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2018 Travel Trends and Tips: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

With most of February in the rear-view mirror, 2018 is moving at a fast pace. As people get into their various travel seasons, its important to know the good, the bad and the ugly of what to expect this year.


One would think that with competition from Airbnb, hotels would go out of their way to compete and make hotel stays a more attractive option. Unfortunately, some of their decisions that have gone industry wide have set hotels back and angered guests.

The Ugly: New 48-Hour Cancellation Policies

Long ago seem the days where you could cancel a reservation up until 6:00pm on the day of check-in. Most hotel chains now require you to cancel a reservation without penalty at least 48 hours in advance. For the last few years travelers had 24 hours. This is a major inconvenience for many travelers as plans can change and hotels have stiffened their flexibility around this policy.

Tip: If you are thinking you may cancel, make sure to create a notification on your phone to alert you 72 hours in advance, so you don’t miss the cancellation window. Set this at the time of booking. Also, make sure you understand the policies around non-refundable rates that are regularly offered. While usually the cheapest, they are restrictive.

The Bad: Expansion of Hotel Resort/Amenity Fees

After seeing the billions in revenue airlines have received with added fees, hotels are trying to get into the mix. Mostly at resorts and Las Vegas hotels, New York City hotels have now added “destination fees” charged at $20-$40 per night. They include items like free internet, use of the gym, etc. Hotels do post these fees that will be added to your stay, but can be hard to find. Even if you book on online travel sites like Expedia, Priceline or Hotwire, you will still be responsible for these fees unless otherwise specified.

Tip: Most business focus mid-tier brands (Courtyard, Hilton Garden Inn, Holiday Inn Express, etc.) won’t have a resort fee. If you have rewards program status, know your benefits as you may be able to negotiate the resort fee that covers items you should be getting for free.

The Good: Security in Hotels is Increasing

“Do Not Disturb” signs are beginning to be replaced with “Room Occupied” signs. Post the Las Vegas tragedy at the Mandalay Bay, hotels want to more easily access rooms in order to handle any issues or gauge potential threats. Hotels are still working out these policies to meet privacy concerns of guests, but increased security protocols at hotels is a good thing as they are easy targets for crime and terrorism.

Tip: If you see or hear anything that causes concern for your safety, make sure you report it to the hotel’s front desk or security staff. Also, while the view may not be as nice, staying on lower floors will make evacuating the hotel easier in case of an emergency especially for the elderly.


Air travel seems to be getting more difficult and frustrating every year. With airlines cutting the number of flights, planes are packed, lines are long and passengers are on edge. If you have status with an airline and TSA PreCheck, convenience increases significantly.

The Ugly and The Good: Basic Economy Fares

If you want a cheap flight, the good news is that basic economy fares now exist. The ugly side of this is you don’t get to choose your seat, you can only bring a bag onboard that fits under your seat, you’ll be in the last group to board, and if your flight is cancelled, you’ll be last in the pecking order to be re-accommodated. If you don’t want a basic economy fare be careful of booking airline tickets at discounted travel sites because those are the type of tickets they are selling you. There are great bargains to be had, but you need to be a very flexible traveler to tolerate the downsides.

Tip: Book your flights through an airline website especially if you are joining a tour, cruise, or attending an important event. Pay a little extra for regular economy too. If there is a cancellation, airline computer systems automatically re-accommodate you on the next available flight, but do so in order of ticket class. If you have a basic economy ticket or purchased at a discount site, you may find yourself in a tough situation.

The Bad: Airlines are Increasing their Scrutiny on Baggage Measurements

Most luggage companies list the measurements of the suitcase not including the wheels. Airlines list their measurement requirements including the size of the wheels. This causes an issue as many spinner-type carry-ons are oversized due to the suitcase being higher off the ground. Airlines are being tougher and measuring carry-ons more than they used to and are checking them more frequently at the gate (for no charge).

Tip: Most airlines have the same size requirements (although they tend to be different for international carriers). Know them when you purchase your next carry-on. Also, go with what you have, but put any valuables or items you don’t want under the plane together in your bag. That way you can easily fish them out if they force you to check it.

The Good: A Delay in New ID Requirements

Residents of nine states were not going to be allowed to use their drivers license or state ID recently to board a plane as the states didn’t meet federal ID requirements. The decision has been delayed until October 11, 2018 which gives those states more time to meet the requirements.

Tip: A passport will always be a valid form of travel ID. If you don’t have one and have any plans in the future to travel outside the US, it would be good to get one.


Traveling provides an escape from the every day. By staying on top of the downside of travel, you can put all of your focus on the destination…not getting there and back!

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