Some 4.7 billion people are expected to travel worldwide in 2024. With a new year comes new trends, and travel experts have their eyes set on what the world of vacationing will look like in the coming months.
One thing is certain: it will be much busier.
According to an International Air Transport Association (IATA) study, travel should increase another 4% over pre-pandemic highs.
In its 2024 Trend Report, online travel site Expedia highlights specific categories of travel that will be popular in the new year, like traveling to destinations inspired by TV shows and films, seeking affordable alternatives to popular yet pricey destinations, and “go-ccassions,” which celebrate the everyday milestones in life like “date-iviersaries,” work achievements like promotions and retirement, and “puppymoons.”
There are other trends coming up in 2024, including the overall demand for specific destinations and the demographic makeup of travel parties. Experts agree that the demand for travel isn’t going anywhere, and travelers can take advantage of that to find unique trip opportunities in the new year.
Demand for Travel Isn’t Going Anywhere
One of the biggest travel trends to look out for in 2024 is the simple act of traveling itself. The post-pandemic travel boom seen in 2022 and 2023 will likely remain throughout 2024, says The Insiders co-founder Eric Beigel.
He predicts that demand for travel will only grow in 2024, noting, “As we spend more and more time in the post-pandemic era, I don’t think the pent-up demand for travel is any smaller. Travel is more popular than ever, to the point that I have a hard time saying any season is a “slow season” when advising people on when to travel.”
Cruising and Theme Parks a Top Choice
Where are travelers headed in 2024? Domestically, look for steady demand at theme parks and on cruises. The cruise industry was hit especially hard by the pandemic but has seen business pick up in the last year.
Kimberly Fidler, VP of Marketing for Get Away Today, notes that cruising will be a vacation of choice for many in 2024 “because cruises were unavailable for so long.” She adds, “They have been booking out farther than in previous years, and there are so many new cruise ships launching.” New ships set to take their maiden voyages in 2024 include the world’s largest, Royal Caribbean International’s Icon of the Seas, and Disney Cruise Line’s sixth ship, the Disney Treasure.
Experts note that large-scale oceanic cruises are not the only ones that will see an uptick in 2024. Theme park journalist Megan duBois notes, “Another big trend I’m seeing is river cruising for young people. These small ship sailings take place all over the world. Still, they are most notable in Europe, where people can see iconic destinations in multiple countries over the course of a week or more, without having to unpack and repack every few days.”
On land, theme parks will remain a top choice for families in 2024. Fidler says, “2022 was a banner year for theme park vacations. Many families tend to be an “every other year” for Disney and other theme park vacations. With that trend, I think we’ll see families returning in 2024.”
As Beigel noted earlier, the popularity of travel has spiked in recent years, making it more challenging than ever to define an “off-season.” Not only do travelers hit the road at all times of the year now, but the makeup of a typical travel party has also changed. Gone are the days when it was just the typical American nuclear family — a mom, a dad, and the standard two-and-a-half kids — piling into the station wagon and heading on vacation. These days, travel parties come in all shapes and sizes, from large multi-generational trips to more intimate, romantic escapes for adults.
Bringing more relatives along on vacation comes out of the pandemic-era social distancing, says Sarah Gilliland, travel editor and writer with On The Road With Sarah. She notes, “The residual effects of social distancing and spending time apart for the last few years are bringing people back together more often than ever. Grandparents traveling with grandkids with or without the parents is a trend I could see rising into the future.”
On the flip side, duBois says travelers should look out for an increase in travel parties of two adults without children, often referred to as DINKS (dual income, no kids). duBois adds, “As more young people wait to have children for various reasons, destinations are looking to entice young couples to come.”
The rising cost of child-rearing has caused many to pause on family planning indefinitely, leaving some with a little extra expendable income for things like travel. Vacation destinations are certainly not blind to this, so travelers can expect to find more opportunities for couples’ retreats and itineraries geared to parties of two.
This article was produced by Media Decision and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.