The increase in security concerns, a weak US dollar, and the emergence of low-cost airlines will continue to cause a stir in 2008. After reading Travel Rants’ predictions for the upcoming year, I decided to look into my crystal ball to see what the travel future holds.

  • Airline Prices Will [Continue] To Rise – The major air carriers, especially US companies, have been poor to adjust to their competition and the needs of travelers in general. Expect airlines to raise fares, even low-cost carriers, as they fill in the gap between the two. Cheap flights within Europe will still be around but you won’t be able to take advantage of them if you’re paying in dollars.
  • Alternative Modes Of Travel Will Become Less Popular – The use of trains, buses, and other modes of transportation have and will continue to decline in ridership as people look to the skies to get around quicker. Train prices have gone up considerably in Europe and distances are too great within the US. Travelers should take note that trains and buses are delayed far less often than airplanes, even in poor weather conditions. City hoping by ground is also a good way to see sites off the beaten path.

  • Green Travel Vacations Will Become Available – Vacation packages for eco-friendly globe roamers are out there but will hit the mainstream over the course of 2008. Airlines now let passengers offset their carbon emissions, and hotels are renting green rooms at premium prices. Many of these ‘green’ alternatives will impact your wallet, make you feel better without doing much for the Earth. A more effective (and cheaper) way is to green your own travels.
  • Third-World Trips Will Become More Attractive – The housing market in the US is collapsing, but it’s a great time to buy a summer home in Morocco. It seems most of the international destinations we hear about on TV are in conflict or war torn with pockets of security big enough for brave travelers. Tourism works well in the third-world since a prior infrastructure isn’t required to setup a tourism industry. You don’t need to put your life at risk to visit some exotic spots, here are 8 great places you shouldn’t be scared to go to.
  • There Will Be An Increase In Terrorist Attacks On Tourist Attractions And Destinations – As the globe opens up to international travel, many foreigners will become targets for various extremists. We’ve already seen this in Casablanca, Indonesia, and Columbia. The increase in airline security restricts “big-event” attacks to a certain extent, it’s much easier for extremists to wait for targets to come to them.
  • Major US Carriers Will Merge To Survive – The big airlines in the US such as United, American Airlines, and the rest are facing continued hard times. The government bailouts can only go so far, expect the merger of these large airlines as they try to ride out these rough times.
    • It’s unlikely this strategy will work and in the more distance future these companies will split into regional airlines so they can lower fares and fly to smaller airports.
  • The Gap Between Luxury and Low-Fares Will Increase – All modes of travel will begin to offer no-frills-pay-for-everything-extra fares while on the flip-side luxury air, train, and bus service will increase. A select set of people will be willing to pay extra for Internet, beds, and extra food and drink. Unfortunately, the middle-ground we’ve become accustomed to over the last few decades will disappear.
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I’d like to hear some of your travel predictions for 2008. I suspect, in general, that travel will be come more turbulent reflecting the state of economies and governments. Travel is a great way to bridge the gaps between people I’ve always believed and hopefully any downsides or dangers won’t put you off it. Keep in mind that I’ll be wanting to hear your travel stories and add them to our blog locations, so keep in touch and write us!

[photo by: FotoEdge]