7 Top Travel Trends for 2023

January 30, 2023
Portrait of a female traveler staring out the window of a train during a sunny afternoon.

It’s that time – travel trends for 2023 are out and everyone is predicting what this year’s top buzzwords will be. Fortunately, we follow the research and rather than just guessing, so we have a pretty good idea of which trends are bonafide.

Rather than go through all of them, we decided to curate the most important ones for destination and DMO efforts, helping you keep ahead of the curve as we continue building towards success in 2023. These picks are the ones that aren’t likely to be derailed like trends in crypto or NFTs that a few months ago may have seemed more attractive.

Stick with these seven and make sure your destination marketing efforts are aligned.

1. Feeling Good About Wellness
Wellness travel won’t go away. Major publications are already gearing up for destinations linked to this growing sector, and with good reason. As pandemic-era restrictions disappear, going to spas no longer seems the nightmare it once did, and humans just want to feel good again.

Some estimates have it growing up to 21% annually through 2025, which means there is still big potential for destinations to market themselves as wellness getaways for those looking to get pampered.

2. “Working from Roam”
Remote working programs will get savvier. It’s part of Amadeus 2023 Travel Trends that is touting the “working from roam” trend. More and more workers are leaving the office – and apartment leases – behind to work remotely from vacation rentals around the world.

Destinations will want to keep their eye on this and make sure they are doing everything they can to stay on remote workers’ radars throughout 2023, especially as COVID restrictions all but fade away and borders open anew.

3. Me, Myself, and I
Solo travel is up according to Kayak, which provides a big opportunity for destinations to expand their marketing efforts. Family travel and multigenerational trips may continue to be popular, but it’s time to think about targeting solo travelers, who may be more flexible and able to stay for longer amounts of time in a destination.

It may seem counterintuitive after all the lockdowns of the past two years, but individuals are looking to hit the road and change their scenery, with or without friends and partners. Destinations want to be sure they are presenting ample experiences to seem desirable to these individual trekkers.

4. Travel Far, Eat Local
Local food experiences are in demand. Travelers want to explore destinations through their taste buds, but responsibly, with a focus on locally-grown produce and local flavors at the helm.

Laurent Gardinier, president of Relais & Châteaux told Food+Wine, “Sustainability will continue to be at the forefront of food and beverage in 2023, with not only more local and seasonal products sourced by the chefs, but also a growing trend of hotels and restaurants creating their own vegetable gardens and orchards to provide fresh organic food for their guests.” It’s time for destinations to promote local eating more and working with partners to showcase local flavors like never before.

5. Where to Throw Down
Travelers will pay more for green – and for service. According to the latest Virtuous research, travelers are still willing to pay more for more sustainable travel experiences. Likewise, they are also comfortable paying for extra service – including travel advisors.

This provides destinations the opportunity to renew their travel trade relationships and help stay on the radar of travelers with elevated budgets. Travelers are seeking personalization and are prepared to pay for exactly what they want.

6. Small Screens, Big Inspirations
Hollywood and streaming services alike are featuring more and more dreamy destinations that are attracting the attention of travelers in 2023. Expedia’s 2023 Travel Trend Report states that two thirds of travelers have considered and 39% have actually booked a trip based on a destination featured in a show or movie.

So blame Jennifer Coolidge in “White Lotus” for everyone heading to Hawaii and Lily Collins for more travelers in Paris, but even less obvious  destinations like Vienna are getting in on the action. There’s big potential to get noticed if a famous or cult show or movie was filmed in your destination – and if it hasn’t happened yet, it’s time to start attracting film crews.

7. Riding the Rails
Thanks to Euronews’ report, Travel in 2023: Connecting People, Places and Planet, another trend that destinations need to consider is a renewed desire in rail travel. With big changes like Air France cutting short haul flights where trains are available for journeys in France, there is a shift away from jet fuel and its fat carbon footprint to more nostalgic and cleaner rail travel.

For destinations with rails already laid, this means taking a serious look at the lines and understanding how they can appeal to travelers looking to ride the rails. Consider rail itineraries and special deals for visitors who are looking to relive the golden age of rail travel.

You may be wondering what trends are most pertinent to your destination. DCI knows that a little research can go a long way. Get in touch with Robyn Domber at [email protected] to learn about how our research team can help you uncover the trends that are affecting your destination that you didn’t even know existed!

Written by

Robyn Domber

Senior Vice President, Research