Authenticity, Food and Wellness Dominate 2023 Travel Trends: Amex

American Express Travel recently released its “2023 Global Travel Trends Report,” which found that purposeful travel continues to remain top of mind, pop culture and social media are directly influencing travel decisions, food has a huge impact on the travel experience, and prioritizing self-care is affecting 2023 travel plans, among other things.

Here’s what we learned:

Traveling Off the Beaten Path

Travelers want to discover lesser-known destinations and hidden gems, while helping to support local communities. In fact, over three-quarters of respondents (78 percent) said they are interested in going on vacations that support local communities in 2023, with nearly the same number (69 percent) saying they are willing to spend more on a vacation if they know it goes to support the local community. To further that, 88 percent of respondents agreed that dining and shopping at local small businesses bring a more authentic experience. So, by supporting these businesses, it creates a more purposeful trip, while also making it more authentic.

Sixty-eight percent of respondents pride themselves on finding hidden-gem or lesser-known vacation spots before they become popular. This trend is even more popular among younger travelers, with 85 percent of Gen Z and Millennials wanting to be able to tell their friends and family that they discovered a new vacation spot.

The Rise of ‘Set-Jetting’

Travelers are flocking to places that captivate them onscreen, with travel inspiration coming from smartphones and binge-worthy TV series, such as “The White Lotus,” “Emily in Paris,” and others.

While 64 percent of all travelers have been inspired to visit specific travel destinations after seeing them featured on TV shows, news sources or movies, 70 percent of Gen Z and Millennial respondents say they have been inspired to visit a destination after seeing it featured in a TV show, news source, or movie. Along those same lines, 61 percent of all respondents have been inspired to visit specific restaurants or stores after seeing them in a TV show or movie.

When it comes to social media, 75 percent said they have been inspired to travel to a specific destination by thanks to something they’ve seen online. Others, such as 61 percent of Gen Z and Millennial who say they have chosen a destination because it looks great in photos/videos (compared to just 49 percent of respondents overall). In fact, 56 percent of Gen Z and Millennial respondents say they often purchase new outfits or accessories for a vacation.

Delicious Destinations

Woman trying a sample at a food stall
Eight in 10 travelers want to venture out of their comfort zone by trying new foods. (Photo by PeopleImages/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

People are choosing their next travel destination based on what they’ll eat there—whether it’s by scoring a table at a famous restaurant, finding the ultimate hole in the wall, or participating in cooking classes. Tying into the above point about a local dining experience makes a destination feel more authentic, 84 percent of respondents specifically want to venture out their comfort zone by trying new foods while traveling.

On top of that, 72 percent are looking to travel internationally to experience cuisines from other cultures, while 61 say they are most excited about dining while traveling in 2023. The majority of Gen Z and Millennial respondents are interested in food-related travel experiences with the local restaurant scene (55 percent), food festivals (51 percent) and local food tours (46 percent) being most popular.

A Wellness Wave

Restoration vacations are on the rise, as travelers prioritize self-care and mental and physical health, with 73 percent of travelers planning vacations to better their mental, physical, and emotional health this year. An even greater 88 percent say that they plan on spending more or the same on wellness vacations this year compared to previous years.

Wellness could include “unplugging” (81 percent of respondents look forward to unplugging while on vacation “to live in the moment”), relaxation (71 percent of Gen Z and Millennial respondents are eager to book travel to private beaches to focus on relaxation), nature (68 percent of respondents are seeking travel destinations that are surrounded by nature to focus on mental clarity) or the spa (69 percent of Gen Z and Millennials say they go out of their way to book hotels that offer spa and wellness services).

Methodology: This online poll was conducted by Morning Consult February 3–11, 2023 among a national sample of 1,000 travelers in Australia, Canada, India, Japan, Mexico and the U.K. and 2,000 travelers in the U.S. who have a household income of at least a $70,000 equivalent and defined as adults who typically travel by air at least once a year. Gen Z and Millennials are defined as respondents as being born between 1981 and 2012.

Source: American Express Travel

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