Where are travelers planning to go in 2024? I asked some of the sharpest minds in travel to look into their crystal balls (and advance bookings) to give me a sense of where people are eager to go.
It will come as a surprise to absolutely no one that Italy once again looms large in 2024.
“Italy remains incredibly popular and our number one destination,” said Lisa Leavitt of Active Travels, a Virtuoso travel agency in Boston. “Though we are also getting more requests for Switzerland, Iceland and Scandinavia for next summer as well, as clients want to escape the heat.”
Indeed, climate change is dictating travel plans for the new year, especially for anyone looking to head to Europe next summer.
“One area that’s hot for 2024 is Northern Europe, especially our Norway trips,” said Tom Hale of Backroads, the world’s largest active travel company. “We’re running numerous Backroads trips to the Norway Fjords, including Walking & Hiking, Multi-Adventure, new Women’s Adventure and Family Trips. We also have a hiking trip to Norway’s Lofoten Islands above the Arctic Circle. The hiking is challenging; the lodging is in historic ‘rorbuer,’ a cozy, modernized waterfront fisherman’s cabin, and the views are stunning no matter which way you look. Another part of Northern Europe we’re seeing interest in is our new Denmark Islands Bike Tour. It’s rolling out in 2024 and the trip is selling well with some dates already sold out.”
Norway is emerging as one of the places to go in 2024. It is also the newest destination for DuVine Cycling + Adventure Co., the luxury biking company, with the first departures in 2024.
“It’s less well-known for cycling, but ribbons of perfect pavement along the shores of majestic fjords make it ideal for exploring by bike,” said DuVine President Andy Levine.
Cruises are relentlessly popular, but some cruise lines have made adjustments to handle summer crowds and a warming planet. President of Windstar Cruises Christopher Prelog said, “Europe in the summer and fall remains a super popular destination for Americans, but we also have options to experience cooler weather in the Mediterranean on first-time sailings in the winter and early spring. These have been surprisingly well received so far. Our guests seem to relish a chance to visit during non-peak times.”
Then there are private trips, customized for discerning and demanding travelers, who’ve already been there and done that. Cari Gray, President of Gray & Co., the award-winning custom travel company offering top-tier private trips for the 1 %, says that her clients want to go “beyond the usual in Europe.” Gray singles out the French island of Corsica and the Italian island of Sardinia as popular choices, as well as the Spanish islands of Mallorca and Menorca. Her clients are also eager to visit Portugal’s Alentejo and Algarve regions.
Small is beautiful, as the saying goes, and that’s especially true at Tauck Tours, according to President Jennifer Tombaugh. “Small groups, averaging 24 guests, represent 70% of our land business in Europe,” Tombaugh said. “Small ship programs that discover hidden coves where big ships can’t go continue to thrive. Small group growth shows no sign of slowing, whether it’s the unique access they afford, the desire to be in a more intimate setting, or the sense of safety and security they provide.”
Shannon Stowell, CEO of the Adventure Travel Trade Association, took a more systematic approach to where people are heading in 2024.
“In our recent survey of more than 110 adventure travel operators, they indicated the highest increase in interest was the Mediterranean, Western Europe and South America,” Stowell said. “Not that you asked, but China, West Africa and Russia hit the bottom three.”
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