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Originally published Saturday, January 5, 2013 at 7:00 AM

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What’s coming up for travelers in 2013

Get ready for higher prices for traveling and more crowded planes — unless you pay more for better experiences.

Chicago Tribune

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More crowded planes, really! Have you flown lately? Flights are packed. Maybe two... MORE

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Two travel experts take a look at trends for travelers in 2013. Here’s the overview from Ed Perkins, a longtime travel advocate and columnist for Smartertravel.com, and Chris McGinnis, director of the San Francisco-based Travel Skills Group (travelskills.com):

Q: What trends can travelers expect in 2013?

A: An improving economy and higher demand for travel will result in higher prices and more crowded planes — not great news. However, as suppliers realize that they might be losing travelers due to these hassles, we will see more “pay to play” options for better experiences, such as higher prices for heavy-duty Wi-Fi at hotels (while basic free access becomes more common) and pay programs for faster access (such as the $100 fee for Global Entry or Southwest’s $10 early-bird fee).

Q: What will be 2013’s big travel destinations?

A: For business travel, Toronto has tons of new hotel development; lots of new, convenient airline service from downtown-based Porter Airlines; and a dynamic and interesting dining scene.

Also, Mexico City, Jakarta, Istanbul and Seoul are the fast-growing capitals of the new “MIST” countries (Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea and Turkey) that are starting to outshine the well-known “BRIC” countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) as places for new growth and investment. What’s great about these cities is that even though they are up-and-comers, they offer advanced services for business travelers.

Q: What trends can travelers expect in 2013?

A: Still more fees; a fight over surcharges to use credit cards (instead of debit cards) for online purchases; tightening of frequent-flier rules in the form of reduced mileage earning on cheap tickets. Overall, airlines, hotels and cruise lines will try to make side-by-side price comparisons tougher.

Q: What’s a destination people should consider in 2013? Why?

A: “Quick, before it sinks.” Several destinations are increasingly endangered by rising ocean levels. The most prominent: Venice and the Maldives.

Q: What’s a surprising or unlikely destination people should consider in 2013?

A: Many countries formerly considered backward have emerged with reasonable tourist infrastructures: Bulgaria, Romania, the Baltic States, Ukraine, former Yugoslavian countries, several of the central Asian “stans.”

Ed Perkins

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