Travel in 2022 has been defined by inconvenience, with canceled flights, expensive tickets and lost luggage dominating the headlines. The summer has been particularly challenging, with travel more popular than before the pandemic, according to a report by the World Travel & Tourism Council. The season saw a record number of delayed flights (19%) and canceled flights (4%), making travel a nightmarish and unpredictable experience for many.
While there’s no controlling the weather or fuel prices, there’s plenty travelers can do to feel empowered to see the world. With all these variables in motion, here are several products and services that anyone can obtain to enhance the travel experience.
Personalized travel subscriptions
The growth of the subscription economy has led to an increased desire for expert curation and personalized recommendations. Taking a similar approach to Stitch Fix, new (and free) subscription platform VIP Traveler uses proprietary personalization technology to power travelers who can book trips tailored to their unique tastes each week. Letting the data decide where it goes is one less thing to stress about.
Contactless airport security
With massive delays at airports, getting through security quickly has become a priority. Especially as a result of the pandemic, travelers are looking for faster, contactless methods of identity verification, and companies like CLEAR and Corsight are using biometrics to speed up security checks. It’s still worth getting to airports early, but these services can add more confidence about the timing of the experience.
Trusted travel telehealth
Launching in 2022, Runway is the first telehealth service on the market accessible 24/7 from anywhere with an Internet connection. In addition to consulting doctors as needed, Runway also prepares travelers for adventure by providing prescriptions for common ailments encountered on the road, from motion sickness to insomnia and malaria.
Performance-based clothing for all travel situations
As flight delays are becoming more frequent, it is best to avoid checking your bag. Travelers should consider brands that design clothing suitable for various situations, from walking to dining at a restaurant. Hikerkind is a women’s hiking gear company that debunks the myth that aesthetics and performance can’t coexist, and their wrinkle-resistant clothing is just as suitable for running through an airport as it is for sitting on the tarmac.
Car sharing between peers
Long lines and inflated prices at the rental desk can seriously ruin a day’s travel. Turo is a peer-to-peer car sharing app that travelers can use to book rental cars from real people listed on their personal list, rather than a rental car agency. In addition to being a good platform to find vehicles during a time when rentals are hard to come by, it’s also a great opportunity to drive rare or exotic cars as a holiday treat.
Baggage tracking devices
This April, airlines lost, damaged, delayed or stole nearly 220,000 of the 40 million bags that took to the sky, according to a report from the Department of Transportation. The best advice is to avoid checking a bag at all costs. If that’s not possible, consider placing a tracking device, such as an Apple AirTag or Tile, inside your suitcase so you always know where they are.
Access to experts on the ground
Elsewhere is a platform that connects travelers with local experts and guides, making it easy for travelers to customize, modify and add to their itinerary. In addition, VIP Traveler offers premium members access to on-the-ground destination experts and a dedicated “Travel Stylist” for custom trip planning, along with 24/7 support.