Club Traveler

What’s New in the World of Travel?

In our latest edition of On the Fly, Club Traveler takes a quick look at what’s new in the world of travel—from robotic suitcases and passport fees (that can be avoided) to the airline named most punctual in the world.

Smart Suitcases Are Making Roller Bags Look Ancient

Have you heard about the suitcase that will follow you around? Actually, there’s more than one in development, but the Travelmate already hit the market. This autonomous buddy can move standing up vertically or lying horizontally and even responds to voice commands. If you’re constantly running to catch flights, the price tag on this robot companion—which can move at up to 6.75 mph, by the way—might be worth the expense.


A Travelmate suitcase follows its owner through a crosswalk. Photo courtesy of Travelmate Robotics.

Will You Be Required to Pay the Increased Passport Fee?

On April 2, the passport execution fee increased by $10, to $35. Charged when a traveler submits a passport application for verification and not associated with the unchanged application fee, the execution fee’s $10 increase will apply only to U.S. passport applicants using the DS-11 form. This could include first-time applicants ages 16 and older, children under 16 and people who are reapplying because of a lost or stolen passport, according to the State Department. However, eligible adults renewing their passports through the mail using the DS-82 form will not experience the $10 fee increase.

In sum: If you can renew your passport via the DS-82 form, you can keep an extra Alexander Hamilton in your wallet for a more exciting expense.

People Love to Say “Aloha” in April

Well, it’s no surprise: Hawaii is lovely in April. Perhaps that’s why in 2017, the Rainbow State saw a 7.5 percent increase in April visitors from the year before. Consider planning your next vacation outside of April and during the islands’ shoulder season in May. Get your dose of beach and sunshine during this time when Hawaii is not only equally beautiful, but also less crowded.

In case the updates above didn’t satisfy your craving for travel news, here’s a quick look at some of the industry’s latest stats.

Travel: By the Numbers

  • 44 percent of millennials travel with their kids, according to Resonance Consultancy’s Future of U.S. Millennial Travel report.
  • 85.27 percent = the on-time performance score of the most punctual airline in the world, Japan Airlines.
  • 2017 was the safest year on record for commercial airline travel.
  • The price of travel insurance dropped 19 percent in 2017. Europe’s tourism grew by 8 percent in 2017, with ever-popular Iceland now looking to address what it calls “over-tourism” after its 24 percent spike.