Major Trips, Solo Travel and Spontaneity Are Top Trends for 2024

American Express Travel released its “2024 Global Travel Trends Report” on Tuesday, highlighting the inspiration and trends driving global travel bookings this year. Of note, 84 percent of respondents plan to spend more or the same amount of money on travel in 2024 compared to last year. Additionally, 77 percent of respondents care more about having the right travel experience than about the cost of the trip.

The four trends driving booking decisions are:

Planning Big

Transformative, “once-in-a-lifetime trips,” like visiting the Galapagos Islands, trekking with gorillas and hiking in Antarctica, are at the top of many travelers’ wish lists—and younger travelers want an expert to help them plan.

Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of respondents are more interested in taking a major trip in 2024 than in previous years. In fact, nearly three-quarters (72 percent) would rather save money for a major trip than spend it on going out with friends—and more than half of respondents plan on saving between six months and two years for a major trip. This “major trip,” according to 55 percent of respondents, could include multiple countries in a region.

Additionally, more than half (58 percent) of Millennial and Gen Z respondents want a travel advisor to help them book a major trip this year.

Going Solo

Travelers are taking trips alone, embracing the ease of planning and the ability to tailor itineraries that are a perfect fit for them.

Perhaps not surprisingly, this is most common with younger travelers. Three-quarters (76 percent) of Millennials and Gen Z respondents (compared to 69 percent of all respondents) say they are planning on taking a solo trip in 2024. Typically the reverse, 74 percent of male respondents and 63 percent of female respondents say they are planning on taking a solo trip in 2024. Six in 10 of all respondents considering solo travel this year intend to take two or more such trips.

Two-thirds (66 percent) of respondents planning on traveling solo say they are doing so to treat themselves.

On a Whim

young solo traveler woman in Singapore street market checking a map
Solo travel and last-minute bookings are expected to be common themes in 2024.

With so much of life being structured and scheduled these days, people are seeking flexibility in their travel plans. Travelers are, therefore, leaning into flexible itineraries, allowing them the freedom to be spontaneous and experience the local culture when they travel. To that point, more than two-thirds (68 percent) of travelers agree that they like to leave unplanned time in their trip to experience local culture and activities.

More than three-quarters (78 percent) add that spontaneous trips appeal to them. A similar number (77 percent) of Millennials and Gen Z have booked a last-minute trip before, compared to 65 percent of Gen X and 52 percent of Baby Boomers. Overall, 57 percent of respondents prefer booking a last-minute getaway to a nearby destination rather than somewhere far away.

For the Love of the Game

Sports fans are planning trips around athletic events, whether it involves a favorite sport, team or international multi-sport competition. These events are driving where travelers are going and what they are doing when they get there.

To that effect, 67 percent of Millennial and Gen Z respondents (compared to 58 percent of all respondents) are interested in traveling for sporting events in 2024. More than half (58 percent) of respondents who are traveling for sports in 2024 will do so for soccer, basketball or Formula 1 racing. New York, Miami and Paris are the top destinations respondents are planning to travel to for sporting events this summer.

The report is based on survey data from travelers in the United States, Australia, Canada, India, Japan, Mexico and the United Kingdom.

Source: American Express

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