The summer of 2024 is shaping up to be an incredible season. The travel industry is not just bouncing back; it’s experiencing a remarkable surge. 

New trends emerging show the importance of travel in people’s lives and how much they are willing to invest in experiences (even if it means cutting down on other expenses to make it happen).

Whether you’re a seasoned globetrotter or a travel brand, here are the biggest summer travel trends you need to know about.

The Biggest Summer Travel Trends for 2024

Travel Costs are Up (But It’s Not Slowing Anyone Down)

According to a recent survey, 82% of Americans plan to travel in 2024 despite rising travel costs (have you seen flight prices lately!?)

Instead of staying home, travelers are adjusting their budgets and making sacrifices in other areas to afford a vacation.

Some opt for shorter trips, while others choose destinations closer to home to save on expenses. 

This resilience highlights the importance of travel in people’s lives and how much it is valued in a post-pandemic world.

Summer Spending is Up

American travelers are opening their wallets wider than ever for the summer. Allianz’s latest Vacation Confidence Index indicates that travelers are expected to spend more than $220 billion between June and August, marking a 118% increase compared to summer spending in 2019. 

This uptick in spending is driven by a combination of higher travel costs, pent-up demand, and a broader range of travel options. 

Whether it’s splurging on luxury accommodations, indulging in gourmet dining, or embarking on unique adventures, travelers are prioritizing quality and experience, making the 2024 summer travel season one of the most significant yet.

The Search for Quiet Life Travel

As the hustle and bustle of modern life becomes overwhelming, more travelers seek destinations that offer tranquility and a slower pace. 

According to Pinterest’s Summer 2024 Travel Report, terms like “calm places” and “quiet life” are at much higher rates year over year. 

Other trending search phrases, such as “digital detox” and “cabin in the mountains,” show that travelers are looking for places for mental and physical relaxation, away from crowded tourist hotspots, where they can connect with nature and enjoy the simple pleasures of life.

Okinawa, Japan, is one of the most popular “quiet life” travel destinations. Located off the mainland, the island is recognized as a “Blue Zone” of longevity, with approximately 68 per 100,000 Okinawans living to celebrate their 100th birthday. 

Overnight Leisure Travel is Up

Overnight leisure travel is on the rise as people look to make the most of their weekends and short breaks. Instead of lengthy vacations, many are opting for frequent, shorter trips that provide a quick escape from their daily routines. 

According to AHLA, 61% of American travelers plan to take advantage of this summer travel trend.

This trend is partly driven by the flexibility of remote work, which allows travelers to extend their weekends and explore nearby destinations (as long as the Wi-Fi signal is strong). 

Concierge Tip: If you want to do the same, look for hotels and resorts offering remote work packages and special deals.

AI Travel Planning Tools

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is changing how we plan our vacations. New tools like GuideGeek (a free AI travel assistance chatbot from Matador Network) are helping travelers cut down on research time and put together itineraries.

For example, GuideGeek can make personalized destination and activity recommendations based on travel preferences, help you find the best photo spots, and answer questions like:

Having a tool like this in your back pocket helps you to create customized experiences on the fly that are all related to your unique interests and needs.

Concierge Tip: Use a tool like GuideGeek to plan a weekend in your hometown. It’s a great way to try the recommendations out and see if you like them.

Spain is a Trending Destination

Italy is still one of the most sought-after summer destinations, but Spain is hot on its heels.

According to summer booking patterns at Fora Travel, Spain overtook Greece for the first time this year and is Europe’s second most popular destination for 2024.

The top cities?

Barcelona, Madrid, Mallorca, Ibiza and Seville.

The latter has seen a 33.3% spike in bookings from 2023!

Final Thoughts

Despite higher travel and living costs, travel has become a non-negotiable in many people’s lives, which is great news for hotels, travel agents, and tour operators.

Other trends, like the “quiet life,” show that we are increasingly seeking stripped-back experiences that help us disconnect from the noisy modern world.

Do these 2024 travel trends track what you’ve seen in the industry? Let me know in the comments below.