The Future of Travel: 2023 Global Travel Trends Report
The Future of Travel: 2023 Global Travel Trends Report - More Travelers Seeking Transformative Experiences
In 2023, an increasing number of travelers will be seeking out transformative experiences that provide personal growth and insight. After several turbulent years, people are looking to travel as a way to reflect, reset, and gain new perspectives.
Destinations and activities that provide opportunities for self-discovery will be in high demand. For example, silent retreats, yoga teacher trainings, creative workshops, and volunteer programs abroad are expected to gain popularity. Travelers want experiences that challenge them mentally, physically, emotionally or spiritually. They want to come home from a trip feeling inspired, with a new skillset, or changed in some meaningful way.
Slow travel will also gain appeal as more people want to truly immerse themselves in a destination and culture. Travelers will stay longer in fewer places rather than just scratching the surface with quick weekend getaways. Extended homestays, retreats, and programs like WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) allow for a deeper connection.
Additionally, some travelers may have had time for reflection during the events of recent years and are now ready to pursue long-held dreams like writing a book, learning a language, or training for a marathon. Combining this personal growth with travel just makes sense for those with wanderlust. Destinations known for specific wellness pursuits, languages, or natural environments that inspire creativity will likely see an uptick in visitors with a purpose.
Travel companies have taken note and many now curate transformative travel experiences ranging from active adventures to spiritual journeys to creative retreats. Tour operators like Intrepid Travel have seen the transformative travel trend growing for years. Their trips are designed to help people connect more deeply to a place and to themselves through local encounters and UNESCO site visits. Small group journeys allow for immersion alongside like-minded travelers.
Likewise, companies focusing on retreats and self-discovery like Unplugged and Souljourn are expanding their transformative travel offerings. They customize private journeys or group retreats with personal growth themes like self-love, mindfulness, or creative actualization. Travelers can choose from set departures or work with advisors to craft their ideal transformative travel experience.
What else is in this post?
- The Future of Travel: 2023 Global Travel Trends Report - More Travelers Seeking Transformative Experiences
- The Future of Travel: 2023 Global Travel Trends Report - Sustainable Tourism Becomes Mainstream
- The Future of Travel: 2023 Global Travel Trends Report - Workations on the Rise for Digital Nomads
- The Future of Travel: 2023 Global Travel Trends Report - Travel Tech Evolves to Prioritize Flexibility
- The Future of Travel: 2023 Global Travel Trends Report - Hotels Focus on Hyper-Personalization
- The Future of Travel: 2023 Global Travel Trends Report - Under the Radar Destinations Gain Popularity
- The Future of Travel: 2023 Global Travel Trends Report - Multi-Generational Travel Makes a Comeback
- The Future of Travel: 2023 Global Travel Trends Report - Health and Wellness Travel Gets Creative
The Future of Travel: 2023 Global Travel Trends Report - Sustainable Tourism Becomes Mainstream
Sustainability has been a buzzword in the travel industry for years. But in 2023, sustainable tourism will truly move into the mainstream as travelers increasingly prioritize the environment and local communities.
What’s driving this shift? Climate change, for one. Travelers have seen the impacts firsthand, from extreme weather events to dying coral reefs. And research shows tourism contributes about 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Travelers are more aware of their carbon footprint and want to reduce it.
There’s also a desire for authenticity. People want to really connect with a destination and ensure their dollars support local businesses directly. The rise of ‘overtourism’ has led many travelers to shun crowded mega-resorts for community-based tourism initiatives instead. Homestays, farmstays, and locally-guided tours foster a deeper experience.
Younger generations are fueling the push for sustainable tourism options. Gen Z travelers grew up hearing about climate change and are more likely to factor sustainability into their purchases. A Booking.com survey found 72% of Gen Z tries to travel more sustainably.
Companies are responding to meet demand. Tour operators like Intrepid Travel and G Adventures have added hundreds of low-impact trips focused on sustainable travel. Their itineraries minimize flights, feature eco-friendly transport and stays, and give back through carbon offsetting programs supporting local projects.
Hotels are jumping on board too. For example, Six Senses offers all-inclusive pricing to deter food waste. They’re eliminating single-use plastics and boosting energy efficiency. Brands like 1 Hotels use renewable materials in their build and focus on restoring surrounding environments. Many hotels let guests opt out of daily room cleaning to save water.
Destinations are also getting in on sustainability. Entire countries like Finland, New Zealand, and Bhutan have made ecotourism a central tenet of tourism development. Cities are designating car-free zones to reduce emissions. Airports are encouraging travelers to use public transit.
Apps like virtue.io help travelers easily find sustainable brands. Sites like bookdifferent.com let you search for eco-friendly stays by carbon footprint. Collective offset programs like JustFly greener give travelers an easy way to neutralize flight emissions.
The Future of Travel: 2023 Global Travel Trends Report - Workations on the Rise for Digital Nomads
The COVID-19 pandemic triggered a remote work revolution. Suddenly, office employees worldwide found themselves working from home indefinitely. The boundaries between work and personal life blurred. Many workers realized they could do their jobs just as well from anywhere with an internet connection. Enter the ‘workation’ - combining work with vacation by taking an extended trip abroad while remaining employed remotely.
In 2023, workations are on the rise, especially among digital nomads. The digital nomad lifestyle has been growing for years, but the pandemic supercharged it. Some seeing their jobs go fully remote took the plunge into long-term travel. Others realized they could occasionally work abroad while keeping a permanent home base. Extended work-focused trips ranging from weeks to months provide a change of scenery and ability to explore new destinations in depth.
Popular workation destinations like Mexico, Costa Rica, Portugal, and Croatia lure remote workers with nice weather, low costs, and good infrastructure. Digital nomads base up in hip neighborhoods like Roma Norte in Mexico City or Lapa in Rio de Janeiro. Co-living spaces and entrepreneurial hubs catering to location independent workers provide built-in community and amenities. Many remote workers congregate in destinations like Bali or Medellin to connect with like-minded people.
Taking a workation enables professionals to temporarily transplant their home office to an exotic location. They can take Zoom calls from the patio of a jungle eco-lodge or beachside cabana. Scheduling video conferences for normal work hours back home allows remote employees to then enjoy the afternoon exploring. Some nomads purposely target destinations in vastly different time zones to have mornings or full days free.
Travel companies have picked up on the workation trend and now offer specialized services. Hotels provide work-friendly features like soundproof rooms, excellent WIFI, standing desks, and 24/7 access to coffee and light food options. Tour operators plan trips around digital nomad hot spots touting remote worker amenities. Coliving companies like Outsite help with logistics like sourcing long-term apartment rentals.
The Future of Travel: 2023 Global Travel Trends Report - Travel Tech Evolves to Prioritize Flexibility
Flexibility has become a top priority for many travelers after having so many trips canceled due to COVID-19. People want the reassurance that they can adjust plans if circumstances change. Travel companies recognize this and are utilizing technology to build more wiggle room into bookings.
A key example is Hopper’s new Cancel for Any Reason protection. This optional add-on guarantees refunds on flights and hotels no matter the reason, taking the stress out of trip changes. Customers simply click a button in the app to cancel. Other brands like Airbnb and KAYAK also now offer free cancellation on select bookings.
Airlines are expanding fare options that allow free date changes or destination switches. Delta and United led the way with no-fee flight changes. Now most major airlines have adopted similar policies on certain fares, albeit with stipulations. Travelers pay a small premium for refundable tickets that offer modification flexibility.
Hotels are also guaranteeing hassle-free booking changes. Brands like Marriott introduced discounted rates with no cancellation penalty prior to check-in.Wyndham revamped policies to allow free cancellations on some mobile bookings within 48 hours. Hilton and Hyatt also have complimentary cancellation on select rates. This gives travelers a decision-making buffer.
Dynamic travel booking sites like Hopper, KAYAK, and Google Flights now track live price drops and alert travelers to rebook at lower fares. Travelers specify target dates and let the technology monitor volatility to suggest optimal rebooking times. Messaging apps also help, as chatbots can automatically reaccommodate passengers impacted by delays or cancellations.
Other innovations like location-based travel alerts from Google Trips and TripIt allow real-time itinerary modifications. These apps send notifications about gate changes, delays, and rebooking options – reducing missed connections and headaches. They also monitor local conditions and transportation strikes that could disrupt plans.
In the tours and activities sector, companies like TourHQ, Klook, and GetYourGuide offer free cancellation on most bookings up to 24 hours prior. This allows flexibility to amend plans if something better comes up. Travelers can book activities knowing they can adjust later.
The Future of Travel: 2023 Global Travel Trends Report - Hotels Focus on Hyper-Personalization
As the travel industry rebounds, hotels are doubling down on hyper-personalization to stand out. Brands aim to make guests feel truly known and catered to as individuals – not just anonymous visitors.
What does this look like? Some hotels are training staff to record guest preferences and provide customized service. For example, higher-end brands may note if you prefer Firm or Soft pillows, early or late checkouts, extra towels, and so on. That data follows you across all properties in that chain through your loyalty profile. Staff can access it to accommodate your wishes in advance.
Other hotels are getting creative with in-room gifts and amenities. Boutique hotels may leave a thoughtful treat if they know you’re celebrating a birthday or anniversary. Or a handwritten welcome note can make you feel instantly at home. Some Kimpton hotels surprise guests by leaving a goldfish in their room for company!
Unique welcome gifts that align with guest hobbies or interests also help personalize stays. For instance, the Dupont Circle Hotel in Washington DC keeps extensive guest profiles. If staff know you’re a runner, you may find a customized running route map waiting in your room. A welcome amenity of local craft beer or a yoga mat can show you’re not just another generic guest.
Tech enables hotels to scale up personalization in smart ways. Apps allow direct communication between guests and staff. You can text requests for extra towels, restaurant recommendations or other needs. Machine learning helps hotels analyze data to predict guest preferences and cater offers accurately.
Some hotels are embracing hyper-personalization through curated experiences. Vancouver’s Wedgewood Hotel works with local artists to commission one-of-a-kind art for guest rooms based on their interests and travel motivations. Italy’s Dimora Palazzone offers cooking classes using herbs and produce from the estate grounds based on guest tastes.
Other accommodation providers enable guests to self-design their ideal stays. Atably.com allows you to browse local “Atablists” to book personalized experiences like insider tours of NYC's best jazz clubs or a sommelier-led wine tasting in Tuscany. Private villa bookings through Inspirato, Onefinestay, and others can come stocked with your preferred foods, wines, even playlists.
Startups are also harnessing technology to facilitate hyper-personalization. ALEROO curates hotel room décor to match guest personality types. CLIQ claims to quadruple guest satisfaction with AI-powered service. Travelopes delivers bespoke hotel packages tailored to traveler interests.
The Future of Travel: 2023 Global Travel Trends Report - Under the Radar Destinations Gain Popularity
As overtourism plagues popular destinations, under the radar locales are emerging as 2019’s travel hotspots. Remote natural wonders, lesser-known cultural gems, and untapped cities claim top spots this year on travel wish lists. What’s driving this shift off the beaten path? For starters, a stronger desire for authenticity. Many travelers want to experience destinations before the crowds arrive. They want to glimpse local life unobstructed by rows of gift shops or tour buses. An under-the-radar destination promises a sense of discovery and exploration that heavily touristed sites lack.
Social media fuels this craving for undiscovered places. Scrolling through Instagram, tumblr, and Pinterest shows travelers an endless choice of underrated destinations beyond big-name staples. Geo-tagging means rarely visited natural gems like Baatara Gorge in Lebanon or Kelimutu crater lakes in Indonesia are now on the map. People want that wow shot from the next undiscovered Instagram hotspot. Even familiar places seem new through the eyes of visually-driven social media.
Clever travelers also realize under the radar locales often equal big value. Lodging and food costs much less without a built-in tourist premium. Tallinn, Estonia feels like a medieval European city without the painful price tag of Paris or Venice. Cheap Airbnb apartments abound in up-and-coming cities like Cape Town, Seoul, and Mexico City that lack brand name hotels. And who doesn’t want fresh tropical fruit from a beachside stand for pennies in an untouristed Vietnamese village vs $10 smoothies in Hawaii? Budget travelers look past mainstream destinations to stretch their money further.
Gen Xers and Millennials especially seek underrated destinations that feel authentic and deliver big experiences without big crowds. Travelers bored by all-inclusive resorts want to dine at local hole-in-the-walls, not global chains. They’d rather wander historic alleys than fight crowds at top TripAdvisor sites. Immersive experiences off the beaten track resonate more.
Solo travelers embracing under the radar destinations report feeling safer and welcomed when they avoid party crowds. Women explorers opt for alternative places like Jordan over solo trips to Egypt or India, citing warmer local reception. LGBT travelers also gravitate towards undiscovered gay-friendly havens like Medellin, Colombia flying under the mainstream gaydar.
The Future of Travel: 2023 Global Travel Trends Report - Multi-Generational Travel Makes a Comeback
Remember when you were a kid, piling into the station wagon with your parents, siblings, grandparents, and maybe a few cousins for the classic summer road trip? Loading up on snacks and games, singing along to music, and stopping at kitschy roadside attractions along the way?
Multi-generational travel is making a major comeback in 2023. After years of focusing on couple’s getaways or friend trips, more families are getting into the intergenerational travel spirit. And for good reason – these bonding trips strengthen connections, create memories, and offer valuable perspectives.
A big driver of this trend is Millennial parents wanting to recreate vacations they fondly remember from childhood. With many Boomer grandparents still active and healthy, it makes sense to grab the kids and grandparents for an epic group vacation. Multi-generational trips allow kids to bond closely with grandparents, who can impart wisdom while Mom and Dad enjoy a little couple time.
Another factor is families realizing after pandemic distancing how precious time together is. Busy daily lives mean we often don’t connect meaningfully. Making an effort to travel together helps nurture relationships. Parents recognize the value for kids to build quality time with grandparents who won’t be around forever. And grandparents leap at the chance to bond with grandkids while making lasting memories.
Of course, coordinating a multi-generational trip takes some planning. Choosing a destination and activities that appeal to toddlers, teens, parents and grandparents can be a juggling act. A dude ranch, national park camping trip or rambunctious theme park may suit the kids but not the older generation. Communication and flexibility are key.
Some popular multi-gen trip options are cruises, all-inclusive resorts, and guided tour companies that take care of logistics while providing varying levels of activity. Choosing accommodations with multiple bedrooms and bathrooms helps maintain privacy and sanity. Disney vacations are a top choice for their multi-age appeal and concessions like free dining for kids under 3 or seniors.
Multi-generational travel is also flourishing among cultures that emphasize strong family ties. Hispanic families with roots in countries like Mexico and El Salvador often take traditional “fam trips” back home to connect the generations. Asian families, especially Chinese, are also joining this trend in greater numbers as overseas travel becomes more accessible.
Looking ahead, demand for family reunion-style travel should keep rising as global populations grow. Gen Z kids hitting adulthood will likely continue vacationing with parents, grandparents, aunts/uncles, and cousins. We’ll see more family-sized Airbnbs and kid+elderly-friendly activities.
The Future of Travel: 2023 Global Travel Trends Report - Health and Wellness Travel Gets Creative
Health and wellness travel will get creative in 2023 as people seek more immersive and authentic experiences. Wellness is no longer defined solely by treatments in sterile spa environments – travelers crave a holistic reboot through multi-sensory experiences, unexpected therapies, and programs tailored to their needs.
A great example is Miraval Berkshires, a wellness retreat nestled in the forest of western Massachusetts praised as the “anti-spa.” Instead of predictable facials and massages, you’ll find innovative therapies like forest bathing, yoga on horseback, and Sound Body treatments using vibration and frequency. The focus is reconnecting to nature through sensory experiences that integrate physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing.
We’ll see more unexpected wellness treatments utilizing natural elements you can’t find at an average spa. Think Watsu water massage, halotherapy salt rooms, or Kneipp hydrotherapy. Destinations with mineral hot springs, volcanic mud, even wine compounds naturally support wellness therapies. Resorts are tapping into what’s indigenous to create authentic healing experiences.
Hot springs are having a major moment with wellness resorts centered around natural mineral pools and hydrotherapy spas. Costa Rica’s Tabacón Thermal Resort pioneered wellness hydrotherapy circuits mingling hot/cold, massage waterfalls and mineral pools for total relaxation and renewal. Their new Forest Bathing experience transcends a typical nature walk to completely immerse you in the healing powers of the forest.
Fitness-focused wellness retreats are also evolving. Traditional bootcamps are passe. Instead, travelers can learn paddleboard yoga in Tulum, take a bike + brewery tour of Oregon’s countryside, or trek to Everest Base Camp. Active adventures in awe-inspiring destinations motivate on deeper levels. Retreats like Surf Simply in Costa Rica offer personalized instruction sailing, surfing, paddling at your skill level for active rejuvenation.
The social and community aspect of wellness travel is expanding dramatically. For example, TrekWell pairs small groups with local guides for deeply bonding hiking or yoga retreats in places like Peru, Morocco, Iceland. Bonded by shared experiences, solo travelers form lasting friendships.
Women-only wellness travel is surging. Escape Haven leads all-female wellness journeys tackling women's mental, physical and emotional health through wellness workshops, spa treatments, counseling, fitness, creative arts and sisterhood bonding. Women open up and go deeper in the safe space of female-exclusive retreats.