Travel trends for 2013

Posted on 18 January 2013

The travel landscape is one that shifts constantly. The internet has given us the opportunity to share our stories much more widely, making faraway places feel close enough to visit. Who hasn’t felt a spark of possibility stirred by a distant cousin’s holiday photo on Facebook? Social media began as a trend, but is now firmly established as an important facet of how people travel. Let’s take a look at some predictions for what travel will look like in 2013.



Oil prices are climbing, which doesn’t bode well for the frequent flyers amongst us. Since the recent liquidation of 1time, one trend that will be missed in 2013 is their flight straight from Joburg to Zanzibar.  No other local carrier offers this route, particularly at such a competitive price. It seems that the honeymooners are either going to have to brave a ferry from Dar es Salaam, or spend a 12 hour stop-over in Addis Ababa. Hopefully it won’t be long until another carrier takes over the reins.

The airline companies that are still afloat are going to have to be innovative about making ends meet. This will mean higher fares and more fine-print. Be very careful in decoding the extra fees attached to your flight.

I’d like to think that the increase in flight prices will create a trend towards more local travel. We are blessed with world-class travel destinations in Southern Africa, and the lower price-tag means that you can stay for longer. I’d much prefer to take a leisurely road trip to Swaziland, stopping along the way to meet people and learn about the towns, than deal with the bustling panic of an airport and four days in an overpopulated beach resort.



It’s been reported by Euromonitor that many tourists are widening their horizons and visiting places that were previously considered out of bounds, such as Myanmar, Cuba, Libya and North Korea. This group of adventurous travellers is small, but growing very quickly. Seeing as Croatia will join the EU next year, we can expect a huge uptick in their tourism profile.

Brazil will be hosting the Confederations Cup this year in anticipation of the  FIFA World Cup in 2014, so their tourism will continue to climb until (and probably in the aftermath of) the Olympics in 2016. This year’s Carnaval will probably usher in even more than the usual 500 000 tourists.

Visitors to Alaska, Canada and Norway are bound to increase too, seeing as this year marks a peak in the 11 year sun cycle. This means that the chances of seeing the capricious Aurora Borealis are very high, so anyone who’s been interested in this natural phenomenon should take their chance this year. Buy your fluffy hat in advance, to avoid the rush.



Smartphone technology is ever on the rise. As smartphones grow in popularity, even the least tech-savvy person will be able to record and share their travels. The advantages aren’t even all aesthetic: Apple released their Passbook app in September last year, which allows you to keep all your tickets, passes and coupons in one place. Google Now, for Android phones, is similar: at some airlines, you can even swipe your phone instead of a boarding pass before getting on the plane.

Wifi on planes was introduced in South Africa last year, but by all accounts it was a failure. Most people were unable to connect at all, and those that could only received a slow, faulty signal. There have been plenty of promises that this will improve though, so hopefully 2013 will be the year of tweeting from the sky.

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