foXnoMad’s 2010 Travel Predictions Revisited

January 4, 2011 by  
Travel

At the beginning of last year, as I did in 2009, I made a series of predictions for 2010 that were somewhat more optimistic about the state of travel in the coming year. From increased airline fees to more RTW trip options, it turns out I had (mostly) the right gist but things didn’t turn out quite as dramatically as I had envisioned.

cat looking in crystal ball

1. Prediction: More Airline Fees

Various airline fees for most carriers did increase significantly in 2010 but not nearly 50% as I had guessed. In general, most airline fee revenue (in particular US domestic), went up about 20-25% over 2010. A steep rise in prices has many airlines now making around 30% of their revenue from addition costs added to plane tickets. You can still, however, avoid luggage fees and work your way around the airlines for free with your biggest ally.

checked baggage fee

Verdict: Slightly (But Thankfully) Wrong

2. Prediction: Backpacking And Minimalism Go Mainstream

Finding reliable statistics on the number of backpackers is difficult and highly localized; yet numbers on minimalists are even harder to come by. There were already rumblings late last year about digital nomad living going mainstream and cubicle ditching, but whether more press equates to more adventure tours and location independents isn’t certain. I would venture to say that programs like Gap Adventure‘s Wanderers In Residence, show the travel industry is beginning to realize people want a taste of the long-term travel lifestyle by working with full-time travelers.

working on laptop at beach

Verdict: Unclear, But Headed In The Right Direction

3. Prediction: More RTW Trip Options And Price Plans

Jet Blue’s unlimited All You Can Jet Pass made a popular comeback in 2010 and the idea of gap years and career breaks opened up to the larger US audience. While I wish that Star Alliance and OneWorld would have expanded their RTW programs with more options in 2010, there are still great ways to create a round-the-world trip and many more ways to travel longer.

globes in chicago

Verdict: Correct

4. Prediction: A Major US Airline Will File For Bankruptcy

Globally, the airlines made an incredible financial recovery this year, earning an estimated 15.1 billion dollars. Considering they lost 9.9 billion in the previous year, I was quite wrong about how well the US airlines would fare in 2010. Not a single major US airline declared bankruptcy in 2010 and globally only 3 did – most notably Japan Airlines.

plane in the sky

Verdict: Wrong

5. Prediction: The Rise Of Southeast Asia

Tourism to many nations in Southeast Asia like Thailand, Laos, and the Philippines was up an average of 11% in 2010. While certainly a correct prediction, things would have been more spot on had I looked at the Middle East. Tourism numbers in Lebanon broke national records last year while Syria saw a 49% jump in foreign travelers.

Philippine beach

Verdict: Correct

man ponderingWhat Are Your Travel Predictions For 2011?

I’m still holding on to the belief that long-term travel options will increase, giving more people the opportunity (or incentive) to take mini-RTW trips. For specific predictions, I’m betting that travel to “dangerous” places, like Iraq in particular, really take off in 2011. On top of that fees will continue to go up and the number of travel blogs dramatically increase; prompting conventional media to take a more serious interest in bloggers.

Now that I’ve made a few predictions for the upcoming year, I’d love to hear your specific travel predictions for 2011. Jot down your best guesses about the travel year ahead in the comments below – we’ll compare notes around this time next year.

[photos by: fofurasfelinas (cat looking in crystal ball), galdi (checked baggage fees), Giorgio Montersino (working on laptop at beach), JohnLeGear (globes in Chicago), Simon_sees (plane in the sky), striatic (man pondering)]

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  1. Nomadic Matt says:

    So what’s in store for 2011?

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    • Anil P. says:

      I’m leaving the predictions mostly up to everyone else this year ;) As for travel over the next few months I’ll be mainly in the Middle East.

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  2. Sherry Ott says:

    Now since I’m in the Middle East – I’m going to predict that those travel numbers for the Middle East will continue to rise! What an amazing area.
    Looks like you did pretty well on your predictions! Of course I’m hoping that the idea of extended travel continues to slowly rise in 2011!

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  3. Mummy_T says:

    Much more budget airline competition on the long-haul routes, I reckon this year, what with AirAsia and China Eastern doing their thing, and the cheapo airlines around Australia. And, yeah, backpacking is going to continue the rise as economies sink. Looking into my crystal ball…

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  4. Its hard to predict because I think it really has to do with the economy more than anything which is very fragile at th emoment. If things get worse then travel will go down, but there are always the die hards that always find a way to get away!

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  5. Donna Hull says:

    As the first baby boomers turn 65, there will be an explosion in travel marketing towards that age group. Of course we’ve been traveling along, not waiting to turn 65, but the media hasn’t discovered that, yet.

    Although travel blogging will be on the increase, it’s the maturing of the travel blog product that will attract travel related companies and publications. Better writing, quality photos and an active community will prove our worth.

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    • Anil P. says:

      Any particular area of the world or type of travel you think will be especially appealing to baby boomer travelers?

      Your second point reminds me of a sort of evolution – the more travel bloggers there are in the pool the faster the whole will adapt and get better quickly. Even in the last 3 years travel blogs have improved, in general, in just about every area.

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  6. That more people with travel with their pets and hotels, restaurants and other attractions will revise their policies to attract these travelers. Unfortunately, I think airlines will increase their fees and tighten their restrictions, making flying with pets more challenging.

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    • Anil P. says:

      A great prediction Amy! I do hope though the second part (more fees and restrictions) is wrong…but with the way the airlines handles fees…

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  7. ayngelina says:

    More people in South America! I think people are becoming less afraid and understand they aren’t going to be kidnapped in Colombia.

    Although I like it as it is so I may just perpetuate the kidnapping myth!

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    • Anil P. says:

      I keep hearing about how wonderful Colombia is…you can’t scare me! ;)

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    • Cam says:

      Agreed! Sadly, before we toured South America we thought it was a big, bad scary place. We even held off buying a mini-laptop until we reached New Zealand because we thought it was going to get stolen! Duh! It’s totally fine as long as you don’t act like a moron – I get more freaked out in major US cities!

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  8. Matt says:

    I predict that more and more travel related companies will begin to recognize the powerful voice of the (increasing) number of travel bloggers that are working online and traveling the world.

    My Year 1 of Travel Blogging saw lots of time spent in New Zealand, and I continued to be amazed at the positive response I would get when pitching media tours or FOC activities to travel companies. New Zealand is ahead of the curve in this area, and I think the rest of the world will follow.

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    • Cam says:

      I’d echo Matt’s comments. I think travel companies are starting to see the value that the blogging/twitter communities can have on its business. Expect to see more and more “resort reviews” and “tour package reviews” in the year to come.

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      • Anil P. says:

        I agree with you both and wouldn’t be surprised at all to see it happen. Matt, interesting to hear about New Zealand, I had no idea. Perhaps a sign of things to come in other parts of the world as well.

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  9. I think more travel to the Middle East as more travel bloggers debunk some myths about the region. I know I have my part to contribute :)

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  10. Eileen says:

    I think more and more individuals and companies will try to get you to buy their ebooks and products telling you how to escape from corporate drudgery and break free.

    In fact, I’d bet money on it.

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  11. Andi says:

    I think USAir will start flying to more places in South America. :)

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  12. Priyank says:

    Thank god #1 didn’t happen. Here is mine: I think the year 2011 will see several countries easing visa restrictions for short term travel like 15 or 30 days. For citizens of the developing world, this has always been a real pain.

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    • Anil P. says:

      I’m with you on that one, although it’s a small victory in a losing battle!

      Personally I like your prediction and hope you are correct. I’ve noticed this trend (in terms of the Turkish passport) and hope it continues across the board. With the potential for tourism, I suspect that the incentive is there for many countries :)

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