Cutting Edge Travel: 11 travel trends we predict will be popular for 2024
Cutting Edge Travel: 11 travel trends we predict will be popular for 2024
From exploring our own cities and countries, to duality trips and destination dupes, these are the top global travel trends we will be seeing more of in 2024
Before any of us decide where we’re going to travel to, we’re influenced by the latest cultural trends in why and how we’re holidaying right now – even if we don’t consciously realise it.
In 2022, it was all about “revenge travel” and celebrating our new-found post-pandemic freedom: travelling to the most beautiful, nostalgic destinations we’d longed to see again or for the very first time, perhaps renting a villa and filling it with the multigenerational family or gang of friends we’d been forbidden from spending time with for so long.
In 2023, for many the focus shifted a little, to experiencing more meaning from the travel itself, with a rise in travel via trains rather than planes, as well as spiritual retreats striving to heal both the land they’re hosted upon and their guests who are searching the world for peace of mind.
And now for 2024, according to a study by Hilton, more than half of global travellers (64%) are planning to reduce spending elsewhere in their personal budgets in order to increase it on travel. Here we look at some of the latest patterns you may find yourself following in 2024.
1. Bonding Travel
Bespoke travel agents have noticed that the number of trips taken by just two family members together is on the rise, be it by a parent and a young or adult child, a grandchild and grandparent, or an auntie and niece or nephew.
“The trend can be attributed to promises that were made in lockdown and are now coming to fruition ('when this is all over, we’ll go to…’),” explains Tom Barber, co-founder of global travel specialists in tailormade holidays, Original Travel. “Or they’re now actually missing the time they spent together during lockdown, since normality has more fully resumed."
In reaction, the company has relaunched its Bonding Holidays Collection: itineraries created to maximise one-on-one time by spending it discovering somewhere new together, such as one of the world's new wonders in Machu Picchu or Barcelona by bike. High-end custom travel experts cazenove+loyd, along with travel trend forecasting agency Globetrender also identified “building bonds” and “striving to feel connected” in their report on the main ways we are likely to travel from 2024 onwards.
2. Duality Holidays
The Nautilus Maldives
Duality travel describes when holidaymakers squeeze at least two destinations into one trip (also known as twin or multi-centre travel). With Google searches for "multi-destination trips" having increased by 456% since the start of 2023 at last check, the end of Covid restrictions seems to have permanently transformed how people perceive travel.
“Clients are coming to us requesting multi-destination holidays in numbers like I’ve never seen before,” says Ben Nelson, founder and managing director of luxury international travel company, Nelson Travel. “Tanzania’s Serengeti and Zanzibar have come out as our most popular multi-centre travel combinations at the moment. Travellers can witness the great migration in Tanzania before continuing to an isolated, untouched shoreline in the Zanzibar archipelago.”
There is also set to be a particular rise in multi-destination trips to the Caribbean says Helen Tabois from holiday specialists Inspiring Travel Company, “thanks to new flights, such as Tradewind Aviation’s between Antigua and Anguilla, St Barths and Anguilla, and Cayman Airways’ new route from Barbados to Grand Cayman.” Demand for island-hopping itineraries in both the Maldives and Greece is also surging, while fresh flight connections between Tahiti and the Cook Islands mean “these island nations are now a great twin-centre option,” according to James Bell, managing director of upscale travel agency The Turquoise Holiday Company.
3. Impact Travel
The next step on from the volun-tourism that boomed a few years ago, impact travel is a more focussed type of vacationing, through which the traveller gets to see the direct positive results of their visit, while minimising any negative effects. Craft Travel, a boutique tour operator specialising in curated experiences, has observed a 112% escalation in requests for impact travel trips in the past year. Sustainability, social responsibility, and environmental conservation are the cornerstones of the trend, with travellers wanting to offer their time and money to socially, environmentally, and economically worthwhile activities.
“The growing interest in impact travel is primarily fuelled by millennials and Gen X travellers who are increasingly utilising our services,” Craft Travel’s founder and principal Julia Carter explains. “These conscientious travellers, raised in a tech-savvy era with extensive internet exposure, are more aware of environmental impacts and ways to minimise them while travelling. Safaris, such as our African Bush Camps, are a key area where we are seeing people switch approaches. In doing so, they actively participate in preserving the very landscape and environment they are looking to explore.”
Meanwhile, the Maldives’ beautiful Huvafen Fushi island resort is now offering guests the chance to cultivate coral with marine biologists as a living legacy of their trip in the ocean, with photographic updates sent to them following their stay.
4. Eco-Conscious Skiing
Environmentally aware ski holidays are set to be an emerging trend in 2024.
“The recent closure of the beloved La Sambuy resort [in France, due to lack of snow] has served as a reminder to skiers of the very real and tangible effects that travel can have on the environment,” says Lizzy Nelson, ski consultant at Nelson Travel. “People are now keeping the environment in mind while coming to us requesting 2024 ski trips.”
In step with this spreading change in attitude, Eurostar has just launched a new ski train route between London and Lille onto stops between Chambéry and Bourg-Saint-Maurice for the 2023/2024 season – the first Eurostar-operated ski service in three years. Tour company Inghams Ski has also recently started offering rail packages to 22 resorts across four Alpine countries, also departing from London, to offer more sustainable, simpler travel through the Alps. Plus, thankfully, chemical-free, recyclable clothing remains a solid staple of all chic ski and snowboard wear.
5. DNA Pilgrimages
Genealogy site Ancestry is said to receive more than one billion searches per month, and rival Family Search had more than 200 million readers in 2022. The pandemic gave many the gift of time to research their personal history, so now that travel is no longer restricted, the natural follow-on trend is that of exploring such newly found heritage first-hand, via travel.
Cazenove+Lloyd has noticed an upswing in so-called ancestry trips or DNA pilgrimages: specially designed trips that enable travellers to discover more about the people and places they have come from. The bespoke itineraries have been known to include surprise lunch meetings with the former colleagues of a traveller’s late relations, armed with photos.
Tom Marchant of travel curators Black Tomato has seen the emergence of a similar trend he’s calling “memory lanes,” in which tourists are inspired to plan trips based on “seminal journeys their family members or close friends have taken in years past.”
6. Ultra Personalisation
The Carlton Tower Jumeirah Zulal Wellness Resort
Is checking in to find a framed wedding photo on your hotel bedside table too much? How about having your initials monogrammed onto your pillowcase, towel, and slippers, as well as your flat white froth and the ice cube in your drink? Personalised biscuits?
We experienced all these niceties first-hand at The Carlton Tower Jumeirah in Knightsbridge and loved them, and it seems the travel industry is only going to become more creative in taking service personalisation to an even higher level.
“Some of the hotels I work with are working to create more impactful bespoke experiential services by offering extensive questionnaires before arrival, or WhatsApp personal assistants who can cater to every whim of the traveller,” says Anna Beketov, an associate vice president for communications agency FINN Partners.
Tim Hentschel, co-founder and CEO of HotelPlanner.com, believes AI will be what accelerates advances in customisation. “We believe 2024 will see more hotels using AI tools, such as chatbot messaging apps and contact check-in and payment systems, to personalise their service down to the unique needs and wants of every customer.”
Zulal Wellness Resort by Chiva-Som in Qatar and the original Chiva-Som Hua Hin in Thailand, meanwhile, have introduced genomic wellness testing, which shares insights into guests’ genetic code in order to “spot any predispositions to certain health-related traits, so that you can adopt long-term, healthy, and sustainable lifestyle changes.”
7. Fashion Designer Hotel Collaborations
Last summer saw the launch of the world’s first Fendi pop-up beach club at Marbella’s Puente Romano Beach Resort, as well as Dior’s beach takeover at Four Seasons Resort Bali and Valentino at SĀN beach club, Dubai.
In 2024, long-awaited 100 Princes Street hotel in Edinburgh is slated to open in spring, with a look heavily inspired by late designer Alexander McQueen, while what is said to be the “world’s first fashion hotel,” Los Felices Ibiza is set to launch in June.
As well as being heavily influenced by 1960s Palm Springs (there’s a lot of pastel pink), the architecture and interiors are strongly inspired by the world of fashion, with each of the suites dedicated to a designer. And over in Paris, Nicolas Ghesquière, women's creative director at Louis Vuitton, has confirmed that the world’s largest luxury brand will be opening a store, a cultural venue, and a hotel, designed by architect Peter Marino, right on the city’s L’avenue des Champs-Élysées.
8. Low-Carbon Space Travel
Zephalto’s website is so subtle and glossy at first, it’s hard to believe the enormity of the new service the brand is offering. But no, it’s not a hoax, and it’s not the upscale restaurant it looks like it should be either – although you can dine on Michelin-starred food during the experience upon request. Zephalto really is going to enable travellers to catch a hot air balloon into space – and yes, by the end of 2024.
Céleste, a pressurised capsule pulled up by a stratospheric balloon, will be the world’s smallest “experience-led hotel,” and has been designed by Joseph Dirand Architecture, the French architect behind Balmain and Givenchy stores in Paris, as well as restaurants such as Loulou and Monsieur Bleu. Your journey within it will start in France and peak up to 25km in the air, where you’ll spend three hours at the highest altitude, observing the Earth’s spherical curve (the Overview Effect) beyond all light pollution. According to Zephalto, guests will find themselves in “the darkness of space but in the comfort of quality hospitality and safety," and the opportunity is entirely safe and open to all. And unlike with regular rockets, Céleste requires the lowest amount of carbon for a space flight and operates via ecological technology.
Then there’s the permanently revised mindsets Dirand hopes the trips will inspire. “Design is about shaping experiences, and this experience will shape people’s lives. I hope that our guests will return to Earth with new perspectives towards our precious planet, its beauty, and how to protect it better.” Overall tickets are €120,000 per person (around SAR 491,000), and pre-reservation should open in early 2024.
9. Destination Dupes
What happens when you combine widespread post-Covid economic downturns with millions of creative minds across the world, tinkering away on TikTok? A viral new travel trend with a catchy, alliterative name. Destination dupes describe those lesser-known, little-sister places that are being highlighted as appealing alternatives to long-time, holiday hotspots via the hashtag #dupe.
Key examples according to Expedia’s Unpack 24 Trends in Travel, include the previously overlooked Greek Island of Paros instead of Santorini, with the former generating 193 per cent more flight searches in 2023 compared to 2022, Québec City rather than Geneva and Sapporo as a dupe for Zermatt. “Dupes are destinations that are a little unexpected, sometimes more affordable, but every bit as delightful as the tried-and-true places travellers love,” says Melanie Fish, chief trend tracker for Expedia Brands.
“Places like Palermo, Taipei and Curaçao make a really interesting destinations of the year list for 2024.” We’re looking forward to the start of Destination Double-Dupes, when a fresh round of replacements start being offered up.
10. Saudis Travelling in Saudi
So, what about Saudi travellers specifically – how will the way you holiday change in 2024?
According to findings published by World Travel Market in November 2023, the trend for Saudi tourists to explore and relax in their own Kingdom during their valuable vacation time has continued, with the volume of domestic trips increasing by 37% compared to the same time period in 2019, pre-Covid. And according to research by Almosafer, touted as Saudi’s leading travel company, Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, Makkah, and Abha remain the country’s “all-time favourite Saudi destinations,” while AlUla, Taif, and Najran are on the rise in terms of popularity.
11. Slow Travel
While Saudi is developing at breakneck pace in most industries and areas, travel is one realm the whole country seems to agree should be slowed right down. Marriott Bonvoy and foresight agency The Future Laboratory analysed holiday plans over the next three years from 14,000 travellers in Europe and the Middle East before publishing their 2024 Future Travel Trends paper. In it, they found that 77% of Saudis say they’ve already been on a so-called “slow holiday” and an even higher 80% will go on one before 2027, during which they will “take their time, connect with the local culture, disconnect from technology, and minimise their impact on the environment.”
Indeed, sustainability is an integral part of the new way Saudis travel, with 70% checking out the eco-credentials of the most recent place they stayed in, and 42% looking into the environmental impact of all their own holiday plans. A forward-thinking 78% would even pay out more for accommodation they know is more sustainable – up to 22% more, to be precise.