Buckle Up: 2024 Travel Trends

From the silver screen to seeing stars, here are RHC's 2024 travel trend predictions.

2023 was the year that travel was supersized; the world’s first commercial space trip had lift off; arctic expeditions went mainstream; and deep-sea exploration was added (then promptly removed) from wishlists. For 2024, with political turmoil, climate change, strikes, and travel chaos high on the news agenda, we predict travellers will put their appetite for experiences first, the iteinery is the priority, the location, secondary.

The Itchiest Feet

Global travellers are seizing the opportunity to explore the world with renewed vigour. Americans in particular are heading abroad in record numbers, with travel spending surpassing pre-pandemic levels, according to insights from Bloomberg Pursuits. This surge in wanderlust has led to rising interest in further-flung destinations such as Bali, Puerto Rico & Europe. Looking for inspiration? We suggest Viceroy Bali, Dorado Beach & Le Majestic.

Fresh From The Silver Screen

The influence of the silver screen on travel decisions is showing no signs of abating – who else added La Foce & Sicily to their Pinterest boards after Italy was the breakout star of Succession & White Lotus S2. With Thailand slated for season 3 of White Lotus, we’ll be browsing flights while we wait for cast announcements.

Into The Unknown

Knowing your destination is so 2023. According to data shared by Booking.com, a growing number of travellers are choosing to embark on adventures without knowing where they’ll land until they arrive. A staggering 52% of wanderers are opting for mystery trips with friends, and 34% are even open to travelling into the unknown with strangers. This newfound love for uncertainty is further underscored by the fact that 69% of travellers prefer loose itineraries, allowing them to go with the flow once they arrive. Those looking to do it for the plot with style can head to Black Tomato and speak to one of their travel experts for a magical mystery tour.

Going It Alone

Taking the great escape literally, the explosion in solo travel continues. As highlighted by a Booking.com survey, a significant 54% of female respondents expressed their intentions to embark on solo getaways and Skift recently explored an interesting facet of solo travel – women venturing out on their own, without their plus-ones, whether they are married or not. In 2023, Flight Centre reported that the majority of South African solo travellers were women, with an average age of 52. With shifting traditional travel dynamics, will 2024 be the year that girl dinners and girl math turn into girl travel? Let’s go Barbie.

Want Food, Will Travel

Travel is an increasingly culinary-lead affair, with holiday bookings made around a reservation taking centre stage in 2024. However where recommendations from friends and word of mouth previously reigned, American Express found that 46% of Gen-Z and Millennial respondents have been inspired to visit a destination after seeing it featured on Instagram and awarding bodies like Michelin & World’s 50 Best have gained global mainstream attention. As a result, 78% of American travellers are planning entire vacations around their gastronomic pursuits. If London, Cayman Islands, Milan, Vancouver or Dallas are on your 2024 travel agenda, we suggest adding Side Hustle at The NoMad London, Library By The Sea, Camparino, The Botanist & Midnight Rambler to your Resy wishlist.

The Gig Economy

And with her impact reaching music, fashion, movies, higher education and – in something nobody expected on their 2023 bingo card – football. It should come as no surprise that The Swift Effect will be hitting travel trends in 2024. Taylor Swift’s Eras tour, Beyoncé’s Renaissance tour and Madonna’s Celebration tour all contributed to the destination concert business increasing YoY by 60%. Expedia Group’s Unpacked ’24 travel trends report found that nearly 70% of respondents say they are more likely to travel to a concert outside their town, and over 40% say they’d travel for a concert as an excuse to visit a new place. With global tours on the horizon for Coldplay, Metallica, Olivia Rodrigo and Foo Fighters, and of course, The Eras Tour heading to Europe, 2024 demand for rooms and tickets will be even higher. If your concert plans are taking you to Wembley or the O2, The NoMad London is perfectly placed for a city break with a difference.

Written In The Stars

Seeing stars? Light pollution and high rises can potentially make this unlikely every day. But with a total solar eclipse crossing North America in April, the sun is predicted to reach “solar maximum” this year which means a blockbuster year for seeing the Northern Lights, and commercial space travel growing ever closer – astrotourism has ascended to new heights. The allure of celestial objects, space, and the universe has prompted an increased interest in stargazing experiences, with journalists actively seeking out unique programming tailored for upcoming celestial events, such as solar eclipses. Star-seeking travellers should head to Outbound Hotels in Jackson Hole or Mammoth Lakes for big sky just waiting to be watched. 

Of course, one person’s ideal vacation is another’s idea of hell, and while these trends paint a vibrant mosaic of exploration, self-discovery, and responsible wanderlust, travel trend predictions are exactly that, an educated finger in the air. What are your 2024 travel plans and do they match any of ours?