Top travel trends for 2024

What do you have planned for travel this year? 

Once we get through Christmas, we are going to need a holiday to recover from our holiday, but what are the predictions for the next big thing in travel?

Take a look at this round-up of trends and predictions from some of the world’s largest travel industry providers.

Booking.com surveyed more than 27,000 people across 33 countries in its annual Travel Predictions research to discover where people plan to travel, and the list includes some old favourites as well as some under-the-radar locations.

Top end favourite

In its top trending destinations for 2024, the only Australian spot to make the list was Cairns.

Describing the tropical north Queensland town as a ‘playground for thrilling adventures’, Booking.com recommended Cairns for its thriving backpacker scene, night markets, waterfront bars and location as the gateway to two UNESCO World Heritage sites, the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics region.

Booking.com’s research found that 75 per cent of travellers surveyed that being close to water instantly makes them feel more relaxed, then Cairns also ticks that box as well.

Other global destinations to make the list were Beppu, Japan; Vlore, Albania; Merida, Mexico; Portland, Oregan, the US; Valkenburg, Netherlands; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Chemnitz, Germany, Rotorua, New Zealand and Panglao, the Philippines.

Renewed optimism

“Heading into a new year, Aussies are demonstrating a renewed sense of optimism when it comes to travel, looking for opportunities to reinvigorate and reinvent themselves, be it on international escapades or simply exploring their own backyard, to level up their day-to-day lives,” commented Todd Lacey, regional manager of Oceania at Booking.com.

“Our 2024 Travel Predictions reflect the idea that travel is not a means to escape life, but instead a catalyst to live our best lives. At Booking.com, it’s our mission to make it easier for everyone to experience the world and we are committed to empowering extraordinary experiences that resonate with the heartbeat of each and every traveller in 2024 and beyond.”

Movies as motivators

Travel group Expedia’s Unpack ’24 report predicts there will be more set-jetting, which is the term to describe trips inspired by movies or television shows.

In bad news for influencers, travellers say they are more inspired by movies and television than any social media or podcasts.

Another popular trend is ‘dupes’ or more affordable alternatives to touristy destinations.

Expedia listed a few alternatives, including Taipei instead of Seoul, Pattaya instead of Bangkok and Perth instead of Sydney. Nice try Expedia for making people think Perth is near Sydney.

Regional winners

Expedia also says regional Australia is experiencing a ‘glow up’ and those keen for a bit of a drive can expect world-class hotels, dining and proximity to natural wonders.

Its top recommendations were Newcastle, Kirra, Geelong, Bellingen and Lorne.

As for where Australians want to travel, flight comparison site Skyscanner crunched the numbers by combining booking data with its annual consumer behaviour survey and apparently our top desired destination is Osaka, Japan, with a 455 per cent increase in searches.

Asia by far away dominated our travel searches, with the only other destination, New Calendonia, not too far away in the Pacific.

Second on the list was Chengdu, China, followed by Sapporo, Japan; Tokyo, Japan; Krabi, Thailand; then New Calendonia; next up Cebu, the Philippines and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Skyscanner said while it’s clear Aussies love the buzz of city life, sunshine and beaches were high on our holiday agenda too.

But it’s Japan that continues to make the biggest comeback after reopening last year with Osaka, Sapporo and Tokyo featuring in first, third and fifth place.

Value for money

Skyscanner’s survey found that value for money remains a key factor for Australians with the cost of the flight (42 per cent) and accommodation (12 per cent) the biggest factors in determining the destination.

“However, over a third (35 per cent) of Australian travellers have budgeted to spend more on travel in 2024 compared to 2023, while 33 per cent will spend the same. Only 15 per cent have said they’ll spend less,” the report stated.

While it can’t predict the future, Skyscanner also did the sums for the biggest price drop in airfares over the past 12 months, which may give some indication of where fares are headed.

The biggest price drop was in fares to New Zealand, which fell by 35 per cent.

Other destinations likely to get your best bang for your buck with a fall in airfare prices are Apia, Samoa (23 per cent); Jakarta, Indonesia (16 per cent); Wellington, New Zealand (15 per cent); Seoul, South Korea (14 per cent); Taipei, Taiwan (13 per cent) and Aussie favourite Bali (10 per cent).

What do you have planned for travelling for 2024? Why not share your dream trip in the comments section below?

Also read: Essential advice for your next Aussie coastal road trip

Written by Jan Fisher

Accomplished journalist, feature writer and sub-editor with impressive knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income, issues that affect Australians planning and living in retirement, and answering YLC members' Age Pension and Centrelink questions. She has also developed a passion for travel and lifestyle writing and is fast becoming a supermarket savings 'guru'.

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