If travel isn’t already on your 2024 bucket list, it should be – in fact, a recent World Nomads survey indicated 96 percent of respondents said they plan to travel this year. As the travel industry continues to rebound after the pandemic years, we can also expect travelers’ expectations and preferences to evolve. Having traveled to over 90 countries and territories solo – and documenting part of my journey in my Amazon Prime series, “Me, Myself & The World: The Art of Solo Travel” – here are some notable trends that are defining travel this year.
Travel is becoming more affordable and accessible than ever before, but budgets are expected to be tight in 2024 due to inflation and other economic factors. This is why affordable travel experiences will take center stage this year – think alternative accommodations (like home sharing) and transportation options (like ridesharing). American travelers are also more likely to prioritize affordable destinations or destinations where the US dollar is stronger. Luckily, this leaves plenty of international options throughout southeast Asia, eastern Europe, South America and more. Lastly, don’t rule out local/domestic travel – this can still be a great way to explore and seek adventure, especially if you don’t have the time or budget for an international trip this year.
If you said “sustainable travel” just a few years ago, most people envisioned sleeping in a tent and subsisting on vegan meals. Nowadays, sustainability can mean top luxury and one-of-a-kind experiences mixed with some of the most cutting-edge sustainable living practices. For example, I recently had the pleasure of staying at Bambu Indah, a sustainably built eco-resort in Bali, Indonesia. The property featured self-cleaning natural pools and ponds that do not require chemicals to maintain, farm-to-table cuisine that also helps support the local community, organic bath products for all guests, and so much more. We can expect sustainability to be a major travel trend as consumers become increasingly mindful about how they’re spending their hard-earned dollars.
Cultural immersion sounds exactly like the title – immersing yourself in the culture, fully! Gone are the days of flying 10 hours only to eat, drink and stay at a westernized hotel. Why this is a trend for 2024? Social media has made it cool to dive into “off-the-beaten-path” or “once-in-a-lifetime” experiences. Recently, I had the privilege of traveling to Hanoi, Vietnam, where I immersed myself in the local culture via traditional cuisine. I signed up for a Hanoi street food tour, which allowed me eat my way through the local street food scene, meet locals and learn more about the culture. Taking local classes is also a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture, whether it’s a local cooking class, traditional art class, or even a sword wielding class, as I did on a recent trip to Bangkok, Thailand!
According to a recent survey conducted by Travel + Leisure, 2024 is going to be another banner year for solo travel – with 54 percent of female respondents and 63 percent of male of respondents saying they plan to take a solo trip this year. We’re seeing solo travel take off this year because travel (and life!) has changed since 2020. Consumers have a newfound appetite for adventure and exploration – and they are open to doing it solo. I have seen this trend take shape as more travel experiences are being customized for solo travelers, including cruises, group travel excursions and more.