Whether you’re on the hunt for a unique hidden gem for a peaceful week away from it all or you’ve been saving for a big beach vacation with all of your friends, now is the perfect time to start dreaming up your 2023 travel plans and adventures. But where should you start, and what will be the most popular types of travel this year?
While we may not have a crystal ball, we do have some ideas.
So, if you’ve got travel on your mind (and perhaps it’s even dominating your latest vision board), then we’ve got you covered: we’ve rounded up 10 of the top travel trends that we predict we’ll be talking about all year long.
In 2023, it’s clear that remote work is more than a passing or pandemic-driven fad for many of us, and that’s where this increasingly popular travel trend comes in. “Hush trips” are short trips that remote workers take — without letting their employer know.
As Forbes explains, hush trips will be big in 2023 because they allow remote workers to dabble in digital nomadism (AKA travelling while working for a week or so, rather than for years on end) while still staying employed. Basically, hush trippers travel to a location, login, do their work and then explore their new location when they log off.
All aboard! Travelling via rail will be on more and more travel itineraries in the year to come. What’s bringing people back to the tracks? According to the latest Pinterest Predicts report, people are looking for ways to travel more sustainably and explore while making a smaller ecological impact — and trains understand that assignment.
“Thanks to quicker boarding, extra legroom, scenic views and a lower carbon footprint, Gen Z and Millennials will find a renewed love for this timeless mode of transportation,” the report notes.
In a world where the impacts of climate change and environmental degradation are becoming more and more prevalent globally — and in Canada — more travellers are looking for ways to travel in a more sustainable and environmentally responsible way.
For some, this means avoiding destinations where the environment needs a break from excessive tourism or seeking Indigenous-led or community-based tourism experiences. For others, sustainable travel may mean avoiding air travel (as we mentioned earlier, train travel is going to be more popular this year — and this is part of the reason why) or booking eco-friendly accommodations.
You may also like: Fashion takes a major step towards sustainability with new legislation.
Set jetting and TV tourism
Have you ever been watching a show and found yourself more interested in the location that it’s filmed in than the show itself? Do you love certain shows so much that you want to immerse yourself in the on-screen world by making a real-life visit? Enter: set-jetting, a travel trend that’s on the rise this year.
Whether it’s visiting historical sites (a la The Crown fans trekking to England), seeing the places where famous fantasy epics are created (think: New Zealand for Hobbit fans) or simply feeling glamorous on your vacation (ahem, Emily in Paris lovers travelling to Paris), travel with a pop-culture connection is big right now.
In fact, according to Expedia’s 2023 travel trends report, 39 per cent of global travellers have booked trips to destinations after watching them on streamed shows or movies.
Maybe it’s because we’ve all just experienced a global pandemic, or maybe it’s because the world can feel so scary right now with war in Ukraine and a challenging economy in Canada — whatever the reason, embracing the power of nostalgia has been a comforting salve for everything from our fashion to our beauty trends to, well, travel.
It makes sense: nostalgic getaways — such as trips to theme parks or multi-generational “family reunion” vacations — let Millennials and Gen Zers embrace what felt, for many of us, like simpler times. In fact, in a survey of more than 24,000 travellers, Booking.com found that nearly nine in ten (88 per cent) of respondents want to take a nostalgic getaway in 2023.
Balancing a desire to travel with a rising cost of living and financial challenges is never easy, but in 2023, more of us will strive to do just that.
Booking.com’s 2023 travel survey also found that, while travel is still important for many (50 per cent said that investing their money in a vacation was a top priority in 2023), the majority of travellers are keeping a close watch on the bill, with 68 per cent saying that they’ll be “paying close attention to how much they’re spending on their adventures.”
What are the top travel destinations for 2023? While this varies from person to person and depending on where you are in the world, a recent report from the vacation rental platform Airbnb offers some insights. The report found that the top trending travel spots for 2023 international travel include Spain (Málaga), Australia (Sydney, Melbourne and Perth), New Zealand (Auckland and Queenstown), Thailand (Bangkok) and Brazil (Florianópolis, Porto Seguro and Salvador).
Transformational travel retreats
According to Condé Nast Traveller, transformational retreats — AKA “travel for personal betterment” — will be one of the biggest trends in 2023. From trips designed to help you find your life’s purpose to adventures as you work to overcome grief, trips booked with specific goals, intentions and hopes for transformation are likely to be top of mind.
If transformational travel isn’t your thing, there’s a good chance that you won’t say no to the good — nay, incredible — food that can be found with our next travel trend: culinary tourism.
What is culinary tourism? Similar to transformational travel, culinary travel centres on a goal — pairing food you can’t find at home with travel. Here are some of the most delicious culinary travel experiences to add to your bucket list for 2023 (including some options within Canada).
You might also like: The best small cities in Europe to visit in 2023.
Accessing airport lounges
If you have to spend time at an airport, you may as well enjoy it if you can — even if you aren’t a super-rich, elite traveller. As we recently learned, you don’t necessarily have to be flying first class to access all airport lounges: some can be accessed as a perk with certain credit cards or via a nominal fee. Free or affordable upgrades can make a big difference in the overall comfort of a travel experience — so we’re betting more people will be looking for their way in this year.
Related: 10 carry-on luggage options under $175.