SINGAPORE, 20 October 2023: In a surprising twist, travel, once an escape from reality, is now the essence of life, according to Booking.com.
The travel booking platform released its yearly Travel Predictions research Wednesday that shows travel is life in 2024, with four in five Singapore-based travellers (82%) revealing that they feel more alive than ever when they are on vacation.
That’s because over half (64%) think they are the best version of themselves on holiday. And with artificial intelligence (AI) on the rise, travellers are increasingly plugging into tech to do the grunt work, freeing them up to spark more soul-stirring experiences.
Here are Booking.com’s seven predictions for travel in 2024, based on research among more than 27,000 travellers across 33 countries and territories, including Singapore, combined with its insights as a leading digital travel platform:
1. Reboot Retreaters
Amid an ever-hectic world, travellers are booking trips to bring themselves back to the life they truly want again. For example, the new era of sleep tourism welcomes sleep concierges and cutting-edge tech to serve the 67% of Singapore-based travellers who want to travel in 2024 to focus solely on uninterrupted shut-eye.
For those used to sleeping solo, 40% would even carve out time for a matchmaking holiday to find a spark with a new partner or lover, while more than a third (34%) would focus on a heartbreak holiday to get over an ex. Of those still rocking a relationship, a quarter (24%) has prioritised deepening the human connection with their partner through travel in 2024.
Not forgetting parents: surprisingly, they seek solace on completely solo holidays, with the majority (55%) planning to travel alone in 2024, dropping the kids and their partners to prioritise their vitality.
2. Surrender Seekers
In 2024, travellers want to surrender themselves to the element of surprise and venture into uncharted territory on vacation, with over half (54%) of Singapore-based travellers keen to book a surprise trip where everything down to the destination is unknown until arrival. These surrender seekers are truly embracing the art of letting go, with the majority (55%) preferring to have no plans set in stone before travelling in 2024 – and even seeking to travel with strangers (28%).
The travel industry is responding fast with tech-enabled flexible services, giving travellers the option to cancel, change plans, and buy now, pay later at the press of a button. The explosion of AI, which has already seen the launch of Booking.com’s AI Trip planner, is going mainstream in 2024, with over half of Singapore-based travellers (53%) placing trust in AI to plan a trip for them.
3. A La Carte Affluencers
Fueled by the cost of living crisis, travellers in 2024 will employ money-saving hacks to cut costs yet level up vacations with ‘à la carte’ luxuries, with the help of their travel partner in crime, AI. In fact, a majority (62%) of Singapore-based travellers will want insights and tips from AI when on vacation to upgrade experiences with suggested ancillaries and deals.
Additionally, over half (60%) of Singapore-based travellers plan to pick destinations in 2024 where the cost of living is less expensive than their hometown, while many (46%) will be willing to pay for day passes to use the amenities in a five-star hotel rather than staying there.
4. Culinary Excavators
The food archaeologists of 2024 will dig deep into the roots of food on vacation to unearth new culinary treasures, with 72% of Singapore-based travellers more interested in learning about the origins of a destination’s ‘must-eat’ delicacies than they were in the past. Four in five (80%) also want to try indigenous cuisines in 2024.
Foodies in 2024 are also set to be experientialists, with nearly half (49%) wanting an immersive ‘phygital’ food experience enhanced by VR or AR. Think mood-altering lighting, paired fragrances and sensual soundscapes that enhance the traces of foodways past.
5. Mindful Aesthetes
Gone are the days when comfort and exceptional design were solely associated with extravagance, with a growing movement of accommodation providers presenting aesthetically pleasing responses to environmental challenges. These discerning travellers will hunt down jaw-dropping architecture that has environmental features at its heart, with over half (56%) looking for accommodation that has wow-factor sustainability innovation. In comparison, 70% want to see the outside brought indoors.
In exchange for contributing to conservation efforts, the majority are interested in sustainable travel apps where they can unlock rewards (57%), such as experiences with locals in off-the-beaten-path areas (55%) or visiting remote locations that tourists otherwise have limited access to (50%).
Heat has officially had its vacay heyday, with temperatures at record-breaking levels. The majority (56%) of Singapore-based travellers report that climate change will impact how they plan their vacation in 2024, while 67% share that as temperatures soar close to home, they will use their vacation to cool down elsewhere.
This effect taps into the expected rise of travel that takes the edge off the heat, with approximately one in three (29%) showing interest in water-centric vacations in 2024. Mindful water immersion will quickly become the next mainstream version of meditation, where this fresh form of feel-alive wellness travel will see floating yoga, water sound baths and snow meditation surge, as well as a boom in ice therapy retreats, underwater hotels and mermania.
7. (Alter) Ego Enthusiasts
In 2024, travellers will feel more alive by creating their epic alter egos on vacation, with more than a third (42%) of Singapore-based travellers making up stories about their real lives to people they meet on their travels.
These alter ego enthusiasts love the thrill of embodying a 2.0 version of themselves and go to great lengths to reimagine their best self, with close to three-quarters (73%) enjoying the anonymity of travel and the chance to recreate themselves. Well over half (64%) of Singapore-based travellers feel ‘main character energy’ on their travels, with these performers empowered to be the stars of their own lives.
Booking.com managing director Asia-Pacific Laura Houldsworth
comments: “Our 2024 travel predictions reflect the idea that travel is not a means to escape life but a catalyst to live our best lives. From thrilling adventures in a new destination to feeling the pulse of a new culture and every experience in between, travel allows us to become the best version of ourselves.”
Credit: TTR weekly, Booking.com