It’s Time We Say Goodbye to These Tired Travel Trends in 2024
Here are travel industry fads we hope to see go, and what we’d like to see in its place this year.
Travel is one of those things everyone seems to love, but there are plenty of overplayed fads that can zap the joy out of one of life’s most fulfilling experiences. With trends seeming to move faster than a 747, we’re really hoping that these fall by the wayside, and soon. From awful passenger behavior to single-use plastics, here are the travel trends we’re ready to wave goodbye to in 2024.
Atrocious Passenger Behavior
Between the pandemic, ground and crew shortages, inclement weather, and unruly passenger antics, it’s been a rough couple of years for flight attendants. Instead of giving flight attendants a hard time on your next trip, try giving them chocolates. No, seriously. There are countless Reddit threads about how you may get preferential treatment, free drinks, or even an upgrade if you gift chocolates or $5 Starbucks gift cards. Even if your prezzie is simply some good old fashioned kindness, it’s always better to be a part of the solution rather than the problem. If you’re feeling frazzled, try popping on a meditation app like Headspace or Oura to manage your stress. How you treat service staff says a whole lot about your character, after all.
I spend a lot of nights in hotels for work, and I’m continuing to notice how many hotels don’t even have a front desk, let alone a phone in the room to call someone for help. The fun of hospitality is human interaction, and removing front desk workers and concierges who can be a real lifeline to local culture takes out one of the reasons why people stay in a hotel in the first place—having quick, direct access to help when you need it.
Water Bottle Obsession
It’s great that folks want to stay hydrated, and we’re all about preventing single use plastics, but the fixation on purchasing the latest, greatest water bottle has got to stop. (We’re looking at you, Stanley collectors.) And since many adventure hotels often gift this amenity with a stay, it can mean that you’ll end up with an entire cupboard full of reusable water bottles that will eventually just end up in the trash. How much better is that in the long run, anyway? Instead, let’s find one great bottle and stick with it.
Peak Season Travel
There’s nothing worse than showing up for a trip that you’ve waited your whole life for and having the place be completely overrun by tourists. Big Sur in the summertime? Good luck getting over Bixby Bridge without fighting throngs of lookie-loos. But in the winter, the crowds are scarce and the magic is ample. We love exploring ski destinations like Mammoth and Tahoe in the summer, when the snow has melted, making way for excellent mountain biking and hiking. Give shoulder season a try next time around. It could help you save on costs, too.
Late Check-In, Early Check-Out
This is a pet peeve of our editor-in-chief Hugh Garvey, and I have to agree. There’s hardly time to drop your bags, rinse off, and rest with this sort of timeline. How is one supposed to even enjoy the amenities? While we understand the effort it takes to turn a room, we’d love it if there were a bit of grace regarding an earlier check-in and late check-out.
It’s been painful to watch National Parks like Yellowstone and Yosemite be overrun by tourists, many of whom don’t want to practice the universal rule of the outdoors to pack it in, pack it out. Instead of following the masses, why not opt for some under-the-radar destinations that deserve some love? Dig SF? Why not visit the arts and culture hub of Oakland? Into the seaside vibes of San Diego? Check out the perfect little beach town of Oceanside. Into the old timey Western vibes of Joshua Tree? Why not pop into the Gold Rush towns of Toulumne County like Grass Valley?
Our convenient plastic carry-alls are bad for the oceans and marine life. And plastics are also endangering life ashore by leaching toxic chemicals like flame retardants, plasticizers, antioxidants, UV stabilizers, and pigments into soil and freshwater. If you eat seafood, it’s because of our plastics use that you’re consuming microplastics with your fish. So why oh why do we keep using them in the travel industry? From our in-flight meals to dopp kits in our hotel rooms, they just keep showing up. We’d love to see brands distributing solid body lotion bars and shave kits like these from Lola Arnao that are made in the Willamette Valley in Oregon.
After working on several features on Indigenous cooking with chefs like Crystal Wahpepah and the team from Cafe Ohlone in the East Bay, I’ve become increasingly aware of the continued erasure of the Indigenous story not just in the West, but throughout our country and the world as a whole. I really hope that tour operators, hotels, and destinations continue to push to dig deeper when relaying the story behind things like wildcrafting, plant medicine, and foraging, which have become buzzwords that sometimes come without a lot of presentation of the deep history that extends far beyond our modern context.
There’s a common metric for travelers to use when comparing just how obsessed with they are with being on the road—country counting. And while passport stamps are fun to collect (I love seeing each country’s unique pressing,) this colonialist “do you have a flag?” mentality is really tired. Why not try revisiting places you love, seeing how they continue to grow and flourish instead? Places I’m constantly revisiting that always surprise and delight are the Santa Ynez Valley, the Willamette Valley, Monterey County, and Baja California. I just can’t get enough.
Overpacked Airport Lounges
It’s no surprise that airport lounges are practically bursting at the seams given the high volume of delays and cancellations alongside the steady increase of travelers taking to the skies annually. Pair that with the plethora of credit cards offering members access, and you’ve got a situation that certainly feels less-than-exclusive. It’s not uncommon to be waitlisted at airport lounges, even if you are a member. And once you do get in, it can be practically impossible to find space to park yourself and your laptop. We hope that the years to come see more lounges built to accommodate these members at hubs like Denver International, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, and San Francisco International. And more offerings like the PS Private Suite lounge, which was a godsend on a recent trip.