Despite a squeeze on wallets, the war in Ukraine and last year’s post-pandemic uncertainty, we know people are still spending on travel. So from sleep pods to slow travel, what exactly are the trends experts are seeing for 2023 and beyond?
1. Low-risk, budget-smart options
2022 saw the rise of the micro-break, with holidaymakers booking just two nights or a long weekend not too far away, eliminating the cost and potential disruption involved in post-Covid flying, by preferring domestic destinations and places close-to-home. A recent Statista survey of 5000 Europeans found a whopping 64% of those planning travel in the next six months were going no further than somewhere in their home country or at most the country next door.
The proliferation of ‘sleep pods’ and ‘glamping’ fits into this trend, providing a cheap night away and plenty of spending money left for other experiences.
2. Mega-trips and sunshine migrants
At the opposite end of the spectrum to short breaks, a growing number of people with no traditional commitments or who are able to work flexibly are taking long-awaited ‘mega-trips’. Some are inspired to make bolder choices having previewed parts of their trip in the metaverse. Others are even relocating for months at a time to warmer climates where the cost of living is cheaper, such as Greece and Portugal. Destinations catering to co-working and mid-term rental opportunities will be able to take advantage of this trend for so-called ‘hibernation holidays.’
3. All-inclusive getaways
Cruises and all-inclusive resorts are attracting families looking for low-stress escapes where the budget can be predicted ahead of time.
4. Greener local experiences
People are increasingly expecting sustainability to be on the agenda when booking to go away. However, German Travel Association (DRV) notes a “certain discrepancy between the expressed desire for sustainable travel and actual bookings.”
Providers who make it easy for customers to choose from demonstrated green credentials are likely to attract more business from savvy travellers who want to feel good about their footprint. Look out for an increase in emphasis on holidays that help reduce waste, offset consumption, use circular-economy principles, invest in communities, and prioritise local offerings.
5. The long way round
Travellers are reassessing ‘slow travel’ options not just when it comes to where they stay but also how they get there. After years of closures, disinvestment and neglect, night trains are making a comeback. Like ferry trips, trains are increasingly seen as part of a leisurely ‘it’s-the-journey-that-matters’ approach to travel.
6. Wellbeing and back-to-source breaks
Getting out in nature and reconnecting with ourselves are strong drivers today. More than half of holidaymakers recently polled by Booking.com were interested in taking an off-grid break and learning survival skills. People are seeking out “Type 2” fun, involving challenging themselves and getting pushed to the limit. Businesses keeping it simple, offering outdoor activities and chances to rebalance busy lives are seeing a boom.
7. Last-minute bookings and credit cards
Deutsche Welle is seeing a tendency to wait until the last minute as economic uncertainty, industrial action across Europe, and lingering concerns about Covid mean travellers remain cautious about committing money to holidays far in the future.
Many are using credit cards to supplement travel spending.