Travelers are becoming more mindful and taking more factors into consideration when planning their 2024 trips, new survey results suggest.
A survey of World Nomads, a travel insurance provider, and Adventure.Travel customers shows that American travelers are accounting for cost savings, the environment, and sustainability in their vacation plans. While the majority still plan to travel in 2024, the types of trips they take may look a bit different than the past year.
“Despite economic pressures, travelers are far from ready to give up traveling in 2024,” said Christina Tunnah, general manager of marketing and brands for World Nomads. “Our survey found that travelers are prioritizing experiences over material goods, with nearly a quarter (22%) willing to cut back on other big purchases to continue traveling.”
Out of more than 350 travelers surveyed, 96% said they plan to travel in the new year, and 86% said they would spend either the same as or more than they did this year on travel. The top three factors impacting their travel decisions are regional or political instability, travel costs and inflationary pressures, and overtourism.
Targeting new destinations
It appears that travelers are leaning toward taking fewer trips and staying away for longer, as opposed to making many short trips throughout the year. There was a 10% drop from last year – from 33% to 23% – in respondents who say they’ll take four or more trips in the next year. Meanwhile, 27% of respondents said they’ll take fewer trips next year.
In addition, the number of travelers who say they’ll take an extended trip lasting at least a few months doubled, likely due to more people working remotely with more flexibility to live and work away from home. Rather than dispersing costs among many trips, it appears travelers are willing to target and immerse themselves in just a few destinations. Though the types of trips may be shifting, Europe remains the most sought-out destination. And at the same time, 67% of travelers noted their focus is on a new destination they have yet to visit.
“Europe is still number one, with 24% of policy sales; Asia is second with 17%, and Africa and South America follow with 12% each,” Tullah said. “With instability in the Middle East and parts of Europe, we’re seeing a significant shift in our sales mix over the past couple of years with an increase in travel to Asia, the Pacific and Africa; a decline in travel to the Middle East; and a leveling off in travel to Europe.”
Seeking adventurous experiences
Exploration and active travel are on the rise among respondents of the World Nomads/Adventure.Travel survey, with more than half reporting that adventure and nature drive their desire to travel. Travelers’ most sought-after activities are hiking, snorkeling, and kayaking/rafting.
“Insights from our tour operator members also show continued strong interest for hiking and kayaking/rafting, the growing interest for snorkeling experiences, as well as growing interest for cycling globally,” said Jason Reckers, COO of Adventure.Travel. “It is also exciting to see the adventurous motivations of exploring destinations, nature or wildlife experiences, and cultural immersion are among the four leading reasons to travel.”
Sustainability at top of mind
Many survey respondents reported that they plan to partake in sustainable practices while traveling. More than half said they’ll shop and eat at locally-owned businesses, 39% reported that they’d take more public transportation while traveling, and 31% said they would avoid over touristed and environmentally sensitive destinations. In step with those responses, only 16% of those surveyed said they haven’t changed their traveling behaviors at all to consider climate change or sustainability.
“It’s encouraging to see travelers making choices with sustainability in mind,” Tunnah said. “While 2023 may have been all about revenge travel, 2024 is shaping up to be a more thoughtful year, with travelers considering their environmental impact and traveling more mindfully.”