It’s been a big year for travelers. We’ve seen emerging destinations, improved in-flight experiences (hi, Netflix), and giant hotel mergers literally change the face of the travel industry—affecting where we want to go and how we plan our trips there.
Nearly every piece of the puzzle has been rethought: things like hotel booking and ordering room service can now happen over social media, the start-up world has identified (and fixed!) the many pain points associated with finding a good flight, and (thank goodness) selfie sticks finally fell out of favor. But 2015 offered the world—and travelers—a new deck of challenges, including increased legal struggles for the sharing economy, geopolitical tensions, financial crises, and concerns about safety in the wake of terrorism.
To many, it was a surprise that travelers showed a resolve to get out, explore the world, and keep collecting experiences, even in the face of tragedy. If anything, 2015 proved the importance of travel as a means of making the world a smaller and more interconnected place. It taught us yet again that when places, people, and things (and yes, even wild animals) are close to our hearts, we’re more readily inspired to take action and become stewards for a better world. Cheesy but true.
With that, here’s our roundup of the year’s most noteworthy moments in the travel industry—the good, the bad, the innovative, and everything in between.