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Noteworthy Travel Trends for 2011

This blurb in a Time Magazine article sums up the impact of living in a technology driven world: In less than seven years, Zuckerberg wired together a twelfth of humanity into a single network, thereby creating a social entity almost twice as large as the U.S.

For those of you whose lives aren’t driven by technology, they’re referring to Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO and Time Magazine’s Person of the Year for 2010. Growth in both the social media and mobile space is booming, and the travel industry is no exception.

Travelocity has identified three big travel trends (along with a few other bites) for 2011, and it’s no surprise that technology leads the way in the New Year.

Top Travel Trends for 2011

What happens in the event of a flight cancellation?

Dear Editors,

I’m flying out of Chicago on Thursday to see my family for Christmas, and storms are expected. What happens in the event of a flight cancellation? Is there anything I can do to prepare?

Helen


 

Dear Helen,

Since most flight cancellations during the holidays are due to bad weather, travelers flying over the next couple of weeks are at the mercy of Mother Nature. Aside from proactively changing your flight to beat the storm, which is a costly and impractical option for most travelers, the best thing to do is cross your fingers and hope for the best.

Five Need-to-Know New Year’s Travel Tips

New Year’s Eve seems to be an afterthought for a lot of people — at least in my circle of friends! Come December, I always hear statements like: We decided to go to Mexico for New Year’s, but it’s sooooo expensive. Well, that’s to be expected. After all, New Year’s Eve is high time for celebration; it’s an in-demand leisure holiday; and travelers are willing to pay a premium to ring in the New Year some place fabulous.

I’m not saying that finding a great New Year’s Eve deal is impossible, travelers may just need to make some adjustments to their travel M.O. But, change is what a New Year is all about…right?

1.) Adjust your expectations. Just like cover to that club or your drinks in a bar, the cost of travel goes up for the party holiday. Expect to spend slightly more than you normally would.

Cheapest Days to Fly over Christmas

Travel experts always recommend booking your flights in advance for a reason: it’ll almost always be cheaper that way! So, let’s talk Christmas travel. Have you booked yet? No, you say? Well, the 21-day advance purchase window closes on Saturday – and that’s if you fly on Christmas Day – so you need to get on it! To find a cheap flight, there are a three big things procrastinators need to know.

  1. Average domestic airfare is $421. If you find a fare around this price point, consider it a good deal and book it.
  2. Avoid traveling on Sundays. Travelocity’s cheap flights analysis shows that Sunday travel ups the cost of your airfare. (See chart below.)
  3. Fly on the holiday. Our data also shows that departures on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day are most affordable.

Cheapest Days to Fly over Christmas

15 Reasons to Love Virgin America

This headline popped into my inbox earlier today: Virgin America Rated Number One U.S. Airline in 2010 Zagat Survey. My first thought was: Well, duh! Is there really any other choice?

After all, any airline that can make fees seem glamorous must be doing something right. Then I began to think about exactly why Virgin America seems like a different airline despite the fact that you still have to pay for bags; you still have to pay for food; and you still have to pay for entertainment.

Despite this a la carte pricing model, which every airline has these days, they’ve managed to rise above the competition to differentiate themselves and win over customers. I came up with 15 Reasons to Love Virgin America, and here they are, in no particular order: