2023 travel trends — what will they be? To find out, we quizzed our editors and local travel experts around the world. And we also asked you, our travel-savvy readers, to share your 2023 travel dreams and plans. After crunching the numbers, we now bring you seven unmissable 2023 travel trends, along with ways to make your travel dreams a reality.
If you believe travel means trying new things in new places, you're in excellent company — over 70% of you plan to do exactly that in 2023.
In fact, the overall theme of our 2023 travel trends survey can be summed up in one word: new.
So much for bumming around on the beach. You think travel should be meaningful. You want to meet new people. You long for authentic, immersive travel experiences that stir your soul and expand your horizons.
Talking of immersive, many of you intend to take culture-packed city breaks centred on your interests. Think food tours, wine tastings, fun festivals, and cool art shows.
While your top dream destinations aren't new to this survey (New Zealand and Japan bagged first and second place), some exceptional hot (and cold) spots have jumped onto your wish list. Antarctica, Bhutan, and the South Pacific — we're looking at you.
In addition, a bunch of you expressed a desire to visit Australia and Argentina, with cool, cultured Cordoba cropping up as an excellent alternative to capital Buenos Aires.
Costa Rica also loomed large, thanks to its astounding diversity: incredible beaches, rewarding hikes, awe-inspiring waterfalls, and wildlife-rich national parks.
Paro Tsechu festival, Bhutan © mbrand85/Shutterstock
When it came to our UK staycations survey, we were blown away by how much you adore Scotland.
Almost half of you can't wait to explore the Scottish Highlands, while a quarter of you are keen to visit the Scottish islands.
Edinburgh and Glasgow — one of the world's friendliest cities, according to you — also rated high when we asked which UK city you'd most like to visit.
After Scotland's highlands and islands, Cornwall and Yorkshire are your next favoured UK regions.
Overall, London is the UK city you most want to visit, with return visitors keen to see its alternative attractions. And in good news for those on a budget (more on that later), there's plenty of fun free things to do in London.
The capital was closely followed by Manchester, which is gaining massive traction as a major cultural hotspot.
While 40% of you are planning a family beach break in a British seaside town, plenty of you want adventure from your UK staycation. Active types will be pleased to know that the UK isn't short of incredible day hikes.
Fancy taking to the open road? You're not alone. Almost of quarter of Rough Guides' readers plan to enjoy UK road trips in 2023.
While we can't deny the continued popularity of Italy, France, Spain and Greece, we saw significent upturns in your plans to travel to pastures new in 2023. There's just no getting away from that theme.
Not only was Japan cited as a significant dream destination, but lots of you are already arranging your visit. From traditional tea ceremonies and riding ultra-modern sightseeing trains, to discovering Kanazawa's cultural charms, your Japan travel plans are fabulously varied, and 100% thrilling.
The same can be said of your planned trips to Thailand. Though you'll spend time on beautiful beaches, you also plan to trek Thailand's best routes.
A sizeable number of you have the USA in sight, with Florida, California and New Orleans among the most-mentioned US destinations.
Finally, many of you are planning to visit South American destinations, most notably Chile — arguably South America's coolest country — and Mexico, which also isn't short of cool places to visit.
Perhaps unsurprisingly given your overwhelming desire to embrace new places and experiences in 2023, over a quarter of you are set on fulfilling your bucket list dreams.
You intend to unleash a spirit of adventure, with many of you expressing a desire to hike, bike, trek and climb.
You also want to get back to nature and walk on the wild side to see some of the world's most incredible animals, with many of you planning a safari in South Africa.
Meanwhile, a mere 4% of you said you're in the market for a luxury holiday.
While over 60% of you plan to fly long-haul in 2023, almost a quarter of you have ruled it out.
And the reasons? Over 60% of those who don’t intend to travel long-haul cited budget constraints.
In addition, environmental concerns were a major reason for your rejection of long-haul flights.
As an eco-friendlier alternative, many of you are planning rail trips, from going on UK city breaks by train, to visiting stunning places in Europe by train.
Planning to put your mental health first in 2023? Almost half of you declared that one of your main reasons for travelling is to relax and recharge. You also said that travel is crucial for your emotional well-being.
That said, only a tiny amount of you (4%) stated an intention to go on a wellness-focussed trip. This suggests your sense of well-being doesn't come from, for example, staying in fancy wellness retreats.
Rather, it comes from enjoying new experiences in new places, which neatly takes us full circle to the 2023 travel trend we opened with — a desire for the new.
If you still haven't picked a holiday destination after reading these 2023 travel trends, you'll find more inspiration in our run-down of the most beautiful countries in the world — as voted by you— and our 23 best travel destinations in 2023.
And remember, wherever you end up heading, there's sure to be a Rough Guide to enhance every step of your journey, from planning your trip, to helping you decide what to see and do while you're away.
Not keen on planning? Check-out our tailor-made trip service. 100% customisable, it'll save you time and connect you with a local expert to create your perfect trip.
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Joanne is a Pembrokeshire-born writer with a passion for the nature, cultures and histories of the Caribbean region, especially Dominica. Also passionate about inspiring a love of adventure in young people, she’s the author of several books for children and young adults, hosts international writing workshops, and has written articles on the Caribbean and inspirational community initiatives for Rough Guides. Follow her