It’s been a wild year for travel. What’s ahead for 2018?

Travel bans. Shootings. Viral passenger videos.

No one will forget the past year in travel. How could they? But what does it all mean for your 2018 trips?

“These are interesting times,” says Patricia Schultz, author of “1,000 Places to See Before You Die.”

The year’s watershed moments included a series of controversial travel bans, a mass shooting in one of America’s top tourist destinations and the expulsion of an airline passenger captured on video.

At the same time, several largely unnoticed events, mostly happening behind the scenes, promise to exert an equally powerful influence on your travel plans next year. Bottom line: Travelers will need to be more vigilant in 2018 than ever.

The year started with a series of travel bans and restrictions imposed by the new presidential administration. While these didn’t affect many American travelers — currently, they only apply to incoming visitors from eight countries, including Iran, North Korea and Venezuela — they created aftershocks that may be felt for years to come.

Americans traveling abroad say that they are being taken to task for U.S. foreign policy shifts, which can lead to uncomfortable conversations and confrontations. “I find myself apologizing for our president everywhere I go out of the country,” says Wendy Lewis, who edits a beauty website and is a frequent traveler. “It is truly embarrassing.”

Nonetheless, the political situation at home has prompted some Americans to go abroad, industry observers say.

“The nonstop, divisive and out-of-control political news cycle in the U.S. did wonders for demand in international travel,” says Greg Geronemus, the co-chief executive of SmarTours, a New York tour operator. “People needed to take a break from the negativity.” Expect that trend to continue in 2018.

The terrorist attack in Barcelona in August and the shooting in Las Vegas in October also permanently changed travel. The incident in Spain killed 13 people in a part of Barcelona popular with visitors — the famous La Rambla pedestrian mall. But Las Vegas triggered deeper fears because it happened so close to home. The gunman, Stephen Paddock, killed 58 people from his room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.

“I believe we’ll definitely see a change in how security is handled at tourist destinations from now on,” says Kent Johnson, co-founder of Black & Abroad, a luxury and adventure travel company. “That will impact travel in 2018.”

Safety experts recommend that visitors should develop their own security plans in case they get caught in unsafe situations. That may include taking a class such as Depart Smart’s Travel Heroes Safety Certification, a 60-minute, Web-based course that helps travelers develop personalized, downloadable emergency-action plans for their next trip. And more visitors should consider travel insurance, in case their next trip is interrupted by an incident.

These events are also likely to steer visitors to new places in 2018, security experts say. “Many popular vacation spots in Europe were negatively affected due to the perception that Paris, Barcelona, London, and similar destinations were no longer safe,” says Dan Richards, chief executive of Global Rescue, a security company. “This has benefited cities such as Prague and Budapest, where extremists have yet to orchestrate attacks.”

And then there were the destinations that were unsafe or inaccessible because of natural disasters. A hyperactive hurricane season laid waste to many Caribbean vacations in late summer and early fall, and the effects of those storms will be felt for many months, if not years. In 2017, some major destinations in North America were all but impossible to reach for days, thanks to storms or other natural disasters, including Houston and the Florida Keys (hurricanes) Northern California (wildfires) and Mexico City (a 7.1-magnitude earthquake).

Another highly visible travel story, the expulsion in April of passenger David Dao from a United Airlines flight in Chicago, promises to affect travel in 2018, too. The incident, which was captured on video and widely shared, led to some positive internal reforms within the airline industry, particularly at United, which included new policies on overbooking.

But it was also remarkable for what didn’t happen. The Transportation Department issued no fines against United. Congress passed no meaningful legislation to prevent a replay, despite widespread outrage. To industry-watchers, it’s part of a broader departmental problem that surfaced this year, which consumer advocate Charlie Leocha calls “a do-nothing DOT.”

And that brings the discussion to an area unseen by most travelers: the behind-the-scenes machinations of regulation and legislation. Leocha, who runs Travelers United, says 2017 yielded a string of disappointments for consumers, including Transportation’s failure to write rules after Congress passed laws that would have allowed families to be seated together or to refund fees when checked baggage is delayed.

The administration’s lack of action extended to the hotel industry, where mandatory resort fees were on the verge of being eliminated late last year by the Federal Trade Commission. But the election happened, a new commissioner was eventually named, and the matter was shelved. The new administration, with its anti-regulation approach to the travel industry, hasn’t taken up the cause and resort fees have risen sharply. The average such fee, which covers everything from “free” WiFi to access to exercise facilities, now stands at almost $21, up 9 percent from last December.

Many readers say travel became more of a hassle in 2017. “It is not a pleasant experience anymore,” says Deborah Pedersen, a retired substitute teacher from West Sand Lake, N.Y. Between frequent delays, invasive pat-downs at the hands of the Transportation Security Administration and filing onto planes like cattle, she says, travel has really lost its charm.

This year made travelers more security conscious, circumspect and perhaps a little more cynical. As a result, they’re taking more precautions, fewer risks and making no assumptions. The world may not be any safer — or saner — in 2018, but the events of this year will certainly make us all better travelers.

Underwritten by

Underwritten by Sodexo North America

Sodexo North America Sodexo North America is part of a global, Fortune 500 company with a presence in 80 countries. Sodexo is a leading provider of integrated food, facilities management and other services that enhance organizational performance, contribute to local communities and improve quality of life for millions of customers in corporate, education, healthcare, senior living, sports and leisure, government and other environments daily. Learn more at Sodexoinsights.com.

Underwritten by Travelex Insurance Services

Travelex Insurance Services is a leading travel insurance provider in the United States with over 55 years combined industry expertise of helping people dream, explore and travel with confidence. We offer comprehensive travel insurance plans with optional upgrades allowing travelers to customize the plans to fit their needs. Compare plans, get a quote and buy online at Travelexinsurance.com.

Underwritten by AirHelp

AirHelp is the world’s leading flight delays compensation company, helping passengers apply for compensation following a delayed or canceled flight or when boarding has been denied. It is AirHelp’s mission to fight for passenger rights by holding airlines accountable for flights disruptions that are out of passengers’ control. AirHelp has already helped 5 million people, taking the stress out of applying for compensation and making it as hassle-free as possible for travelers around the world.

Underwritten by Allianz Travel Insurance

The Allianz Travel Insurance company has built its reputation on partnering with agents all around the world to provide comprehensive travel insurance for their clients. Contact Allianz Travel Insurance for a comprehensive list of coverage.

Underwritten by Chubb

Chubb is the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company, and recognized as the premier provider of insurance for successful individuals and families in the U.S. and selected international markets, offering coverage for high-value automobile, homeowners, recreational marine/aviation, valuables and umbrella liability coverage. As an underwriting company, Chubb assesses, assumes and manages risk with insight and discipline, and combines the precision of craftsmanship with decades of experience to conceive, craft and deliver the best insurance coverage and services to individuals, families and business of all size.

Underwritten by Enterprise

A family-owned, world-class portfolio of brands. A global network that spans across more than 85 countries. Some 97,000 dedicated team members sharing common values. And more than 1.9 million vehicles taking our customers wherever they need to go.

Underwritten by Fareportal

Fareportal’s portfolio of brands, which include  CheapOair and  OneTravel, are dedicated to helping customers enjoy their trip. Whether you want to call, click, or use one of our travel apps, one thing is clear: We make it easy to take it easy.

Underwritten by Insuremyrentalcar.com

An independent provider of low cost CDW/LDW insurance for use with rental cars. Up to $100,000 cover with no deductible. Policies available on a per day, per trip or per year basis. Also works with overseas rentals. Try  Insuremyrentalcar.comnow.

Underwritten by InsureMyTrip

It’s simple. InsureMyTrip finds you the right travel insurance plan, every time. InsureMyTrip is the authority on travel insurance. Rated A+ for travel insurance by the Better Business Bureau. All travelers that purchase a policy through  InsureMyTrip have access to Anytime Advocates® for claims assistance.

Underwritten by Mediacom Communications

The nation’s fifth-largest cable operator, serving the smaller cities and towns in the Midwest and Southern regions of the United States. We are a high-performance broadband, entertainment, and communications company that brings the power of modern technology and quality customer experience to life inside the connected home by combining ultra-fast gigabit speeds with personalized local and over-the-top entertainment choices that fit your lifestyle. Details at  Mediacomcable.com.

Underwritten by SCOTTeVEST

An innovative apparel brand for people who want easy access to everything they need. For those who live for every second, SCOTTeVEST lets you maximize your life. Ditch the carry-on bag and pick up a  SCOTTeVEST.

Underwritten by Virtuoso

The leading global network for luxury and experiential travel. This invitation-only organization comprises over 1,000 travel agency locations with 17,500 advisors in over 45 countries, and holds preferred relationships with 1,700 of the world’s finest travel companies. Virtuoso advisors collaborate with their clients to create personalized itineraries featuring exclusive perks, while also providing advice, access, advocacy, and accountability. For more information, visit  Virtuoso.com.

Underwritten by VisitorsCoverage

As a company that is constantly striving to simplify travel insurance, VisitorsCoverage, is on a mission to help travelers make the better decisions about purchasing travel insurance, quickly. VisitorsCoverage has helped millions of travelers globally to buy the suitable travel insurance and explore the world with confidence. Get insurance for your next trip at  VisitorsCoverage. Lowest Price Guaranteed.

Underwritten by MedjetAssist

Medjet is the premier global air-medical transport, travel security and crisis response membership program for travelers. With a MedjetAssist membership, if you become hospitalized more than 150 miles from home, we will get you from that unfamiliar hospital all the way home to the hospital you trust. All you ever pay is your membership fee. MedjetHorizon members add 24/7 personal security and crisis response benefits. Elliott.org readers enjoy discounted rates. Travel safer with  MedjetAssist.

Underwritten by Southwest Airlines

The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.

Underwritten by Sungard Availability Services

Leveraging more than 35 years of experience, Sungard AS designs, builds and runs critical IT services that help businesses manage complex IT, adapt quickly and build resiliency and availability. A leading provider of critical production and recovery services, Sungard AS partners with customers across the globe, delivering resilient IT systems, infrastructure and recovery services tailored to achieving desired business outcomes.

Underwritten by TravelInsurance.com

TravelInsurance.com makes it fast and easy to compare and buy travel insurance online from top rated providers. Our unbiased comparison engine allows travelers to read reviews, compare pricing and benefits and buy the right policy with a price guarantee, every time. Compare and buy travel insurance now at  TravelInsurance.com.

Underwritten by Squaremouth

Squaremouth helps travelers easily and instantly compare travel insurance policies from all major providers. Only companies that meet the strict requirements of Squaremouth’s Zero Complaint Guarantee are available on the website. Compare policies on  Squaremouth.com to save over 70 percent on your next purchase.

Underwritten by Travel Leaders Group

Travel Leaders Group is transforming travel through its progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. Travel Leaders Group assists millions of travelers through its leisure, business and network travel operations under a variety of diversified divisions and brands including All Aboard Travel, Andrew Harper Travel, Colletts Travel, Corporate Travel Services, CruCon Cruise Outlet, Cruise Specialists, Nexion, Protravel International, SinglesCruise.com, Travel Leaders Corporate, Travel Leaders Network and Tzell Travel Group, and its merger with ALTOUR. With more than 7,000 agency locations and 52,000 travel advisors, Travel Leaders Group ranks as one of the industry’s largest retail travel agency companies.

Underwritten by Travelers United

If you’ve been mistreated by the airlines, Travelers United is your voice in Washington. Join the #1 travel advocacy organization working with Congress to improve and protect travelers. Plus, get $400 of annual benefits you can use for travel for only $29/year. Add your voice to ours. Make travel better.  Join today.