It’s a new year and time to start making those travel plans. Whether you’re heading to the mountains for a ski trip or the beaches for spring break, it can be difficult to navigate all the latest trends and policies in the travel industry. With fare increases, travel advisories, and airport requirements, it can be really frustrating to find out all you need to know. Here’s a list of tips and tricks to help make your next trip a little easier.

Download an App

It seems like there’s an app for everything these days so it’s not surprising that we have some suggestions for a few you might want to download onto your smart phone. offers an app that searches airline and reservation sites, allowing users to sort flights by price, time, duration, airline, number of stops and layover airports.  The nifty app also notifies users when “buzz” fares become available, tracks flights, provides a baggage fee directory and more.  Google Maps is a must-have for navigating a new destination and OpenTable helps make sure that travelers have reservations for the great restaurants they’ve been wanting to try.

Follow Travel Tweets

There are several Twitter accounts that you can follow to stay current on the latest travel news and trends.  Unpublished airfares and travel tips can be found @Airfarewatchdog.  The guys at @NYCAviation are great with sharing breaking news and delays reported by air traffic control across the country. @WheresAndrew is managed by National Geographic contributor, Andrew Evans, who provides phenomenal insight into cultures and places around the globe.

Prepare to Pay More

Unfortunately, prices are going up again in several areas.  Airfares increased in price seven times last year and that trend isn’t expected to change.  Fees for once-included services will continue to crop up, and are now being seen in other travel related services like rental cars and hotels.  In addition to baggage fees, travelers should expect to start paying for in-flight meals, room safes, rental car GPS and more on a regular basis.

Keep an Eye on Travel Advisories

We can get so caught up in the daily grind that it can be easy to skip watching the news from around the world.  As a result, we may miss important warnings and advisories about traveling to certain locations.  The official U.S. Department of State is an excellent resource and they even offer their free Smart Traveler app to bring you the very latest updates.

Travel Insurance

Trip protection is becoming a popular trend among travelers.  Travel insurance can be a great add-on since it helps in situations when bags are lost/stolen, flights are delayed, or an emergency forces you to cancel your trip.  Additionally, some policies include medical coverage.  Some people already have insurance through their credit card company or AAA (call to verify coverage) but convenient sites including can make it easy to find the right policy.

How do you stay on top of travel trends and news?