These Are the Biggest Travel Trends of 2023, According to the President of American Express Travel

What are people really traveling for in 2023?

Varenna town during sunset in Lake Como, Italy

Travel Faery/Getty Images

If 2022 was the year of wading back into travel, then 2023 is the year of diving in head first. According to a recently released report by American Express Travel, a majority of respondents say they not only plan to take more trips this year than last, but they will also spend more money on travel in 2023 than in 2022. 

“As people continue to be eager to take trips, we are seeing a huge emphasis on experiences, especially ones that are personalized and centered around travelers’ passions,” says Audrey Hendley, president of American Express Travel, in an interview with Travel + Leisure. 

The AMEX "Set-Jetting" Global Travel Trends Report infographic in Varenna, Lake Como

Courtesy of American Express

One common theme among travelers worldwide: The continued "rise of 'set-jetting,'" per the report, a.k.a. destination decisions that are heavily influenced by a binge-worthy show or Hollywood film. Entertainment-focused tourism has been on the rise, and the year ahead may see more than ever before. Seventy percent of Gen Z and millennial respondents agree that they have "been inspired to travel to a destination after seeing it featured in a TV show, news source, or movie."

While Amex’s report doesn’t mention specific programs, Hendley tells T+L that “people are booking trips to destinations like Yellowstone, Paris, or Sicily after being inspired by their favorite TV shows.” It isn’t difficult to surmise that travelers are seeking out the cities, hotels, and experiences that were featured in shows such as The White Lotus, Yellowstone, and Emily in Paris, among others. 

The Amex-commissioned study also explored overall travel behaviors and trip planning, with participants from a diverse array of seven countries (Australia, Canada, Mexico, Japan, India, the United Kingdom, and the United States).

The AMEX Delicious Destinations Global Travel Trends Report infographic

Courtesy of American Express

A pan of steaming Gyoza in Japan

kazuhide isoe/Getty Images

In addition to “set-jetting,” there’s a renewed emphasis on food-focused travel, wellness and self-care on vacation, and traveling off the beaten path. Surveyed travelers say they want to shop at small businesses and spend more during a vacation if they know it supports the local community. 

The AMEX Wellness Wave Global Travel Trends Report infographic of a woman stand up paddle boarding

Courtesy of American Express

Tying all of that together are younger travelers at the heart of these trends. According to the report, 84 percent of Gen Z-ers and millennials surveyed would rather take a dream vacation than purchase a new luxury item, and 79 percent agree that travel is an important budget priority. “Younger generations are showing the strongest numbers across our trends. We are paying close attention to (Gen Z and millennials) since their habits and interests will continue to shape the face of travel,” Hendley notes.  

The AMEX Traveling off the Beaten Path Global Travel Trends Report infographic in Nyhavn, Copenhagen, Denmark

Courtesy of American Express

While travel during the past several years may have been difficult to predict, especially with changing COVID-19 travel rules, the world is much easier to roam in 2023. Even one of the strictest borders, China, fully reopened to tourists in mid-March and is issuing tourist visas once again. This increased travel flexibility means longer-term bookings are also making a comeback. 

Silhouette paddle boarder riding ocean wave, Sayulita, Nayarit, Mexico

Nik West/Getty Images

“We’re seeing growth in long-term bookings across all generations, with almost 7-in-10 of survey respondents stating they like to plan trips three to six months in advance,” Hendley shares. “We are also seeing an increase in people booking big trips, which people typically book further in advance.”

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles