A hiker walks along a path in the Bavarian Alps on June 26, 2015 near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. (Photo : Philipp Guelland/Getty Images)
It's an exciting time to travel.
Technology and travel go hand in hand. Since the dawn of the wheel and fuel, man has been able to travel farther and faster with bikes, cars and planes. Year 2015 saw the rise of Uber-style private jet companies, as well as smart airline uniforms and 3D-printed hotel suites, according to Road Warrior Voices. Therefore, 2016 can only be more exciting.
Below are our Top 8 travel trends, tips and destinations to watch out for in 2016.
Travel Trends & Tips
1. Low-Cost Carriers
Cheapflights.com predicted a more competitive year ahead for low-cost carriers, meaning more no-frills fare options for travellers. The website sees it in American Airlines, Iceland-based WOW Air and European low-cost carrier Norwegian Air.
Norwegian Air Shuttle will start flying from Oakland to London in May, while WOW Air is set to begin flying to Europe this year.
According to AirfareWatchdog.com founder George Hobica, the lower fuel prices nowadays is one of the factors that causes low-cost airlines to take off, and supply and demand will determine whether this trend will continue in the future.
"With employment picking up in the U.S., we'll see more demand, and that is a wild card for airfares," he said.
2. Long-Haul Flights Are Making A Comeback
Cheapflights.com forecasted that extreme long-haul flights will become a normal occurrence due to lower oil prices as well. On February 1, Emirates will be launching its Dubai to Panama City flights spanning 17.5 hours. In 2017, Qantas will potentially fly from Australia to Europe nonstop, while in 2018, Singapore Airlines will begin flying from Singapore to New York with its 19-hour flights.
3. Solo Travel Will Be More Common Than You Think
In 2013, solo travel became popular, but 2015 was the year when it really started booming. According to The New York Times, a Visa Global Travel Intentions Study in 2015 found that from 15 percent in 2013, solo travellers skyrocketed to 24 percent in 2015. Year 2016 could only mean more solo travellers, especially with lower fuel prices.
As it turns out, it's the same for land, air and water travel. Managing Director James Cole at Cruise118.com said that solo cruise bookings doubled this year as compared to 2015.
4. Virtual Reality (VR) Is The New Reality
In 2015, VR technology may have not been popular to consumers, but companies such as Marriott Hotels already started using the technology via their "VRoom Service." The service offers their guests a full 360-degree experience of their hotel rooms while using Samsung Gear VR headsets.
Booking.com has predicted that 2016 is the year that more travel companies and tour operators will get acquainted with VR technology to give their customers the best look at their services and products.
Next year, Qantas and Hawaiian Airlines will be using VR in their first-class cabins and new lie-flat seats, respectively.
According to Senior Vice President of Marketing for Hawaiian Air Avi Mannis, "The ability to give someone like a travel agent in Japan the ability to experience it--we think that's really powerful. It's becoming quite clear that's going to become one of the new trends in consumer technology."
5. No Place Will Be Too Remote
With GPS technology, travel guiding apps, developed localized information and the internet in general, there will be no place too remote for adventurers nowadays, Booking.com said.
Inaccessible destinations like Iran, Sri Lanka, Cuba and Myanmar (Burma) are now increasingly becoming famous spots for travelers.
Even with the recent Paris terror attacks, according to USA Today, U.S. travellers are not deterred from going abroad this year.
In a survey by famous travel review site TripAdvisor, 90 percent of 2,250 U.S. travelers said they aren't changing their 2016 travel plans, with 61 percent saying they will simply avoid dangerous locations and 35 percent opting for domestic travel.
A tip by the president and founder of global investigation and risk management firm Roman and Associates, Anthony Romanis this: remain unassuming, use common sense, don't use routine, be alert and have a back-up plan during travels.
"We can't ignore the new reality, but we shouldn't stop living either," he said.
6. Tiny, Mobile Houses Are Gaining Traction
Apparently, mansions are a thing of the past - at least for travellers. With the rise of smaller mobile devices and airplane seats comes the rise of smaller houses for travel, too, says Creative Lodging Solutions' Content Marketer Maggie McCombs.
Not only are tinier houses more portable, they provide no cost and more comfortable accommodation to boot.
7. Sharing Is Key
Year 2015 was mostly dominated by Uber and AirBnB, and 2016 will be no different from the past as more travellers choose sharing economy options like them. Even other industries like airline and culinary are getting into the game. Year 2015 saw companies like Wheels Up and Beacon creating ride-sharing apps for private jets, while website EatWith.com is working on adding to the full travel experience by allowing travellers to eat like locals at people's homes.
8. Business Travel Isn't Like It Used To Be
Business travellers can now customize and gain more control of their travel itineraries because of startups and alternative accommodations. Best examples are Airbnb for Business and Uber for ridesharing services.
According to USA Today, via experts' advice, below are the top 8 travel destinations to visit in 2016.
Mainly because of the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Rio de Janeiro summer Olympics, travellers have been abuzz about the country for the past few years. The South American destination is famous for its natural attractions such as beaches, falls and the Amazon Rainforest.
According to Lonely Planet, Japan is its No. 2 country for Best in Travel 2016. (No. 1 was Botswana, Africa)
The guidebook says:
"Tokyo's successful bid to host the Olympics in 2020 has raised the temperature of a feverish city amid a blur of new development, but beyond the suburbs, Japan remains as elegant and enticing as its graceful wooden temples."
According to the U.S. Tour Operators Association, Cuba is the top emerging and off-the-beaten path destination in 2016. Going there as a tourist is still prohibited, but the 12 U.S.-approved categories and complicated charter flight process is well worth the effort.
In addition, going to the Caribbean island famous for its white sand beaches could become easier since the U.S. has already allowed commercial flights to the island at the end of last year.
Some 34 percent of Tour Operators Association members have also begun programs in Cuba, and more than half could increase in the coming years, according to president and CEO Terry Dale
"With Cuba making headlines this year, it's no surprise that it took the first spot in the list of emerging destinations," Dale said.
Myanmar, formerly Burma, has remained one of the few remaining countries with no commercial or Western influence. While this can be a deterring factor to some, more brave travellers are noticing the untouched beauty of the Southeast Asian country. According to Lonely Planet, it has remained a Starbucks-free country in 2013.
Tour Operators and Lonely Planet contain the Nordic island nation on their lists. Apart from natural wonders like the rare and famous northern lights, its glaciersand hot springs, Icelandair's stopover promotion offers travellers FREE (need I say more?) seven nights' stay in its capital Reykjavik on the way to their final destination.
Colombia closely follows Iceland on the list. Known for its lush rainforest, rolling mountains and coffee plantations, the South American nation will offer a rich travel experience for those with wanderlust.
While maybe too rocky for some travellers, the African country follows Colombia in the Tour Operators list.
Split by the Great Rift Valley, Ethiopia will fill visitors with wonder with its host of ancient culture and archaeological finds from more than 3 million years ago.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Latin American nation made it to several industry's lists, which include Fodor's. Their government has seen the potential of tourism, and commercialization in several areas are underway, as well as increasing security in public places.
Travellers can breathe easy finding the U.S. dollar as its currency. In addition, its capital Quito is fast becoming a culinary destination.