To better predict how travel will look in 2023, the travel booking platform commissioned research involving more than 24,000 travellers from 32 countries and territories, combining those insights with data from its customer use.
“This year’s travel predictions research shows the undercurrent of intentional paradoxical behaviours that will put us all most comfortably in the driving seat amid the relentless instability,” says Arjan Dijk, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Booking.com.
The research also demonstrates that travel can be a way of escapism to counteract the heavy realities of our news feeds, Dijk says.
So, how will we be travelling next year?
Preppers in Paradise
Travellers will be seeking off-grid style escapes, with 44% of those surveyed saying they want their travel experiences to have a more back-to-basics feel and 62% saying they want ‘off-grid’ holidays to switch off and escape reality.
More than half of those surveyed were even keen to use travel as an opportunity to learn survival skills like sourcing clean water, lighting a fire from scratch, and foraging for food in the wild.
The Metaverse is gaining steam, and travel will be a part of it next year, with 34% of travellers saying they’re keen to embark on a multi-day VR travel experience.
“In a year when Metaverse worlds will begin replicating and reimagining destinations, travellers will no longer be limited by physics and can experiment with different travel experiences,” reads the reports.
Travellers will also become bolder in their real-life trip choices, after being able to visit them in the Metaverse first via their online avatars, it says. That’ll be especially handy for those who might feel anxious about visiting somewhere new.
Delight in the Discomfort Zone
Next up? Travellers will be forgetting their usual favourite holiday spots and instead seeking unique holidays that shock, surprise and delight, the report predicts. Almost half (47%) of those surveyed said they were wanting to experience complete culture shock, while 25% said they want to travel somewhere with completely different cultural experiences and languages.
Glamorising the Good Ol’ Days
Aussies are looking for nostalgic getaways, with 86% of saying they wish to relive the glory days through travel. “In fact, there’s a desire across all generations — but even more so for millennials and Gen Z who never lived it — to disappear into the romanticism of a pre-digital era,” the report says.
Travellers of all generations are increasingly looking for activities that allow them to live like kids again — like theme parks, escape rooms and scavenger hunts.
Peace and Pleasure Pilgrimages
Wellness, mindfulness and meditation getaways will be as popular as ever, with Aussie travellers (45%) saying they want to recenter their minds on a meditation and mindfulness getaway next year.
“Globally, it is the younger generations who are most keen to try plant-based substances for an elevated spiritual experience,” the report says. “It’s millennials and Gen Z who are most likely to find peace at a silent retreat too.”
Increasing conversations around sexual well-being, pleasure and orientation are encouraging more people to explore their sex lives, with 34% of travellers saying they’re keen to take time away on an erotic escape.
From Daily Grind to Great Company Escape
2023 will see a rise in destination business retreats, with a focus on strengthening relationships and corporate recreation rather than work.
“Think ‘Survivor’ themed trips at luxury cabins or country farmhouses complete with outdoor adventure activities or crime-centric escapes where spy school and CSI simulations double as sight-seeing scavenger hunts,” the report reads.
Additionally, it found that employees increasingly want to save their holiday time for complete escapism, with 70% wanting their trips next year to be strictly work-free and 55% not interested in working while away.
Saving to Splurge
Finally, with all the global economic uncertainty, travellers will still continue to prioritise travel next year, but will be more mindful of maximising their travel budget. That’ll translate to financially-savvy itinerary curation at its finest, with people planning travel budgets more tightly by taking advantage of deals, hacks and smartly-timed travel.
60% of those surveyed said they’ll plan travel more in advance to get a better deal, 59% said they’ll consider off-season destinations or longer routes on journeys and 48% said they’ll opt for one or two longer holidays instead of several short breaks.