Travel Trends

Shoulder Season Travel Strategies

travel strategies for shoulder season[trip style = any]

Whether or not the weather got the memo {I've heard tales of snow storms in the East}, Spring has sprung. For many hot-ticket destinations, particularly in Hawaii and the Caribbean, April marks the beginning of shoulder season, meaning you can save an arm AND a leg {pun totally intended} on travel!

Trip Styler Tip :: shoulder season logic can be applied to any destination. For example, April is an incredible time to hit the slopes as many ski resorts still have snow, the crowds have thinned, the weather is warm and the prices are off-peak! Or take Europe, visiting in May and October offers similar benefits.

Smarty Pants Travel Strategies 1/ Bank on shoulder season savings to go farther, or take more smaller trips. For example, a few years ago in April I flew to Hawaii from Vancouver for $400 {return}, and I saw similar prices advertised recently. This trip would normally cost 700+ for flights.

2/ Sign up with a service like Yapta or TripIt Pro to get notified if your flight goes down in price. I just got $98 dollars back on a flight using this method.

3/ Airline or Credit Card travel points. a) You MUST collect airline/hotel points and travel credit card points. Triple the fun {and savings}. b) Redeem points in low season to get more for your money. For example: I'm about to book a trip to Argentina with the American Airlines points I've accrued to fly in business class at the cusp of shoulder season. In low season the trip is 60,000 points, in high season the trip is 200,000 points.

4/ Get on the travel app train. ---> Last-minute savings are NOT a thing of the past. Apps have reinvigorated spontaneous travel with a ton of services that offer day-of savings.

5/ Monitor fare sales like a hawk. For example, vacation destinations get fewer bookings in shoulder season, yet many airlines still fly those routes, which means they need seats sat in!

More Travel Savings Strategies The Six-Week Rule :: the sweet-spot for flight bookings Six Ways To Save On Airfare :: score the lowest airfare for your next trip How To Book The Best Flight :: without hours of research The Airfare Dance :: key findings from Kayak.com’s Chief Scientist Travel Tips for ANY Trip Style :: 11 trip tips

[photo by @tripstyler]

On The Trip Styler Radar

trip styler 2013 travel radar[trip style = every one!]

On the heels of putting New Year's resolutions into action, here's what's on the Trip Styler flight crew's radar for 2013 travel. True to form, we've covered almost every trip style!

From weekend jaunts to epic trips, what travel plans are you dreaming into reality this year?

Heather - Fashion Friday I ended 2012 with mai tais and surfer boys on my very first trip to Hawaii. It's true what everyone says---it just smells good there! I've been keeping the dream alive and keeping my skin soft ever since by lathering my body with coconut oil. This year I'm heading to Europe for a few weeks of adventure in Spain and Croatia's Dalmatian Coast.

Leah - Healthy On The Road My 2013 travel radar is filled with hot and cold. On the warm front, I'd like to hit up Thailand with my hubby---combo of development work and relaxation. On the cool front, I'd like to take a solo getaway to Tofino, BC with my dog Zuzu and stay in a cozy little surfer shack.

Keryn - KinderHop Our new year started off with a quiet bang as we became beach bums in Kauai---the first trip to Hawaii for the newest member (baby Ty) of our traveling tribe. Later in the year we hope to explore my ancestral roots in England, Scotland and Ireland with a whole lot of weekend trips and a beach holiday in North Carolina's Outerbanks this summer thrown into the mix.

Lauren - Travel Beauty We are heading to Los Angeles (our former residence) in January for a much-overdue trip! Can't wait to see friends and family, eat at some of our favorite restaurants like Il Pastaio, M Cafe, and Izaka-Ya, go to Malibu, see a movie at the Arclight, hike Runyon Canyon and shop at the Grove and the Beverly Center. We're also planning trips to Palm Springs, New York and Florida!

Nicole - Jetset Jingles Aside from my Christmas jaunt to La Quinta {Palm Springs} and my bound over to Maui for New Year's, I'd really like to go to Europe this summer. I'd love to explore Ireland and Croatia and re-visit Spain and Italy. I'm also pining for some extended weekend trips to Chicago and New York in the Spring. Oh, and I can't forget about my annual trip to the Coachella Music Festival in April. I'm all over the map {pun intended} for 2013!

Trish - Chief Trip Stylist I've been dying to gaze at Scandinavia's world-leading design for the past five years, so I've decided this is my Scandi-year. On the complete opposite side of the world, Tahiti is calling my name {when isn't it?}. After just spending some downtime in Palm Springs, I'm headed to Tofino, BC in a few weeks for some winter stormwatching and hopefully a {chilly} surf session. Other destinations on my radar: Oahu's North Shore, Hawaii's Big Island, Quebec's winter Carnaval, Toronto and Argentina.

[photos by @tripstyler @stoikie @walkingontravel @heatherlovesit]

T+L's Travel Hotspots :: 70s, 80s, 90s & 00s

[trip style = any]

This month Travel+Leisure Magazine celebrates its 40th anniversary. Recently they reminisced about destinations, hotels and travel trends that were "hot" through the ages. Here are a few of the highlights from decades marked with disco, moonwalking, voguing and babies boogying to Bootylicious {on YouTube}.

'70s Wearing polyester, bell-bottomed pantsuits, there was a five-year period {1977-1982} when Americans flocked to Cuba; then the doors were closed. The two destinations on jetsetters' hotlists: Burma {also referred to as Myanmar} and Iran. In Mexico, Acapulco was still hot to trot before its slump, while Cabo's popularity was growing and developers were breaking ground in Cancun. Finally, Mickey and the gang set up shop in Florida when Disneyworld opened in the backwaters of Orlando.

'80s Excess was on the rise and along with the high-cut, neon spandex fitness trend, luxe health retreats followed suit. Speaking of suits, power suits gave way to power dining and the foodie travel trend started to sizzle. Crocodile Dundee drew visitors en masse to Australia's coastline and outback in search of kangaroos, crocs and shrimps on the barbie.

'90s Like voguing, volunteer vacations {aka voluntourism} became en-vogue and Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos were opening their doors to adventurous vacationers, while a lucky few were lounging in newly built over-water, thatched-roof bungalows in the Maldives and Seychelles.

'00s The desert utopia known as Dubai moved up Travel Editors' must-visit lists along with the world's tallest hotel, sand skiing and palm-shaped, man-made islands. On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, the green movement spurs ecotourism and Buenos Aires is a steal while Europe is a splurge.

[images in collage sourced online]

Lantern Mania

[trip style = sun & camping]

{Happy 4th of July to our US readers. Enjoy the festivities and fireworks! After a fun weekend in Bellevue, today I'm celebrating in Seattle with some Canadian and US friends on a boat: trip style = cruising---well, sailing actually. Thank goodness we recently published our seafaring style guide, Buoy Oh Buoy for Fashion Friday.}

Lately, I've noticed a lot of lantern lip service: between friends, on twitter and blogs, and on the big screen. I'm wondering if it has something to do with evening summer parties, camping or the movie The Green Lantern? A combination of all three perhaps?

When I was a kid, a lantern was a craft we made in Brownies {like Girl Scouts} with scissors, a paper bag and a votive. We would cut out star and heart shapes in the bag, place the votive inside and voila: a lantern that could be used to light a dark path at night. These rudimentary lanterns were fun, and still are, but it seems in North America we are either ahead or behind the times {depending on how you look at it} in comparison to Thailand and Poland. They have flying lanterns, like mini versions of hot air ballons.

Summer Lantern Loving Camping Lanterns Thankfully, 99% of all modern camping lanterns no longer use a combination of glass and fire to light the way. Nowadays, cranks or batteries will do the trick. As one of my favourite camping necessities, lanterns do everything from the light the path to the potty at night, to gather people around the picnic table to play cards. Aside from beach bonfires, they are a summer essential for anyone who enjoys trip style = camping & glamping.

The Green Lantern Instead of releasing lanterns into the sky, BC native Ryan Renolds is the lantern in the sky. Playing a superhuman, he is bestowed with a mystical and glowing ring that gives him otherworldly powers in the summer blockbuster movie, The Green Lantern.

The Hangover II The Hangover II is pretty raunchy, but the last scene is serene and mystical. The release of flying fire balls surrounded by paper cylinders {sounds like a recipe for disaster, but looks gorgeous} into the dark of night leaves you longing to attend a destination wedding in Thailand.

Poland On June 21st the Polish people celebrated the shortest night of the year, with an impromptu, Facebook-organized gathering releasing over 11,000 glowing orbs into the night sky. See the twinkling video below. EMBED-11,000 Lanterns Floating Over Poland - Watch more free videos

[Image by @tripstyler of pictures sourced from the web]

Travel Trends :: Summer Vacation Ideas :: The Add-On

[trip style = multiple]

Vacation add-on: Extending a work or family/friend trip for extra travel benefit.

A trend that comes and goes with the state of the economy and rising fuel prices: the vacation add-on---both part of our regular Travel Trend Thursday feature, as well as the third installment of our three-part Summer Vacation Ideas series {see parts one and two below}.

Pay Less Do More Savvy travelers use vacation add-ons to maximize their travel at every opportunity, especially when the destination is appealing. Similar to booking trips with airline mileage or hotel points, extending a work or personal trip is a great way to pay less and do more. Whether your work is already paying for your flights and hotel anyway, or you're paying for a family event or destination wedding, doing a little more while there---or using it as a jumping off point to explore nearby areas---is worth it.

Add-Ons About one-fifth of the trips my husband and I take are add-ons---a way to travel with less budgetary impact. This year we've added time to work trips in LA in November, Scottsdale in February and NYC in May. I have friends and family who are also very good at vacation add-ons too, and have used work trips or family trips to add time in places they want to see, as well as discover destinations off their radar. Trips to Santa Barbara become trips to Vegas, trips to Denver become trips to Colorado's mountain resorts, trips to Boston become trips to New York, trips to Cape Town become safaris and trips to Victoria become trips across Vancouver Island.

How To Maximize the Add-On Trip

  • Plan ahead
  • Decide: is it best to tack a few days before or after the work or family-related trip? If so, what best suits your work schedule?
  • Do you want wifi? If so, find a hotel that offers it.
  • Consider this: if you're taking a ferry or car and staying in a hotel, then most of the journey is already paid for---both for you and your companion---aside from the extra nights.
  • Can you use hotel loyalty points or travel credit card kickbacks to extend your stay versus making an out-of-pocket payment?
  • Is there a nearby retreat or city you've been dying to explore?
  • Are the flights cheap to bring a companion with you, or are you able to use points to fly them free?

Good Trip Styles For Vacation Add-Ons

  • trip style = active & adventure - plan a few days of hiking or biking.
  • trip style = beach - spend a weekend at a nearby beach town.
  • trip style = cruise - near a cruise port? Book a 3-night cruise.
  • trip style = safari - near the wild? Book a nature tour or safari.
  • trip style = sightseeing - take some extra time to explore the area's important sights.
  • trip style = ski - pre- or post-trip ski? Sounds good to me.
  • trip style = spa - relax for a few days at the spahhhhhhh.
  • trip style = urban - pound the pavement in the your destination or a nearby city.*
  • trip style = wine tasting - if you're lucky enough to be near a wine region, well, that's an obvious add-on :)

*Don't rule out nearby cities for your vacation add-on. For example, if you're in LA, take the train to SF; if you're in Ottawa, take the train to Montreal; if you're in Honolulu fly to Kauai etc...

Don't Miss Summer Vacation Ideas :: Luxury Summer Vacation Ideas :: Budget

PS – Aside from our regularly scheduled content, don’t miss next month’s feature: Off The Beaten Path Escapes!

[photos by OKC + @tripstyler]