Travel Insights 100 Make Travel Predictions for 2010, Choose Dumbest Travel Moments of 2009

A few months ago I was honored to be invited to become a member of Travel Insights 100, a panel of 100 travel experts that included activists, traditional media, independent travelers, and airline and hotel experts who have banded together to monitor travel insights and trends and share that information across the travel industry. Participants, who were hand selected by the folks at (the travel search engine that helps travelers decide where to go, where to stay, or what to do) were recently surveyed about their travel predictions for the upcoming year.

Responses covered a wide range of issues, but several trends were evident. The following were the most oft repeated predictions; it will be interesting to track the insights to see if they come to pass in 2010:

Travel Insights
  1. Travel will begin to recover  in 2010, driven in part by a pent-up demand from those who have put off traveling due to economic concerns, but travelers will continue to focus on discounts and promotional pricing. Most believe that discount airlines, hostels, and budget hotel chains will be the big beneficiary of this trend.
  2. Several panel members believe that travelers will drive rather than fly whenever possible, as the airlines increase security measures and add-on fees. Many predict that airlines will continue to introduce new add-on fees in an attempt to squeeze the last penny out of the traveler, and one respondent predicts this will result in the government stepping in to regulate the practice.
  3. Social media (Twitter in particular) will continue to reshape how destinations are promoted and companies will increase their participation in and creative use of social media.
  4. With the world becoming an ever smaller place, there are no longer any “undiscovered” destinations, yet travelers increasingly desire authentic travel experiences. Most panel members believe this will result in an increase in cultural based tourism, home stays, eco tourism, and volunteer travel.

An in a more humorous vein, participants gave us their dumbest moments in travel during the past year:

  1. “The trend of airlines charging for checking bags. Passengers feel nickel and dimed and Southwest, who has openly advertised that bags fly for free, has picked up about $800m in business because of their policy.” Gary Arndt,
  2. “My personal pet-hate is this new lexicon of staycation and petcation and other equally horrible marketing words. Can’t we just go back to travelling?” Mark,
  3. “Hands down, the dumbest moment in travel in 2009 was when the pair of Northwest pilots overshot MSP (Minneapolis/St. Paul) by 150 miles.” Willy Volk
  4. “It’s hard to narrow down but I’d include any of the arguments about ‘the best way to travel’ – to each his or her own. Every method and type of travel has its benefits and its followers.” Anil,
  5. “The dumbest moment in travel during 2009 was when Pamela Root and her 2-year-old son were kicked off a Southwest Airline flight because he was yelling immediately prior to take off. She was stuck in Amarillo (she lives in San Jose) without her luggage and had to buy supplies including a portable crib and diapers to spend the night before she could get another flight home. The mother in question was well prepared with games, activities, and food, and was simply waiting for take off to unbuckle and feed her child. I’m no fan of screaming children – my own or anyone else’s. But given the wide range of human behavior to be seen on airplanes, much of it beyond the pale, I find it ridiculous that this mother and child were singled out so dramatically.” Mara Gorman, The Mother of All Trips
  6. “Cathay Pacific randomly increasing fares for lapbabies by 15%. Crying fee?” Kim Orlando,

I found it interesting but not surprising that the preponderance of “dumbest moments” were attributed to the airline industry.

14 thoughts on “Travel Insights 100 Make Travel Predictions for 2010, Choose Dumbest Travel Moments of 2009”

  1. haha, the airlines do tend to irk travelers like no other form of travel. I’m thinking that RTW trips and ‘semi-backpacking’ is going to become mainstream. I think there’s a business niche there that has yet to be fully filled.

  2. Interesting just how MANY of my friends here in Australia have voiced sentiments this week along the line of ‘glad we did the USA in the 1990s — won’t be going back now.’

    People are sick of being treated like criminals when they fly in and out of the USA and our approach here is so much more sensible and sane.

    I completely agree that a recovery is in the wind and I am hoping that we don’t see another downward bounce in April the way some of the financial pundits are warning.

    And the slow travel/extended stays? How much more civilised is it to NOT race from place to place but to instead immerse yourself for a few weeks or months in just ONE place. And what memories you can make that way.

  3. Hmm, government regulations on US domestic airlines would be interesting. I don’t see how it could make things *better* though. I’m still enjoying the “freedom” of Asia airline travel. I get really anxious when I have to fly stateside.

  4. Barbara, I agree with you that travel will recover in 2010, although slowly. Also, travelers have come to expect incentives such as those offered in 2009. Travel dollars will go to those in the travel industry who are providing the best deals.

    Road tripping is becoming even more attractive after the latest terrorist debacle.

    I’ve enjoyed your insightful analysis of the Travel Insights 100 poll. It’s a pleasure to participate with you on the panel.

  5. Yours is the first post that I’ve seen on this topic & you did a great job! We’re such a diverse group within the Travel Insight 100 group, that the opinions cover lots of ground that makes it interesting.

    I don’t see a real economic recovery happening any time soon (fundamentals have not changed) so think travel will continually be affected by that. I think it is more a “reset” like the industrial revolution than a normal recession. Major shifts in major areas.

    I saw a huge trend towards more people doing slow travel & extended travel in 2009 and think that trend will continue in 2010 and on through the decade as more work becomes digital and more schools become virtual. ( They say 60% of ALL schools will be digital by the end of the decade!).

    Tim Ferriss’s 4HWW isn’t a mega hit for no reason & it has spawned many more related “lifestyle design” books & websites.

    Slow travel & extended travel is MUCH cheaper, so travel will be changed forever when more and more people are able & willing to work and school ANY where! 😉

    • Soultraveler – I totally agree with your slow/extended travel prediction, altough I am much nmore positive about the economy. I really see it recovering quite rapidly now, continuing through 2010 and taking us into another era of prosperity, however my enduring hope is that we’ve earned the lessons well about what is truly valuable in life – and it ain’t money! More and more I read about people wanting to do good in the world, hep others – and travel will be a big part of this effort. I feel privileged to be a part of this movement.

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  8. Couldn’t agree more with the trend of cultural/authentic travel in 2010. My Ger to Ger cultural travel experience in Mongolia was ahead of the curve last summer and one of my best trips ever.

    Regarding the dumbest travel moments…I have to admit – I kind of like the crying kid fee…especially if I’m no longer allowed to listen to my ipod the last hour of the flight! Spoken of course from a singleton.

  9. There seems to be something about airline travel that makes us love to hate them. On the one hand, we buy on price than wonder why the service or restrictions on luggage may not be great. Also there’s something particularly stressful about being cooped up in a tin box with someone else in control of our movements, that makes us quick to complain.


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