Travel Trends 2024: Where To Go & How To Do It

By Olivia Emily

7 months ago

Here's how we will travel in the New Year


2023 was the year of ‘revenge travel’: finally making up for the lost time of the pandemic, restriction free. But it was also about finding new forms of luxury (sustainable luxury, for one), and longing to stand in the footsteps of our favourite TV and movie stars by travelling to filming locations. So what’s on the cards for 2024? From immersive experiences to asking Chat GPT to create your itinerary, here are the travel trends the experts are forecasting for the new year, plus the hottest destinations to visit ASAP to beat the flurry.

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Travel Trends 2024: Where To Go & How To Do It

  • Experiential Travel: Immersive, unique experiences continue to top the agenda
  • Destination Dupes: Where to go when you can’t afford your top choice
  • Curiosity: Exploring new frontiers now our bucket lists are complete
  • International Events: From sports to concerts, we’re willing to travel to watch our favourite events
  • Exceptional Rentals: Travellers are demanding more from their holiday homes
  • Gen Gen AI: Artificial intelligence becomes Gen Z’s travel planner
  • Sentient Spaces: Will your hotel room adjust itself based on your mood?
  • Last-Minute Escapes: We’ve gotten more spontaneous
  • Off-Season Travel: Taking advantage of lower prices and better availability
  • B&Bs Are Back: …And better than ever
  • In The Know Experiences: Quiet luxury infiltrates travel
  • Milestone Motivations: Marking life’s milestones with extraordinary experiences

Experiential Travel

It’s top of the agenda for another year: experiential, immersive travel. ‘Post pandemic, we’ve seen a rise in guests seeking once-in-a-lifetime, luxury experiences,’ says Nicolas Hauvespre, Vice President of Commercial, MEIA, Shangri-La. ‘They’re willing to spend more and value quality over quantity when it comes to luxury. Our recently launched global brand campaign, Find Your Shangri-La, supports this shift. The campaign is all about inspiring our guests to find their own Shangri-La, that paradise-like place or state of mind. Whether it’s organising a surprise birthday celebration in a suite, or a private yacht cruise complete with Champagne, the campaign demonstrates our commitment to making every Shangri-La hotel much more than just a physical place. We curate exceptional experiences, enabling our guests to find their own personal moment of joy.’

‘Clients are asking for more “unique” experiences when they travel,’ adds tailor-made travel specialist, Audley Travel. ‘Audley’s North America specialists are responding with suggestions of experiences such as guided kayak and camping trips to see whales and wolves, or exploring lesser travelled regions such as Saskatchewan and the Yukon.

‘This trend is also being recognised by Audley’s partners in destinations,’ Audley says. ‘Whilst arranging tailor-made trips has always been at the heart of Audley’s operations, the country specialists report that an increasing number of partners are customising the excursions and experiences that they offer for individual clients, moving away from set tours and adapting their plans to the needs and wants of the customer – a move that is a perfect fit for Audley’s custom travel offering.’

‘Throughout 2023, we saw a big increase in guests seeking local experiences,’ adds George Filippidis, Managing Director at Andronis (Santorini, Greece). ‘For example, our caldera hiking experience saw the highest number of bookings ever last year. In 2024, we will be adding more local experiences to meet this demand.’

The Yukon River, Canada

The Yukon River, Canada © Audley Travel

Destination Dupes

On the one hand, we’re still craving capital city escapes; Opodo reports its top three booked destinations of 2023 were Paris, Barcelona and London. On the other hand, savvy travellers are skipping the honeypots and seeking cheaper alternatives.

‘The “dupe” trend – affordable alternatives to popular products – that has flooded TikTok feeds is now taking over travel,’ says Expedia. ‘Expedia’s 2024 destinations of the year are destination dupes – places that are a little unexpected, sometimes more affordable, and every bit as delightful as the tried-and-true destinations travellers love.

‘The 2024 destination dupes all experienced a notable uptick in searches over the past year,’ Expedia says. ‘In fact, global searches for the Top 5 destinations on the list more than doubled year on year.’ The Destination Dupes are:

  • Paros (dupe for Santorini)
  • Perth (dupe for Sydney)
  • Liverpool (dupe for London)
  • Palermo (dupe for Lisbon)
  • Curaçao (dupe for St. Martin)
  • Quebec City (dupe for Geneva)
  • Memphis (dupe for Nashville)
  • Pattaya (dupe for Bangkok)
  • Taipei (dupe for Seoul)
  • Sapporo (dupe for Zermatt)

Curiosity

When people aren’t looking for dupes, they’re looking for newness. ‘As borders reopened, ticking things off bucket lists was a key motivator for travel,’ says Audley Travel, with 72 percent of Audley’s country specialists citing this in 2023, and only 36 percent noticing it for 2024 travel. ‘Clients who have taken their much longed for bucket list trips are now moving back to more curious travel exploring off-the-beaten-track for future adventures.

‘Audley’s country specialists report an increasing interest in cultural experiences,’ Audley adds. ‘For example, around the Maasai in East Africa, as well as an interest in more remote and authentic safari destinations like the Ruaha National Park. They also have seen more requests for “authentic” hotels that reflect the culture of the country, across the destinations.’

‘Although many continue to find comfort in their past favourites, other experienced travellers are diverging from the usual European options and branching out to exotic locales and less-explored areas,’ the experts at Virtuoso agree. ‘Driven by the desire to visit a place dreamed of during the pandemic, an under-the-radar location recommended by an advisor or even the ambition of being “first” to a destination, luxury travellers are intrigued by the unexplored. The cultural richness of reemerging travel hotspots, such as Japan and Egypt, offer unique and exciting itineraries for those seeking a departure from the norm.’

Maasai Mara, Kenya

Maasai Mara, Kenya © Audley Travel

International Events

From Paris 2024 to Bahrain, 2024’s travellers are set to jet off to far-flung destinations to see their favourite sports in the flesh, plus their favourite artists in new settings, predicts eDreams ODIGEO, the world’s leading travel subscription platform, one of Europe’s largest e-commerce businesses, and the company behind Opodo. ‘The year ahead is packed with major international sporting events – including the Olympics, the Paralympics, Grand Prix, the Euros and the T20 cricket, and eDreams ODIGEO’s data shows where interest is already heating up. Global searches for travel to Paris during the Olympics in 2024 versus the same dates in 2023 are up by 41 percent.

‘We are also inspired to travel by a desire to be part of vibrant culture in the form of colourful carnivals and music festivals, as well as by tempting food events and exhibitions that allow us to get under the skin of a country through its music, food and art,’ eDreams ODIGEO adds.

Exceptional Rental

‘We’re no longer in an era where offering a well-kept holiday home is enough to cut the mustard,’ says Unique Homestays. ‘More than ever, we’re seeing that guests are requiring that little bit more. A home where the back garden doubles as a beach or one of Britain’s “lost rainforests”, a home where the candles and fire are lit for your arrival, or – perhaps – a home that is dressed head-to-toe in a luxury brand.’

‘With pickleball becoming one of the fastest-growing sports, it’s no surprise that outdoor amenities, like pickleball courts and cold plunges, are dictating what private holiday homes families and friends are booking for group getaways,’ holiday rental site Vrbo has also noticed. ‘Survey data shows that 42 percent of travellers book holiday homes with amenities they either cannot afford to have at home, or that they want to try out before they buy themselves. Furthermore, nearly 30 percent say they would choose a holiday home with outdoor amenities, so they’d never have to leave the property.’

These trending amenities, according to Vrbo, are:

  • Fresh produce: travellers want holiday homes with access to fruit trees or a vegetable patch
  • Relaxation and rejuvenation: properties with a hot tub, cold plunge or barrel sauna
  • Roaring fires: holiday homes with a fire pit, barbecue or outdoor kitchen
  • Sports and recreation: properties that have amenities like ping-pong tables, padel ball courts, pickleball courts and lawn games.

Gen Gen AI

Tech is forecasted to impact travel every year, and though we didn’t quite get on board with virtual reality as 2023 reports suggested we might, this implementation of AI is something we can believe in. ‘While generative AI tools like ChatGPT took centre stage in 2023, only 6 percent of travellers used it to plan their trip,’ says the Expedia Group. ‘In 2024, Expedia Group predicts the “generation of generative AI” travellers will come of age and fully embrace this tech throughout their travel journey. In fact, survey data reveals that half of travellers are interested in using generative AI to plan their next trip, and one in three say it’s very useful when making travel plans.

‘What’s driving this trend?’ the group asks. ‘Generative AI’s ability to simplify planning and shopping through a conversation. Nearly 40 percent of travellers say they would use this tech to find the perfect stay, 35 percent would plan activities and things to do, 33 percent would compare flight options, and 20 percent of travellers would change or cancel their travel plans.’ Will you be asking Chat GPT to plan your next holiday?

Travel trends 2024

Sentient Spaces

Speaking of terrifying tech, this travel trend from Marriott-Bonvoy is mildly discomfiting. ‘Enabled by AI and biometric technology, future hospitality spaces will be able to respond and cater for guests’ needs in real time, creating spaces that recognise their mood, schedule or even health requirements, and alter lighting, temperature, sound and air settings accordingly,’ says Marriott-Bonvoy. ‘Consumers’ routines are increasingly in sync with their smart devices, laying the groundwork for a future where seamless hyper-personalisation is endemic. According to Cisco, the number of connected Internet of Things (IoT) devices worldwide will reach 500bn by 2030, about 59 times more than the expected 8.5bn people that will make up the world’s population, according to the UN.

‘With travel firmly categorised as a vital tenet of healthy living, guests will expect the places and spaces they occupy to optimise their wellbeing, from air sensors that respond to the quality of the outside environment to room features that synchronise with the emotional and health requirements of guests,’ says Marriott-Bonvoy. ‘Mediated Atmosphere, a project by the Responsive Environments group at the MIT Media Lab, is already pointing to this kind of reality. The prototype uses modular, real-time control infrastructure combined with bio-signal sensors to track heart rates and facial expressions, allowing the creation of immersive environments through controllable lighting, projection and sound designed to help users work and play to their own specific needs and wants.

‘As we look to the future, pick-up-and-go pre-settings across entire hotel groups and partners will allow guests to seamlessly plug in their room preferences in destinations across the world, with smart devices acting as the digital concierge for their needs,’ adds Marriott-Bonvoy. ‘From calendars that sync with speakers and lighting to mattresses that respond to core body temperatures or health conditions – hospitality innovators will create spaces that give guests what they want and what they need.’

Last Minute Escapes

Would you describe yourself as a planner, or someone more spontaneous? Interestingly, 44 percent of all bookings made with Opodo in 2023 were made within two weeks or less of departure. Just one fifth of all bookings made with Opodo were made more than 61 days before travel. Maybe AI could help with that last minute itinerary…

Off-Season Travel

‘Clients travelling in 2024 are increasingly booking popular and well-established destinations and experiences in the off-season to take advantage of lower prices and better availability,’ Audley Travel has noticed. ‘An example is Canada and the lodges typically visited for the salmon run. Visiting earlier in the year makes the clients’ travel budget go further whilst still having a fantastic experience. This is particularly true for properties including Klahoose and Knight Inlet where clients visiting in May or June are rewarded with fantastic spring bear watching opportunities as they come to feed on the water in the grasslands.’

Travel to Venice in the off-season

B&Bs Are Back

As cottagecore persists, so does the Haycation forecasted in 2023. Farm Stay is one of the 1980s’ original listing sites, an ethical, not-for-profit farmer-owned consortium marketing holidays on working farms and in countryside accommodations – and they’ve noticed a 29 percent increase in specific B&B searches. Forget chintzy spare rooms and draughty barns: B&Bs are more like boutique hotels these days, with luxurious self-contained accommodation, hampers of local produce and nature-immersion the norm.

‘During the cost of living crisis, we think more people are recognising the great value for money and more tailored and personal experience that a good farm B&B can offer compared to a hotel,’ says Farm Stay’s director, David Brown. ‘Offering accommodation to holidaymakers is a vital and increasingly important income stream for farmers across the UK and we look forward to welcoming more people to farms across the country this year.’

In The Know Experiences

If quiet luxury were a travel trend, it would look a little something like this. ‘The influx of quiet luxury in the travel sector is creating a new wave of “if-you-know, you-know” experiences, with hidden gems, invitation-only hotels and intimate moments upholding an aura of exclusivity in the era of luxury omnipresence,’ Marriott-Bonvoy reports. ‘Discreet destinations – locations virtually impossible to find online – are satisfying luxurians’ desire for the unreachable. Global research from YouGov reveals that unique experiences that allow travellers to visit remote destinations and get close to nature are at the top of luxury travellers’ lists (31 percent), with a similar figure (27 percent) now seeking villas and chalets in secluded and private locations.

‘Seeking to discover the undiscovered, travellers are flocking to destinations like Jicaro Island in Nicaragua, where TVs and Wi-Fi connections are swapped for freshwater lakes, howler monkeys and lakeside yoga glasses,’ says Marriot-Bonvoy. ‘Prioritising privacy, the Seychelles’ North Island, a Luxury Collection Resort, Seychelles houses 11 luxury villas and almost nothing else. The untouched nature of Côn So’n, Vietnam, the colourful reefs of Desert Island, UAE, and the green pastures of The Azores, Portugal, also offer surprises for luxury consumers.

‘Hotels are also going off-grid – making themselves available only to those in the know,’ Marriott-Bonvoy adds. ‘For Jack Ezon, founder of New York-based boutique travel firm Embark Beyond, these rumoured accommodations carry a cachet equivalent to the unlisted phone numbers of the 1990s. “More and more clients want the unattainable,” he explained in an interview with Bloomberg, noting that his clients are less concerned about privacy and instead set on staying in locations “that no one has heard of or has access to”.’

Brian Cox in Season 2 of Succession

Brian Cox in Season 2 of Succession (Graeme Hunter/HBO)

Milestone Motivations

‘More than ever, guests are prioritising what matters the most – strengthening relationships, having meaningful, life-enriching experiences and visiting bucket list destinations,’ says Nicolas Hauvespre at Shangri-La. In fact, this trend has led luxury tailor-made travel company cazenove+loyd to create a new series of itineraries matched up with seven ‘milestone motivations’ for travel they have noticed in their clients.

‘As people get older, the desire to mark certain life milestones with extraordinary travel experiences has become more pronounced,’ says Nabila Richardson, Marketing Director of cazenove+loyd. ‘Since the pandemic, we have observed a 40 percent increase in requests for “Carpe Diem Celebrations”, for example, to mark 50th, 60th or 70th birthdays. “Radical Sabbaticals”, meanwhile, are not only of interest to Millennials – Gen X and Boomers are now taking career breaks and gap years instead of waiting for retirement to pursue their dreams.’

But it’s not just the older generations that this intrigues; it’s the whole family. ‘With human lifespans getting increasingly longer, for the first time in history there are seven generations of people alive at one time,’ Jenny Southan, Editor, Founder and CEO of Globetrender, explains. ‘When it comes to travel, gap years aren’t just for young students – they can be for people in their sixties, too. Equally, cruises are evolving to appeal not just to retirees but to families and more intrepid solo travellers in their 30s. Taking a “post-demographic” approach to travel design means that, instead of focusing on the stereotypes associated with certain generations, advisors can instead identify what is motivating clients to book. More often than not it can be pegged to a life “milestone” of some kind – a birthday, redundancy, divorce, bereavement, wedding or inheritance, for example.’

The seven milestones cazenove+loyd and Globetrender have noticed are:

  • New Beginnings, whether after something traumatic like a divorce or bereavement, or positive new chapters like graduation or relocation
  • Meaningful Discoveries, and hoping to make these while travelling
  • Building Bonds with family or friends, and feeling connected
  • Memorable Celebrations, whether that’s a birthday, anniversary, or destination wedding
  • Personal Liberation and making the most of your life; ‘radical sabbaticals’ fall into this category
  • Active Contemplations and finding closure, clarity and perspective through travelling
  • Legacy Creation, pinned to the rise of ancestry interest and explorations of heritage.

Top Destinations To Travel To In 2024

According to the experts at cazenove+loyd.

Greenland is a travel trend for 2024


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