Aileen Adalid is the author behind the 2015 Global Youth Travel Award winning blog iAmAileen.com. We recently caught up with her for a chat about life after winning the Best Youth Travel Blogger category, and what’s trending with travel bloggers this year.
How do you plan to promote your 2015 Global Youth Travel Award throughout the coming year?
It is truly an honour to have been recognised with such an award. In the coming year, I intend to promote this acknowledgement by putting myself and my iAmAileen.com travel blog at the forefront of inspiring and helping more youth to travel so that they can immerse themselves in an international setting. I plan to do this by partnering with more organisations and travel brands that have the same goals as I do.
Through doing this, I will not only connect related audiences to these helpful institutions – allowing them to grab more opportunities to go abroad for doing cultural exchanges, studying, learning a new language and more – but I will also expose the youth to the vast destinations and experiences that are available for them worldwide.
Is youth travel getting older? In other words, are older people travelling in youth-inspired ways? Can you offer a personal story or example?
In my opinion, there is a steady rise of a number of older people who are slowly adapting youth-like adventures such as backpacking, homestays, house sitting, or home exchanges. I say this because during my travels, I have met a lot of 40 to 60 year olds who are breaking out of their office routine, or taking advantage of their ‘freedom’ after retirement by doing the things that they have always wanted to do when they were young.
During my travels, I have met several older people who been backpacking across Europe and Asia apparently with an aim of experiencing. There are also a lot of older people I’ve met online who are immersing themselves in volunteering opportunities wherein they do house-sitting or menial work in exchange for accommodation — all with the goal of getting a better look into the lives of locals, if not also to save on accommodation if they aim to stay longer in a certain area.
What will change next year in terms of environmental initiatives/actions in the travel industry? How will consumers be affected or involved?
I believe that in the next year, responsible and economical kinds of travel will be given more emphasis. A lot of people in the youth sector are slowly becoming conscious about their carbon footprint, as well as any travel experiences that may be harmful to the environment. Therefore, there will be individuals who will be actively seeking better alternatives so that they can enjoy a destination without harming the local and natural communities. With this in mind, I truly believe that the travel industry will realign their activities, goals and initiatives to match the demand of such travelers as they also inadvertently help in conserving the local setting of a destination.
What’s the next big thing for travel bloggers? What techniques/trends will be left behind in 2016?
Doing a ‘live’ coverage of one’s travels or activities will surely become a big thing in 2016 and this is as evidenced by the current high use and demand for applications like Snapchat, Periscope, and Facebook Mentions.
Vlogs and videos have definitely become a great medium for travel bloggers to relay their experience more clearly to their followers — a trend that has been very effective over the years and one that I believe will continue into 2016.
I don’t think there will be any techniques that will be dropped; instead, techniques and trends will just evolve. It’s very apparent on how vlogging has developed today into LIVE vlogging, and so much more.
Snapchat – do you think it will become more widely used in 2016 and beyond or disappear
I definitely think that it will become more widely used in 2016. Other than the fact that the number of its users are growing day by day, the main feature of Snapchat that centers on raw fun and personalised sharing entices a lot of young people because it gives a more in-depth view of the person’s personality and lifestyle behind the camera. Plus, given the expected delivery of ‘fresh content’, a lot of people would often look forward to checking the application daily.
In terms of travel, Snapchat is also a great platform for giving a ‘live’ overview of a destination which works well for current happenings like festivals, concerts and tours. Snapchat even has its own featured section where they regularly feature different cities around the world and it’s an awesome way of discovering new destinations and learning more about life in other parts of the world.
Are there certain types of travel experiences that you expect to become very popular in the coming year (groups, modes of travel, activities, etc)?
In terms of activities, I think that the need for ‘deep and authentic travel’ will rise even more in the coming years since a lot of travellers are looking into real and personalised experiences.
Nowadays people are looking to connect with local communities, do hands-on pursuits, and participate in tours that are enriching if not enlightening. Slow travel will also be more welcomed as journeys by train, boat, and bike are gaining popularity and as longer stays are more wanted, because not a lot of travellers are after restless flights and constant country hops — they have a much greater appreciation for the journey itself in order to have a fuller experience.
Will truly digital/cashless international travel ever become a reality? Will young travellers be early-adopters?
There have been countries that are trying to adapt a digital (electronic money) society such as that of Denmark and Ecuador. But cashless international travel on the other hand is a developing idea and it might take time to become a reality since a lot of countries still and might always depend on using cash primarily.
We’re not talking about merely using credit cards and debit cards because that’s something that everyone holds; but this is more on the prospect of using a digital currency. If that ever happens, the young travellers will absolutely be one of the early-adopters for this (as evidenced by how Bitcoin for example has attracted a lot of younger age groups) but then again, for sure, using it for worldwide travel will be a challenge since even with the use of credit and debit cards nowadays, cash is still hugely demanded by most destinations.
Have airplane crashes influenced where young people travel to and which airlines they are willing to fly with?
Studies conducted by several organisations such as that of the World Travel and Tourism Council show that accidents or even terrorist attacks have limited impact on the overall ability of a country to attract young travellers.
For sure, if it’s an event that happened just recently, there will be a noticeable decrease in the stream of travellers (not only of the youth but everyone else too) but it will only be momentarily. In time, everyone would recover from a crisis, confidence will be regained, and travel will resume in just months since everyone knows that ‘accidents do happen’.
Truth be told, youth travellers might just take advantage of such situations because these occurrences usually bring forth cheaper airline ticket prices among many others; so, it’s a great chance for them to accomplish their travel goals while still saving money on the side.
However, if it’s a repeat incident thereby lowering the safety score of a certain airline, it would have to be a different matter in itself. Young people would be very cautious in purchasing their flights from an airline that has a bad record over the years and websites like AirlineRatings.com are places that they would often check.
Image: I am Aileen