What to Look Forward to in Travel in 2015 December 30, 2014 By Caitlin Bradford 1 Comment As 2014 comes to a close, here is a look ahead to what 2015 is likely to hold in store for travelers around the world. A major issue that will affect world travel during 2015 is the continued fall of oil prices. Russia has already faced some serious negative effects from this change, and other countries that have oil-driven economies are feeling the crunch too. For travelers, however, this creates a great opportunity. Lower oil prices can correlate to lower gas prices, making driving much more economical, and there is the possibility that the cost of airfare may decline too. Although no airlines have announced cuts yet, ground transportation costs are likely to diminish over the coming months. Unlike the gas pump, airline fare changes are not seen nearly as quickly. Airlines generally purchase their fuel months in advance, meaning that while the national average for a gallon of gasoline is almost a dollar less than it was a few months ago, the airlines are still using fuel that was purchased at the higher rate. The International Air Transport Association (which represents almost all of the major airlines) says that although we won’t see a change in fares for at least two or three months, there will be an estimated 5.1 percent drop in airfare within the next year, and this percent decrease could be even greater if gas prices continue to fall. The decrease in airfare will likely lead to more travel, which the online travel analysis group Skift is already anticipating. According to an article posted on the company’s website, hotel occupancy is expected to reach 64.8% in 2015, its highest rate since 1995. The report estimates that this rise in hotel usage will lead to increased prices for midscale and economy hotels. However, the report also states that, if consumers shift to more midscale hotels, increased supply could force higher end hotels to lower their rates, leading to equilibrium. Either way, more demand is a huge win for the hotel industry which is still recovering from the 2008/2009 economic recession. Another Skift survey brings to light an interesting fact from 2014: nearly 51 percent of Americans did not take a single vacation this year, while the remaining 49 percent took anywhere from about 5 to 10 days of vacation. The two demographics with the fewest vacations were 18-24 year olds and those 65+ with a fairly equal spread between men and women and along regional lines. The survey did not ask why these groups did not travel, but, if economic concerns were an issue, the falling cost of fares (and possible equalizing of hotels) could lead to an overwhelming travel increase in 2015. The specific destinations to which these individuals could travel in 2015 are uncertain; however, international travel in general is increasing at a rapid pace. This means that prior planning is even more important for 2015 than it may have been for previous years, be it planning for hotels, events, or health. Remember that if you have travel health needs, be sure to contact a Passport Health Travel Specialist at least four to six weeks before your departure date for assistance in establishing a pre-departure travel medicine schedule. We would like to hear from you! What factor would play the biggest role in your vacation decisions? A lowering of airfares, hotel rates, or another factor that we may not have mentioned? Feel free to comment below or on the Passport Health Facebook page.