Travel in 2007 was plagued with long delays, high gas prices, increased air travel, record lows for the dollar, and new passport regulations. These factors may contribute to many people staying closer to home in 2008.
A recent CNN.com report predicts what the upcoming year will hold for travel, based on the previous year's numbers. People will continue to travel, but most will try to conserve money by cutting down their vacation time, staying with friends or relatives, and avoiding far-off destinations with unfavorable exchange rates. National park visits increased last year, and the numbers will likely continue to rise in 2008. Hawaii also rated as a favorite stop for U.S. travelers.
A few of the other predictions include:
- Two-hour delays may become the norm for air travel, if the previous year's trend continues.
- With the dollar weakening, people will seek out alternative accommodations such as apartments or rentals in Europe.
- Travel to Latin America will continue to increase as more Americans realize the dollar stretches further in these places.
- Canada will see a further decrease in U.S. travelers, due in large part to the new passport requirements and the strength of the Canadian dollar.
It would be nice if we were surprised in 2008 by the airlines treating passengers more humanely, prices fairly reflecting the service and amenities, and the dollar making a comeback. However, all we can do at this point is to be polite to other travelers, as we really are all in this together.