10 reasons why travel will be way better in 2019
In 2017, I stayed in 42 hotels, took 26 trips, flew 70,000 miles, attended 3 travel press conferences, interviewed 163 travel industry folk and rented 1 car! I had little snags, but travel in general was ridiculous. People were dragged off planes, racism was rampant and, of course... TRAVEL BANS. Thankfully, 2018 was good and 2019 seems to be a lot more promising — and this is why.
10 amazing reasons why travel will be better in 2019!
1. CHEAPER AIRFARE... Finally, some good news with airfare! Low-cost airlines (like Norwegian, Southwest and Volaris) are expanding like crazy in the US, so major airlines (like Delta and American) will be forced to lower fares to remain competitive. This means the fare wars will be on in 2019, and you'll definitely find cheaper fares across the board on many routes.
2. More authentic experiences. AirBnb's famous marketing campaign promoting "authentic experiences" tipped the industry in this direction, and now hotels have joined the movement. Whether they're partnering with local purveyors (from products used in the spa or a carefully curated mini-bar) or showcasing local art and regional cooking in restaurants, hotel brands are seeking authenticity.
3. Better security. In 2017, there were really sad moments in travel that targeted tourists (like attacks in Barcelona, New York City and even a shooter in Las Vegas) so security improved in major tourism destinations for everyone's safety.
4. Most of the Caribbean will be back on track. It takes time for hurricane-struck destinations to get back on track, particularly post-Irma and Maria. Thankfully, many island nations are gradually pulling together for tourism again. For instance, the airport and seaports in British Virgin Islands finally re-opened this past November, and Puerto Rico is optimistic for 2019.
5. INSANE new hotels will open. 2019 will be an amazing year for unique, over-the-top and luxury-drenched new properties. One of the most anticipated, Rosewood Luang Prabang (designed by one of my favorite hotel designers, Bill Bensley) opened with villas and luxury "tents" strategically staggered out in the forest. In one of my favorite Mexico destinations, Four Seasons Los Cabos in Costa Palmas opened on a breathtaking, swimmable beach, and Bishop's Lodge (Auberge Resorts) in Santa Fe reopened after a multimillion renovation, destined to be a landmark hotel.
6. You'll see less cookie-cutter hotels. Large hotel chains like Marriott and Sheraton are starting to realize more travelers prefer "authentic experiences" over brand loyalty, so you'll start seeing newer properties more interesting, to say the least. Whether it's having Instagrammable features, exciting chefs, memorable design or cool technology, the way of the bland, cookie-cutter hotel will be history.
7. You'll see more hotels become actual tourist attractions. At Intercontinental DTLA, there are more tourists lining up for the insane views than actual guests in the hotel (we're talking thousands). Same over at 21c Museum Nashville, which moonlights as a free and public art museum. You're going to see a LOT more hotels spend millions of dollars to open in landmark buildings or do whatever they can to stand out, like Alila Fort Bishangarh, a hotel inside an actual, 230-year-old fort outside Jaipur, India.
8. More social dining. You'll see more tapas-style menus at newer restaurants because that's the way it is, people. That's the way it is. Chefs don't want you ordering one thing off the menu; they want you and your dining pals to try everything.
9. Travel agents are cool again! Yes, yes, yes, it's true. Travel agents have made a huge comeback, and more millennial travel agents are curating the way you vacation. At the Virtuoso conference I attended this past spring, I learned that the leading luxury travel network not only opened 100 new locations in the last year (proving the demand for travel agents), but they hired hundreds of millennial travel agents.
10. Train travel will make a huge comeback. In 2019, trains are the new cruises. Not only are more people booking train travel, routes are expanding all over the globe, as well as new journeys and luxury trains coming onto the scene, like Ireland and Japan. Even New Zealand will have its first luxury train journey in the near future.