We are well into June, my friends, and the 2017 summer travel season is almost in full-swing. Americans families have seen/will soon see the end of the school year and Europeans are preparing for the mass exodus from cities during the July/August holiday season. Backyard barbecues are heating up, sunblock sales are up, and espadrilles and straw hats are selling like hot cakes. That means it is time to look at the top trends for 2017 summer travel.
- International visitors to America are down. Studies have shown that the Trump travel ban and the surrounding confusion will cost the United States $18B (billion, with a B!) in tourism revenue over the next two year. Marriott International CEO, Arne Sorenson, reported a 25% to 30% decline in U.S. bookings in February from the Middle East and a 10% decline from Mexico during his March earnings call.
- It’s not just international tourists. American consumers are expected to spend 66% less on travel on in-country summer travel. This is being gauged by nearly flat hotel and airline bookings.
- There is an upside which is that the strong performance of the U.S. dollar may encourage American to travel abroad in greater numbers this year. As per AAA (American Automobile Association) there has been a 9% increase in International Driving Permits issued over the past year. NOTE: A recent report from a travel insurance broker states that many travelers have canceled their London trips due to the recent terrorist attacks. I will be interested in getting updates figures as the summer progresses.
- Despite lower airline and hotel bookings, cruise lines are performing quite well. In fact, web traffic to the major cruise lines of Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and Princess has increased by 32% in Q1 of this year.
- TSA is predicting higher-than-normal airport crowds. I feel like they have said this every summer for the past 20 years. Nonetheless, they have provided “useful’ tips to make the screening process as painless as possible:
- Travelers looking to avoid long wait times are encouraged to enroll in the TSA PreCheck program. This means typical wait times of 5 minutes or less. NOTE: I have PreCheck and Global Entry and can tell you it is RARELY 5 minutes or less, but it is a bit faster that the normal lane.
- Families who have a traveler with a disability or medical condition can call TSA Cares at (855) 787-2227.
- Be sure to leave your weaponry (stun guns, grenades, brass knuckles, nunchucks, etc.). Thousands of pounds of contraband items are confiscated every year. If you want a chuckle or head-scratch and the ignorance of the general populace, scroll through the TSA Instagram page.
- Passengers taking carry-on bags are asked to remember the 3-1-1 rule. This means liquids, gels, aerosols, creams and pastes must be 3.4 ounces (100ml) or less per container; must be in 1-quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag; 1 bag is permitted per passenger; and the plastic bag must be taken out of your suitcase and placed into a screening bin. Following this rule ahead of time means a faster screening and less wait time.
- If you’re traveling with larger liquids like medications, baby formula and breast milk, make sure to declare them before putting your bag into the x-ray tunnel. They are allowed in reasonable quantities exceeding 3.4 ounce and don’t have to be in a zip top bag.
- If you’re in doubt about a liquid in your carry-on, just make sure they are not hazardous. Certain chemicals are not allowed on either carry-on or checked bags. Click here for a full list of what you can and cannot bring.
Finally, in case you are curious as to where everyone ELSE is going this summer, a survey from AAA reported the top 10 destinations for U.S. travelers as:
- Orlando, Florida
- Rome, Italy
- London, England
- Dublin, Ireland
- Vancouver, Canada
- Seattle, Washington
- Las Vegas, Nevada
- New York, New York
- Paris, France
- Honolulu, Hawaii
As for me, other than business travel, my summer plans include a couple of road trips and a hot, steamy week in Mexico to enjoy colonial architecture, Mayan history, and great food!
What are your summer travel plans? Do you fall into any of those figures above? Are you taking a cruise, visiting any of the top 10 destinations, or heading out for a road trip? Let me know in the comments and thanks for stopping by!