Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Air travel: The now, then and future of international holidays

Commercial Feature

Now that the sun has finally decided to show its face, you’re probably starting to formulate grand summer holiday plans.

But, while you’re busy researching package holidays online to tie in with your hectic work calendar, stop for moment and think how good you’ve really got it at the moment in terms of travel.

There’s no denying that Brits have become jetsetters, frequently flitting off abroad. But, like a lot of things in life, people take the manmade right to enjoy a holiday for granted. Travel is an amazing thing. With a ticket stored on your mobile phone, you can fly to an entirely different country, in a different continent, in just a matter of hours. You can travel to a place where the native language is different, the culture extraordinary and the experiences truly unique.

In the future, as the growing number of travellers put more demand on travel companies, there are inevitably going to be changes to how people holiday. In the immediate future, it seems toilets on planes are going to be downsized to accommodate additional seats, and ticket prices will be determined by a passenger’s weight. And further down the track, with Richard Branson’s grand plans, we could all be flying into space for a holiday.

A few generations back, in your grandparent’s time, international travel was a luxury reserved only for the wealthy. It took months of planning, included numerous stopovers, and meant the lucky traveller would be relatively out of contact for the duration of their journey. And it was never just a weekend trip.

This is in contrast to now, when all inclusive last minute holidays can be booked in a matter of minutes, anything but a direct flight is an inconvenience and gourmet food and a personal in-flight cinema is an ordinary expectation.

If you take a look through the Belfast Telegraph’s travel section on any given day, you’ll be bombarded with holiday ideas: from where to find the world’s best beaches to how to get to all Seven Wonders of the World - mostly affordable, and all readily accessible.

There are even apps available now that give a celebrity touch to the everyman’s holiday by acting as a personal travel assistant. Take Expedia for example, who have just released their redesigned mobile app to, in essence, act as a personal travel assistant fitted with a little black book for travel itineraries.

Travel has never been as easy, as accessible, or as affordable as now. We’ve become a society of holiday-goers, where rather than saving up for an annual holiday to the beach, we’re now able to travel internationally at the drop of a hat thanks to cheap flights anywherein the world and a huge diversity of options.

So, come time to plan your summer holiday, think big. You’re in an amazing position where you can jet off almost anywhere in the world at a few clicks.

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