Susan Michelle's Compass
”™08 Lessons And ”™09 Predictions For The Travel World
By Susan Michelle
Jan 4, 2009 - 12:29:57 PM

The year 2008 was a wacky year for travel. Now that ’08 is over, I’d like to look back at some lessons we learned from that wackiness”¦ and look ahead to what we might be able to expect in 2009.


”¢    The classic “Road Trip” isn’t always the guaranteed cheapest mode of travel. With fuel prices rising to record highs by mid-summer, many travelers weren’t so much travelers this year, as home-based wanderers, giving rise to a new type of vacation in ’08”¦

”¢    The Staycation. With the economy worsening as the months ticked by, Americans learned that one can still “get away” without going far from home. By the time fall came, we were all reminded of that”¦

”¢    Travel is a luxury. With folks cutting out all but the most vital of expenses by December, many saw that any form of travel was no longer a necessity. Even during the holidays, when Americans are guaranteed to travel, the numbers of those traveling went down for the first time in six years. Some that planned their holiday travel before the stock market sunk learned that”¦

”¢    Advance Purchase doesn’t always mean best purchase. The Christmas flight I booked in August cost me three times the Thanksgiving flight I found at the last-minute for the same route. This year, long-standing travel rules like “book early” became as unreliable as fuel prices and the stock market”¦ as did other, old-school travel policies”¦

”¢ Who would have ever thought we'd have to pay someday for checked luggage, seat assignment and a crappy, in-flight meal? Lesson learned: never take even the smallest of travel comforts for granted!  Starting with”¦

”¢    Our ability to still carry on luggage for free. Thousands of passengers were reminded how key a carry-on can be when they got stuck in airports for days over Christmas without the medications, clothing, toiletries, or cell phone chargers they packed in their checked bags. That mess of delays hopefully also taught the airlines something”¦

”¢    Cutting back availability in order to have less empty seats in the air isn’t always good for customer relations. One little storm, a couple of canceled flights, and it becomes a domino effect of flying nightmares.


Here’s what some are saying about the year ahead:

”¢    Gourmet Magazine predicts that, “”¦ ecologically responsible tourism will continue to thrive.”

”¢    A strengthening dollar may make international travel more cost-efficient than domestic, with Central and South America the hottest spots, and Europe affordable for Americans again.

”¢    How ”˜bout an easy trip to Cuba or North Korea? Locations long-forbidden to American tourists are rumored to be opening up after Obama takes over.

”¢    Cruises and hotels have recently been offering deals of the century”¦expect these prices to drop even lower through-out 2009.

”¢    ”¦That’s because many insiders are saying that if 2008 was the year of the “staycation,” then 2009 will be the year of the “naycation.” As in, nay to any vacation at all, thanks to further-tightening wallets. Yikes!

About the Author:
A former Hollywood producer and now 2nd-generation travel professional, Susan Michelle travels the planet as the “face” of the fashion-forward Compass travel lifestyle brand.


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