We have exciting news for travelistas and lovers of diverse and enriching experiences. Today, Expedia Group unveiled Unpack ’24, a comprehensive look at what motivates travelers and where they go next year. Based on the company’s unmatched first-party travel data and a global consumer survey of 20,000 travelers, Unpack ’24 includes eight new travel trends in 2024, from top destinations to what’s next in travel tech.
“At Expedia Group, we have extensive first-party travel data that we use to enhance and curate experiences for our travelers across Expedia®, Hotels.com®, and Vrbo®. These insights shape our travel forecasts, revealed in Unpack ’24, enabling our travelers to be the first to discover and book the most desired trips before they become well-beaten paths,” said Jon Gieselman, President of Expedia Brands.
“From ‘dry tripping’ to events like Taylor Swift or Beyoncé performances, and the rising allure of destinations like Perth, Palermo, and Paros, these trends begin to define the travel landscape in 2024.”
For 2023, Expedia predicted travelers would turn to television sets and movie screens for travel inspiration. They did, and the trend shows no signs of stopping in 2024. More than half of travelers say they’ve researched or booked a trip to a destination after seeing it on a TV show or movie, and 1 in 4 admit that TV shows and films are even more influential on their travel plans than before. Travelers say TV shows influence their travel decisions more than Instagram, TikTok, and podcasts. Given the popularity of this travel trend, Expedia, Hotels.com, and Vrbo compiled its first-ever Set-jetting Forecast predicting what entertainment-inspired destinations travelers will head to in 2024, based on upcoming show and film releases and travel data from Expedia Group, like “White Lotus” (Thailand) and the (Florida Keys and Bahamas) inspired by the new Apple TV show “Bad Monkey.”
Another trend they found was the “dupe” trend — affordable alternatives to popular products — that has flooded TikTok feeds and is now taking over travel. Expedia’s 2024 destinations of the year are destination dupes — places that are a little unexpected and can be more affordable and as fulfilling, exciting, and delightful as the tried-and-true destinations travelers love.
They reported that the 2024 destination dupes experienced a notable uptick in searches1 over the past year. Global searches for the top five destinations on the list more than doubled YoY, like Taipei (dupe for Seoul), Pattaya (dupe for Bangkok), and Paros (dupe for Santorini).
In addition to the above-identified trends, the report shared several others that may pique your interest and curiosity, like Hotels.com’s dry-tripping trend (instead of relying on heavy alcohol to put you in the mood, travelers are opting for a lighter approach like deliciously crafted mocktails) and tour-tourism – traveling to a location just for an entertainment experience, think of Beyonce’s global RENAISSANCE concert. According to Expedia, nearly 70% of survey respondents say they are more likely to travel to a concert outside their town, with over 40% saying they’d travel for a concert as an excuse to visit a new place.
Luckily, I was able to try out all the trends identified by Expedia, Hotel.com, and Vrbo in Las Vegas at the Wynn Hotel, a luxury 5-star resort, and casino, which included a pool party at a posh Vrbo location in Henderson, featuring an Elvis impersonator performing, and decadent dinners at Carbone, Delilah Supper Club, and Hell’s Kitchen. We also experienced the set-jetting trend with delicious craft cocktails at Vanderpump Cocktail Garden at Caesar’s Palace. We ended our trend tour by attending Adele’s Las Vegas residency, “Weekends with Adele,” where we were all blessed to hear her angelic and soulful voice.
Vbro Pool Party
Our travel group with Elvis
Yes, we know Vegas is the perfect backdrop for a good time and unforgettable experiences rooted in luxury, which I certainly did experience, but what I didn’t expect was how much emphasis was placed on wellness on the Las Vegas strip, as mocktails were greatly prioritized at the Wynn, given their wellness program, “Living Well” which is designed for their guests to enhance their lives keeping their well-being top of mind. At the hotel, I tried several of their bespoke mocktails at their mocktail mixology event at Overlook Lounge. My favorites were the “ Big Picture” mocktail, which included (London dry, lemongrass, ginger, grapefruit juice, lairs) and the “Iki,” which touted Japanese aesthetics, with the following ingredients: matcha soda, yuzu citrus fruit, ginger, and Moshi-uji.
The “Big Picture” mocktail
Dinner at Carbone
According to Hotels.com, from Dry January to Sober October in 2024, zero-proof holidays will take over our travel feeds. From mocktail mixologists and zero-proof mini bars to those experiences that were always spirit-free, Hotels.com properties are highlighting a holistic and healthy way to vacay.
To better understand why dry-tripping was part of the Unpack ‘24 trends list, we spoke to Melanie Fish, Head of Global Public Relations for Hotels.com, about mocktails’ importance and growing interest for many travelers. She says,
Living a low or alcohol-free lifestyle has become more popular. We’ve seen it with Dry January and Sober October traditions, and now travel trends have emerged. According to Hotels.com, one in 4 travelers says the top reason for drinking less on vacation is to stay in control and feel better emotionally and physically.”
While you’d assume this trend is popular amongst millennials, sober-curious lifestyles are becoming more commonplace, with many Gen Zers opting for alcohol-free experiences. According to Hotels.com, 74% of Gen Z travelers are interested in staying at hotels that offer easily accessible alcohol-free options.
Hotels accommodate this increasingly popular trend by stocking mini bars with zero-proof options or offering mocktail mixology experiences. Even in “Sin City,” the Wynn Las Vegas features “Drinking Well,” a zero-proof cocktail program developed by resort master mixologist Mariena Mercer Boarini with innovative ingredients like reishi mushrooms, lion’s mane, ashwagandha, and maca.
Even when traveling to seemingly non-relaxing places like Las Vegas, wellness is becoming all the rage. According to Hotels.com, more than 40% of travelers say they will likely book a detox trip in 2024, and they will be greeted with many options as hotels prioritize wellness offerings. Beyond the traditional spa and yoga retreats, hotels also incorporate make-your-own-mocktail workshops as part of their holistic wellness programs.