Top Travel Trends of 2023
Our hand-picked collection of the top travel trends of 2023. The topics in this report on today’s emerging travel trends are selected for their high growth across sites including Google, TikTok, Instagram, Reddit, Twitter, YouTube, and Amazon. Read more about how we track global trends.
Holafly is a Madrid-based international eSIM store that offers digital SIM cards for over a hundred destinations around the world. eSIMs allow travelers to connect to the internet when travelling abroad. … Read more
Airalo is a marketplace for eSIMs (embedded SIM) or digital SIMs for over 190+ countries. It allows for a convenient way to stay connected without the need of physical SIM cards when traveling to other countries. … Read more
Monos luggage is a line of luggage that is designed to be lightweight and compact. The luggage features a modular design that allows for it to be customized to the user’s needs. The luggage is also built to be durable and withstand the wear and tear of travel. … Read more
PriceLabs is a SaaS platform for vacation rental pricing designed for AirBnB, VRBO, vacation rentals, serviced apartments and others. Its main feature is a dynamic pricing tool to help property owners increase their revenue. … Read more
Ubigi is a France-based cellular connectivity services provider that offers eSIM services to travelers in over 190 destinations. The company offers a wide range of eSIM data plans from one day to recurring. … Read more
Onfly is a popular platform launched in Brazil that allows employees of businesses to book airline tickets, hotels, buses, and cars in a fully digital way. The platform is said to have features that save companies time and money for travels. … Read more
The Orange eSIM is the virtual SIM card offered by Orange telecommunications. Orange eSIMs come in either 8GB or 20GB in 4G/LTE and valid for 14 days. … Read more
SafetyWing is a travel insurance company that offers coverage for medical expenses, trip cancellations, and lost luggage. The company is designed to be affordable and easy to use, with coverage starting at just $37 for a week-long trip. … Read more
OONO is a smart device that is designed to help drivers drive better and increase road safety through real-time alerts and notifications. It alerts drivers of road hazards, speed traps, and accidents. … Read more
Heymondo is an international travel insurance company that aims to simplify the customer journey from getting travel insurance to claims processing. The company also offers a 24/7 travel assistance app with features such as 24/7 medical chat, access to policy documents, and free assistance calls. … Read more
Beis is a consumer goods brand for travel gear and accessories launched by actress Shay Mitchell in 2018. It is known for its road-tested designs inspired by Shay's travels. … Read more
Blueground is a company that offers furnished apartments for rent in major cities around the world. The apartments are fully furnished and include amenities such as Wi-Fi, cable, and cleaning services. … Read more
Limehome is a hospitality startup launched in 2018 known for its apart-hotels with stylish Scandinavian designs and its fully digital customer journey from booking to invoicing. Its spaces are located throughout Europe and are available for short-term or long-term stays. … Read more
An Ayahuasca Retreat is a type of spiritual retreat that involves the use of the psychedelic brew ayahuasca. Ayahuasca is made from the Banisteriopsis caapi vine and the Psychotria viridis leaf and is said to offer spiritual insights and healing. … Read more
Portable Bottle Warmer
A portable bottle warmer is a small device that is designed to heat up baby bottles. The device is battery operated and typically fits in a pocket or a handbag. It is meant to be used when traveling or on the go. … Read more
Kyte is a car rental startup launched in 2019 and is known for its unique customer experience of delivering cars to its customers' doorsteps. The company offers on-demand access to cars whether it's for a day, a week or for several months … Read more
TrovaTrip is a trip management platform and marketplace that connects travelers, hosts, and tour operators to design unique travel experiences. The platform also allows travelers to connect with topic experts, creatives, and influencers. … Read more
Elopement packages are deals offered by wedding venues to couples who want to get married quickly and without a lot of fanfare. Elopement packages often include a simple ceremony and a small reception with a limited number of guests. … Read more
SnapTravel is a travel booking website that offers discounted rates on hotels and flights. The site is unique in that it allows users to book trips by snapping a picture of the travel itinerary. … Read more
Trend Highlight – The Rise of Elopement Packages
Wedding costs have been rising faster than inflation, reaching an average of nearly $30,000, in 2019 in the US.
This has been driven by several factors: people are getting married older, meaning they're often in a better financial position by the time they marry, making it easier to splurge. And the rise of living together before marriage means that marriage is a less significant milestone, so some couples feel the need to make the party a bigger deal to compensate. Meanwhile, rising wedding costs are a somewhat self-fulfilling prophecy; if it only happens once, no one wants theirs to be noticeably cheap.
But this trend is leading to a reaction, accelerated by the pandemic: elopement is getting more popular, and it's creating a mini-industry in elopement packages, which simplify and standardize the process to make it even easier. Elopement has always been an option, but its recent growth is not just because of the lower price.
For one, there are typically far more people in the orbit of a 30-year-old compared to a 20-year-old. This means more seats to pay for and more debate over who does and doesn’t make the invitation list. Plus, travel and destinations are an even more important part of the wedding cost equation after Covid, when many relationships got spread around the country, and people might not even be sure where all their friends are living; a guest list that was within a short travel distance in 2019 can involve international travel for some guests in 2021. Elopement neatly solves both sides of this problem by reducing the guest list to the bare minimum.
As well, the rising average age of marriage not only pushes traditional wedding costs up, but it also has a direct effect on the demand for elopement. Older couples are less likely to conform to their parents’ wedding arrangement wishes over their own. And divorces mean that there are many second weddings, which are often lesser investments than the first.
And with significantly decreased spend on the wedding itself, destination elopements are becoming much more common. This also means more impressive wedding photos, which is a bigger part of elopements’ appeal in the age of social media.
Trend Highlight – The Airbnb of Healthcare: Matching Landlords With Travel Nurses
The lodging market and the housing market are typically quite far apart—hotels operate on the assumption of single night stays, whereas housing typically assumes that residents will live somewhere indefinitely by default. In between these two markets is the extended-stay market: longer-term than a typical hotel, but not a permanent residence. Extended stay hotels appeal to people who are in the middle of a move, relocating temporarily because of a disaster, or are working on a short-term job contract.
Furnished Finder aims to be the Airbnb of the healthcare industry, matching landlords with travel nurses for multi-month stays. For landlords, it’s a profitable arrangement: short-term leases tend to have higher monthly rent, but they often select for difficult tenants. Nurses, however, are unusually good tenants; since the term of the lease lines up with the length of their contract, they’re unlikely to miss rent payments.
Since Furnished Finder is in the middle of a two-sided marketplace, it needs both sides’ trust. The site uses live statistics as social proof, showing off a screenshot of their Google Analytics page to highlight the site’s size to landlords, and offering city-level data showing the demand for nurses to highlight the value of the overall market.
Furnished Finder strategically shows that all their tenants are screened through a verification service called Keycheck. Behind the scenes, Keycheck is actually owned by Furnish Finder itself. Verification tools like this help establish Furnished Finder as a legitimate service, both in the eyes of landlords and tenants.
While Furnished Finder competes with non-verticalized home-sharing services, like Airbnb and Craigslist, it also competes with Facebook groups. For travel nurses, moving to a new location naturally means not necessarily knowing anyone there, so a way to find friends while at the same time finding housing, is ideal. This is particularly the case with nurses, whose frequent night shifts preclude them from typical social activities. There are many housing-focused travel nursing Facebook groups with tens of thousands of members, many focused on specific locations spread out across the globe. Furnished Finder itself uses its Facebook group, one of the largest of its kind, as an important part of its customer acquisition strategy.
The pandemic has massively disrupted healthcare, leading to worker shortages in some places (due to both high demand and infected healthcare workers) and surpluses elsewhere as elective procedures are delayed. Some of this exacerbates trends that predate the pandemic: aging and migration already meant that some less dense areas relied on travel nurses from younger and more populous locations. As a result, healthcare staffing has seen high demand during the pandemic, with other companies like ShiftKey on the rise. And the same places that have a persistent shortage of workers may have a persistent surplus of housing, making a home-rental model even more effective. Fixing a worker shortage doesn’t just mean matching people to jobs—it means matching workers to housing.
Trend Highlight – Why Bikepacking Is Surging In Popularity
Interest in bikepacking is surging, fueled not only by a growing appetite for adventure travel, but also by state governments who see it as a boon for the small towns that cyclists pass through along the way.
The sport — a cross between cycle touring and mountain biking — tends to take riders through rural areas where tourism dollars are otherwise scarce, particularly outside of snowmobiling season. Cyclists go slower than snowmobilers and therefore often spend more time and money in towns, giving legislators an incentive to maintain and expand these trail networks for year-round access.
As they do so, they help boost the growing bikepacking industry, which includes not just specialty bike shops, but also gear manufacturers, tour companies, content creators, rental services, and trail guide apps like Alltrails. The market for bikepacking bags in particular on marketplaces like Amazon has grown significantly in recent years as cyclists seek lighter, more technical gear to store their stuff.
Trend Highlight – The Impact of Photos on Travel
Before the advent of online photos, part of the ritual of a vacation was showing off photos back home. When photo production and consumption turned digital, it had an effect on vacations: it meant that the bragging rights from an impressive vacation accrued live on Instagram rather than after the fact and in person. This meant that a trip to somewhere exotic enough to have poor or nonexistent Internet access was less attractive. In recent years, cellular Internet access and solar-powered chargers have gotten more affordable and ubiquitous, helping to drive rugged and off-road vacations back into vogue.
Overlanding is the practice of traveling long distances off-road, often in specially-outfitted vehicles. But despite being a hobby of outdoor adventure, it’s very much a gear-centric hobby: more than half of the top ten posts on the overlanding subreddit (178,000+ members) are photos of heavily-outfitted vehicles parked in parking lots. Like vertical GPU mounts (another rising product we’ve covered), part of the point of the equipment is to show off fancy setups, not necessarily to perform. Even when comparing the ratio of YouTube and TikTok views to Google searches for “hiking”, “camping”, and “overlanding”, it’s clear that overlanding outranks its peers in social media shareworthiness.
This trend has created a new market of products for people who intend to travel off-road for days at a time: compact solar panel arrays, ultra-long-lasting coolers, and specialized roof racks. Traction boards, which used to get cars out of muddy ruts, are a very early but growing category on Amazon.
Overlanding is especially appealing to people who have aged out of traditional camping, but still enjoy the outdoors. These older enthusiasts may not be able to hike and camp for days at a time, but they have the disposable income for elaborate off-road setups.
Trend Highlight – Why Free Walking Tours Are Rising In Popularity
The proliferation of free walking tours in cities around the world is changing the tourism industry.
Free Walking Tours are based on the pay-what-you-want model, essentially relying on travelers' tips rather than upfront fees. And because the guides are considered non-salaried volunteers — a classification that bypasses many local regulations — companies are increasingly getting fought by tour companies with more traditional business models, much in the same way that the taxi industry has fought ride sharing.
Another benefit to this model beyond the cost savings is that the companies' lack of employees means they incur far less risk. Large operators like Sandemans New Europe, whose tours draw 2 million guests per year, charge guides a marketing fee based on how many people take their tours, regardless of whether the tourists tip. Tourists' cultural differences around tipping can therefore influence how much guides get paid.
Ultimately, tour operators say around 70% of their first-time customers have never taken a tour before in their lives. It's the hook of a free tour that draws them in.
The ultra-low upfront costs of the business model have encouraged a rising tide of competition, from independent guides to student collectives. The latter category in particular is growing as more and more students globally are learning English and looking for opportunities to practice speaking the language conversationally.
Trend Highlight – Americans are Increasingly Land-Rich and Cash-Poor
Millions of land owners are land rich but cash poor. By building a marketplace for land owners to rent out their land to campers, Hipcamp is bringing liquidity to the poor land owner demographic.
Hipcamp bootstrapped their marketplace by first building a web app for campers to find public campgrounds. They indexed camp site information and built up demand in the process.
But demand has been growing for campsites: Yosemite, for example, requires a reservation made at 8am sharp, 5 months in advance. As demand continued to grow, and supply stayed flat, users increasingly complained of insufficient campgrounds so Hipcamp turned to private land.
The biggest hurdle in getting private landowners onboard was overcoming their discomfort with the risks of hosting campers (damage to property, liability, etc.). Individual land owners aren’t likely to attempt to set up insurance coverage on their own: it requires learning and costs, but Hipcamp’s scale and infrastructure mean that it can use the insurance feature to open up massive amounts of land to eager campers.
This new form of liquidity is attractive to landowners, often with inherited land, many of whom are facing rising property taxes and stagnant earnings.
And as camping is becoming more popular, it’s also becoming more social, with millennials typically camping in the largest groups, helping fuel the fire for products like backpack coolers whose sales grew an average of 35% annually over the past 3 years.
As the pandemic rages on, Hipcamp is in many ways capitalizing on the trends created by Airbnb, while the travel giant waits for quarantines to subside.
Trend Highlight – Why Stayforlong Is So Popular
The rising threat traditional hotels face from Airbnb has in part led to Stayforlong's growth streak, doubling its business year-over-year.
The company offers travelers discounts on longer stays, with a minimum three-night booking.
This gives hotels a chance to lock-in occupancy and attract guests that are more likely to pay for amenities like spa services, hotel restaurant meals, and car rentals than those who check in for an overnight stay. The bookings also save on housekeeping costs, as it takes far less time to clean an occupied room than it does to prepare for new guests.
While top hotels may not need to extend these discounts if they're generally fully-booked — choosing instead to wait for the high-value last-minute traveler who is willing to pay a premium — this isn't the case for most. The average occupancy rate among U.S. hotels is 66%, and they're increasingly getting creative by monetizing their properties in other ways, such as selling pool passes through apps like Daycation.
Discounts on longer stays are already common practice on sites like Airbnb — though generally they start at a week's time — meaning consumers are increasingly trained to expect them.
Track every trend in the TravelCategory