Top travel trends for 2016 – WTOP

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WASHINGTON — Whether it’s a spring escape or a big summer trip, it’s never too early to start planning your vacation. So what’s hot in travel for 2016?

CBS Travel Editor Peter Greenberg says now’s the time to travel abroad.

“For the first time in 40 years, the U.S. dollar is king,” Greenberg says. “It’s never happened like this before. It’s actually cheaper to fly from Omaha to Oman than it is from New York to Boston because of currency fluctuations. So you follow the dollar.”

South Africa, Argentina and eurozone countries are worth giving a try, Greenberg says.

When and where to book your trip

If you’re planning your big summer vacation, Greenberg says to consider some of the world’s political hot spots.

“Would I go to Paris right now? In a heartbeat. I was in Cairo during all of the demonstrations. My last name is Greenberg. I never had a problem.”

He says the best time to go anywhere in the world is after a natural disaster, civil disturbance or an act of terrorism. “That’s because, he says, the odds of a disaster happening soon thereafter is practically nil,” Greenberg says.

Those tourist locales are hurting, he says. Consider Luxor, Egypt, where boats take tourist up and down the Nile. There used to be more than 40 such boats before the Arab Spring. Now there are five, Greenberg says.

What happens if you patronize one of those five?

“They will be delighted to see you,” Greenberg says. “You will be welcomed as a conquering hero. You won’t be standing in line. You’ll have a better deal. And most importantly, you’ll have a better experience.”

From a more practical standpoint, Greenberg says the ideal time to book your trip is between 45 and 54 days ahead of time in order to take advantage of the computer models that hotels and airlines use.

Speaking of airlines, don’t expect much. Greenberg says they’ve got a new motto: “We’re not happy until you’re not happy.”

“The problem is we went from eight airlines feverishly competing for 88 percent of the market share to four airlines that own it,” he says. “So they’ve shrunken their capacity. I don’t know about you guys, but I have not been on a plane that has not been totally full in a long time.”

Finding value in cruise ships
Greenberg says cruise ships can be worth the value — especially for families — if you plan out your spending once you’re onboard.

“Cruise lines make their money not on the sale of the cabin; they make their money on onboard revenue the bar, the rock climbing wall the shore excursions, so you need to budget accordingly,” Greenberg says. “But if you do it and you do it right, you’ll be fine.”

If you’re prone to sea sickness, get a middle cabin, where there’s a lower center of gravity. “You won’t pitch and roll as much,’ Greenberg says.

Those who’ve not had the cruise ship experience should set realistic expectations about the size of the cabin.

“We’ve all been victims of seeing too many repeat episodes of the Love Boat — and they would make you think using that wide-angle lens that your entire cabin is large enough to fit the entire state of Rhode Island. Wrong,” Greenberg says.

It’s about the size of a closet — and that’s OK.

“What kind of time do you spend in your cabin other than showering and sleeping?”

WTOP’s Rich Johnson contributed to this report

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Top travel trends for 2016 – WTOP