EDITOR'S NOTE WINTER 2013 | VOL. 38 NO. 4
I've spent the last 25 years working for the Travel Goods Association. I'm quoted, often by mainstream media, as an authority on travel goods. I couldn't even begin to count the number of hours I've spent looking at, writing about, thinking about or evaluating vacation gear. But, while I am extremely well-traveled, the irony is I haven't taken a vacation — a real, disconnect-from-the-everyday, no-work, no-obligations holiday — in decades (I'm not proud of this fact by any means). I'm a vacation gear expert who's gone years without a real vacation. But that's changing as soon as we ship this issue of Travel Goods Showcase.
Fittingly, this is our vacation/leisure travel issue, and the timing couldn't be better, as I've been editing and reading these stories while simultaneously engaged in my own vacation plans. I'm headed Down Under, as they say, to spend time with my daughter, Kelly, during her college semester abroad in Australia. Planning to unplug and disconnect, to cross hemispheres and escape my 800+ weekly e-mails, has given me a bit more personal perspective editing this issue's feature stories on vacation travel gear and accessories.
I look at the new crop of travel luggage and vacation accessories in this issue's features, and it's amazing how easy today's travelers have it thanks to our industry. It's never been so simple to pare down to a single suitcase, and escape. (Paradoxically, with smartphones, tablets, laptops and all their attendant cases and chargers, it's never been easier to go vast distances and stay connected.)
Travel has changed since my last vacation. Back then, it was almost impossible to book an overseas flight or secure hotel reservations without enlisting a travel agent. Now I'm the travel agent, thanks to the Internet, which also figures prominently in this issue's feature on the changing face of brick-and-mortar retail and how the Internet is helping retailers reduce overhead and compete with online stores.
I haven't started physically packing just yet, but I've been keeping a mental tally of items to bring. And it's incredible how the latest and greatest travel gear really simplifies the problem of “What do I bring?” Everything I could want fits into a single checked bag and a small carry-on. And “everything” includes comfort items for Kelly (some specifically requested, some I just know she'll appreciate). That's the magic trick our industry pulls off every day — traveling across the planet with everything I could want in just two bags.
The dimensions of a suitcase can sometimes be a contentious subject, (particularly at the gate), but what I've realized, going through the motions of preparing for my trip, is how the true measure of a suitcase really can't be described by its length, width, height or volume. It's the ability to bridge distances, bringing people closer together. And that's worth thinking about, as we gear up for the holiday season.
Safe travels, everyone.