People will be paying less for airfare and hotels in 2010 as the travel industry offers better and better deals for recession weary consumers, USA Today reports.  The top ten travel trends for the year are reported as:

1. more airport delays

2. a buyer’s market for hotel travelers

3. Rise of the real-time Web

4. More smart phones means more apps and more people using them

5. Wi-Fi everywhere

6. A la carte airlines

7. Vegas and Harry Potter’s Wizarding World will be busy..

8. ….so will Vancouver and South Africa

9. Healthy outlook for medical tourism

10.  Increase in faith-based tourism

With ‘digital’ now synonymous with ‘instant,’ ” and nearly half of U.S. adults using social networking sites, consumers can expect more time-sensitive “flash sales” offered via Facebook or Twitter.  as well as more real-time postings of travel experiences and faster response from companies and institutions fearful that negative opinions will go viral.  We’ll see apps that let us order  room service before check in (just-released apps for Hilton, Embassy Suites and Doubletree).

When Wife is available at more than  11,000 McDonald’s locations, you know the trend of being connected everywhere has gone mainstream – indeed, tech columnist Larry Magid calls Internet access  “part of the plumbing of our lives”.   Consumers will be able to expect more  upscale hotels to offer free wifi, like their more midpriced brethren (Embassy Suites, for example).  Amtrak, meanwhile, will launch free Wi-Fi this spring on Acela Express trains.

A la carte serve on airlines might not mean paying to use the in-flight toilet, but it will likely mean  more charges for “perks” like aisle and window seats.

Ah, Vegas – never one to get depressed when gaming revenue and visitor arrivals down Sin City is debuting its new  CityCenter featuring nearly  6,000 hotel rooms.  Specials are even more so with weekday rooms are as low as $15 a night at  Hooters and  $99 at the Trump International Hotel & Tower.   The other destination considered a ‘sure bet’ is Universal Studio’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter plus  cruises in the Caribbean while winter cruises sell at the “record low” of $349 a week.

Visitors are expected to flock to Vancouver and South Africa due to the Olympics and FIFA World Cup soccer tournament.

Medical Tourism:

The continued rise of  medical tourism or medical travel (the practice of traveling abroad for high end, high tech lower priced health care)  continue, fueled in part by  health care reform policies and the increased international coverage offered by US insurers.  An estimated 1.6 million Americans will go abroad for medical travel  by 2012, according to Deloitte Center for Health Solutions. With prices for hip replacement, angioplasty, dental implants and weight loss surgery registering at 30%-70%, insurers such as Blue Cross Blue Shield and Aetna are offering innovative policies that let members choose among state-of-the art dental clinics and hospitals in Mexico, Costa Rica, Singapore and Thailand.  Angeles Health can confirm that the trend in medical travel to Latin America is robust; just this week we hosted nine patients for spinal fusion, gastric sleeve plication, dental implants and kidney surgery, as well as  Canadian patients for the new CCSVI Treatment for MS.  Welcome!