2010 is knocking on the door and with it, some big changes to the way we travel, we’ve listed some of the major trends in 2010 travel to give you a better picture of what the future has in store for youThe year of SWF WiFi
Last year it was widely predicted that SWF (surfing while flying) WiFi would become ubiquitous. Well, it may have been slightly ahead of time (at least for U.S. travelers), but the trend is clearly growing stronger, with Virgin America, American, and many other airlines rolling out service in 2009, and many more on tap for 2010. Kinks are still being worked out, based on the chatter about porn-surfing and VoiP use, among other controversial pastimes. Still, it’s clear that the value to many travelers is so great that it’s likely to become an important new revenue stream for airlines this year.China, India and Gulf States are the new hot-spots
Are we done with the United States and Europe? Probably not. But global travelers are getting more courageous with their travels, and expanding their horizons. Industry insiders are expecting travel to skyrocket in China, India, and The Gulf States over the next twelve months. Why? Well, it certainly has nothing to do with political stability. No, what it really comes down to is money. While the economy is still down, New York, Paris and Milan remain as expensive as ever. But, countries like China and India are seeing enough signs of growth to warrant visiting, offering favorable exchange rates, enormous potential business opportunities and low travel expenses. Their tourism industries are also starting to expand and these countries are going to be top destinations in 2010. Between China and India alone it is expected that over 35,000 hotel rooms will have to be added to meet the impending demands.Tighter security
Thankfully 2009 did not end with a bang for the passengers of Northwest Airlines flight 253, but the attempted terrorist act there does mean that there won’t be an easing up of airport and plane security any time soon. The Transportation security organization did release the following statement:
“Passengers flying from international locations to U.S. destinations may notice additional security measures in place. These measures are designed to be unpredictable, so passengers should not expect to see the same thing everywhere. Due to the busy holiday travel season, both domestic and international travelers should allot extra time for check-in.”
The New York Times reported that in some cases no one was able to move from their seats during the last hour of flight. That means no bathroom breaks, no accessing carry-on luggage, nothing. When that plane starts descending, you're stuck. Multiple sources have also reported that no electronics are allowed on international flights. So you can't even play video games to distract yourself from how badly you have to pee. From what we can tell, this is largely restricted to inbound international flights so far.Whole body image scanners
Get ready to show your stuff. Travelers will soon find that checking through security will be a revealing experience with the rollout of whole body image scanners that can see beneath clothing are now being installed for added security, replacing traditional x-ray machines. You might think these machines sound like something from science fiction – but they’re very real and very current. A whole body image scan is simple: you enter a booth and your body is scanned. In another room a full image of your body is shown to the security force. The airport security force can easily see what they refer to as metallic and non-metallic threats. The machines have already been deployed at certain airports for test periods. Expect them to become more of a standard at airports in the near future. For now the process is optional – you could choose to be pat-down.
The 2010 Vancouver Olympics
Not technically a trend, but the 2010 Vancouver Olympics is an event that will affect travel like an explosion (to get my point, go online and try to get a flight to B.C. in February. Just try!). The 17 days of the Vancouver Olympics are expected to attract a global television audience of three billion people and more than 80 countries and 6,850 athletes and officials are expected to participate. The opening ceremonies will be held on February 12, 2010, and as a result Vancouver is the city to visit in North America in 2010. Everyone wants to get there that big torch gets lit. It’s a beautiful city in a mountain-filled area of Canada that will be perfect for the event. The city will inevitably be overrun with tourists, hotels will be packed and streets will be crowded, but this is the city to see and be seen in this year. So grab a Canadian flag, learn about at least one winter sport (I recommend the luge), buy an obnoxious compressed air horn, and get yourself over to Vancouver to cheer on your country of choice.