Alter-egos, mindfulness and relinquishing control: What’s hot in Booking.com’s 2024 travel predictions?

Nudey beach on Fitzroy island near Cairns in Queensland, Australia
Edited by Travel Weekly


    While travel used to be a means to escape life, new research from Booking.com reveals that travel is life in 2024 with over three quarters (78%) of Aussies stating they feel more alive than ever when on holiday.

    With a majority of Aussie travellers (66%) thinking they are the best version of themselves while on holiday, and 68 per cent wanting to be more like their holiday self in their day-to-day life back home, these trends reveal how Aussies will go about bottling those feel-good holiday vibes so they don’t get left on the doorstep when they arrive home.

    Booking.com’s annual Travel Predictions research, which gathers insights from more than 27,000 travellers across 33 countries and territories, including over 1000 from Australia, explores how travel will transport people out of autopilot in 2024 and into living their best travel lives.

    “Heading into a new year, Aussies are demonstrating a renewed sense of optimism when it comes to travel, looking for opportunities to reinvigorate and reinvent themselves, be it on international escapades or simply exploring their own backyard, to level up their day-to-day lives,” commented Todd Lacey, regional manager of Oceania at Booking.com.

    “Our 2024 Travel Predictions reflect the idea that travel is not a means to escape life, but instead a catalyst to live our best lives. At Booking.com, it’s our mission to make it easier for everyone to experience the world and we are committed to empowering extraordinary experiences that resonate with the heartbeat of each and every traveller in 2024 and beyond.”

    1. (Alter) Ego Enthusiasts

    People often take on different personas when travelling to feel more alive, with some even going as far as to make up stories about themselves to those they meet when travelling (30%) and a majority of Aussies (61%) reported enjoying the anonymity of travel and the chance to recreate themselves.

    Fuelling the idea that people take on different personas when travelling, over two thirds (66%) feel they are the best version of themselves on holiday, able to shed inhibitions and embrace new aspects of their personalities. What’s more, well over half (63%) of travellers feel ‘main character energy’ on their travels, empowered to be the stars of their own lives.

    2. Cool-cationers

    With Australia set for a hot summer, the sweltering conditions are accelerating a rise in travellers chasing cooler climates to refresh themselves. Nearly half of Aussies (42%) report that climate change will impact the way they plan their holiday in 2024, with 41 per cent saying that as temperatures soar close to home, they will use their holiday to cool down elsewhere.

    As a result, there is an expected rise of water-centric travel that takes the edge off the heat. Three quarters (75%) agree that being close to water instantly makes them feel more relaxed, with over a third (35%) interested in water-centric holidays in 2024. This will see floating yoga, water sound baths, snow meditation, ice therapy retreats and underwater hotels surge, with water no longer the backdrop but the main event.

    3. Surrender Seekers

    Shifting from rigorous planning to chance encounters and experiences with a roll of the dice, these surrender seekers are relinquishing control. Over half of travellers (57%) would like to have no plans set in stone prior to travelling in 2024 so they can go where the wind takes them, while almost two-thirds (68%) prefer to travel with loose plans so they can change direction based on what feels good in the moment.

    4. Culinary Excavators 

    Aussie travellers are keen to dig deep into the roots of cuisine by bucking next-gen food trends in favour of experiencing heritage flavours with an overwhelming majority (81%) wanting to savour indigenous cuisines while exploring the world.

    Street food in Jiufen, Taiwan – Booking.com

    What’s more, over half (56%) are interested in learning about the origins of a destination’s ‘must-eat’ delicacies. Culinary excavators are in favour of preserving the true craftsmanship of traditional dishes and embracing the unique history, geography and produce that makes for one-of-a-kind cuisine.

    5. Reboot Retreaters

    Amid global instability and our ever-hectic world, Aussies are booking self-improvement trips to get their dream life back on track. Enter, the new era of sleep tourism, that welcomes sleep concierges and cutting-edge tech to serve the 55 per cent who want to solely focus on uninterrupted shut-eye in their 2024 travel.

    Some of the most sleep-deprived amongst us, parents, are seeking solace on completely solo holidays with half (50%) planning to travel alone in 2024, dropping the kids and their partners to prioritise themselves. On the flip side, 30 per cent of travellers would carve out time for a matchmaking holiday to find a spark with a new partner or lover.

    6. A La Carte Affluencers

    Fuelled by cost of living pressures, travellers in 2024 will employ money saving hacks to cut costs, yet level up holidays with ‘à la carte’ luxuries. These à la carte ‘affluencers’ will be curating budget-friendly travel itineraries with the help of AI, with almost half (48%) of travellers after insights and tips from AI when on holiday to upgrade experiences with suggested ancillaries and deals.

    Additionally, over half of travellers (54%) plan to pick destinations in 2024 due to cost of living pressures, while travelling closer to home is also a draw for some who will be searching for luxe-for-less holidays to reduce costs. Nearly half (49%) of all Aussie parents are planning to take their children out of school to travel outside of peak school holidays to make their money travel further in 2024.

    7. Mindful Aesthetes

    A growing movement of hotels and unique stays are responding to significant environmental and social challenges through architectural design. Mindful travellers will hunt down jaw-dropping architecture that has environmental features at its heart, with nearly half (47%) looking for accommodation that has a wow factor in sustainability innovation and many (53%) wanting to see the outside brought indoors with green spaces and plants in accommodations.

    Alongside contributing to conservation efforts, sustainable itineraries will give travellers exclusive access to the places they are helping preserve, in the most mindful and responsible way. Nearly half (47%) of Aussie travellers are interested in sustainable travel apps where they can unlock experiences, such as adventures with locals to off-the-beaten-path areas (58%) or visiting remote locations that tourists otherwise have limited access to (51%).

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