10 Things That Changed How We Traveled This Decade

By Kelsey Marie


With less than a week left until the new year, it seems like everyone is taking time out to not only reflect on the past year but the past decade altogether. 2010 was the start of the decade and also the time when travel wasn’t as easily accessible. 

At the beginning of the decade, many of us viewed travel as expensive and locations such as Cuba wasn’t an option for American tourists. 

During this decade, we witnessed the rise of social media as well as the start of millennials traveling, more accessibility in airfare, and travel blogging. 

As we approach a new decade, let’s take a look at the ten things that have changed how we travel in the 2010s.

The Pros and Cons Of Flying Basic Economy 

In 2012, Delta Airlines launched Basic Economy, a fare that gave you a seat on the flight for a great price but with the bare minimum. If you fly basic economy, you won’t have free checked bags, no changes are allowed, you’ll get reduced frequent flyer miles and you won’t be able to choose your seat in advance. 

Delta launched this fare after airlines like Spirit and Frontier came on the scene. After the launch, other airlines, like United and American, launched their own basic economy fares. 

Basic Economy benefitted travelers in a major way this decade because air travel became more affordable. On the other hand, because of all the travelers flying basic economy, airlines began making lower revenue per seat. This resulted in carrier building aircraft with extra seats, meaning way less legroom for fliers. 

Currently, Emirates is testing a basic economy fare of its own for its premium cabins. 

2 For 1 Vacation With The Layover

According to CN Traveler, “Icelandair started offering free stopovers for anyone traveling via Reykjavik between North America and Europe in the 1960s.” This was the start of having long layovers in other countries and getting to experience two countries for the price of one. Icelandair even promoted this concept on Instagram with the hashtag #Mystopover. 

Other carriers like Turkish Airlines, Swiss, and TAP (Portugal’s airline) have implemented this strategy to bring more tourists into their respective countries. 

I even had a long layover in London during my first trip to South Africa in 2017 and I got to experience both places which was amazing. 

Spend Less To Fly Far

This decade has been filled with airline carriers offering cheaper airfare to further destinations. Norwegian was one of the first to start this trend, offering flights from London to NYC for $199 one way in 2009. 

Wellness In Travel

Although humans have been seeking wellness getaways for hundreds of years now, this decade has definitely seen a spike in wellness tourism. 

CN Traveler shares that “in the last two years alone, the global wellness sector has grown by 14 percent overall, and is expected to continue to expand.”

View this post on Instagram

december 31st, 2018 — this was me. ⁣ ⁣ I choose to step into the new year choosing Love over fear. ⁣ ⁣ my mantra as I swung from the most terrifying swing ever: I can do all things through Love with strengthens me. ⁣ ⁣ it was only one hour before this photo was taken that I knew what I would be doing. however, @karlenegraham and @daniellelylesbarton had guided me and 20 more women of color on their #sowtheseedsretreats experience in bali, indonesia through one question. the only question that mattered. ⁣ ⁣ what would you do if you knew you were unconditionally Loved and supported? ⁣for me: I know I can do ANYTHING. ⁣ maybe my response mattered more than the question, then. ⁣ ⁣ so, when I discovered the opportunity of a lifetime, i moved in alignment. and i’m not taking about the fact that I choose to get on the bali swing or directly move into my uncomfortable relationship to heights.⁣ ⁣ if was bigger than all that. i’m referring to the opportunity to feel fear and move through it anyway. because when I know i’m unconditionally loved and supported, that’s all that matters. showing up in Love. anything outside is that is an illusion. ⁣ ⁣ i’m so grateful for all of the opportunities I attract that allow me to share my journey. one week from today, i’ll be sharing about my rise at the second-annual Zen Day. unconditional Love and support are essential to it. thank you @mariammouna for inviting me to give the closing keynote conversation. you have been a powerful sister in Spirit to me. you have demonstrated your Love and support of me in so many ways and the ways you hold space for me aren’t something I take for granted. ⁣ ⁣ i’m looking forward to joining the community next week at @weeksvilleheritagecenter for #zenday — a beautiful community wellness conference that promotes movement, mindfulness & modern spirituality among women of color. can’t wait to hear some of my faves speak, too! my Love @itstracyg, the lovely @missjulee who I had the pleasure of shooting for my ESSENCE feature with, and @msmarypryor whose work is SO crucial. ⁣ ⁣ use code ‘bgio’ for 10% off.

A post shared by my grandmothers’ dream 🕊 (@hellolaurenash) on

In 2017 alone, travelers around the world took 830 million trips focused on wellness. This decade was all about going on yoga retreats, meditating abroad and prioritize healthy eating and exercise while traveling. 

Unlimited Vacation Days At Work

This decade introduced us to the possibility of having unlimited vacation days at work. Companies such as Dropbox, Netflix, GitHub, and Virgin Management all made this policy part of their company culture. 

Cruises Spending Longer Days In Port

Cruise lines realized this decade how important seeing the destinations were to travelers in comparison to spending more time on the ship. 

Carolyn Spencer-Brown, editor at large for Cruise Critic says Larry Pimenthal changed the game for cruising this decade. Pimental took of Azamara cruises as the president and “he reshuffled everything to say that destination immersion is the most important thing on a cruise, downplaying the cruise itself and playing up time in port.”

Now, many cruises are dedicating more time on their itineraries for shore excursions and exploring each destination more. 

Using Your Face As A Boarding Pass At The Border

In 2010, the popularity of the Mobile Passport took off. Hans Miller, former McKinsey consultant says in an interview with Traveler: “I don’t think it’s a big secret that the travel industry overall is very interested in what they call seamless travel or the idea that your face can be your boarding pass and your ID all rolled into one.”

In the next decade, Customs and Border Protection will work on expediting time at the border, using AI-equipped cameras and facial recognition. 

The Impact Of Instagram

July 16, 2010, was the day Instagram was created, an app that has completely changed the way we see the world. Many of us now put thought into which photos make it to our feeds and we live curated lives even when traveling. 

The app has had a significant impact on travel specifically, with an estimated 70 percent of all Instagram photos being travel-related. 

Instagram has also helped unknown or lesser-known destinations become popular. Christopher Wilmot-Sitwell of Cazenove & Loyd, tells CN Traveler, “As soon as an influencer says where the best place to have pancakes in Siem Reap is, it’s full of a whole load of people who just want to be seen there. Now [travel] is about thinking beyond what social media tells you to do.”

View this post on Instagram

𝗕𝗲 𝗮 𝘁𝗼𝘂𝗿𝗶𝘀𝘁, 𝗯𝘂𝘁 𝗺𝗮𝗸𝗲 𝗶𝘁 𝗳𝗮𝘀𝗵𝗶𝗼𝗻 💁🏾‍♀️🇫🇷🥖🍟😅 I rarely post in realtime, but I got a little sentimental reminiscing on my first visit to Paris 7 years ago (swipe for the throwback!) and how much life has changed since. I remember being a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed broke backpacker just excited to step foot in dream destinations I thought only existed in movies. I remember my fellow study abroad students talking about all the excursions they'd be doing around Paris. The honest truth about the reason I had to solo travel is because I simply couldn't afford to do the things other people were doing. So instead of placing my financial limitations on them, I just got creative with how I traveled, and ventured off on my own. My very first solo trip I met a Scottish woman on a hike who later invited me for dinner and she had no idea how much that meant, because I didn't plan on eating that night to save for a museum ticket. But my richness came through the friendships, stories, and memories made from my travels, rather than an amount I had in my pocket. Which leads to the life lesson of how we need to learn to be satisfied, no matter where we are in life. Because you can have gratitude for where you are now, while still striving for better. I was happy with less, so God blessed me with more. My joy isn't contingent upon my budget, because I bring it with me through every chapter, circumstance, and phase of my life. Side note: I'm in town for a friend's wedding, so I had to get my faux fur fix before I rolled up 😅 I'll be back to boho cardigans and shorts next week, lmao. But real talk, what can you genuinely feel satisfaction for in your life right this moment?

A post shared by Gloria Atanmo, The Blog Abroad (@glographics) on

Flight Shaming

Believe it or not, but recently, people have been flight-shaming others because of the climate crisis. Many are taking steps to make their travel more eco-friendly by taking fewer flights and not using single-use plastics while abroad. 

Norwegian has made a pledge to get rid of water bottles on its ships as soon as January 1, 2020. 

This summer, United Airlines took a ‘Flight for the Planet’, where the flight from O’Hare to LAX used no bagged snacks, had compostable service ware and was powered by biofuel. 

Travel Noire

Kelsey Marie

Kelsey-Marie is an NYC girl who currently lives in Johannesburg, South Africa. You can keep up with her on Instagram at @kelseydashmarie

Want more?

Get exclusive, unpublished tips from Travel Noire's CEO to help you get off the beaten path, into the hearts of locals and onto a better, more cultured life.

8 Tips To Help You Get A Refund On Travel Plans Cancelled Due To COVID-19

8 Tips To Help You Get A Refund On Travel Plans Cancelled Due To COVID-19

Many of us have had trips planned for a while and as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we now have to cancel them.  While many travel companies are offering options to reschedule, some travelers would prefer a refund, especially during this financially stressful time.  For those who would rather be refunded than rescheduled, here […]

Kelsey Marie

6 Things To Consider When Booking Future Travel Now

6 Things To Consider When Booking Future Travel Now

Many of us have had to cancel trips or postpone our travel plans as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The good news is that we will eventually overcome this obstacle and be able to live our normal lives and journey again.  The benefit of planning your future trip now is that you’ll have more time […]

Kelsey Marie

Flight Deal: Fly Nonstop From Los Angeles To Hawaii For $197

Flight Deal: Fly Nonstop From Los Angeles To Hawaii For $197

Hey west coast fam, are you looking for a cheap way to get to paradise? Well, listen up. American Airlines is currently advertising nonstop flights from Los Angeles to Kahului, Hawaii for as low as $197 roundtrip. This cheap flight has limited dates that span between April and May of this year. We searched using […]

DeAnna Taylor