Before you plan vacations and getaways for the rest of the year, here's a look at some travel trends you many want to consider.
1. Airline ticket prices will go up
More mergers are planned, which means a consolidation of routes, fewer seats and more expensive tickets. Northwest has merged with Delta, Continental with United, AirTran with Southwest and, expected soon, US Airways with American. Expect fare increases of about 7 percent, says Rick Seaney, CEO of FareCompare.com. But here comes the good news: A lot of air carriers, including American, United and Delta, are updating their older fleets. Among other improvements, the new planes have a lot more room for your carry-on luggage: American's Boeing 737-800s, replacements for the MD80s, have space for 48 more bags.
2. Hotels will 'pop up'
Pop-up hotels are accommodations quickly assembled and easily taken down or temporary hotels located in an existing building. They're created for a special event, such as a festival, or at a destination with a relatively short high season. While pop-up shops and even pop-up restaurants seem to be the domain of the in-the-know urban hipster, the hotel version is more inclusive and authentic — not to mention affordable. Last year beachfront cabanas in Tulum, Mexico, were $45 a night. While some established hotels keep you at a distance from the locals, the pop-up hotel is meant to offer you a bed at the center of the action. These temporary digs are mostly found abroad — they've shown up everywhere from Cornwall, England, to Mykonos in Greece — but we hope to see a greater presence in the U.S. in 2013. The best way to see where the hotels are popping up these days is to do an Internet search "pop up hotels."
3. You'll find more ways to live like a local
When I travel, my goal is to feel like a local, and a cookie-cutter hotel with no personality makes that really difficult. At Airbnb.com, though, you can find unique places to stay — whether it's a room in someone's home, an apartment or even a treehouse or a castle — with options in almost 35,000 cities in 192 countries. I usually love to stay in hotels, but in world-class cities such as Paris, London and Rome, rooms are often exorbitantly expensive and tiny. When I discover that I can rent an apartment at half the cost, with twice the space and a kitchen? Sign me up! Because Airbnb has beautiful photos of its properties, on a lazy Sunday I like to drink my coffee and peruse Parisian apartments — dreaming of where I might sip a café au lait someday. Vacation Rentals by Owner or vrbo.com, vacationhomerentals.com, vacationhomes.com and apartments.com all offer a similar service and sometimes even the same properties, but Airbnb's website is more enjoyable to navigate. No matter which site you go with, take time to read the user reviews because staying in someone's home can be riskier than a hotel. And always understand the owners' individual cancellation policy.