The rules of travel are forever shifting – and those who don’t stay up to date, may pay the price. Passport and visa changes, pesky new taxes and a heating climate … read on for some of the big things affecting travellers in 2024.
Disrupting the disruptor
Airbnb is coming under increased pressure as cities besieged by visitors apply restrictions to the home-sharing platform. New York City, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin and San Francisco are just some of the cities putting the squeeze on Airbnb and its ilk, forcing travellers to look at more expensive hotel options.
Starting in the northern spring of 2024 Venice will achieve a world first, charging an entry fee to day trippers. The €5 (NZ$8.70) charge will apply on a maximum of 30 days during peak season, such as busy weekends. Local authorities will conduct random checks to ensure the fee has been paid through the city’s visitor portal. Overnight visitors, who pay a daily tax at their hotel, will not have to pay the entry fee.
Simply red tape
Kiwi passport holders travelling to the UK will soon have to apply for an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA). This is not a visa, it’s a visa waiver, similar to the US Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA). Applicants will need a valid biometric passport and an email address, with applications submitted online to the (gov.uk) website. The cost is £10 (NZ$20).
Heat is on
Global warming is now an inescapable fact, with the northern summer of 2023 the hottest recorded, following a scalding, dry summer the previous year. Expect the trend to continue in 2024, with the likelihood of uncomfortably hot cities in southern Europe between June and the end of September.
Copping it suite
Expect steeper hotel prices in 2024. Energy prices, labour costs, inflation and visitor numbers are on the rise all around the globe, and that means the cost of accommodation has only one way to go.
Going, going …
Passports could be on the way out. Finland is trialling a smartphone app that replicates the digitised information now stored in a chip embedded in ePassports. The payoff is seamless processing through airports, from check-in to border control to boarding.
What’s the point
Many travellers are becoming disillusioned with their airline’s loyalty scheme as the number of points required for airline seats goes up while the availability of reward seats goes down. Some are now looking for airlines that give them the best value rather than the ones that boost their points pyramid that is never quite big enough to get them the flights they want.
According to hotel industry forecasts, post-pandemic “revenge travel” will persist in 2024, ensuring that flights and hotels remain full, car rental prices remain high and the world’s favourite destinations will be more crowded. Consider off-season travel and destinations that don’t make centre stage.
Feeling the strain
Covid-19 will still be with us in 2024. Probably diminishing in case numbers, but expect outbreaks from time to time. Some experts predict it will become endemic, like the flu, requiring an annual vaccination to guard against new strains.
Bedbugs have invaded Paris. Not since the French Revolution has the capital been in such an uproar. This bodes ill for the Paris Olympics, when millions of visitors will descend on the city, allowing the opportunistic little night biters to hitch a ride to the furthest corners of the planet. You have been warned.