As we approach the new year 2024, the geopolitical crises, the rising cost of living, and climate concerns have left people numb and perplexed. People are disengaging from news and current affairs and taking on new hobbies and pastimes. Booking.com stresses at this point that travelling is giving people a positive valve to decompress and relax, so much so that travelling is life. According to research conducted by Booking.com, vacations are making people feel more alive, with 78 percent of respondents stating so. Additionally, 68 percent of people aspire to embody their vacation selves daily. With the help of AI, travel planning is set to become more accessible, allowing individuals to focus on creating enriching experiences.
Booking.com studied over 27,000 travellers from 33 countries to explore how travel can empower individuals. Check out the study published by the organisation to reveal seven travel predictions for 2024.
According to Booking.com, a travel company, in 2024, travellers will be more interested in creating alter egos during their vacations. About 37 percent of travellers plan to invent stories about their real lives, seeking to enjoy an alternative version of themselves. The anonymity of travel is what makes it exciting for them (62 percent). Over two-thirds of travellers (68 percent) feel their best selves while on vacation and tend to shed their inhibitions. Additionally, 42 percent of travellers are willing to spend more on a nicer car rental. Many travellers (57 percent) experience a feeling of being the main character of their journey, empowering them to be the stars of their trips. Digital alter egos will come to life in real-world destinations with the metaverse, adding new dimensions to wanderlust.
Record-breaking heatwaves worldwide have led to a shift in travel preferences. Over 51 percent of travellers are reconsidering vacation plans due to climate change, with 56 percent opting for cooler destinations. Water-centric travel is becoming increasingly popular, with 75 percent of people believing that being near water induces relaxation. In 2024, 36 percent of people are interested in water-centric vacations. This trend is a shift towards mindful water immersion, emerging as the next mainstream form of meditation, with floating yoga, water sound baths, snow meditation, underwater hotels, and mermania becoming more popular.
In 2024, people will seek more spontaneity and the unknown. Out of the whole, 52 percent book surprise trips, 56 percent seek unconventional journeys, and 34 percent are open to travelling with strangers. A total of 55 percent prefer no set plans, and 69 percent opt for loose itineraries. The industry offers tech flexibility, easy plan changes, and payment options. Around 48 percent trust AI for trip planning, with acceptance growing among older generations.
In 2024, food lovers will turn into food archaeologists, exploring the origins and history of popular dishes in vacation destinations. About 81 percent are keen to try indigenous cuisines, emphasising heritage flavours and empowering under-represented communities. Foodie travellers of 2024 will use a sensory approach, toggling between digital and physical realms for immersive "phygital" food experiences. Almost 46 percent are interested in virtual or augmented reality enhancements that can enhance their food experiences.
In 2024, a new trend will be seen among travellers, known as "Reboot Retreaters," who seek self-improvement amid global challenges. This new travel era emphasised sleep tourism, with 58 percent of people prioritising uninterrupted rest. Some travellers are open to matchmaking holidays (39 percent) or heartbreak holidays (35 percent), while others focus on deepening connections with their partners (24 percent). Surprisingly, 58 percent of frazzled parents plan solo trips for personal vitality. Half of all travellers (51 percent) are drawn to the stripped-back lifestyle of rural and indigenous communities, emphasising self-sufficiency and a balance with nature to reset their daily lives. This trend reflects a desire to reinvent real-life experiences for greater well-being.
It has been observed that a new type of traveller, called "A La Carte Affluencers", is emerging in the year 2024. Due to the high cost of living, these travellers have devised money-saving strategies while also treating themselves to luxurious experiences. They plan budget-friendly travel itineraries using AI assistance (56 percent) to find the best deals and insights. Choosing destinations with a lower cost of living (50 percent) and opting for luxe-for-less copycat vacations (43 percent) near their homes are common strategies among them. Despite their desire for luxury, they are smart spenders and can balance their budget while enjoying a lavish travel experience in 2024.
In 2024, a new type of travellers called "Mindful Aesthetes" are changing how we travel. They combine design and mindfulness to make conscious and responsible choices in their journeys. They focus on sustainability and style, with 53 percent actively searching for accommodations with innovative sustainable features, and 60 percent wanting to experience sustainability in action. These travellers look for aesthetic experiences that contribute to conservation efforts. They are interested in sustainable travel apps (60 percent) that offer rewards, such as unique experiences with locals (47 percent) and access to remote locations (44 percent). They focus on bringing back both vacation vibes and a sense of purpose by deeply connecting with the environment and local communities.