Immediately following the COVID-19 lockdown in the United States, outdoor and drivable destinations were in big demand for domestic travelers. As the country has reopened, Americans embraced the idea of getting back to normal and began traveling much as they did prior to the pandemic. However, travel trends on the horizon for 2023 suggest there is no normal when it comes to travel planning. Instead, individual interests are driving decisions about where to go and what to do. “We see a detailed and robust picture of travel into 2023,” Expedia Brands President Jon Gieselman said. “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. It’s not a new normal so much as people branching out to unexpected trends in what we’re calling the ‘no normal.’”
A close look at these trends suggests there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to travel in 2023. Insights sourced from the company’s first-party data, and from custom research of thousands of travelers and industry professionals across 17 countries, show personal interests and pop culture are heavily influencing travel choices. Consider these conclusions from the experts at Expedia:
Booking a trip after bingeing a popular series will become serious business in 2023. Research confirms streamed movies and TV shows are now the top sources of travel inspiration (40%), outpacing the influence of social media (31%). Furthermore, the small screen is now considered on par with recommendations from friends and family when it comes to travel inspiration.
In the U.S., more than two-thirds (68%) of travelers considered visiting a destination after seeing it in a show or movie on a streaming platform, and a whopping 61% went ahead and booked a trip. Top set-jetter destinations include New Zealand, with its landscapes featured in one of this year’s most epic series, followed by the United Kingdom, Paris, New York and the beach resorts of Hawaii.
National parks and rural retreats had big moments the past couple of years. Now, cities are seeing a comeback. Based on traveler demand, most of the destinations seeing the largest increases are culture-rich cities where art and culture festivities are back in full swing. Examples include the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland, WorldPride in Sydney and the cherry blossoms in Tokyo. Culture capitals that are calling loudest include:
- Edinburgh, Scotland
- Lisbon, Portugal
- New York
- Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Gather more ideas and inspiration to help plan an adventure that’s uniquely your own at Expedia.com or by downloading the app.