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VOL. 129 | NO. 253 | Tuesday, December 30, 2014


Lance Wiedower

Travel Trends for 2015


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When traveling in 2015, we are more likely to consider sleeping on someone’s couch, possibly renting their whole apartment for a few days or even sharing a meal with complete strangers.

In looking at expected travel trends for the coming year, one consistency in most stories is the idea of shared travel.

Already on the rise has been peer-to-peer accommodation booking sites such as Airbnb, HomeAway and VRBO, which have been giving travelers lodging options other than hotel chains.

These accommodation-listing sites are bringing apartment-style properties to the masses, and in many cases, these properties are beginning to offer amenities that rival some small hotels.

The success of that trend is leading to the next step in the sharing concept: food.

One of the biggest trends in travel that is predicted for 2015 is the growth in sites that pair travelers with locals who want to cook an authentic meal. Sites like EatWith.com and BookaLokal.com pair visitors with locals who will prepare a meal in their home, for a fee.

This takes local travel to the logical next step beyond just staying in someone’s house, apartment or on their couch. Having a local prepare a unique meal not only offers a dining experience that can’t be found in a trendy restaurant, it also provides a look into how locals live. Imagine spending an evening in an Italian family’s home for a meal and conversation.

Do you use mobile booking sites much? The World Travel Market predicts that by 2018 35 percent of online travel bookings will come on a mobile site. My favorite site is OpenTable.com, which is quick and easy for booking restaurants whether at home or in another city.

At the World Travel Market gathering in London in November, the organization revealed some of the key findings for trends in travel in the coming year.

• Braggies: Hotels will be responding to guests’ online behavior by encouraging them to post photos on social media in exchange for rewards and perks.

• MAMILs: The rise of Middle Aged Men in Lycra, or how the rise in popularity of cycling soon will rival and possibly surpass golf for leisure time for men (and women) when traveling.

• Poshtels: Historically for budget-conscious student travelers, hostels will make a bid for the cost-conscious, style-seeking consumer as they glamorize their properties to compete with boutique hotels.

• Wearable Electronics: In 2015, more travelers will depend on wearable electronics to stay connected, receive notifications and make bookings. These include Google Glass, the Sony SmartWatch and the Apple Watch, which is expected to go on sale in 2015.

Some other travel trends in 2015, according to Time.com, include better technology in airports with location-specific alerts enabled by nearby low-frequency Bluetooth sensors; technology in many hotels that help you sleep better (think noise-reducing headboards); and the ability to pay for services with mobile devices thanks to Google Wallet and Apple Pay.

Managing editor Lance Wiedower’s column appears every other Tuesday in The Daily News and The Memphis News. For more travel inspiration, read his blog at tripsbylance.com or follow him on Twitter at @tripsbylance.

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