What’s the new normal in travel? How about the “no normal?” That’s what a study by Expedia, Hotels.com and VRBO predicts for travel in 2023.
We’ve done the travel bubble, close to home, staycation, sustainable, revenge and communing with nature travel. What the experts forecast for 2023 is a year of the unexpected, a year travelers do as they please in terms of travel.
IPX1031, a Fidelity National Financial company, conducted its own study and found that, even in the face of rising inflation, more than 90% of Americans plan to travel this year. In fact, 51% plan to travel more in 2023 than they did last year. And even as 82% budget more carefully and watch expenses more closely, the U.S. Travel Foundation forecasts an increase in travel spending in 2023 compared to 2022.
So, what does no-normal travel look like? It looks like travelers following their heart’s desire – whether that means a wellness break, bucket-list extravaganza, off-grid venture, workcation or even the (Shh!) emerging “hush” trip where remote workers spirit themselves off for some “me time” without telling the boss.
Regardless of the picture — and it is different for each traveler — 90% of travelers want to experience new or unique activities, according to a survey by GetYourGuide. And the travel goods they pack along on their devil-may-care jaunts need to stand up to the adventuresome, astonishing and eye-opening nature of travel, whether the picture is a rugged trek or a luxury retreat.
Experiential group travel company, Go Ahead Tours, advises travelers to be dream trip-ready with essentials like a carry-on bag with USB charger; anti-theft bags; sturdy BPA-free, refillable water bottles; packing cubes; and personal comfort items, including travel pillows and headphones, among other items.
This year, the Travel Goods Association is presenting Travel Gear + Luggage in partnership with the International Housewares Association at The Inspired Home Show — the premier home + housewares event in the U.S. All the newest travel products and innovations will be on display March 4 to 7 at Chicago’s McCormick Place, a new showroom floor that brings new energy, promise and excitement to the event.
Attendees will find luggage elevated to quick-change artist status, like a modular, carry-on size backpack that breaks up into separate, functional pieces so travelers carry only what they need, when they need it. A bag that goes from sleekly slim to its antonym — meaning spacious and voracious to swallow up a weekend’s worth of belongings. And a case that coddles 10 bottles of wine or can carry clothes and travel essentials, or a combination of both.
Another bag promises to bring the senses alive with textured pockets for ease of packing and sophisticated styling for envious second looks. And yet another is designed for the person who’s been everywhere — those world travelers who know exactly what they need in a high-performance bag.
With airplane travel more cramped and uncomfortable than ever before, several personal comfort items save the day by offering travelers a more enjoyable way to rest and relax without fear of roaming into a seatmate’s space, eliminate lower back pain by giving dangling feet support, and sleep in cloudlike comfort.
Products that provide peace of mind in these post-pandemic times include masks that filter up to 99.9% of airborne particulates, don’t fog up glasses and, most importantly, are comfortable to wear…tray covers and organizing pockets and pouches that protect travelers from OPGs (other people’s germs)…and super-absorbent vitamin sprays for sleep, energy, stress and immune support.
Among no-fuss, no-muss products are no-spill toiletry bottles, collapsible beverage holders, a travel blanket with built-in bug repellent and safety locks to secure travelers’ belongings and keep unwanted hands away. Nausea relief, too — and disguised as cool jewelry.
“As The Inspired Home Show continues to solidify its position as the premier face-to-face event for the home, expansion into travel goods and accessories is a logical enhancement of our Show floor offering,” said Derek Miller, president and CEO of the International Housewares Association. “Working with the Travel Goods Association to create the new Travel Gear + Luggage destination enhances the scope of opportunity for our retail attendees by aligning with a category that has long been adjacent to the home department, and in fact, continues to fall within home buying teams’ responsibilities across many major retailers.”
“This collaboration with the International Housewares Association has many benefits for the Travel Goods Association,” said TGA President/CEO Michele Marini Pittenger. “Besides creating new excitement on the showroom floor, our presence at The Inspired Home Show presents opportunities for learning from each other, developing new business and relationships, generating new ideas and achieving more success.”
Here are some products and product innovations that will help 2023’s travelers fulfill their travel wish list: