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Travel and Tours

 January 05, 2015
Cheapflights Predicts Top Travel Trends For 2015

 The travel experts at www.cheapflights.com.au, the online leader in finding and publishing travel deals, has predicted what lies ahead in 2015's travel sphere.

"Australians are going to continue their love affair with travel, but they will be looking for bargain deals and bang for their hard-earned bucks," said Cheapflights.com.au travel expert Kara Segedin.

"The declining Aussie dollar, forecast to drop as low as US77c this year, means travellers will be considering destinations closer to home and looking for low-on-the-ground costs."

The Aussie dollar is holding its ground in Asia up against the Japanese yen and Indonesian rupiah.

"Bali is among the most popular destinations for Australians on Cheapflights.com.au and with the Indonesian Government dropping the $US35 entry visa for Australians I think we can expect to see visitor numbers to the Indonesian Island grow significantly."

Other destinations where the Australian dollar is expected to dazzle include Thailand, Singapore, Canada and Brazil.

According to Ms Segedin, there's more than just economics setting the top travel trends for 2015.

Health and Wellness Holidays

In the era of Fitbits and Crossfit, healthy living is on the upswing. So too are healthy holidays.

The spa industry has grown from $60 billion in 2007 to $94 billion in 2014 and Asia has surpassed Europe as the region with the largest number of spas.

2015 will see an array of world-class spa facilities open to travellers -- the all-villa Chedi Club Jimbaran will open in Bali with a 25-metre U-shaped swimming pool and first class spa and health club. In Bali, the Mandapa in Ubud, located in the secluded hills of the Ayung River, will offer lush gardens, hillside views, meditative areas and meandering pathways to complement the hotel's luxurious spa, offering bespoke treatments and two swimming pools for guests to enjoy.

Other Asian countries such as India, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Korea all have well-developed -- and reasonably-priced -- retreats that offer a variety of health massages and spa treatments, ranging from fish pedicures to python massages to 'butt facials' to give you a lift in this area, just like Kim Kardashian. Kim may be busy trying the 'break the internet', but at least you won't be breaking the budget when it comes to looking after your body abroad.

Airtiquette

Manners whilst travelling, 'airtiquette' will be a big thing in 2015 as airlines take a zero-tolerance approach to air rage and disruptive passengers.

Unruly and inconsiderate passengers have caused a spat of inflight incidents as passengers take matters into their own hands with devices like knee defenders. iPad photographers elbowing fellow passengers out of the way for a shot, and innocent passengers being clubbed in the head by a selfie-stick were reported throughout 2014 as emerging trends as the causes of inflight tiffs.

More so than ever before, in 2015, airlines will be taking a zero-tolerance approach to air rage. Flight crews will be on the lookout for trouble and won't hesitate to bring in official help when they need it.

"We can expect to see some proactivity from airlines in 2015 with some adapting seating with alternate seat layouts, adding dual-level armrests as well as smart-pockets to stow devices and charging stations," said Ms Segedin.

Airlines Using Wearable Tech and Location-Based Services

Airlines are increasingly using wearable tech to engage directly with their passengers and provide efficient, targeted service throughout the journey -- from check-in to baggage.

Virgin Atlantic trialled a programme with Google Glass that saw their concierge staff at the London Heathrow Airport's Upper Class Wing utilise technology to update passengers on flight information, weather and local events at their destination. It is expected that in the near future passengers will be benefit from similar technology by advising staff of any dietary requirements for their upcoming flights ensuring arrangements are made.

In 2015, expect to see a greater rollout of 'tourist tech' -- inflight as well as on the ground. Spanish airline Vueling has partnered with Sony to create the concept of a smartwatch-based boarding pass.

Greater Segmentation and Personalisation On Flights

2015 is all about the 'c' word -- choice, choice, choice. Even bargain hunters will be indulging in some 'bespoke boasting' with the ability to personalise and upgrade your flight and tweak options to suit your needs.

Airlines will create special pods in their economy classes giving families and couples greater privacy -- if not oodles more legroom. Thomson Airways' newest 737 MAX jets will feature booth-style seating at the back of the plane that can accommodate four to six people. Duo-seating includes a third seat that can transform into a table. This follows Air New Zealand's Skycouch, which offers Premium Economy seating at something closer to Economy prices.

More airlines are expected to offer the sort of perks once reserved for First-Class flyers - think the Flying Nannies on Etihad Airways' long-haul flights -- although butlers for bargain hunters may be a way off yet.

We're also betting that hotels will strive to differentiate themselves against peer-to-peer lettings sites such as Airbnb with value-added services (concierges, for example) and establish themselves as destinations in their own right. Expect more opt-in extras and 'value packs' as hotels look to woo higher-spending customers. Kids go free, pet nannies, helicopter rides, tour tickets, children's activities, hangover butlers and staff to buff everything from your sunglasses to your gadgets.

Celebrating Food

Food has always been part of both travel and celebrations, but increasingly travel has become a way to celebrate cuisine. 2015 is a landmark year in this regard as the advent of a formal restaurant turns 250. The birth place of dining was (where else?) Paris. The year was 1765. The restaurateur was Monsieur Boulanger. And the house specialty was soup.

Fast forward to today and celebrity chefs, online reservations and reviews and a more mainstream "foodie" mentality have turned dining into entertainment at home and on holiday.

Cooking shows spotlight the cuisine of cities and cultures around the world, making everything from destination cooking classes to celebrity chef tours (on land and on cruise ships) and a renewed emphasis from airlines on food and beverage ready to be front and centre in 2015.

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