the biggest travel trends for 2023

Things are slowly getting back to normal in travel.

Last year, the world officially “reopened” after two years of travel restrictions, and we aren’t taking it for granted.

In 2023, travel trends show the need to explore is back and better than ever before, especially with younger Americans taking full advantage of those remote work policies. 

…But which travel trends are having the biggest impact on US tourism?

The answers lie within Allianz Partners USA’s latest Vacation Confidence Index survey.

Below, I’ve highlighted the top five biggest travel trends for 2023 and some of my hot takes on how to use each one to your benefit.

1. The Rise of Pay-Cations 

…Errrr, what’s a “pay-cation”?

It’s a term used to describe working from a vacation destination.

With more companies offering flexible remote work policies since the pandemic, it’s created this travel trend, and it looks like it’s here to stay.

How many travelers are hopping onto the “pay-cation” travel trend in 2023?

According to the Allianz Partners survey, 31% of Americans will take one in 2023, especially the younger generations.

42% of 18-34-year-olds are likely to travel to a vacation destination and work remotely, while only 26% of 35-54-year-olds and 12% of 55-year-olds and older are taking advantage of the “pay-cation” trend.

My advice: If you’re running a hotel or tours, create promotions to target “pay-cationers”.

2. Younger Americans Are Traveling More Solo

Coming off the trend of “pay-cations” is the rise of younger Americans traveling more.

Think of it as a continuation of the revenge travel trend from 2022.

23% of respondents already took a vacation leading up to the survey. This is the highest it’s been since Allianz Partners started the survey in 2009.

The demographic leading the charge?

18-34 year-olds.

30% have already gone on vacation in 2023 versus only 21% of 35-54 year olds and 19% of 55 year olds.

But more trips on the calendar doesn’t mean girls’ trips to Cabu or family getaways to the Bahamas.

Younger Americans are planning vacations alone, with 42% taking a solo trip in 2023.

3. Wellness Is Still A Massive Travel Trend

Over the last three years, we’ve all had to go through the work-from-home experience.

It’s re-shaped how we travel and work (e.g., “pay-cations”) and how we view burnout and mental well-being.

So, it’s unsurprising that wellness is a top travel trend for 2023, especially for young Americans.

39% are prioritizing wellness and self-care travel experiences this year, including 54% of 18-34 year olds.

But wellness travel extends beyond yoga retreats and lazy beach days. 41% of 18-34 year olds plan to bring their pets on vacations versus 36% of 34-54 year olds and 20% of travelers aged 55 and older.

My hot take: If your hotel is pet-friendly, make sure it’s loud and clear in your marketing collateral.

4. Trip Length And Spending Is On The Rise

Still feel like you need to make up for lost vacation time in 2020?

You’re not alone.

72% of Americans will travel away from home this summer, with some planning more than one trip.

…And those traveling aren’t counting pennies.

Nay, nay.

At the end of summer 2023, vacation spending will hit an all-time high of $214.1 billion, with spending for vacations less than a week (micro-cations) increasing by 30%. 

That’s not all.

Trip length is also steadily growing, with the average at 4.5 in 2023 compared to 4.1 in 2021.

And while these trips are short, these mico-cations aren’t cheap. Those who are going away for 5 nights this summer are spending a total average of $2,227. 

5. Vacations Are More Important Than Ever

Between nationwide lockdowns and travel restrictions, we all learned the value of freedom of movement and how important it is to get outside.

The vacation confidence travel trend will continue in 2023, with Americans prioritizing their PTO days.

But those aren’t the only trends influencing travel confidence.

Income plays a factor as well.

75% of Americans who earn more than $100,000 per year are confident they’ll take a summer trip, while only 48% of travelers who earn less than $50,000 feel the same way.

There’s more.

Fewer people are finding planning a vacation a stressful or time-consuming experience.

Down three points from 2022, only 7% of Americans feel this way.

The reason? Most likely because of the ease of travel restrictions and entry requirements, as well as the increase of travel planner resources and AI tools like GuideGeek.

What are your thoughts on these travel trends for 2023?

Disclaimer: This post about travel insurance is sponsored by our partner Allianz Travel (AGA Service Company) and I have received financial compensation as a brand ambassador.

The Vacation Confidence Index has been conducted each summer since 2009 by national polling firm Ipsos Public Affairs on behalf of Allianz Partners USA. A vacation is defined as leisure travel of at least a week to a destination at least 100 miles from home. Allianz Partners offers travel insurance through most major U.S. airlines, leading travel agents, online travel agencies, hotel companies, cruise lines and directly to consumers. For more information on Allianz Partners and available travel policies, please visit http://www.allianztravelinsurance.com.