DETROIT – In 2016, some new travel trends could change what your next vacation looks like, and it might even affect how you make those plans.
"There are a lot of changes in the travel industry that are making for a better travel experience for traveler," said Jeanenne Tornatore, senior editor at Orbitz.com.
Changes in the travel industry are being driven by the so-called Millennial generation, people born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s. They expect new perks as they start traveling the world for businesses and pleasure.
Hotels are responding with new offers.
"Things like free happy hour in the hotel, more touch point for technology at their properties and destinations are creating more experiences that are sharable via social media," Tornatore said.
Technology and travel: 2 good things that go great together?
Plugged-in Millennials take their technology everywhere and that's allowing all of us to stay plugged in. "We're seeing a trend of personalization in air travel, whether you're in the airport or in your flight," she added.
On the plane, passengers are seeing more outlets to plug into, mood-lighting, and more space to store a laptop or tablet. Airports are making technology more accessible. Some airports have tablets travelers can borrow to check email or order food at airport restaurants.
"Newark will be second only to Apple in retail stores as the largest customer facing iPad platform in the world," Tornatore said.
Remember the days when you had to go home, fire up your desktop computer, and do your travel research?
Now, more and more travelers are shopping and booking travel right on their smartphones. Orbitz has seen an 80 percent increase in booking for entire trips on personal devices in the last year.
Local travelers agree that saying connected is a perk they can't live without.
"It's the biggest thing I don't usually have service in some hotels and most airports and I need my WiFi because that's how I stay connected to the world," said traveler Darren Campbell.
New twist to boring business trips
For those that find they're too busy taking business trips to have time for personal travel, the new trend of "Bleisure" travel is gaining in popularity.
"Bleisure" is the idea of combining your business travel with your leisure travel.
"We work our butts off anyway...I work 50 to 60 hours... and it's good to put some time for yourself on the side," said Campbell.
Even if you can't find the time to use up vacation days after a business trip, travelers have been using their smart phones more as a way to explore locations and restaurants in their area during business trips when they have a break.
"I use maps to zoom in and see what's around my hotel and stuff and Yelp and things like that to find like cool restaurants," said Detroiter Jordan Ellis.
Help Me Hank Travel savings Tricks
- Bundle air fare, hotel, and rental car to save the most money
- Use hotel loyalty programs to see if you can save money or receive extra perks
- Use travel websites to send alerts when fares fall
- Think about using a travel agent. They might have ideas you haven't thought about before.
- Fly on days when there are more open seats: Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday
- Consider alternative airports near your destination. A 50 mile drive might save you $100 a person.
- If you're traveling as a family, but you're comfortable sitting separately, buy individual tickets as you might be able to grab bigger savings separately rather than sitting as a group.
- Do a flexible date search.
- Take advantage of the 24 hour rule. Passengers have 24 hours after buying a ticket to get a full refund. The day after booking, check to see if fares have fallen, cancel and rebook at the lower rate.
- Fly routes that are flown by discount carriers like Southwest, Frontier, and Spirit. Other airlines are matching or beating their fares.