Travel Trends for 2023

By Kayak / / American Express
March 29, 2003
Wellness retreats the ranch 2 scaled
Travelers focus on wellness retreats and off-grid experiences - courtesy of

Looking for inspiration for new travel experiences and trip ideas? Wondering about the best ways to save on hotels, flights, and more this year? Several large travel and finance companies including Kayak,, and American Express have all recently released their reports on travel trends for the upcoming year.

Data indicates that many tourists are looking towards trips that focus on wellness, "unplugged" experiences and especially interested in ways to learn about new and unfamiliar cultures. Since many people put off travel during the pandemic, prospective travelers have also increased spending limits for trips they plan to take this year. However, even with the costs of flights (and pretty much everything) skyrocketing across the country due to inflation, there are still several potential destinations that will prove to be very budget-friendly if you're not one of the many planning to splurge more than necessary just yet. Below are some of the big takeaways from these travel trends reports.

Money-Saving Trends and Tips

According to data gathered by, almost two-thirds (63%) will keep a close eye on deals and hacks, with more than half (53%) happy to travel off-season or via longer routes. That means 2023’s off-season may be a little busier than last year’s, while the summer may be somewhat quieter than usual. This may help spread the crowds at busy attractions such as Walt Disney World. 61% of people also intend on planning their vacations further in advance, so expect to see fewer last-minute travelers in 2023. As a result, there may be less last-minute deals on trips (though this remains to be seen).

Unfortunately, the increase on flight prices will likely continue into 2023. Both domestic and international flight prices are up in 2023 compared to 2022 (52% for domestic and 29% for international). Flights from the US to destinations around the world will see an increase in price for 2023 trips. That being said, flights to the South Pacific (+3%) and Europe (+10%) will see the smallest price increases. Both domestic and international trips are expected to see price increases through June, so you may save if you take trips earlier in the year.

JFK Airport in New York - courtesy of

Kayak pulled together the North American destinations with the cheapest flight prices, so if you're looking to save less on airfare consider a trip to one of the below cities:

  1. New York, New York: $337
  2. Chicago, Illinois: $343
  3. Austin, Texas: $360
  4. Atlanta, Georgia: $363
  5. Houston, Texas: $365
  6. Nashville, Tennessee: $365
  7. Guadalajara, Mexico: $369
  8. Toronto, Canada: $375
  9. Raleigh, North Carolina: $375
  10. Fort Lauderdale, Florida: $376

When it comes to accommodations, the West dominates with generally lower nightly hotel rates. If you’re looking to stay in and around the US for less, you may find the best hotel prices in Northwest and Southwest locations. The majority of destinations around North America with affordable nightly rates are also great for the traveler looking to get outside. No matter where you’re looking to stay, nightly prices for hotels and rentals aren’t seeing huge increases in rates. For both domestic and international stays, travelers could expect to pay under $220 a night depending on where they’re headed. Based on Kayak's numbers, here are destinations with the most affordable accommodations:

  1. Ocean Shores, Washington: $153/night
  2. Portland, Oregon: $161/night
  3. Cody, Wyoming: $169/night
  4. Mexico City, Mexico: $190/night
  5. Reno, Nevada: $190/night
  6. Salt Lake City, Utah: $192/night
  7. Toronto, Canada: $202/night
  8. Houston, Texas: $205/night
  9. San Antonio, Texas: $212/night
  10. Denver, Colorado: $214/night

Off-grid Travel Takes Priority

Camping in the great outdoors - courtesy of

Following various international lockdowns in which many people weren’t allowed to leave their homes, let alone travel, we became reliant on technology for entertainment. Now that most restrictions have been lifted, travelers are keen to disconnect, with 55% wanting to spend their vacations off-grid.

But it doesn’t just stop at wanting to disconnect from technology, with more and more people craving a back-to-basics experience, many travelers are expressing a desire to use their vacations in 2023 as an opportunity to learn survival skills (58%), according to research from This includes learning how to source clean water (53%), light a fire from scratch (42%), forage for food in the wild (39%) and even how to prep for an apocalypse (39%).

Connecting with nature also tops travelers' wishlists. Sitting in front of a cozy, crackling fireplace somewhere deep in the woods and miles from the nearest microchip is many travelers’ idea of bliss. However, almost half (48%) would only consider going off-grid if it meant they could take a few luxuries and indulgences with them, and 53% revealed they’d need their phone and stable internet connection.

Along with this desire to unplug is a need for focusing on health and wellness. A large majority (75%) of those polled by American Express are planning to decrease screen time while traveling to better their mental health and/or seeking to surround themselves with nature to focus on mental clarity (68%). Travelers want to relax from their busy lives—and are gravitating toward destinations and resorts that will help them decompress and feel healthier. According to American Express, 82% of respondents enjoy walking as their favorite activity to stay healthy while traveling. Also, 72% of respondents say they are more focused on self-care than they were a year ago and 57% of respondents plan to take extended vacations to focus on wellness. Most respondents see leisure travel as a break from overstimulation and multi-tasking.

The Appeal of "Culture Shock"

Roswell welcome sign - courtesy of

When you find somewhere you enjoy traveling to, it can be tempting to revisit that same place on your next vacation, but in 2023 travelers intend to mix things up. Almost three-quarters (73%) of those surveyed by want to experience travel out of their comfort zone, with 30% keen to explore lesser-known cities to find some hidden gems. Travelers want authentic experiences that give them a taste of local culture and let them explore hidden gems that friends back home don’t know about. They also want to know that the decisions they make while traveling can have a positive impact on the destinations they visit, and want the money that they spend on vacation to support the local community.

Plenty of travelers (38%) want an out-of-this-world culture shock, and to go on the hunt for UFOs. This means there will likely be an increase in visitors to extra-terrestrial hotspots such as Roswell, New Mexico. Meanwhile, others may go further east: 47% of travelers are interested in exploring exotic delicacies such as the hottest chili pepper (the current world record is held by the California Reaper, bred in Rock Hill, South Carolina).

In American Express' research, 89% of survey respondents agree that they want to travel to destinations they’ve never visited before, 79% of Gen-Z and Millennial respondents agree that they would love to partake in a day in the life of locals in the destination they are visiting, and 68% of respondents agree that they pride themselves on finding lesser-known vacation spots before they become popular.

Sampling the local cuisine is a big part of people's interest when it comes to learning about a new culture. Some people, however, are even planning their whole trip around food. In fact, 47% of Gen-Z and Millennials say they have planned an entire trip around visiting a specific restaurant—compared to 37% of respondents overall. Furthermore, 45% of Gen-Z and Millennials say they have planned a trip around attending a food festival, compared to just 35% of all respondents.

Due to increased interest, its possible that more local and off-the-beaten-path activities and experiences will pop up in many destinations. Research shows that 86% of Gen-Z and Millennial respondents and 83% of all surveyed respondents want to shop at small businesses when they travel to a new location. Plus, 69% of all respondents would spend more during a vacation if they knew it supported the local community, and 88% of all respondents agreed that dining and shopping at local small businesses brings a more authentic experience.

Nostalgic Escapes Make a Comeback

Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World - courtesy of

It's not all about the unusual and unfamiliar, though. Especially when it comes to family vacations, "classic" trips or simple beach getaways, road trips, or theme park trips may see a resurgence. Over the last couple of years, popular culture has seen a nostalgia resurgence of sorts, with 80s and 90s coming back into fashion. It seems as though the same will happen with travel in 2023, with almost nine in ten (88%) in's polls wanting to go on a nostalgic getaway.

About a quarter (23%) of travelers want to escape to simpler times, when all we had to worry about was rewinding that rented VHS and how long the lines were for Space Mountain. And 61% of travelers want to get their hearts racing with a trip to a theme park in 2023, with more than half (54%) planning on taking a family reunion-focused vacation. That means theme parks such as Universal Orlando Resort may be visited by multi-generational families in 2023.

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