"Destination dupes," "tour tourism," "dry tripping," "go-ccasions"—these are among the top travel trends we can expect will inspire vacationers in 2024, according to a new forecast from Expedia Group.
At least none of those terms are as hideous as "bleisure," long may it languish wherever lifestyle-section trend pieces go to retire.
To crown 2024's batch of buzzwords, Expedia relied on its own data based on searches and such at the online travel agency as well as at booking platform Hotels.com and vacation rental marketplace Vrbo, both of which are owned by Expedia Group. Additionally, the company conducted a global consumer survey of 20,000 travelers.
The result is Unpack '24, a "comprehensive look at what's motivating travelers and where they're going next year," according to a press release.
What say we unpack some of what's in the Unpack report?
(Taipei, Taiwan | Credit: Sean Pavone / Shutterstock)
Among the eight trends identified by Expedia, a couple have to do with saving money amid the soaring prices we've been seeing in travel lately.
The report defines destination dupes as travel's answer to the "dupe" fad on TikTok, where users offer affordable alternatives to popular products, usually in fashion and design.
Using flight search data from the past year, Expedia came up with a list of destinations that are experiencing surging interest (in many cases with searches that have more than doubled year over year) and can be seen as "unexpected, sometimes more affordable" dupes for better-known, usually more expensive places relatively nearby.
Here are Expedia's top five destination dupes for 2024:
• Taipei, Taiwan: dupe for Seoul, South Korea
• Pattaya, Thailand: dupe for Bangkok
• Paros, Greece: dupe for Santorini
• Curaçao: dupe for St. Martin
• Perth, Australia: dupe for Sydney
Mind you, it's kind of hard to see how some of these destinations are cheaper than their purported alternatives, especially in the cases of Taipei vs. Seoul and St. Martin vs. Curaçao. A lot depends on which hotel or resort you choose, where you dine, and the airfare you get.
To see a longer list of dupes as well as reasons why those yearning for, say, the beaches of Santorini might want to give quieter Paros a try or how exactly Taipei's tech market and food options stack up against Seoul's storied offerings, visit Expedia's online magazine.
(Taylor Swift performing in concert in August 2023 | Credit: Paolo V [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons)
Another budget-related trend in the Unpack forecast is tour tourism—i.e., fans traveling out of their hometowns and sometimes even out of their countries to catch concerts by their favorite pop performers.
We're already seeing this happen with events such as Taylor Swift's Eras Tour, for which tickets in the U.S. were notoriously expensive and hard to come by.
As one concertgoer who traveled from Southern California to Mexico City to see Swift's concert put it to the New York Times, “Tickets in Los Angeles were $1,900 each. That’s more than we spent on our flights, our hotel, and all our food. Our entire trip was less than $1,900.”
In the U.S., ticket prices are driven up by factors such as dynamic pricing, hefty extra fees, and Live Nation/Ticketmaster's monopolistic control of venues and box offices, whereas many other countries follow more consumer-friendly practices, making globe-trotting concertgoing a tempting proposition.
Expedia expects the trend to continue. In the report's survey of travelers, in fact, 30% of respondents said they would travel outside of their home cities for a concert because tickets were cheaper elsewhere.
Speaking of pop culture's impact on trip planning, the forecast predicts no letup in the popularity of set-jetting, the cutesy term for relying on movies and TV shows for travel inspiration.
Expedia's survey found that more than half of travelers have researched or booked a trip to a destination after seeing it onscreen. A majority of those surveyed also said that TV shows influenced their travel decisions more than Instagram, TikTok, and podcasts.
Based on upcoming releases, the report anticipates special interest in Thailand because of the third season of The White Lotus; Paris because of the fourth season of Emily in Paris (not to mention the Summer Olympics); London, Bath, and Windsor in the U.K. because of new seasons of Bridgerton and The Crown; and Korea because of the second season of Squid Game. To mention just a few.
As if to send a shiver of dread down the spines of guidebook publishers everywhere (ahem), the survey data found as well that half of travelers are interested in using generative AI tools like ChatGPT to plan their next trips, though only 6% of travelers say they used AI to plan travel in 2023.
Moving right along . . .
On the accommodations front, hotels and resorts might be wise to stock up on nonalcoholic beverages. Half of surveyed travelers expressed interest in staying at properties with easily accessible detox programs and zero-proof drink options, prompting researchers to deem dry tripping a trend for 2024.
If you're interested in boarding the sober vacation bandwagon, our story on the subject from last spring is a good place to start.
(Pickleball equipment | Credit: glenrichardphoto / Shutterstock)
The Expedia report's remaining trends for 2024 have to do with a growing demand for vacation rentals with outdoor amenities like pickleball courts and firepits; a sharp increase in mentions of a hotel's "vibes" in searches and reviews at Hotels.com (not the most helpful data point ever); and a rise in go-ccasions, as in occasions on the go.
Of course, taking a trip to celebrate a special occasion is nothing new, but in the travel survey, respondents revealed that they have lowered the bar for what counts as special, with about 25% saying they'll take any excuse to get away—new job, lost job, puppymoon, jobiversary, puppiversary, puppy-jobiversary (a word we just invented for marking a milestone in your career as a dog walker). You name it.
To dig into the full Unpack '24 report of travel trends, go to Expedia.com.
And for more ideas on where to travel next year—based on expert analysis from experienced pros—see Frommer's Best Places to Go in 2024.