The last decade has seen some amazing advancements come to travelers. Business innovations, technological advancements and varied consumer choice today are unparalleled.
Among others, we have seen the birth and growth of: TripAdvisor, Skype, Wi-Fi, digital cameras, e-tickets, smartphones and wrinkle-free clothing, too!
Some have argued that we have entered the Golden Age of Travel, with more of the world open to travelers today than ever before and our ability to go anywhere (relatively cheaply and safely) beyond compare. Mega-projects continue to connect us technologically and physically. Space tourism beckons for those willing to pay the silly price. Fact is, travelers can now go anywhere and do almost anything.
The question now is what will be this decades travel game changers? What new things would bring the biggest benefits to travelers everywhere? What is the future of travel?
So, as we head into what experts are labeling the post-tourist travel era, here are a few Traveler Wish List items that would surely make traveling even better:
- We wish that hotels would give us the room we bought for the full 24-hour period we paid for; check-in at 3 p.m. and check-out by 11 a.m. is just ridiculous in our 24/7 world. We rent cars by the day. Isn't it time?
- We wish for a real USA-version of the Air Passengers Rights that other nations have. It is time that we consumers finally reign supreme and require the airlines to do as they promise, treat us better and stop lying to us (aka price transparency, nickel-and-dime fees and code-sharing)!
- We wish that the FAA finally prohibited airlines from charging us for checking one bag and then require them to make us check any bag/item that does not fit in the overhead compartment. It would be a win-win-win: quicker TSA lines, less cost to us and a more efficient boarding and unboarding of planes!
- We wish that travel-related service employees would have more on-the-spot discretion when it comes to problem-solving consumer issues. Let's bring back the idea of service being job #1, and eliminate the cookie-cutter one-size-fits-all approach (aka foolish consistency) that alienates everyone. Some rules are made to broken once in a while!
- We wish that hotels would offer a white noise system in every hotel room. Nuff said.
- We wish that airports, airplanes and hotels would offer universal free Wi-Fi so that the business of America could be conducted seamlessly 24/7! When are we going to finally realize, like most of the world already has, that Wi-Fi is a basic common utility easy to offer free that makes America more productive?
- Considering airport delays, TSA lines and traffic congestion, we wish that a series of truly high-speed rail corridors existed between Boston-New York and Washington, D.C.; ditto for between San Diego, Los Angeles and the Bay area; and from Eugene-Portland-Seattle to Vancouver, among others. Isn't it time?
- We wish for a bridge/tunnel combo mega-project that crosses the Straits of Gibraltar between Spain and Morocco that would finally link Africa with Europe!
- We wish that they would finally complete the Pan-American Highway between Alaska and Chile (aka PCH, or Highway 1); there is the little problem remaining about the 87 kilometers (54 miles) called the Darién Gap in Panama/Colombia. It would allow for the ultimate romantic road trip spanning continents.
- Finally, it seems that 69% of us wish that our government would finally represent we the people and mandate paid vacation time -- and that our employers would not make us feel guilty when we actually do take "our" time off!
Well, a guy can dream can't he? Click your heels and hope! And speaking of dreaming... how is that "Star Trek" transporter system coming along?
Okay, what say you? Let the ideas flow...
Follow William D. Chalmers on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@wmchalmers