The way we travel is always changing, and 2012 provided ample proof of that. To help you prep for your 2013 vacay, Oyster honed in on the top trends currently rocking the travel world, from the royal travel craze to the rise of the pod hotel. Here's what's hot -- and what's not!
The Trend: Celeb Hotel Designers
Celebrities and fashion icons -- Kelly Wearstler, Oscar de La Renta, and Ralph Lauren, to name a few -- have been designing hotel interiors for a while, but 2012 proved this trend certainly isn't going anywhere anytime soon. This year we've seen tennis star Venus Williams design two presidential suites for the Intercontinental Miami, Diane Von Furstenburg design a two-bedroom penthouse for the Australian Hayman Island Resort, and Lenny Kravitz contribute to yet another Miami hotel design project -- the SLS Hotel South Beach, coming soon to Oyster.com!
The Trend: Tablets
Not only are tablets an increasingly common accessory for travelers, they're used more and more by the hotels themselves. The Andaz chain, for example, uses tablets to check in hotel guests individually, rather than making them wait in a typical check-in line. Other hotels offer loaner iPads for guests to use during their stays, or in-room tablets that operate as "digital concierges" for requesting hotel services. At the new Eden Roc in Cap Cana in the D.R., in-room iPads are used to control the lighting, sound system, and TVs. Several airports are adding tablets to their restaurants, as well, for travelers to use to both order food and surf the web.
The Trend: Pod Hotels
Space in hotel rooms comes at a premium in the world's most popular cities, and we're seeing teensy rooms (and rooms with bunk beds) not only on the rise, but becoming, well, cool. In New York City, for example, Yotel (opened in 2011) has tiny cabin rooms clocking in at just 170 square feet, while the Out NYC and Wythe Hotel, both opened this year, offer rooms with bunk bed accommodations for bigger groups. These aren't hostels -- these are some of the city's hottest new hotels.
The Trend: The Demise of the Staycation
At the height of the economic crisis, staycations were all the rage -- people passed on trips to Europe in favor of exploring their own backyards and saving some cash. But in 2012 we've seen both domestic and international airline travel on the rise in the U.S. People feel like the economy is improving so it's time to get out and see a bit more of the world.
The Trend: Royal Travel Craze
All eyes were on London for the Queen's Jubilee celebration this June, and plenty of people traveled to London for the festivities. But the royal travel craze hardly ended there: Everyone waited with baited breath for Harry to misbehave on his own Jubilee tour in the Caribbean, and though he behaved, he rewarded the public later in the year by getting naked at a drug-fueled bash in Las Vegas. Kate had topless photos taken of her at a villa in France, and then she and Will jetted off to Asia, where some are speculating pregnant Kate may have conceived. Is there a babymoon for the royal couple in the future? Only 2013 will tell.