely to continue. Existing fees for checked luggage could increase. Some analysts are also speculating that fees based on bag weight or distance flown could be a possibility in the future.
- Airlines may encourage passengers to purchase tickets through their own Web sites rather than those operated by online travel agencies. When searching for the best fares, check airline Web sites in addition to Orbitz, Expedia, Travelocity, PriceLine.com, etc.