The last day of the year always has us reflecting back on what’s happened over the past 12 months. First and foremost, hasn’t it been amazing to get back out travelling with limited Covid restrictions? The seemingly endless administrative forms, tests and face masks are now a thing of the past (fingers crossed). It’s crazy to think that in early 2022 we were on our way back from Costa Rica anxiously awaiting PCR test results before we could get on the plane just to transit the USA. But, even more interesting than reflecting back, is thinking to the year ahead. Specifically, what will travel look like in the coming year? What are the 2023 Travel Trends going to be?

  1. Lotus Eaters Travel: 2023 Travel Trends
  2. Societal impacts on travel
    1. Limiting Environmental Footprint
    2. Cost of Living
    3. Post-Covid Confidence
  3. 2023 Trends in Types of Travel
    1. The rise of the female solo traveller
    2. The long walk
    3. Festival Travel
    4. Multi-generational travel
    5. Self-improvement
    6. Travelling ultra-light
  4. 2023 Trends in Travel Destinations: 10 to watch
    1. Argentina
    2. Bhutan
    3. Bulgaria
    4. Costa Rica
    5. Georgia
    6. Laos
    7. Norway
    8. Japan
    9. New Zealand
    10. Mexico

Societal impacts on travel

Limiting Environmental Footprint

According to reports, the aviation industry accounts for more than 5% of the negative impact on the environment across the globe. With most citizens of the world becoming increasingly conscious of the environmental impact of travel, we predict that this could change behaviours in a number of ways.

1/ Train Travel: we believe that 2023 will see an increase in travellers choosing to take trains, either on the inbound, outbound or both journeys. Perhaps flying out to Paris and returning via the Eurostar. An increasing number of high speed lines are popping up in Europe too, making it easier to travel from city to city, such as Paris to Vienna.

2/ Slower Travel: this has been a trend for a while, but we foresee less and less people willing to take short mini-breaks and instead choosing to spend a longer period of on vacation, whilst taking less frequent trips. We are also intrigued by the “Lisness” trend, referenced by Conde Naste, where travellers are planning  leisure trips with time for work, rather than tacking on a few days to the end of a business jaunt.

3/ Exploring multiple countries during one trip: tying together the above two points, train travel and slower travel, we believe that travellers in 2023 will start to explore multiple countries during one trip. Albania, Montenegro and Croatia is a great example of three countries offering ease of transit with public transport. But further afield, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam offer a similar option.

4/ Choosing to travel to countries which have environmentally friendly policies: many countries have actively adopted policies to help reduce their environmental footprint, for example Costa Rica which has more than 30 laws related to managing the environment has long been regraded as a leader in this field. Perhaps we may see travellers voting with their feet.

Cost of Living

With the cost of living crisis starting to bite, we predict that UK travellers will take less “stay cations” than in the last few years. Since the Covid pandemic, it’s become increasingly popular to stay in the UK, with many travellers opting for the sunny shores of Cornwall. However, this bubble was starting to burst in 2022 with increased costs of hosting Airbnbs being passed on to travellers. We think 2023 will see this trend continue and that Brits will choose to travel overseas instead, perhaps taking advantage of flights to Spain and Portugal, where the cost of living is comparatively lower.

We also predict a rise in travellers, particularly Digital Nomads, looking to head to much less expensive destinations, such as Tblisi in Georgia, or Sarajevo in Bosnia.

Post-Covid Confidence

If 2022, was the year of “cautious confidence”, dare we say that 2023 may be the year for mainstream optimism. The rule breakers still travelled in 2020, the cavalier few were out in force in 2021, the slightly more cautious in 2022, but 2023 is the year for every man. There are many people who did travel frequently prior to the pandemic who still chose to abstain in 2022. We believe that 2023 will see more and more people finding the confidence to explore once again. Perhaps those needing a gentle start may begin with short haul travel, dipping a toe in the water and taking advantage of new flights such as the Wizz Air, Gatwick to Verona route. Romeo Romeo, don’t mind if we do.

The rise of the female solo traveller

This is one trend that WE LOVE. Over 80% of solo travellers are female. This is a really interesting phenomenon, and something we’ve definitely noted on our travels. More women than ever are saying that they don’t want to wait for others to travel with them and would much rather travel solo. We think this is one trend that is set to continue, but what impact will it have on 2023 travel?

First and foremost, we think it could mean more women choosing to join trips such as intrepid or flashpackers. These companies offer tours that are ever popular with female travellers in their 30s. But also, female solo travellers are also big fans of adventure, with the majority opting for this over urban travel. Therefore, it looks like like adventure travel sector, such as hiking, surfing and other outdoor pursuits could continue to thrive in 2023.

Reflecting on this trend and E’s experience of travelling solo, we put together a guide for female travellers with some safety tips consider.

The long walk

There is no slower way to travel than walking one foot in front of the other. Thru-hiking from one side of a country to the other is not only a huge personal challenge, but it’s also a great way to travel without damaging the environment.

Reports suggest that interest in walking the Camino de Santiago, from France to Spain, is 100% higher than in 2019. Therefore, we believe that 2023 will see more people choosing to take on thru-hiking adventures.

We have our eyes on the High Scardus Trail, St Olav’s way, the Via Francigena  and the Trans Caucasian Trail in 2023.

Festival Travel

Glastonbury Festival may have sold out, but there are plenty of music festivals around Europe that can be accessed now that borders are fully open and people are ready to party again. Let’s hear it for wrist bands, raving nights and porta-loos.

Multi-generational travel

We’ve noticed a rise in multi-generational travel groups. It’s a delight to see, Grandparents through to tiny tots travelling all around the world. We hope this will continue into 2023, with more of the over 60s gaining confidence in travel with covid vaccines. Let’s hear it for more family travel.

Self-improvement

Gone are the days when it was considered a good use of vacation time to plonk yourself on a beach for 7 days without some sort of self-improvement. We all know the importance of R&R, but we think travellers in 2023 will continue to seek out ways to find growth and personal development as they travel. Whether training as a yoga teacher overseas, volunteering, learning about new cultures or gaining language skills. Self-improvement travel is here to stay.

Travelling ultra-light

With airlines increasingly squeezing travellers for more money to store luggage, we think that travellers in 2023 will seek to travel ultra-light. Tik Tok will be trending with packing challenges and influencers will be marketing the latest in the must have travel light accessories. As big fans of minimalism, we love the idea of this trend.

Argentina

Whilst flights are expensive to Argentina, the cost of eating, drinking and spending time in Argentina is lower than ever. Read this Telegraph article for more detail on how to travel to Argentina on a budget.

Bhutan

Bhutan has opened its borders after Covid and everyone seems to be talking about this destination. The tourist board claims that Bhutan is one of the first carbon negative countries in the world, not only that, but sections of the Trans Bhutan trail are now open too, making Bhutan the ultimate go-to for the environmentally conscious traveller. If you make it to Bhutan, be sure to visit this big hotel opening in the lush Punakha Valley.

Bulgaria

We hope that Bulgaria becomes an even more popular destination in 2023. We love Bulgaria and believe it has something for everyone – from skiing, to city vibes in Sofia and wine tours.

Costa Rica

Travel agents are reporting more interest in travel to Costa Rica than ever before. This is one of our favourite travel destinations, with beaches, wildlife and hiking on offer – why wouldn’t we love it?! 2023 may be the year of Pura Vida for all. If you’re keen to visit and on a budget, find out here how you can do so.

Georgia

Georgia has been on our radar for some time and we hope to visit in 2023. We think this could be an ever popular destination in the year ahead. It’s capital Tiblisi is super trendy and yet remains one of the cheapest capital cities to rent an Airbnb. Outside of Tiblisi, there’s lots to explore, especially with new stretches of the Transcausian Trail popping up in Georgia.

Laos

With it’s new high speed rail network up and running, we predict big things for Laos in 2023. Although Laos does not have access to the beach, the Mekong River offers a fabulous option for water loving tourists. Plus with the new train network, there are more places to visit than ever.

Norway

Norway is on our hit list in a big way in 2023. We loved visiting Oslo in 2022 and this year plan to take the long walk across Norway on the St Olav way. This Scandinavian destination is also a fantastic country for kayaking and stand up paddle boarding. Both of which are popular sports that we predict will remain so in 2023. If you need any more convincing, Oslo is set to have the world’s first fully electric public transport system this year.

Japan

Japan has recently reopened its doors to tourists in October 2022. If Japan was on your radar before Covid hit now would be a good time to go. In 2010 15 million tourists visited Japan. By 2019 that number had jumped to an astonishing 50 million. We expect the number of tourists to return soon such is the pull of Japan!

New Zealand

New Zealand is a long popular destination, but with the borders having been shut for such significant periods, many travellers have been unable to visit for some time. Flight costs are currently significant, but we hope with borders now open that this will reduce in 2023 and that travellers can once again enjoy this nature lovers paradise. New Zealand will be hosting some of the Women’s 2023 world cup games to boot.

Mexico

Mexico used to be all about Cancun and Tulum, but we’ve noticed that Mexico City is becoming increasingly popular with travellers and Digital Nomads alike. This trendy city was named as one to watch by American Express and with increasing numbers of Airbnbs becoming available in hipster areas such as La Roma, we are certainly keen to visit.

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