The Future of Travel is Here: 4 Trends of 2016

Granted we are not psychics, but there are plenty of indications that this year will surpass 2015 when it comes to innovation in the travel industry. So fasten your seatbelts. Here are four innovative travel trends to look out for in 2016.

Cloud passports

Imagine this: a digital biometric passport, or e-passport, with your personal information that allows you to travel effortlessly to certain countries and clear immigration via a SmartGate. For Australians, this may become the norm this year. Biometric data, a digital photo and voilà. Does it get any easier than that?

Less human interaction

Customer Service will undergo considerable changes as well. Apparently, in 2016 we won’t have to deal with actual humans nearly as often. Web chat, text messages, and Facebook Messenger will lead the way, ensuring access to a wide range of travel services, from local tips to recommendations to room service. No more picking up the phone to ask for clean towels or a midnight snack.

Handhelds for everything

More and more, we rely on our cell phones to plan our travels. Travelers increasingly start and finalize their plans on smartphones and tablets. Mobile devices are paving the way to a new consumer journey. For planning, booking and moving around, these devices have become an integral part of our travels, even for the more spontaneous of us.

Bleisure travel: business + leisure

Bleisure is becoming the new hot trend worldwide. As business travelers are mixing more leisure into their trips, brands are learning to adapt their products accordingly. In a 2015 trend report by travel website Skift, work travel is depicted as more of a lifestyle than a necessity for an increasing number of people. Instead of spending all of their time in conference rooms, they are adding personal time to their trips, giving them something to look forward to and a healthy dose of R&R before heading back to the office. Fortunately, businesses are also getting on board with this trend.

Must-have gadgets and devices

If you are traveling around the world and the jet lag is dragging you down, you may want to keep an eye out for Sleepion, a device presented at CES 2016 designed to help you get a good night’s sleep. It employs a triple-pronged stimulus of the senses with a speaker system that plays soothing sounds, a ceramic aromatherapy diffuser that emits relaxing smells and a light that flickers like a candle.

There may also come a day when you are visiting an Asian country and have no clue how to even ask where you can find a restroom. The iLi pendant is a wearable translator that hangs around your neck and translates between Japanese, English, and Chinese in real-time.

Finally, wherever your family or friends are taking you for the holidays, or your company is sending you on important business, perhaps the most important device you’ll need is the LugLoc. It’s not a GPS, but works with GSM-GPRS technology to locate your missing luggage within seconds in any airport or bus terminal. Travel carefree, no strings attached.

As it unfolds, the future holds exciting new possibilities for travel. So sit back and enjoy the ride.

4 Common Travel Mistakes And How To Prevent Them

Whether traveling on summer holidays or going to a new city for a stressful business trip, there are a few careless mistakes that we all make at one time or another. The thing is, these mistakes can turn your trip into a disappointing one. Luckily, they can be prevented so that you avoid falling victim to their unpleasant consequences.

  1. Relying too much on guidebooks. They are helpful and provide useful travel information, we agree. But there’s nothing better than interacting with other travelers and the locals of your destination. The hotel staff, taxi driver and tourist information center are your best sources and will help more than any book can. Don’t forget to explore and rely on your own initiative. There’s so much more to a place than a guidebook can possibly convey!
  1. Overpacking. “The more, the merrier” simply does not apply when it comes to what to pack for a couple of days out of town. The majority of travelers have this issue, so don’t be dismayed. Just keep in mind that if you don’t wear it at home, you probably won’t wear it while away. Pack only what you need and know you will use and, remember, you can always buy additional items once you get to your destination. Once you’ve made your packing list, check it again to see if you can cross anything off and reduce the load a bit more.
  1. Time zones and tight connection times. If you have the chance to visit different cities on the same journey, don’t neglect to check the time zones you will be crossing. Plus, be aware that not checking the connection time in advance can result in a very stressful and frustrating experience, and it might end in missing your second plane. In order to avoid the headache, give yourself at least a couple of hours between flights just in case.
  1. Having an overambitious itinerary. We know what it’s like to get that travel buzz, but keep in mind that you just can’t see five countries in ten days. Travel is about the experience, so try to take a step back and focus on where you’d really like to go. Setting high expectations is fine, but you also need to be reasonable, so that you won’t need a vacation from your vacations. Take things one day at a time and be flexible with your planning; don’t be afraid to alter your plans due to unforeseen weather or budget restraints.

Create your own unique experience and try to avoid these common mistakes in order to enjoy your trip to the fullest.

5 Packing Tips to Maximize Space

With checked bag fees ever increasing, there’s no better time to learn how to maximize your luggage space.

As airline fees and surcharges rise, travelers are feeling the heat when trying to check bags. With fees as high as $35 for one checked bag and some airlines even charging for a carry-on, learning how to pack light and maximize space in your luggage is an integral skill to a happy travel experience. Here are LugLoc’s top five tips for making the most of the space you have in your baggage.

Compartmentalize

Fly light and stay organized with compartmentalized luggage. Buy a bag like those from The Grommet that come with specified pouches for toiletries, clothing, technology and more. As a bonus, these bags come with a compression pouch so you can squeeze out all the unwanted air that’s taking up space in your luggage. Some bags, like the SkyRoll Spinner, even come with an outer shell specifically designed to hold clothing that might get wrinkled in transit. Slip your clothes in the garment bag, wrap it around the outside of your luggage, and voila—one less bag to carry.

Roll It Up

Crumpled clothes take up the most space. Clothes that are folded flat take up less space, however clothing that is folded flat and then rolled is the ideal space preservation technigue. The smaller a shape you can force your belongings into, the less space they’ll take, freeing you to take one less bag—or at least a smaller one than you planned.

Prepare For Laundry

The biggest space-hog in anyone’s packing routine is clothes. But here’s a tip: you don’t need four different shirts for a four-day trip. Pack half of what you need and head to the laundromat at your destination when you run out of clothes. It only takes a couple hours out of your day but saves money on baggage fees. Plus, it keeps your luggage lighter and easier to carry. And if there’s no laundry where you’re headed, wash your garments in the sink with soapy water and line dry them over the shower curtain rod.

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Leave It Behind

Unless your final destination is in the middle of the jungle or desert, pretty much anywhere you can go nowadays has convenience stores selling what you need. Leave the toiletries at home and pick up some travel sizes when you arrive. You’ll likely run through them and won’t need to pack them to come back home, either. Another strategy is to lay out everything you want to pack before your trip, stuff your bag full, and then see what doesn’t make it in. You’re likely to pack the most important things first—anything else can stay home.

Wear It, Don’t Pack It

So your chosen airline has size, weight, and cost restrictions on the bags you check or carry on? Turn the tables. Invest in wearables with a lot of pockets and storage space—like any of the luggage jackets from Stuffa, Bagket, or Jaktogo. You may not be able to bring a ton of bags, but the airlines can’t stop you from wearing your packable items. To take it to an even higher level, layer your clothes so you don’t have to pack them. It’ll be hot, but oh so worth it.

by Jennifer Billock

Pop-Culture Tourism: A Basic Guide

Tourism is an activity which includes travel for leisure, recreation or business purposes. Thanks to the rapid advancement of technology, the number of people who are travelling around the globe is growing more rapidly each year. In the recent period we have witnessed the emergence of several specialty travel forms of tourism and Pop-Culture Tourism is definitely one of the most interesting forms among them.

Pop-Culture Tourism is a term used to describe an activity in which people are travelling to locations that were mentioned and/or featured in music videos, songs, movies, books and other types of media. Therefore, in most cases, tourists that get involved in this form of tourism are actually fans of certain pop culture creations. In order to understand this form of tourism we will mention some of the locations that were popular in 2015 and will probably remain popular in 2016.

First of all, we will mention Game of Thrones as one of the most popular TV shows of all time. This epic show is still on and most of the episodes so far were filmed in Northern Ireland. That’s why the local authorities have decided to start a tourism campaign featuring Game of Thrones scenes. Ballintoy Harbor, Larrybane Headland, Downhill Beach, Castle Ward – these are some of the locations where the most important scenes from Game of Thrones were filmed. Hundreds of fans of the show have visited these locations last year and with the start of the new season in April, we can expect more travelers.

Furthermore, even though Twilight Saga Novels are finished, the popularity of these novels and movies is not fading. This is the reason why so many people are visiting the town of Forks in Washington, USA. This is where the novels are based. This place has beautiful beaches along with the rain forest and visitors can actually notice some of the structures described in the books and movies.

Asheville and the mountains in this part of North Carolina were used as the setting for many shows and movies. One of the most popular movies filmed there is The Hunger Games. Dense forest, amazing waterfalls and rivers were some of the things viewers have noticed in these movies or read in the books. This is definitely an area which has great natural beauty and even if you are not such a huge fan of The Hunger Games, but if you love nature, you will definitely enjoy this place. Some other popular op-ulture tourist hotspots include Norway (Frozen animated movie), Albuquerque, USA (Breaking Bad TV Show), Burkittsville, USA (The Blair Witch Project), Alnwick Castle, UK (Harry Potter movie) etc.

There is no doubt that this form of tourism is very exciting, but the only downside is that some of these places don’t have well-developed infrastructure or they are not prepared well for tourists. So, those planning to visit these places must be prepared well. Besides making a good plan and doing some research on the Internet, it is also a good idea to use some mobile apps and specially designed apps that will help you with this activity. Of course, your luggage is one of the most important things on any journey, so using a luggage locator like LugLoc can be quite useful. Luggage tracking is definitely worth considering because lost luggage is not uncommon these days.

The Best Connected Airports in the World

The most important airports around the globe are growing slowly but continuously to become something entirely different from your common traditional airport. This growth stems from the consolidation of airlines and their quest for optimal connectivity, as well as larger aircraft models, which allow for higher quantities of travelers each year.

As a result, there have been certain innovations that have transformed these airports into more than just a stopover to your final destination. Flight delays used to be the worst nightmare for travelers. Nowadays, however, you can have a massage or reflexology treatment, do some shopping or have dinner in fancy restaurants while you wait for the plane to take off. It has become a new airport experience that many people look forward to.

The United States of America is the world leader when it comes to the biggest international airports, housing as many as twenty-two of the most connected hubs. For the last couple of years, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport has been cited as the world’s busiest airport, with 90 million travelers passing through each year. At the same time, it has great business travel services, such as access to data ports, wi-fi and the ability to ship packages overnight. It also includes amenities such as spas, yoga rooms, art exhibits and putting greens, as well as a plethora of dining options, of course.

Although almost half of the best (and most connected) airports on the planet are found in North America, in the context of Europe, there’s no doubt that London’s Heathrow Airport is the number one hub. The city has one of the highest volumes of air traffic on the continent and five additional airports, but none compare to the busiest airport in the United Kingdom that can get you to Central London by train, tube, coach, bus, car or taxi.

Turning to Asia, Yakarta Soekarno-Hatta in Indonesia is in the lead with more than 51.5 million passengers visiting or passing through the city each year. Built by the same architect who designed the Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris, it has 150 check-in counters, 30 baggage carousels and 42 gates and each sub-terminal has 25 check-in counters, 5 baggage carousels, and 7 gates.

Size is one thing; connectivity is another. Outside the US, Brazil’s Congonhas, located in Sao Paulo, is one of the most important airports. Although it is smaller in terms of its operations, it has an incredible frequency. Airport infrastructure plays a key role in Brazil’s development model, connecting the country to other major business centers. Plus, it moves and leverages business opportunities, making transportation more agile in the capital city. In big cities like Sao Paulo, traffic can be extremely unpredictable, so the train and monorail connected to stations in Congonhas are essential.

The Importance of Being Connected

Being able to travel from one terminal to another quickly is always an advantage to keep in mind if you are in a hurry or just don’t want to lose time. Landing at one airport and then having to take a taxi to the train station that will get you to another airport at the opposite side of the city is exhausting and frustrating. Fortunately, this inconvenience can often be avoided.  

But imagine if, on top of that, when you get off the plane your luggage is nowhere to be found and you are further delayed. At that moment, you’ll wish you could have had more control of your belongings. With LugLoc, you can. This simple device uses GSM-GPRS technology to locate your luggage with just a tap on your smartphone. It’s the perfect luggage locator for smart traveling.