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5 travel trends to look out for in 2024

From dry dripping to affordable luxury, the trends that are likely to influence travellers’ choices in the coming year

From holidaying at the location where a popular TV series was shot to travelling just to taste the milk cake that a celebrity raved about vacationers valued impulsiveness and new experiences in 2023. Flexibility and quality of life were high on people’s priorities as they chose to travel as much as work. Some even chose sleep tourism, making vacation decisions based on how comfortable the destination would be to catch up on sleep. 

As a new year approaches, people are already marking out long weekends and charting plans for vacations. A recent report from YouGov and ACKO suggests that almost half of Indians plan to increase their travel budget next year and 60% have their eyes set on international destinations. Here are some travel trends likely to rule in 2024.

In search of water

As the temperature rises, people are looking to cool off. 2023 is set to be the warmest on record, going by a provisional report from the UN, released earlier this month. According to Booking.com’s 2024 travel predictions report, 51% of holidayers say their travel plans will be impacted by climate change, and they will use their vacation to cool down. More travellers are expected to indulge in water-centric travel with 75% agreeing that being close to water makes them feel less stressed.

AI travel

With artificial intelligence (AI) tools being developed for every aspect of life, it’s not surprising that it will also dominate travel. Currently, AI is used to plan trips, create itineraries and find destinations. In its recent Unpack 2024 report, Expedia predicts that the “generation of generative AI” travellers will come of age and embrace its use in travel planning. Half of travellers are interested in using generative AI to create a plan for their trips, 40% said they would use AI to find the perfect stay and 35% would use it to plan activities.

Dry tripping

One of 2023’s trends was dry dating, or going on alcohol-free dates. In 2024, this is likely to extend to dry tripping by booking trips for detox or planning trips to places where activities don’t include drinking. Vacations are traditionally synonymous with letting loose but there has been a shift towards lower consumption of alcohol since the pandemic. More than 40% of travellers say they are likely to book a detox trip in 2024, and half say they would be interested in staying at hotels that offer alcohol-free beverage options, the Expedia survey shows.

Affordable luxury

In 2024, travellers are predicted to balance their craving for luxurious travel with budgetary constraints. Almost half of the travellers will vacation during the off-season, even if it means their children miss school for a few days, the Booking.com survey reveals. About half of the travellers plan to pay for holidays using credit cards as it’s easier to pay in instalments and 39% of pet parents would bring their pets along to avoid pet-sitting costs.

The ‘dupe trend’ of using affordable alternatives instead of expensive products will make its way to the travel space in 2024, with people looking for destination dupes of popular but expensive locations to cut costs. For instance, instead of Seoul, people plan on heading to Taipei, or Pattaya to avoid Bangkok, Expedia explains.

Eco-travel

With heat waves, wildfires, and rapid glacier melting dominating the news, people have recognised the looming climate crisis. Travellers are opting for mindful travel and stays that value sustainability, including hotels with less single-use plastic, having kitchen gardens, and plans to be in harmony with nature or conserve forests. About 53% will look for accommodation that focuses on sustainability innovation. Three in five travellers want to see sustainability in action, while 65% want to visit locations with green spaces.

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