Remember when you actually had to go to an airport check-in counter to get your boarding pass? When calling home from abroad racked up exorbitant fees (hat tip, Skype), or when catching a cab meant waiting forlornly for one to pass? (Thanks, Uber and Lyft).
Every year, the travel industry takes an evolutionary step forward, as companies offer up innovative solutions to the inevitable problems we face on the road. In 2015, we will see the rollout of Boeing’s new overhead Space Bin luggage compartments—promising a faster, easier airplane boarding process—and the rise of even-more-comfortable premium economy cabins to tempt us from the increasingly pinched back of the plane.
Our smartphones, which serve as navigators, translators, itinerary managers, and taxi summoners, will get us into fully booked restaurants and double as our wallets (as if our relationship with them weren’t codependent enough). And our social media profiles will open doors and unlock deals at hotels, and connect us with useful business contacts while we’re traveling. Hotels, meanwhile, will find new ways to help us sleep better.
But the changes ahead for 2015 are more than just improvements. This will also be a year of expanding horizons. We’ll stay in private houses and apartments that feel surprisingly like hotels (and vice versa). We’ll visit resorts and travel with companies where the bottom line is measured by how much goes back into local communities. And we’ll make the world our classroom, attending workshops, salons, and conferences across the globe.
In our annual trends package, Travel + Leisure tracks the biggest changes for the year ahead. Here are our predictions for how you’ll travel in 2015. —Amy Farley