Lonely Planet Writer

Travel in 2010: the year that was

Lonely Planet has already been busily predicting which destinations will be hot in 2011.

But that doesn't mean we can't stop and smell the plane fumes for a bit - after all, 2010 isn't even finished yet. So we've put our heads together and come up with a list of travel moments from 2010, from the good to the bad to the bizarre. Before we hit 2011, enjoy a momentary stopover in the land of travel memories.

The good

Where we're headed. Flickr: Douglas J O'Brien

Cuddle class. Fighting the rising trend for cheaper, bleaker airline experiences, Air New Zealand introduced the SkyCouch - a clever way to put a little bit of luxury back in economy.

To infinity and beyond. Space got that bit closer in 2010. Virgin Galactic announced plans for manned orbital spacecraft and Spaceport America was officially unveiled. Venessa, our Community Manager, rates these developments as not just good but 'awesome'.

A win for taste. Sinatra’s 'My Way' is banned from karaoke bars in the Philippines. (In the perhaps not-so-good category, the country's Cebu Airlines also unveiled their meme-inducing Lady Gaga flight safety dance.)

World Cup in South Africa. The jury is still out on whether South Africa hosting the Cup will be an overall boon for tourism (the crowds were one-third short of estimates). And there were those damn vuvuzelas. But proponents claim that it's changed South Africa's image forever, with the nation now seen as a tourism destination rather than somewhere to locate on a map (or fail to locate).

Bioflying! The year saw the first tests of biofuels for airplanes. Aviation giant Boeing continues to test algae to see if it's a viable fuel source.

Staying with locals. Even with New York and Paris banning short-term apartment rentals, websites like Airbnb - which helps connect travellers with locals who have a space to rent in their homes - were on the up and up.

Orlando steals Harry Potter from UK. Well, this is a good news according to our US travel editor, with the opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in America's theme park belt.

Prince William and Kate Middleton's engagement. A royal wedding in London? Everyone even remotely connected to the travel industry rubs their hands with glee.

The bad

Earthquakes. In January, Haiti was hit by a quake that killed an estimated 200,000 people and left millions homeless. It was an indescribable blow for a troubled country that was at last seeming to turn a corner. In February, Chile was also devastated by an earthquake so powerful that it killed hundreds - and could shorten the length of a day on earth.

Annus horribilis for European travel. No, that's not scatalogical humour; it's Latin. If you weren't being stranded by a volcano, it was a British Airways strike or lots of snow. Basically, if you'd planned a staycation in Europe this year, you were probably feeling pretty smug.

Gulf Coast oil spill. From the natural disaster of Hurricane Katrina to the man-made disaster that was the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, this region couldn't catch a break. The only thing that will turn a bad year into a not so bad year? As US travel editor Robert Reid says, what the region needs is for people to visit the Gulf Coast.

Oprah ruins Hugh Jackman's face. When Oprah announced her trip Down Under, the excitement was evenly split between the audience members who got a free trip to Oz and the Australian tourism boards. A win on all fronts, except for poor Hugh Jackman.

Thailand riots. Bangkok is not normally known for its unrest, but violent street protests that broke out between anti-government protesters and the Thai military shook Southeast Asia's kingdom of stability. The situation has since returned to normal on the streets.

Qantas makes emergency landing. After a Qantas A380's engine failed in mid-air over Indonesia, causing significant damage to the rest of the plane, it was revealed that its Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engine was flawed; the news grounded A380s for Qantas, Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa, all of which were using the engines.

Cruise ship chaos. Never was a ship name so ironic. Carnival's Splendor became stranded off the Mexican Riviera after an engine fire on board, forcing its passengers to go without showers and survive on Pop-Tarts and Spam.

Liberace museum goes to the diamante-encrusted concert hall in the sky. Fans mourned as Vegas' Liberace Museum closed its doors.

Vancouver Olympics. Bad for snow. Still, good for the popularity of curling.

The ugly

7th Ave & 52nd St. Flickr: JMazzolaa

When flight attendants go bad. JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater took no doubt years of passenger-induced rage and turned them into one newsworthy moment. When a passenger was rude to him, he popped the emergency chute, grabbed a beer and slid out the door to infamy and endless talk shows.

'Don't touch my junk.' The TSA hits Thanksgiving travel.

Saddle seats. Flying standing up. While the move from all fours to standing was a momentous triumph of evolution for humankind, the move from sitting down to standing up on planes feels like a serious devolution.

Bedbugs. What? You can't even go to the Waldorf-Astoria and not worry? The bedbug crisis hit itching point across the United States.

Beijing traffic jam. Are we there yet? Commuters get stuck in an 11-day traffic jam.

For more 2010 nostalgia, check out our Facebook page, where our community talks about their proudest travel moments from the year.