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Travel trends for this current year 2022 show changes, and I’m sure the industry is fully aware of them. From Americans being priced out of theme parks to hotels using Covid as the excuse to increase prices in 2020, and 2021. These price changes never went back down, and the blame game is always ever-present. It’s covid, lack of workers, or whatever. It’s never honestly for the most part, and that leaves consumers taking these changes into their own hands.
The last two years have been a major disruption for everyone in all economic areas. The change has seen increased crime waves and areas where tourists used to love to visit begin to drop off. California is a great example of people choosing to travel elsewhere. San Francisco no longer has that appeal due to these changes, and our ideas as to where these travel trends may go are exhibited below.
The purpose of this article is to point out the changes we have seen, and maybe to help provide some clarity to others too who are also preparing to travel with the ever-changing travel trends. So let’s start with the obvious and plane travel and what has happened to date.
Plane Travel Trends
Today plane travel is uncomfortable, and 1st class really does not seem to offer much other than more leg space. The price difference is large most of the time, and a majority of the employees must be totally burned out. They can often be rude, and provide no assistance. But when they do we try really hard to get them recognized by their employer. Being part of the solution is always our travel motto. Overall prices were rising in 2021, and excuses were always coming from various reasons. In our opinion, the reduction of really available raw materials in 2020/2021 due to government-based lockdown, and work reductions are at the core of what we are seeing today.
This has changed our overall planning for our future travels, and we are planning long-term for this to continue moving forward. We have concluded that the lower middle class of society will be priced out of plane travel soon if it has not happened already. If the plane tickets are not affordable then really nothing else matters for this group of people.
The way employees treat travelers, and the way travelers treat each other, and airline employees cannot be underestimated. People are stressed from having to lockdown, wear masks, and pay more for less moving forward. This has caused us to change our own mindset, and what we plan to do moving forward.
We ourselves have reduced our air travel, and expect to be driving much more moving forward. There is no reason to be crammed into a seat when we can travel in a comfortable vehicle. This travel trend might even see some routes reduced, and small airports receive fewer travelers longer term.
Hotels Travel Trends
Hotels can be a mixed bag and if you spend enough time in one location you will learn a lot. In 2021 we used a Marriott often and would hear the woes from management there. Employees were a serious issue, but also security, and guest anxiety. House cleaning staff was also a big deal, and some of the people didn’t return after being laid off. I think the moral of that story is once you lay off lower-income people they learn to live on less money, and just may not return back to the workforce quickly enough for the industry to fully recover.
Now there is the issue of the hotel saying they are full during 2020 and 2021 and charging higher rates. Yes, it was a total lie, and what was really happening was some states had mandated partial hotel closures. So to recoup the lost costs they raised prices saying availability was low but it was first government-induced, and then once fully able to open the hotel was no longer staffed to open at 100%.
Hotel staff also could move every few months, and get higher wages. This also increases desk or cleaning turnover helping to increase customer wait time and to reduce hotel room availability. With all of this happening at once along with other core costs raising prices will rise. This normally puts the hotel staff on the spot to explain why the hotel price is 50% to 100% higher in some cases. For various reasons, they just say covid until they can no longer use it as an excuse.
The travel trend here seems to be a re-focus back to their core business members. I think we will see hotels revamp their memberships programs, and reduce what they give out for free. But also try and focus a better customer service assuming they have the employees to make this happen. We noticed during covid Marriot didn’t due much for platinum members, and you might get a room upgrade if you were lucky. Nothing seems to be just offered and we must ask or insist for our status to be taken into consideration.
Some hotels may begin to offer resources for RVs that require them, and casino hotels ready have an edge in this market and will only continue to do better.
Travel Trends Of Americans Driving More
This important travel trend will only grow for what is left of the middle class looking to have vacations. With this change, we will see additional pressure put on the price of fuel, and cause it to rise even faster. We don’t expect much to change here until the 2024 elections are over. We do expect a serious backlash from the voting public, and the cost of fuel will wade heavily. These people not being able to afford a vacation will expose people back to nature, and this trend will rise over the next few years.
However even with prices rising we still expect SUVs, and truck ownership to rise. This is because more American will begin visiting State and Federal parks for vacations. The cost will be prohibitive to some, but much less than what they would have to pay if flying or going to a theme park. We are already seeing Camper van conversions becoming difficult to find, and trucks such as Ford F250 difficult as well. Semiconductor shortages only explain part of this, and people’s need for these larger vehicles, and their want to be in the great outdoors are only adding to the shortage.
Basically, people who want AWD and 4WD vehicles that have the ability to become camper or pull one are going up in value. Several trucks that have the capability to hold 3,000 pounds are in very short supply.
As you can see the products being developed are changing, and people are asking for more along these lines. Expect to see more and more people heading out into the wild, and seeing nature.
The insides represent the trend of self sufficiency, and people want to enjoy basic amenities, and they seek to enjoy our public lands.
We are hearing of longer wait times for van conversion companies such as the lower cost starter setup by Way Fare, and even the higher range products are on waiting lists. Larger trucks like the F250 or F350 are in short supply. The slide-in campers also have higher lead times. The good ones used by adventure travelers who need 4WD can take nine months more. Higher-end truck campers are also seeing higher demand, and the baby boomers are still paying top dollar for certain larger RVs. This trend is clear, and we expect it to only grow bigger over the next few years.
State Parks Travel Trends
This is an exciting subject and can vary from location to location. Right now with state parks not being updated often, we do see larger RVs being able to park in the parks. So space is available but with more people visiting the parks reservations are being made way in advance. Now prices are rising, and we are seeing signs being put up by the management of these parks warning consumers that budgets are being cut.
With the reduction of budgets, you have to conclude that the parks are no longer able to cover their own finances with fees from users. Or these governments are diverted funds to fund initiatives that they feel garner more votes. We think is the latter but it’s still difficult to tell. So what does this mean to those of us who use them? This means prices will rise each year, and availability will be reduced. The campground host’s maintenance availability does not seem to be an issue so costs must be low. We have recently been in the Pacific Northwest and seem host performing maintenance at the site. They in return get to park there for free.
State Parks vary from state to state, and what you find can be some amazing vistas and rock formations. Don’t think the deals can only be found in Federal parks, and give your state parks a chance. Senior citizens and veterans alike will also find deals to free camping or reduced costs, and your ability to find that great vacation spot may be just around the corner.
National Park Travel Trends
We have seen many federal parks from monuments to national forests reduce the size of the parking space. This allows the park to get smaller rigs inside, and prices are the same so they earn more money overall. Since these parks that remained open during covid still were very busy law enforcement costs would have risen. Not every camper is interested in the camper and maybe go there for other reasons. These costs are passed on to us the campers. With this, the travel trends we see are a reduction in RV size and the rise of Truck, and Camper vans that can take advantage of the smaller parking space.
As we traveled around the National; Parks over the last two years we have seen changes. The federal government is reducing larger spaces, and people are going more into BLM land where their fees are very low to even at zero at times. The major parks and monuments will always carry a higher value, but you can expect people to look more into America the Beautiful pass, and for veterans to begin using this more. change is not just coming but it is already here. Even we have switched to covering National Parks more often, and helping people find those more adventurous opportunities that have long been forgotten.
In conclusion, costs will be taken into consideration, and we think the use of park passes, and America using veterans and senior citizen benefits will rise. See our latest post on 8 Amazing Federal Parks And State Park Passes here to see a few of the options.
People have begun to modify their behavior since 2019 came to an end, and some states refused to open back up. Other states never closed. but everyone was watching all of this happen. People have a natural longing to be free to lead their own lives, and how they spend their vacation is also something people can modify, change, and reduce costs along the way.
The lower middle class is being priced out of the market, and they will still be taking vacations. Just not in the traditional sense, and we can expect people to go back to their roots before theme parks, and fancy hotels, and venture back out into the great outdoors. Modern society vacations like going to Disney Land or a resort will no longer be possible for some of the middle class. But these people will still take vacations, and they will do so at the state or national parks.
The trends above will only become more evident as 2022 goes on, and we can expect that more issues will arise. These newer issues will only drive the middle class into higher-end camping solutions moving forward. People who cannot afford campers will get nice tents, and families will continue to relax and enjoy each other’s company around a campfire.
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