8 travel trends of 2015

THE travel industry is constantly in a state of flux and change with upgrades, improvements, or different options constantly being tweaked and made available. These are designed to have you arrive feeling rested, improve the ease of making transactions or communicating with loved ones, and connecting with locals on the ground. Here are just some of the trends you may expect to see this year during your travels.

New routes opening up
New long distance routes are becoming all the rage with international carriers meaning you can travel further, with less stops or connections. Some of the new additions to expect within the Asia-Pacific area are:
Cathay Pacific: Boston – Hong Kong
Hainan Airlines: Boston – Beijing
Japan Airlines: Los Angeles – Osaka
Korean Air: Houston – Seoul
Qantas: Dallas-Fort Worth – Sydney

An Air New Zealand Boeing 777-300 aircraft decorated with scenes and characters from The Hobbit. Pic: AP.

An Air New Zealand Boeing 777-300 aircraft. Pic: AP.

River cruises booming
Travellers are reportedly turning to river cruising in their droves particularly in Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar on the Mekong and Ayerwaddy respectively. It’s not just the ferries of old that are popular either but boutique small ship cruising. New routes that are opening up include the APT on the Lower Ganges in West Bengal, and Abercrombie & Kent on the Chindwin River. In the Pacific region Tahiti and Papua New Guinea remain a favourite destination for P&O cruises.

Picture: Pacific Sun

Picture: Pacific Sun

Aviation trends
Premium economy is a fourth class of flight that has started to debut around the world – Singapore Airlines and Japan Airlines both have versions. These premium economy seats are friendlier in price than business or first class but offer some perks and amenities for a more comfortable trip than in ordinary economy class. Space Bins are another system of boarding that are supposed to help revolutionize overhead lockers – they have an increased capacity and hang lower so you don’t need to lift your bags so high.

Authentic travel
Travellers are increasingly looking for connection during their travels and opting to stay in pensions or guest houses for something more local and authentic. In parts of Borneo staying in a jungle or riverside longhouse has become an accepted part of travel. The advent of Air BnB also suggests people seek a local connection or to stay somewhere more like a home.

The 100 metre long stretch of the Rumah Bundong longhouse. Pic: Joanne Lane.

The 100 metre long stretch of the Rumah Bundong longhouse. Pic: Joanne Lane.

Mobile transactions
You may be able to leave your wallet at home soon thanks to new technology allowing you to sync your credit/debit cards with your smartphone. Simply place your phone in front of a sensor and you can purchase an item at the checkout. Various travel apps are also now enabled to offer transactions linked to your card.

Cycling and walking holidays
A spike in activity related travel has seen a returned interest to bicycle or foot powered travel. Of the Asia-Pacific region New Zealand is a particularly popular place for either cycling or walking holidays. Nepal has also enjoyed steadily growing demand for its many walking tracks.

Trekkers heading to Annapurna Base Camp. Pic: Joanne Lane, www.visitedplanet.com

Trekkers heading to Annapurna Base Camp. Pic: Joanne Lane, www.visitedplanet.com

Value hunters
With the ups and downs of currency values and economic fortunes, travellers are inceasingly on the look out for value for money and that means a boom for the reliably cheap Asian favourites like Vietnam and Thailand. Sri Lanka however is starting to make a play into this market as well.

Donate as you travel
It has long been a practice for air travellers to offset their carbon footprint when they purchase an air ticket. Now other travel providers are also offering the chance for you to give back. Nonprofit hotels are starting to emerge channeling profits to charities, health centres and the like. Hotels also may be linked to Pack for a Purpose which focuses on development goals and even encourages guests to bring needed item for local communities with them.