According to the largest study on travel forecasts carried out to date by Booking, travel will occupy a primary place in the lives of French people in 2024.
As 2023 ends in a complex climate, the French are looking more than ever for moments of escape to emotionally disconnect from the news and events happening in their country. The study Travel predictions for 2024 carried out by Booking.com shows that if travel has long been seen as a means of escape, it will become an essential aspect of life in 2024. More than three quarters (76%) of French respondents reveal that they feel more alive than ever before. than ever when they are on vacation and 66% want to be more like the person they are traveling with when they get home. The study also highlights the growing role of technology and AI, which travelers are increasingly turning to to simplify their procedures and stimulate their imagination.
To explore how travel will provide an escape from everyday life in 2024, Booking.com conducted a study of more than 27,000 travelers across 33 countries and territories. The results, analyzed in light of its expertise as a major digital travel platform, made it possible to identify seven predictions for travel in 2024, through seven traveler profiles.
Almost half (48%) say climate change will impact how they plan their holidays in 2024.
More than two-thirds (71%) opt for flexible plans, so they can adapt their trip to their current mood.
Nearly half (43%) of travelers want information and advice from AI while on vacation to improve their experiences.
1. Excited (alter)egos: reinventing a vacation life
The study carried out by Booking.com states that almost a third of French travelers (31%) reinvent their lives when they tell the people they meet during their trip. More than one in two people (55%) appreciate the anonymity of travel and the possibility of creating a new story.
In addition to these imaginary alter egos, almost two thirds (64%) of travelers believe they are the best version of themselves on vacation, capable of freeing themselves from their inhibitions and exploring new aspects of their personality. Furthermore, almost half (44%) of those interviewed feel “the energy of the protagonist of their own life” when they travel, where they become the stars of their own lives.
2. Water addicts: towards a source of freshness
This year, temperatures have reached record highs, triggering heatwaves across the world. These conditions contribute to an increase in the number of travelers looking for cooler climates to recharge and refresh themselves. Almost half (48%) say climate change will impact how they plan their holidays in 2024, while more than half (55%) plan to use their free time to escape the intense local heat.
This trend is in line with an expected increase in travel to seaside destinations, providing relief from the heat. The oceans, seas, lakes and rivers will be in the spotlight in 2024. In fact, three-quarters of respondents (75%) recognize that proximity to water is a source of immediate relaxation and more than a third of them (36%) will be seeking seaside vacation in 2024.
3. Adventurers looking for abandon and surprise
In 2024, travelers are increasingly willing to be surprised, to explore the unknown and to venture into unforeseen destinations. Half of them (50%) want to book a surprise trip where everything, including the destination, remains a secret until arrival. As opposed to the “routine” of everyday life and the search for personalized experiences, French travelers will be looking for adventure in 2024: 50% will prefer destinations off the beaten track and more than a third (40%) will seek to travel with strangers.
Fans of the detachment and who have carpe diem as their motto, the majority (52%) would like not to have a defined plan before leaving on a trip in 2024 so they can let themselves be carried by the wind, while another two thirds (71%) choose for flexible plans, so you can adapt the trip to your current mood.
Flexible technology-based services, already offered by travel agents, offer travelers the ability to cancel or modify their trips with ease. Artificial intelligence (AI), already used by some players – such as Booking.com’s AI-based trip planner – opens up new possibilities for travelers looking for surprises and adventures: 38% of travelers would actually trust AI to plan a trip journey for them, and therefore be surprised at every step.
4. Gastronomic explorers: taking your taste buds on a journey
In 2024, food lovers will be eager to discover new dishes: almost two-thirds (60%) are in fact more interested in learning about the origins of a destination’s iconic dishes than before. These gourmets prefer the authenticity of traditional dishes to new trends. They use gastronomic tourism to explore the history, geography and unique products that give rise to a unique cuisine.
Culinary enthusiasts are, like other travelers, interested in the horizons opened up by new technologies. Almost half of them (37%) aspire to an immersive “phygital” dining experience enhanced by virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR). This can include mood-influencing lighting, aroma matching and sensory soundscapes, highlighting the legacies of past culinary traditions.
5. The introspective: the journey at the service of your well-being
In 2024, personal development is at the heart of the travel plans of those who want to escape the difficult current events and rediscover the life they deeply aspire to. The new wave of “sleep tourism”, for example, relies on sleep experts and cutting-edge technologies to meet the expectations of the 41% of French people who aspire to travel in 2024 focused exclusively on restful sleep.
Half of travelers (53%) expressed interest in a frugal lifestyle, where self-sufficiency is the keyword. In addition to a simple return to their roots, they want to find a better balance with nature and the elements and then adjust their daily lives upon returning.
This aspiration to find serenity while traveling also concerns singles; a third (33%) of them want to make time to socialize while traveling and more than a quarter (27%) would opt for a vacation to recover from a breakup. A fifth of French couples (21%) see travel primarily as a way to deepen their relationship. On the other hand, parents tired of their responsibilities are considering solo travel: almost half of them (42%) plan to travel alone in 2024, leaving their children and spouse behind to prioritize their well-being.
6. VIPs: the life of a star while traveling
In a context still marked by inflation, travelers in 2024 will be looking for tips to reduce the costs of their trips and at the same time seek to live the most luxurious experience possible, even if temporarily. These “travelers” want to give the impression of being well off, hiding the necessary financial sacrifices behind the scenes. AI is identified as a useful tool to plan your luxury trip in the most cost-effective way possible. In fact, almost half (43%) of travelers want to receive information and advice from AI during their vacation to improve their experiences thanks to accessory suggestions and offers, accessible with one click.
With this in mind, more than half (58%) of travelers plan to choose destinations in 2024 where the cost of living is lower than in their city of origin. Traveling closer to home is also an attractive option for those looking for discounted luxury experiences (37%) or signing up for day passes to enjoy the facilities of a five-star hotel without actually staying there (38%). A similar number of parents (33%) plan to allow their children to miss school to benefit from more attractive prices than during the high season.
7. Attentive aesthetes: at the crossroads of beauty and sustainability
In 2024, the intersection between design and awareness of sustainability issues will influence travel, opening inspiring new doors for travelers who want to make more conscious and responsible choices, not just for a short getaway, but also as a lifestyle.
The terms “sustainable” and “elegance” no longer clash in 2024. Gone are the days when exceptional comfort and design were only associated with excess and extravagance, with a growing number of hotels and other unique places to stay who respond with an inventive way and aesthetic approach to environmental issues. Almost half of travelers (45%) look for accommodation that stands out for its innovation in sustainable development. Many of them would like to see concrete sustainable initiatives (55%), as well as an “outdoors within”, in particular thanks to the numerous green spaces and plants in the accommodation (64%).
Many respondents are interested in sustainable travel apps that enhance their travel efforts (61%), including authentic and unusual experiences with locals (45%) or visiting remote places (45%).
Arjan Dijk, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Booking.com, comments: “The 2024 edition of our Travel Forecasts study highlights the idea that travel is not just an escape from everyday life, but rather an enabler of a better life. Discover a new destination, live an exciting adventure, learn the customs of a previously unknown culture…; so many experiences during the trip that allow you to find the best version of yourself. At Booking.com, we work to make exploring the world accessible to everyone. We believe in the power of travel to inspire, transform and enrich lives and are committed to providing all travelers with extraordinary moments throughout 2024.”