As we come to the end of 2022, we’re looking back at the year that was while looking ahead to the travel trends of the future. After emerging from the pandemic lockdowns, people jumped at the chance to travel to see loved ones, tick off their bucket lists, celebrate milestones, or do ‘revenge travel’ and take that long-postponed trip. But we also saw some other unexpected travel industry trends make a comeback in 2022. From nostalgia trips to city breaks, here are five surprising travel trends that will continue to rise in popularity into 2023 and beyond.
GET INSPIRED BY: Arts and culture tours
1. Cultural trips
As the world emerged from lockdowns, we were craving human connection. Festivals and events were coming back in a big way and people were having a ball and enjoying culture, history, art, and music together. Travellers were celebrating Pride in Sydney, dancing at the Jazz Festival in Memphis, admiring the cherry blossoms and temples in Tokyo, and getting creative at Edinburgh Fringe in Scotland.
We were again exploring the world’s greatest museums and galleries in France and Spain, learning about indigenous cultures in the United States, dancing the tango in Buenos Aires, and taking Peruvian cooking classes in Lima. Whether you want to watch the Calgary Stampede in Canada or see the mesmerising fairy chimneys in Cappadocia in Turkey, culture and art trips were all the rage in 2022 and will continue to surge in 2023.
RELATED CONTENT: Make Travel Matter experiences that give insight into local culture
2. City escapes
The capitals are calling! Instead of heading for remote locations and national parks where no other people were around, travellers were flocking to the world’s most iconic cities again in 2022. Escaping to the city became one of the surprising comeback travel trends, with travellers ready to dive into the hustle, bustle, and big city lights again.
GET INSPIRED BY: London and Paris Explorer
According to Expedia Group’s Unexpected Travel Trends for 2023 report, the top 10 cities to see in 2023 are:
1. Edinburgh, Scotland
2. Lisbon, Portugal
3. Tokyo, Japan
4. Dublin, Ireland
5. New York, USA
6. Sydney, Australia
7. Dubai, UAE
8. Montreal, Canada
9. Munich, Germany
10. Bangkok, Thailand
With the world’s best dining, bars, shopping, architecture, culture, and events, perhaps it’s not surprising that city breaks are making a comeback.
GET INSPIRED BY: New York Explorer
3. Off-the-beaten-path travel
If you’ve been cooped up during lockdowns, you’re probably keener than ever to get out of your comfort zone. That certainly seems to be the case for many travellers in 2022. Booking.com’s Creative Reimagination of Travel study found that 75% of travellers wanting to get out of their comfort zone on their next trip and 50% of travellers wanting to experience culture shock.
Forget all-inclusive resorts and well-known destinations… One of the biggest travel trends in 2022 was to do something that wasn’t trendy! We’ll see this continue into next year, with more travellers wanting to get off the beaten track, do something totally unique, and experience different cuisines, languages, or cultures. You could head to emerging destinations like Albania, Serbia, and North Macedonia Balkans or Zambia and Namibia in Africa. Or you could visit a lesser-visited gem in a popular destination – like Sicily in Italy, New Mexico in the USA, the Normandy coast in France, or Prince Edward Island in Canada.
As many destinations begin to rebuild after the devastation of the pandemic, this is the perfect time to share the love with some of the underrated destinations that would love to welcome travellers next year.
4. Wellness holidays
In the past, many people travelled to see and do as much as possible in one thrilling trip. Bucket list travel is still a hugely popular trend, however, 2022 has seen the rise of wellness getaways. More people are wanting to go on holiday to do nothing at all! The Booking.com study found that 40% of people surveyed want to go to a silent retreat, while 42% intend to go on a trip to focus on mental or transformative health. Around 45% of travellers were keen to take a holiday focusing on meditation and mindfulness.
Restoring the mind, body and spirit is set to be a big theme in 2023 and we’re all for it. If you find yourself needing another holiday just to recover from your trip, a wellness trip might be for you. It makes sense to take a holiday that helps you come home refreshed and rejuvenated.
RELATED CONTENT: Love nature? These are the 6 ultimate Trafalgar trips for you
5. Nostalgic getaways
Technology may be advancing at a breathtaking speed, but more people are pining for simpler times in the pre-digital era. One of the surprising vacation trends to make a comeback in 2022 is nostalgic trips that romanticise a bygone era. The Booking.com study found that 88% are interested in nostalgic getaways, such as taking glamorous train trips like the Oriental Express in Europe or visiting vintage filming locations like the Wild West movie sets in the United States. Many travellers are loving the idea of travelling by bus or coach or embarking on an ‘old-school’ road trip.
More than 60% of travellers also want to relive or evoke the memories of their childhoods by heading back to the places where they had family holidays. There’s also a rise in trips to theme parks like Disney World or the magical Christmas markets in Europe. On a similar note, family reunions and multi-generational trips have also surged in popularity, with more people wanting to make up for precious lost time with their families.
Have you hopped on any of these surprising travel trends in 2022? Let us know in the comments below…