person kicking 2020 off a cliff and pushing 2021 up a hill

While I’ve been confined to staying put in Australia due to travel restrictions, I’ve been busy scouting the internet for new travel trends. What I found was some quirky, funny and really clever travel inventions that certainly could become our new travel trends of the future.  

The travel trends or inventions relate to all aspects of travelling. It involves being on the plane, or at the airport. Some ideas from hotels looked quite fun. And then of course new products have come out to captalise on the new travelling ways during and post Covid times.  

It's usually during extreme times and experiences when new ideas pop out or help push already existing  products into the mainstream. Some of these ideas will change our lives forever. Have a read below of the 15 quirky travel trends and inventions and see which ones you will like or will dislike.

Air Travel

infographic describing different ways air travel will change after Covid

A day in the life of a future traveller

Simpliflying, an aviation marketing company, have developed an infographic showing how travelling by plane will change post Covid-19.  

Its called The Rise of Sanitised Travel. And it maps out 70 areas in the day of a traveller that will change. Whether it comes true or not is a different matter, but it was interesting to read of what the future could hold for us travel groovers. 

Will we need to scan ‘immunity reports’ with our passports at immigration? What about pre-purchasing masks and gloves instead of food and drinks during the online booking process? Will they permanently take away the inflight magazines? And how long can an airline survive with an empty seat between passengers? 

Take a look at the infographic by clicking on the image above. Would you be happy with any the changes that might take place on your future travels? 

animated photo of a male and female flight attendant in full PPE

Ethiad Airways Wellness Ambassadors 

This airline is thinking ahead with its health and hygiene protocols. We already know the extent airlines have gone to ensuring cabins are cleaned and sanitised for travellers. However, Ethiad Wellness takes it one step further. 

Once all travel restrictions are lifted, Ethiad will be providing Wellness Ambassadors onboard their flights. They will complement the current flight attendant staff. Their main aim is to provide personalised support to the traveller with regards to health and wellness while on flight.  This will be a world first. 

Wellness Ambassadors are already inducted at Abu Dhabi International Airport to help with the process from check-in through to immigration. And you can contact them via email or a soon to be established web-chat option. 

new travel trend - a traveller standing in front of a white booth for sanitising

Cleantech – full body disinfecting booths 

Welcome to the future at your nearest airport. Hong Kong International Airport is trialing the worlds first Cleantech booth 

First, before you enter, your temperature is taken to rule out any fevers. Then you step inside the Cleantech booth for 40 seconds of disinfection and sanitising processes. 

First the machine uses a UV based disinfection process to kill the bacteria and viruses on your body. Then you are sprayed with ‘BioEm Air Sanitizing and Purifying’ liquid to sanitise your clothing and carry-on bags.  

Not sure how the trails went but it was initially trialled by airport staff before starting their shift. If the trial moves to passengers, it will be another queue at the airport! Now we will need to arrive at airport five hours prior to departure. 

animated photo showing direct airflow to each individual passenger on a plane

Teague’s Airshield 

Not that many of us have had the chance to fly in the last year. A group of people in a confined box, helping the virus jump from country to country. But Teague have come up with a solution to reduce the risk of spreading the virus without social distancing on the plane. 

They suggest it can be done by controlling the air flow. By engineering the ‘blades of air’, Airshield can basically create an invisible isolation unit around each individual passenger. Just like having an invisible curtain around you. 

Its still in the prototype stage but I do hope it gets off the ground soon! You can check out the video on Teague’s website. 

new travel trend showing a plastic divider on the middle seat on a plane

PlanBay – dividing airplane seats 

Perhaps the new normal on planes will look like this instead? Will having an empty seat next to us be enough?  

Well French engineer Florian Barjot, last year debuted a new concept called PlanBay. The proposal is to use plexiglass or polycarbonate panels to divide each middle seat, increase the backseat height and fill the gaps between the seats.  

Advantage is that it can help reduce the spread of the virus and stop any sneezing from behind. But the drawback is that you wont be able to recline the seat.  

Their intention is to install for a limited time, not to create a new standard going forward. Would this make you feel safer?  

More screen dividers 

But they’re not the only company who have thought of this idea. They do have competition from Factory Design with a similar concept called the Isolate Screen Divider Kit. 

animated picture of passengers on a plane with a plastic bubble over their heads

Glassafe – transparent bubble 

Maybe this design by Aviointeriors is a better solution for airlines compared to above. At least, the airline won’t lose money on dedicated empty seats. 

Called Glassafe, it’s a transparent bubble over the head and shoulders of each passenger. No fear about someone sneezing behind or beside you. It’s a cheap option for airlines as its quick to install on existing seating. 

new travel trend at airports - vending machine for hot meals

Brisbane airport – hot meal vending machine 

Covid-19 lockdowns don’t only affect the airlines schedules but it also closes down airport cafes and restaurants. 

So Brisbane Airport teamed up with Snapfresh to create a vending machine that continues to serve hot meals. This is not your typical soft drink or junk food vending machine. I’m talking good quality, ready-made meals.  

The Snapfresh machine can serve you a hot meal within 70 seconds. Or you can opt to have it cold and reheat later. It offers 6 meal varieties on rotation. I think it's a nice option to have at the airport. 

On the ground

two people eating plane food while sitting on airplane seats inside a building

Thai Airways – inflight dining on land  

Thailand had closed its borders to the rest of the world for most of 2020. Hence, their national airline Thai Airways was also shut down. But that did not stop them from continuing their friendly in-flight service. 

Thai Airways converted their canteen at headquarters into an aircraft-themed pop-up restaurant. Complete with airline seats. And some furniture was made from old airplane parts. 

Singapore Airlines did a similar pop-up idea but on one of their grounded A380 aircraft. Tickets sold out in 30 minutes. 

A great quirky idea to satisfy those who miss flying on a plane and eating airline food! 

wooden two storey ski chalet

Vrbo – book your own ski mountain 

This is the best way to practice social distancing while on a skiing vacation. Simply book your own ski mountain. 

Online skiing holiday booking site Vrbo is offering Book the Mountain. You book the whole house/chalet and it comes with its very own ski mountain. Perfect to keep the family safe and still have fun. 

new travel trend for hotels with a cylinder shaped robot moving down hotel hallway with cold drinks inside

Wine deliveries by a robot 

This one I love. Hotel Trio in Healdsburg, California certainly know how to look after guests during Covid times. Their robot, named Rosé, delivers wine straight to the guests room. The best ‘touchless experience’ ever. 

Rosé may help travellers sample wines from the neighbouring winery regions but it does have the ability to deliver other convenient items such as snacks, extra towels and toiletries.   

These robots are certainly proving their worth during this global pandemic. 

person holding phone with sproute logo on screen

Sproute - A travel navigation app with a difference 

Most travel and map apps show you the quickest way to get to your destination. However, the Sproute app is designed to help you get a completely different experience as you make your way to your final destination. 

A perfect app to feel like a traveller in your own home city. The company’s main aim is to create “a world where people prioritize things besides speed and are able to enjoy the journey a bit more”. The app offers three distinct options for travel options: 

Sightseer -  help you navigate between famous sites but allow you to see other interesting landmarks along the way. 

Nightlight – creates a route to find lit streets on your way home or back to the hotel. 

Commuter -  choose from many different route options between home and your destination. Relieve boredom and see a different scenery everyday. 

Sproute was one of the winners of Fast Company’s 2020 Innovation by Design Awards. 

female wearing blue demin skirt with a mid length checkered jacket

Rent you clothing at your travel destination 

Now, I don’t know how this concept is faring during Covid times. I hope all clothing items are thoroughly cleaned. But I do love the concept. I’ve never seen it before.  

All you need to do is head over to the Gibbon website,  select the items you want, tell them your arrival date, how long you’ll need them for and the destination address. Then they will deliver them to the door in a reusable garment bag. At the end of your stay, place the garments bag into the garment bag and Gibbon will collect from the same address.   

This is the ultimate way to travel light. Currently they offer rental of outerwear (eg. Jackets) and knitwear. These items are usually bulky and take up a lot of space in your luggage. So save space, save luggage weight.  

At this stage, this service is only available in London, UK. I love travelling to London as I love shopping there. This would be perfect to arrive with an empty suitcase and fill it up with UK/European fashion. But still know I have other clothes as a backup (just in case I don’t like the current season fashion).  

I hope this concept takes off in other cities.

Travel Products

blue bag containing 6 miniture items relating to skin care

Hygiene Travel Skincare 

In a world of high sanitization protocols, one skincare company has jumped on board. The Michelle Hope luxury skincare range has just now added a new item to their stylish Blubag. The convenient travel kit contains your usual staples like face cleanser, hydrating cream, face serum and eye serum. But now includes an antibacterial hand cleanser and moisturiser.   

Combining a hand sanitiser and moisturiser together is genius. I’m sure we are all suffering from dry hands due to the constant tap of the sanitiser bottle at every door we walked through. I wonder if other skin care products will morph into anti-bacterial properties. 

grey cylinder shaped duffle bag

Samsara Luggage – bacteria repelling travel bags 

Masks, gloves and sanitisers may help protect our body but what is protecting our luggage? Especially when its handled numerous times from the moment you check-in at the airport until you arrive at the hotel. 

Samsara Luggage has introduced the Weekender Nano-bag for this new era of save travel. The bag is treated with nanotechnology that helps prevent bacteria growing on the fabric. As Covid-19 is rather a virus, you wont get much help from the new nanotech on that front. But it will provide comfort on your bag being germ free. Yes, it is water, dirt and germ repellent.  

new travel trend - yellow striped suitcase pre-dented

Crash baggage 

Make it look like you’ve been travelling a lot over the last year (wink wink) by buying pre-dented luggage. Plus never have to worry about crying over your first dent on your brand new suitcase purchase.   

Crash Baggage make pre-dented cabin luggage, suitcases, tote bags, backpacks and water bottles. Not cheap but quite humorous. 

Which travel trends or inventions did you like the most? 

I’m sure there is some more whacky things and ideas out there. So which of the travel inventions are you liking the most? Which of the travel trends are you not looking forward to? Let me know in the comments below. 

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About the author

Lisa is a travel gypsy by heart, having already been to over 70 countries and still counting. Founder of Travel Groove, to share travel tips, tricks and knowledge with other travellers.

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