Shorter Vacations? Tighter Budgets? Welcome to the New 'Normal' in Travel
Bell was unemployed almost a year before finding a new job that paid 25 percent less than his old one. That, in turn, downsized his next vacation from a destination like Yellowstone or Yosemite to an overnight trip.
"I'm only taking a few days off work over the weekend and only going to coastal
Welcome to the "new" normal in travel: Shorter, less expensive vacations -- or in extreme cases, just daycations -- being taken by increasingly cost-conscious travelers. Maybe you've been on one of these mini-trips in the last year. If you haven't, you probably will.
Travelers say they've begun strategically downsizing their vacations, and there's no evidence the cuts will be reversed anytime soon. Quite the contrary. From where I'm sitting, it looks as if these changes are here to stay.
No doubt about it, being frugal is "in." Consider what happened to
"We packed food for picnic lunches on both five-hour drives," he says. "We used Hilton points from my business travel at the brand-new property on the
Starovasnik is the typical "new" vacationer. He doesn't spend money if he doesn't have to and thinks creatively about travel and recreation. But there are other forces at work, too. Before travelers began cutting back, travel companies did. Airlines added fees, hotel slashed amenities and cruise lines piled on the surcharges faster than your aunt can load up her plate at the midnight buffet. Some might argue that those changes set in motion the events leading to the downsized vacations now being taken by people like Starovasnik and Bell.
Let's take a closer look at the traveler of today -- and tomorrow. But before I do, let me add that it doesn't have to stay like this forever, and lowering prices isn't the answer to bringing travelers back. I'll have the solution in just a moment.
Here are a few ways to spot the "new" traveler:
They burn their miles. As we all know by now, frequent flier miles don't appreciate over time. Today's traveler is aware of the fact that miles lose value, particularly in light of the way in which some loyalty programs have raised their redemption rates. Starovasnik put a match to a week's worth of his points, and I've spoken with countless others who have done the same. For example,
They live smaller. How much time do you spend in your hotel room or cruise ship berth? If you said, "I just sleep there," then you're well on your way to becoming a "new" traveler. Big, expensive accommodations are a waste.
They do more with less. When
There are opportunities for you contrarians out there. Given the fact that vacations are trending shorter and cheaper, be on the lookout for specials that try to keep you at a destination longer. Many hotels have "stay four nights, get a fifth free" deals that are designed to add time to your stay (ordering meals, enjoying the spa, running up a big room bill). Keep an open mind on those offers, because they might be a great deal.
And how about the travel industry? Will it have to adjust to the new "normal" or is there a way to revive the Great American Vacation? Cutting prices is almost certainly not the answer. That's been tried. Look at the airlines. What a disaster!
I think the answer is to bring back service. I'm not talking about over-the-top, obsequious, the customer-is-always-right kind of service, although that wouldn't be such a terrible thing. I'm talking about a more pragmatic kind: More "pleases" and thank-yous" and remembering that we're not a number, and that this is our vacation.
Service was the first thing to get jettisoned out the cabin door when things got tough. Bring it back and we'll come back.
Recent Vacation Ideas & Travel Destinations
Taking the Kids to Boston
Time Traveling Back in History in Boston
- Stockholm's Island Getaways
- Shorter Vacations? Tighter Budgets? Welcome to the New 'Normal' in Travel
- Do You Really Want to Take Your Pets Along?
- Travel Taxes: Bad, Getting Worse
- What to Pack for a Weekend Getaway
- Rambling Through the Ruins of Europe's Castles
- Taking the Kids to NYC for the First Time
- Eco-Friendly Camping is About Putting Nature First
- Take a Magical History Tour
- Fall Travel Bargains Will Abound and Here's Where to Find Them
- If It's Called Secure Flight, Why Do I Feel So Insecure?
- Using Opaque Travel Web Sites Effectively
- Eldergadget: Creative or Condescending?
- Taking the Kids Aboard the Newest Megaship Epic
- 6 Tips for Taking a Summer 'Daycation'
- Ticket? Check. Bag? Check. Insurance? Pre-check
- Warning: Tour Operators Can Still Fail
- Go Camping and Bring the Kids
- On-the-road Rx: Family Vacation Safety Tips
- Communing with Nature in Austria's Hallstatt
- Barefoot in Venice Italy
- 5 Beach Safety Tips
- How Much Should We Tip These Days?
- Advance Baggage Shipment: Does it Make Any Sense
- Airline Passengers Get Chance to Be Heard on Proposed Regulations
- Best 'Value' Destination Cities
- One-Sided Cruise Contracts
- 4 Things You Should Take -- and Leave -- When You Travel
- Outwitting Hotels' Maximum Occupancy Rules
- Taking the Kids to Theme Parks This Summer
- Taking the Kids to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
- Another Kind of Travel Plastic
- Airline Tickets: How Much Will They Really Cost?
- Traveling Light: Healthy Eating for Business Junketeers
- Planning Family Summer Vacations on a Budget
- Taking the Kids To the Caribbean in Summer
- Taking the Kids To Lake Placid
- Lisbon: Portugal's Salty Capital
- Irish Soul Music
- More Than Ever Gulf Needs Tourists to Swim Against the Tide
- Airline Alliances: Benefit or Plague?
- Travelers Be Wary of 'Data Passing' Online
- Car Rental Craziness: 6 Odd Rules and How to Steer Clear of Them
- Flying to Europe? It Pays to Know EU 261
- Airport Shuttles: Update 2010
- When Finding the 'Best' Airport Matters
- Airline Round-up: Re-Bundling Satisfaction
- Biking in Europe: A Bridge Over Cultural Barriers
- Verona Italy: City of Romance
- Taking the Kids To California Wine Country
- Travel in Hurricane Season
- Beware Hidden Traps in Your Travel Contract
- Crazy Cruise: 7 Absurdities of the Sea
- Lost Luggage in London Phishing Travel Scam
- What You Can Do About New Hotel Lodging Fees
- Taking the Kids To Clean Beaches and Avoiding the Oil
- Airline Fees: The $7.8 Billion Question
- New Airline Bumping Rules Less Than What They Seem
- Air Travel: Disabled or Need Help?
- Have a Healthy Vacation
- France: Basking in France's Dordogne River Valley
- How to Rent a Car in Europe
- Avoiding Cruise Port Rip-offs
- Promotions and Features -- a Summer Grab Bag
- Where the Summer Discounts Are and Are Not
- World's 'Best' Airlines -- Do You Care?
- Taking the Kids To the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
- TSA's Liquid Rules: So Long, 3-1-1?
- Rejected? Enjoy the Art, But Appeal
- Right Hotel, Wrong Room
- Vacation Rentals: 9 Things to Know
- Salzburg: An Austrian Symphony
- Taking the Kids To Cooking School
- Lessons Learned From Your Worst Travel Gaffes
- Help! My Refund is Missing in Action
- Confessions of a Frequent-Flier Program Skeptic
- Airlines Annoyances -- Can You Avoid Them?
- Frequent Flyer Payout -- Great to Lousy
- Taking the Kids to a Broadway Musical
- Tips for Traveling Solo
- How to Save on Summer Vacation Travel
- What You Can Learn From First-Time Air Travelers
- Sunscreen Facts You Need to Know
- Hotels Connect the Dots Between Guests and Online Reviews
- Putting on the Ritz in Orlando
- Airlines Unbundle then Repackage: What's the Deal?
- New Tarmac Rule: Fewer Airline Flight Delays
- Germany's Mix of Perfume Chocolate and God
- Giving Mom Best Mother's Day Present She's Ever Had
- Amtrak 2010: Sightseeing Ideas
- I Didn't Mean to Buy Travel Insurance
- Continental - United Airlines Merger: the Consumer View
- Will the United - Continental Merger Raise Airfares
- Krakow: Poland's Historic and Cultural Gem
- Europe this Summer: Mixed Bag of News
- 'Qualify' for a Fleecing?
- Forget Your Travel Agent: 4 Trips You Should Book Yourself
- I Had to Pay Twice For My Flights to Mexico
- What's Next For Airlines Paying by the Pound?
- What Parents Say About Family Vacations
- New-Style Vacation Trips Trip with the Grandparents
- Princess for a Day at Disney World
- Easter in Europe
- Where Are Cheap Round-the-World Airfares
- Premium Economy for Overseas Trips
- Healthy Hiking With Your Dog
- Taking the Kids to Bermuda
- Taking the Kids to Chile
- Too Sick to Fly? When to Put Yourself on the 'No Fly' List
- Lowest Airfare? You May Have to Connect
- Europe 2010: Pricey, But with Some Good Deals
- Totally Kidcentric and Affordable Ski Resorts
- Taking the Kids to Alaska and Meeting Some Bears
- Taking the Kids to Mohonk Mountain House
- Taking the Kids to Patagonia
- Taking the Kids - Skiing in Telluride
- Taking the Kids - Skiing this Winter without Busting the Budget
- Taking the Kids - How Snow Sports Can Transform a Child's Life
- Taking the Kids: Skiing in Austria
- Getting Up-close & Personal with Olympians
- Travel Apps for Your Smart Phone
- 6 Ways to Save: Family Vacations
(c) 2010 U.S. Christopher Elliott, The Travel Troubleshooter
World-renowned chefs with an extraordinary passion for food, share that passion. They make great cooking easier than you ever imagined. Each feature includes both an expert tip and an easy recipe - exactly what you need to transform your home cooking from acceptable to delectable.
Recipes Click Here
Movie Reviews, commentary and more. Plus Trailers from movies currently in theaters and available on DVD.
Movie Reviews Click Here