Expedia is calling it "the year of the no-normal."
Travellers are getting more spontaneous than ever. Expedia ranked the most anticipated travel trends of 2023 and found people are likley to venture off the beaten path even more than this year, planning trips based on televised settings and word-of-mouth.
Traveller data from over a dozen countries shows 39% of globetrotters have booked (and 66% have considered) trips to destinations after seeing them in a TV show or movie. That means more visitors heading to rural British estates pictured in television dramas and fantastical adventures in the rolling 'hobbit' hills of New Zealand.
"We’re seeing a surge in trips to culture capitals, a new wave of interest in wellness retreats, and a spike in demand for outdoor destinations beyond just beaches and mountains — not a new normal, but people branching out to unexpected trends in what we’re calling the 'no-normal'," said Expedia president Jon Gieselman.
During the pandemic, wellness trips saw a 30% increase in 2022, compared to the year before. Travelers seem to be looking for quirky getaways, like sylvotherapy (forest bathing), chakra sessions, puppy yoga, laughter therapya and fruit harvesting to boost their spirits.
Gen Z travellers, in particular, are ditching the usual U.S.-based wellness meccas, instead opting for Norway, Turkey, Switzerland, Iceland and Sri Lanka.
People are also more eager to get out of urban centres on vacation. Expedia found that when travellers do consider cities, those rife with cultural experiences like festivals and live music are coming top of the list. That's where Montreal comes in.
The city made the top 10 cultural capitals that Expedia expects to trend in 2023:
- Edinburgh, Scotland
- Lisbon, Portugal
- Tokyo, Japan
- Dublin, Ireland
- New York, USA
- Sydney, Australia
- Dubai, UAE
- Montreal, Canada
- Munich, Germany
- Bangkok, Thailand
The new 'go with the flow' travel trend means more focus on short-term rentals and cheaper accommodations. Kitchens are becoming a must in bookings to save on inflated global food costs. Data from Hotels.com shows that 35% of travelers plan to stay hotels rated one- to three-star, while 38% plan to book a vacation that includes meal-based amenities like free breakfast.
Thanks to freedom granted by remote work, spontaneous trips are also picking up steam. Expedia reports an spike in last-minute bookings, which means more coveted high-end spots are usually booked.
The travel company predicts that no matter the destination, travel in 2023 will be about breaking routines and finding unique experiences.