- Price led decision making will drive change in 2023: consumers will still travel but how they spend will differ
- Give us a break; 41% of consumers are planning more vacations in 2023 as 2022, and 46% are planning to do the same number of trips
- Savvy consumers are shopping around and pocket-friendly destinations are leading the way – Portugal rises in popularity and drops in price
- Swap sunbathing for forest bathing; getting amongst nature will be a priority – both for mental health and to avoid price peaks around beach destinations
- ‘Me time’ set to make the mainstream next year; over half (53%) of travelers are considering a solo trip next year, with divorcees and singles over-indexing
- Sneaky searches: 64% will use a mobile device to plan or book their next trip, predominantly whilst at work
- Looking further into the future, Skyscanner predicts supersonic travel will redefine short-haul travel and one in three Americans (34%) expect to vacation among the stars in their lifetime
New research from global travel site Skyscanner reveals that US vacationers are expecting another strong year of travel despite economic uncertainty, but price-led decision making will drive change in 2023. With 86% of US travelers planning to spend the same if not more on travel abroad next year, how they are going to spend will differ. The extent of these changes is revealed in Skyscanner’s detailed Travel Trends 2023 report.
Key trends to come out of the report show that US travelers don’t want the vacation to stop on a Monday morning, but to work where they could vacation and work too. US travelers are also craving experiences grounded in nature and wellbeing. A way to reset and feel normal again. Expect friends to ditch each other in favor of solo adventures, indulge in sneaky smartphone travel searches in the workplace and vacationers navigating the cost-of-living crisis to ensure their time away remains a priority.
For travel in 2023, there’s a lot we want to do differently and some bold expectations on what future travel will entail. Future gazing sees one in three people expecting vacations amongst the stars to be a mainstream reality in their lifetime, while closer to home, advances in supersonic technology could re-define short-haul travel.
“It is clear that we’re hungrier than ever to discover something new – even though we might have less in our pockets next year,” Naomi Hahn, Skyscanner’s VP of strategy, comments. “The aftermath of a pandemic has made travelers look for ways to make up for lost time and create new experiences and memories.
“Consumers are putting value first, post pandemic. The squeeze on personal spending has shown that consumers will still prioritize getting away but are increasingly shopping around on metasearch platforms like Skyscanner. They are also employing simple travel hacks to ensure they get the most for their money, like being flexible in terms of dates and destination. The year looks set to be a year of new discoveries as emerging, pocket friendly destinations come to the fore.”
Skyscanner commissioned its deep-dive research into consumer attitudes and behaviors, combined with proprietary search and booking insights, to reveal its travel predictions. Skyscanner’s report, Travel Trends 2023: The year of price-driven decisions analyzes survey data from 2,000 consumers in the US as well as extensive search and redirect data to provide unique insights into travel plans for 2023 and beyond.
Key trends revealed:
Travel remains a priority: Consumers today look to make better, more informed decisions about their discretionary spend, recent polling revealed: 46% of consumers are planning the same number of vacations in 2023 as 2022, and 41% are thinking of even going on more trips next year. Just 6% are planning to vacation less in 2023. The rising cost of living is still a concern, but 62% have decided to prioritize vacations next year over other big-ticket items.
Shift in spending: 86% of US travelers are planning to spend the same if not more on travel abroad next year, while only 5% are planning to spend less. Travelers are increasingly demanding greater ticket transparency, as well as taking control of the value in their airfares, unbundling of price to build packaged airfares that suit their needs.
Best value destinations for 2023: Skyscanner, which helps travelers compare pricing or choose travel based on budget, can also reveal the destinations that have seen the biggest price drops since pre-pandemic are:
- Madeira, Portugal – 22% price drop
- Sofia, Bulgaria – 18% price drop
- Brussels, Belgium – 13% price drop
Skyscanner’s 2023 hotlist: Travelers are increasingly on the hunt for less popular places that offer undiscovered experiences and unlock better value breaks. In fact, Skyscanner’s ‘Everywhere’ search is regularly in the top searches post pandemic. Check out some of the destinations that have seen the biggest increase in searches:
Family hot list:
- Jacksonville, USA (570% increase in searches)
- Izmir, Turkey (168% increase in searches)
- Madeira, Portugal (123% increase in searches)
- Minneapolis, USA (409% increase in searches)
- Preveza, Greece (316% increase in searches)
- Santiago de Compostela, Spain (289% increase in searches)
Solo traveling is no longer a niche; over one half of travelers (54%) are looking to escape solo next year. Divorcees (78%) ranked among the highest in their readiness to embark on a solo vacation in 2023 and look set to form a new trend of travelers who are ‘solo and self-focused’. With an increasing number of friendship apps launched and platonic versions of dating apps growing in popularity, there is also the opportunity to hook up with new travel friends and companions.
Sustainability; Sustainable travel continues to grow in consideration for travelers’ decision making: for more than 1 in 4 (24%) it’s even more important now, than prior to the pandemic. With price-led decision making and sustainable travel both top of mind, 11% are considering new, alternative destinations for their next trip.
Nature first; Wildlife spotting appears in the top 3 travel activities planned for vacations, suggesting the pandemic’s emphasis on getting outside for walks and connecting with the local environment is now transferring as a key component of travel plans. Interacting with the environment and watching animals has mood-boosting properties. Skyscanner recommends getting amongst green nature and experiencing the meditative effects of Shinrin-yoku, a new wellness trend that literally means ‘forest bathing’ in 2023.
Making work work for you (and your wallet): 45% of Americans surveyed plan to work while on vacation next year (“bleisure travel”), a strategic move for which the top reason is ‘it means I get more time in destination’ (59%). Cross-referencing the long list of countries that now offer digital nomad visas with their cities’ cost of living index unearths a selection of savvy options for 2023. All cheaper than London’s cost of living index, Skyscanner’s favorites include:
- Mexico City, Mexico – Skyscanner has also seen a 591% increase in searches
- Zagreb, Croatia – Skyscanner has also seen a 344% increase in searches
- Madrid, Spain
Sneaky smartphone searches & social media’s influence; 2 out of 3 US travelers now use a mobile device to plan or book their next trip, with the most popular moment being during work hours or lunch break. Celebs are the number one source of travel inspiration in the US with Instagram being the most FOMO inducing – 52% of travelers stated they’re more likely to book a trip if they’ve seen it on the platform.
- So, for those wanting to get ahead of the Insta trend, Skyscanner can reveal their top spot for 2023 is Amman, Jordan (based on least amount of Instagram hashtags cross referenced x 195% increase in Skyscanner searches).
Future travel; 2053 will mark 150 years of the Wright Brothers first airplane flight, a lot has changed since then and travelers are expecting significant developments to be mainstream when hitting that milestone in 30 years’ time.
- One in three people (34%) expect to vacation amongst the stars in their lifetime, climbing aboard space craft for Earth sight-seeing day trips to the edge of space and longer trips beyond
- Advances in supersonic technology could re-define short-haul travel and Skyscanner’s report reveals 32% of travelers believe it will be a mainstream flight option in the future
Skyscanner’s new consumer research also reveals hot new trends around destinations and embracing “me-time”. From solo to supersonic travel, working while wandering the globe and social media’s influence on vacation selection, check out these and other findings in the full Travel Trends 2023: The year of price-driven decisions report.
Founded in 2003, Skyscanner is a leading travel marketplace dedicated to putting travelers first. Skyscanner helps millions of people in 52 countries and over 30 languages find the best travel options for flights, hotels and car rental every month. Skyscanner is available on desktop, mobile web and its highly rated app has over 110 million downloads. Working with 1200 travel partners, Skyscanner’s mission is to lead the global transformation to modern and sustainable travel.
According to Skyscanner’s executives, the most popular search is for “anywhere. Our mission is to inspire.”
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