#1 – It will be cheaper to cruise than to stay in assisted living –
You do the math. A seven-day cruise costs as low as about $75 a day. Living in an assisted living center is over $100 a day. What a way to retire!
#2 – Southwest Airlines’ credit card will offer free companion tickets when you fly in 2019 and 2020-
One of the best values in 2019 will continue to be the Companion Pass offered by Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier credit card. This program is the best thing since apple pie. This program works only for those who earn at least 110,000 on their credit card in one year or fly 100 one-way flights on Southwest. So if you travel a lot or charge a lot for your business this card may provide you with two-for-one tickets as you fly into the sunset. CLICK HERE for a great article explaining how to earn.
#3 – Airlines will charge a $10 service fee for using a credit card (Forgive me for sounding like a broken record) –
For six straight years, I have been predicting this will happen and I have been way ahead of my time (A nice way of saying I was wrong). But this year is different as there is too much money on the table for the airlines to keep ignoring this golden egg. Airlines pay anywhere from 2-3% of the cost of your airline ticket to credit card companies when you charge your airline ticket to a credit card. Charging a small fee to use your credit card is actually being done now in Europe by some airlines. Credit card fees are the next big pot of gold the airlines can attack and capture Billions in additional profits.
#4 – The Euro to US Dollar (USD) exchange rate will fall under parity in 2019 –
The experiment of a single currency called the Euro for the European Union was launched in 1999. Just after launch the currency dropped below parity with the USD but then rose for almost a decade to a high of $1.49 in 2008. The last 10 years have been a bummer for the Euro as it has fallen like a rock to around $1.13 today. In 2019 I am predicting that the Euro will be worth less than the dollar. The European economy is so on the rocks the dollar will benefit big time.
#5 – Greece is the hot European destination in 2019 –
Travel to Greece has been on many bucket lists. For the last 10 years, the Greeks have lived through some of the toughest times in their history as their economy entered a depression. The Greek economy has now stabilized and many in Europe and the U.S. are flocking there.
#6 – Cold is the new Hot –
To get around all the heavy crowds of all the major cities suffering from too many tourists (overtourism) during the busy summer months, travelers will start moving their vacations to the shoulder months (March, April, Sept, October) and even the winter months to avoid the crowds. This also saves on airfare, and hotel costs also as prices for the off-season can be as much as 40% lower.
#7 – 2019 is a G’day to head to Australia and New Zealand –
United Airlines is going full speed by expanding service to both Australia and New Zealand in 2019. This means great pricing and availability to travel down under.
#8 – People will start sending their luggage by FedEx instead of checking it with the airlines –
Every major airline (except Southwest) now charges as much as $120 roundtrip to check your luggage. While travelers hate these fees the airlines have figured out they can charge these fees without suffering the wrath of their customers. After five years of predicting I anticipate that in 2019 we will finally see UPS and FedEx start to promote a “door to door” luggage service at a cost equal to or less than the cost of taking your luggage to the airport and paying those fees.
#9 – Expect airlines to offer travel sales for discounted miles –
Airlines know when and where they have empty seats. Plus they have billions of frequent flyer miles on the books that they need to provide redemption incentives to get those off the books and stimulate sales of seats. In 2019 they will offer special sales so instead of it taking 35,000 miles to redeem for a free seat to Mexico they will have sales that lower that redemption level to 25,000 miles or less. The airlines know many people only have enough miles for one free ticket and that usually, 2 to 4 people in a family will travel to Mexico. So if they have one free ticket they also get to sell one ticket and fill two empty seats.
#10 – Get ready for an even bigger avalanche of mail and emails from the airlines, hotels and cruise lines in 2019 –
Airlines are going to bomb you with email marketing in 2019. The minute you make your reservation you will receive offers for everything from seat upgrades to prepaid baggage fees and a host of ancillary products prior to your upcoming flights. Many of you who have cruised in the last 5 years already probably receive at least one cruise brochure a week in the mail. Hotels are the next big email to hit us. All I need is more email in my inbox!
#11 – Americans will stampede to Hawaii this year as the airlines lower prices and fare wars erupt from the west coast –
This is the year that Southwest Airlines starts service to Hawaii. Other airlines will want to make it painful for Southwest to enter the market so I expect some great airfare sales for the west coast of the U.S. Expect hotel prices in Hawaii to stay high however as more demand brings higher prices.
#12 – Tahiti will be the hot South Pacific destination in 2019 –
United Airlines is starting service three times a week to Tahiti from San Francisco and this will make a great new option for many travelers. Papeete, the capital of Tahiti, is the South Pacific’s gateway to more than 118 islands in French Polynesia including Bora Bora, Moorea, the Marquesas, and Raiatea. United is the only U.S. carrier offering nonstop service to Tahiti from the mainland United States.
#13 – Luxury cruise lines with “all-inclusive” prices may be cheaper than mass market cruise lines in 2019 –
There is an old joke in the travel industry that the majority of heart attacks in America happen when cruise passengers read their cruise billing statement on the last day of their cruise. The cruise industry has found that they often can generate more revenue from drinks and tours than the price they charge for the cruise. This is all starting to change as the high-end luxury cruise lines have initiated “all-inclusive” cruise pricing that includes the cruise, all drinks, food, tours and even tips in one easy to understand price. The mass market cruise lines like Carnival and Royal Caribbean are now being forced to offer something to compete with “all-inclusive” luxury cruises and land-based competition.
#14 – Iceland will be hot hot hot again in 2019 –
With $200 round trip airfares on WOW Airlines leading the way, Americans by the thousands are discovering Iceland and its unique features. Having just traveled there this past spring I am ready to go back again soon.
#15 – Americans will travel the globe in record numbers in 2019 –
With fuel prices at rock bottom, international airlines’ ticket prices will be the lowest in years. Add to that a strong dollar and weak Euro and you have set the table for a record-breaking year to travel the globe by Americans. Expect most Americans to set their sights on Europe in 2019.
#16 – Bucket lists will boomerang in 2019 –
Bucket lists were always a list of places around the world that you wanted to visit during your lifetime. Once you visited you check the destination off your list. In 2019, travelers will want to return to those bucket list destinations multiple times (thus the boomerang).
#17 – Travelers will move from being tourists (passive) to being explorers (active) in 2019 –
Travelers in 2019 want to explore destinations not just see them. They want to feel and participate in the local culture. They will also want to get off the beaten path and blaze a new trail in destinations not well known.
#18 – Ireland is my Blue Light Special in 2019 –
Years ago I remember K-mart having a blue light special for the best deals in the store. In 2019, the Euro will fall and some of the best travel bargains of the year will be found in Europe. Added to the great prices in Europe is the fact that Ireland is adding a bunch of new airline service in 2019. Travel to Ireland is my blue light special in 2019.
#19 – Airlines will start offering deeper discounts for business and first class international tickets –
A small percentage of travelers you see in those big seats at the front of the airplanes actually pay the full price for those tickets. A business class ticket from the U.S. to Europe can cost a whopping $6,000 -$7,000. A first-class ticket from the U.S. to Australia or Southeast Asia can cost a whopping $15,000. Some of the major airlines are now trying to provide discounts for those seats to try to get more people to actually pay for them rather than give them away as upgrades. Look for airlines in 2019 in certain markets to offer premium seats that are non-refundable and require a 30 or 60-day advance purchase in hopes of getting more leisure travelers to upgrade from coach. Also look for foreign-flagged airlines to offer the best business class deals as they don’t have the connecting lift that the U.S. flagged carriers have.