The Traveler’s Wishlist for 2009

Santa Claus
With the new year a week away and Santa Claus visiting tonight, it’s time to create a travel wish list for 2009:

Dear Santa,

It’s been a great 2008. We like to think we were good travelers this year. We started a lot of good travel websites, met great travelers, participated in worthy causes, some companies went green, and more people traveled the green way. More people around the world traveled this year and even more people inspired themselves to travel. We did our best and we were good! However, not everything is perfect in the travel world and there are still some things that should change.

Since we were such good boys and girls this year, please bring us these presents in 2009:

More green travel. It’s great that environmental travel is on the rise, but too many people still leave big footprints wherever they go. They stay in big hotels, waste energy, and do high impact sightseeing tours.  It would be nice to see more people travel green and use local and environmentally friendly companies like Intrepid Travel or Gap Adventures.

Better airlines. Give those airlines coal for being bad. They keep raising fares and cutting services. Worse, they make it harder to use the miles we’ve been slowly accruing. Can we please have some good airlines in 2009? No more hidden fees, fuel surcharges, expensive food, costly pillows, and surly, underpaid staff. Just replicate the Singapore or Emirates Air model for everyone. Please?

Travel companies on the web. The internet is the future of travel yet so many companies have such a small web profile and fail to engage their consumers in an effective way. More than that, they ignore the robust online travel community. We reach their audience more effectively on the web than they do. It would be nice if many of the big travel companies had more of a Web 2.0 presence and made information available online. It’s good for them and good for consumers.

Peace on earth. Just thought we’d ask. It’s worth a try.

More cultural exchanges. Can schools and universities across the globe participate in more cultural exchanges? Meeting new people and learning about new cultures is the essence of travel and that can change the world. Cultural and study abroad programs enrich all those involved and everyone walks away learning something new. Maybe we’re optimistic but by learning that we all aren’t so different, we can get a little closer to that peace on earth thing.

Better consumer protection. It’s not easy being a traveler. Airlines cancel fights, tours aren’t what they said they were, mistakes happen, scams occur, and there are a lot of accidents that can happen. Often, companies have a plethora of ways to say it’s our fault and then charge a fee to fix it. It would be nice if consumer advocate groups and travelers banded together to stop these practices.

Great travel deals. The economy is in recession and could go into a depression. Oil prices are down. Travel is down. It makes for a great time for businesses to slash prices and offer great deals. Make it happen. We want to travel more. And travel cheap.

Better environmental protection. It’s great that more people around the world are traveling overseas, but that takes its toll on the environment as more people rush to places like the Great Barrier Reef, Patagonia, Africa, Hawaii, Brazil, and much more.  Many people and governments trade short term economic gains for long term environmental protection. It would be good if governments focused more on sustainable tourism and educating the people about its benefits. Because once all the animals are gone, who will want to go to see Africa? When the coral reefs are gone, the dive business goes with it. It is lose-lose.

So Santa, that’s what we want for Christmas. A greener, better travel world. Is that too much to ask? Please. We’ll be good in 2009. Promise.


Travelers of the world

  1. Good read. I do hope to be conscious about my footprints and be as eco-friendly as I can. Travel by itself is not very eco-friendly, but the least we can do is try to be as green as possible as we travel.

    Merry Christmas.

  2. Dear Santa,
    Just wanted to re-iterate Matt’s list especially the part about better consumer protection. We travelers put up with surcharges for luggage or fuel or changes to our itinerary AND we put up with late flights, lost luggage and missed connections. We, as travel service consumers, should find a way to band together and tell the airlines that we understand that they are in the business of making money, but that when we pay for a service, we expect to get that service and we expect it on time – doubly so if we’ve paid excess fees for it.

    Merry Christmas everyone!

  3. I do hope Santa is listening…we couldnt have asked for a better wishlist….maybe one more could be that recession ends and we can start travelling again to more places ..

  4. There is not one thing on this list that I am not 100% behind. in other, less double negative-y words, WHAT YOU SAID, MATT!

    Can I get a witness?!?! Well done, said.

  5. I think Santa should teach us how he travels by air and still manages to stay green 😉
    Anyway, I’m glad you brought up the environment protection and the future of travel on the net. Travel companies should definitely get more involved in the new technology and resources to make travel a lot better and easier. But I believe things are going to start shifting very soon, because that’s the only way to go.
    All the best in the new year! Hope I catch the Santa letter this year on time… :)

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