“Follow the trend lines, not the headlines. “ – Bill Clinton

We live in unsettling times. Up is down, left is right, losers win. Who really knows what is going on—let alone what will be. The wonderful world of travel is no different. No one has a proverbial crystal ball and the annual rituals of forecasting more usually need to offer mea culpas on last year’s prognostications.

While the algorithms of Big Data make it easier these days to see nuances, in the end, demographic trends are just that—demographic trends—that always increase. (Every year there are more solo travelers because, dah, there are more solo travelers!) And old travel metric analysis, with the likes of: the Robinson Crusoe Index identifying the best beaches, the Big Mac Index that costs out burgers globally, and the Bribe Payers Index , for negotiating the going get-out-of-jail rates—leave me wanting.

Unsatisfied with those mostly travel industry-derived and PR firm written indicators (loyalty plans will be devalued, coach class will get tighter, AirBnB will grow, and Cuba will be the new hot travel destination), I annually offer readers some rather untraditional 21st-century mashup travel metrics observed and culled from a year’s worth of traveling the globe. Here […]