Booking.com shares seven predictions for Travel in 2024
28 October, 2023
Where in years past travel has been a means to escape life, Booking.com has released “Travel Predictions 2024” that shows that "travel is life" in 2024 with more than four-fifths (81 percent) of Americans revealing that they feel more alive than ever when they are on vacation. To explore how travel will transport people out of autopilot and into unleashing their best life, Booking.com commissioned research among more than 27,000 travelers across 33 countries and territories, combining it with its insights as a digital travel platform to reveal seven predictions for travel in 2024.
1. (Alter) Ego Enthusiasts
In 2024, American travelers will feel more alive by creating their very own epic alter egos on vacation, with half (50 percent) making up stories about their real life to people they meet on their travels. These alter ego enthusiasts love the thrill of embodying a 2.0 version of themselves, and go to great lengths to reimagine their best self, with more than two-thirds (70 percent) enjoying the anonymity of travel and the chance to recreate themselves.
Fueling the idea that travelers take on different personas when traveling to feel more alive, three-quarters (75 percent) of Americans surveyed feel they are the best version of themselves on vacation, able to shed inhibitions and embrace new aspects of their personalities, while 56 percent would even pay to rent a nicer car than they drive at home to live their finest lives with confidence. What’s more, well over half (64 percent) of U.S. travelers feel “main character energy” on their travels, with these performers empowered to be the stars of their own life.
Aliases and avatars abound, both IRL and through VR and AR. Those digital alter egos with a desire for wanderlust can go anywhere and do anything in the metaverse, and in 2024 the people behind them will bring their digital fantasies to life in real-world destinations.
Sweltering conditions are accelerating a rise in travelers chasing cooler climes to revive and refresh themselves. The majority (57 percent) of American travelers report that climate change will impact the way they plan their vacation in 2024, while almost two-thirds (64 percent) say that as temperatures soar close to home, they will use their vacation to cool down elsewhere.
This effect taps into the expected rise of water-centric travel that takes the edge off the heat. Just over three-quarters (78 percent) of U.S. travelers agree that being close to water instantly makes them feel more relaxed, with a third (34 percent) interested in water-centric vacations in 2024. As people dive headfirst into aquatic escapes, mindful water immersion will quickly become the next mainstream version of meditation, where the wild-swimming craze meets the ice-therapy movement. This fresh form of feel-alive wellness travel will see floating yoga, water sound baths and snow meditation surge, as well as a boom in ice therapy retreats, underwater hotels and "mermania," with water no longer the backdrop but the main event.
3. Surrender Seekers
U.S. travelers increasingly want to surrender themselves to the element of surprise and venture into uncharted territory on vacation, with almost two-thirds (64 percent) keen to book a surprise trip where everything down to the destination is unknown until arrival. Averse to the “sameness” of everyday life and actively avoiding cookie-cutter experiences, the intuitively adventurous traveler of 2024 wants to step outside of the homogenized vacation, with 66 percent preferring to venture off the beaten path and almost half (46 percent) seeking to travel with strangers.
The majority (65 percent) would like to have no plans set in stone prior to traveling in 2024 so they can go where the wind takes them, while almost three fourths (74 percent) prefer to travel with loose plans so they can change direction based on what feels good in the moment.
The explosion of AI is going mainstream in 2024: 56 percent of Americans would trust AI to plan a trip for them, with global research showing a third of baby boomers (30 percent) and one in five (20 percent) of the silent generation finally surrendering to AI in order to assist their travels plans in the year ahead.
4. Culinary Excavators
Over two thirds (69 percent) of American travelers are more interested in learning about the origins of a destination’s “must-eat” delicacies than they were in the past. Culinary excavators are bucking next-gen food trends in favor of preserving the craftsmanship of traditional dishes; leaning on gastro-tourism to embrace the unique history, geography and produce that makes for one-of-a-kind cuisine that will awaken the senses.
Just over four in five (82 percent) want to try indigenous cuisines in 2024, and heritage flavors are in the spotlight with travelers unlocking the secrets of cultures that may have been lost or forgotten in other parts of the world.
Foodie travelers in 2024 will be "experientialists" who fluctuate between digital and physical realities to transform every discovery into a multisensory extravaganza, with over half (57 percent) wanting an immersive “phygital” food experience enhanced by VR or AR. Think: Mood-altering lighting, paired fragrances and soundscapes that enhance the traces of foodways past.
5. Reboot Retreaters
When things are falling apart back home amid global instability and an ever-hectic world, disheveled travelers are booking one-track trips rooted in self-improvement. The new era of sleep tourism, for instance, welcomes sleep concierges and cutting-edge tech to serve the 68 percent of U.S. travelers who want to travel in 2024 to solely focus on uninterrupted shut-eye.
For those who are used to sleeping solo, a majority (55 percent) of Americans surveyed would carve out time for a matchmaking holiday to find a spark with a new partner or lover, while more than almost half (49 percent) would focus on a heartbreak holiday to get over an ex. For those still rocking their relationships, a fifth (21 percent) want to deepen that human connection with their partner as their main priority for traveling in 2024. On the flip side, frazzled parents are seeking solace on solo holidays, with the majority (70 percent) planning to travel alone in 2024, dropping the children and their partners to prioritize their vitality.
Almost two-thirds of all American travelers (63 percent) revealed that the stripped-back lifestyle of agrarian and indigenous communities, where self-sufficiency is a way of life, would appeal to them in 2024. Beyond just back to basics, the focus is on a better balance with nature and the elements to reset their day-to-day back home.
6. À La Carte Affluencers
Fueled by the cost of living crisis alongside the mainstream stealth wealth trends of 2023, travelers in 2024 will employ money-saving hacks to cut costs, yet level up vacations with “à la carte” luxuries, scoring a rush from traveling like the rich. These à la carte “affluencers” want to appear wealthy, curating budget-friendly travel itineraries with the help of AI. Over half (63 percent) of U.S. travelers will want insights and tips from AI when on vacation to upgrade experiences with suggested ancillaries and deals.
Additionally, over half (58 percent) of American travelers plan to pick destinations in 2024 where the cost of living is less expensive than their hometown, while traveling closer to home is also a draw for some who will be searching for luxe-for-less copycat vacations to reduce costs in 2024 (60 percent). A majority (60 percent) of U.S. travelers will be willing to pay for day passes to use the amenities in a five-star hotel rather than actually staying there, with a similar number of parents (64 percent) planning to take their children out of school to travel outside of peak season to make their money stretch further in 2024.
7. Mindful Esthetes
Make way for the intersection of design and mindfulness to influence travel in 2024, opening up new and inspiring doors for travelers who want to make more conscious and responsible choices, not just for a short getaway, but as a way of life. Discerning American travelers will hunt down jaw-dropping architecture that has environmental features at its heart, with almost two-thirds (64 percent) looking for accommodation that has wow-factor sustainability innovation. The same number (64 percent) want to see sustainability in action, while more than two-thirds (70 percent) want to see the outside brought indoors with green spaces and plants in accommodations on vacation.
A large number of American travelers are interested in sustainable travel apps where they can unlock rewards (64 percent), such as experiences with locals in off-the-beaten-path areas (59 percent) or visiting remote locations that tourists otherwise have limited access to (53 percent).Search Hotels
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