The Biggest Luxury Travel Trends to Look Out For in 2024 (2024)

As a spectacular year of travel post-Covid comes to an end, and we look ahead to planning new adventures and bucket-list trips, we have gathered together the top trends for 2024.

From the growth of expedition cruises, to ‘cool-cationing’ and digital detoxes – plus innovation in wellness pushing boundaries even further – the industry never stands still.

These are the five hottest topics we can expect to see over the next twelve months, when it comes to how travelers explore our ever-changing world…

EXPEDITION CRUISES

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The fastest growing area of the ever-popular cruise industry are smaller ships, which offer more intimate experiences with fewer passengers. Such expedition cruises have been taking to the waves since the 1960s, but until recently were mainly no-frills trips using former science ships or icebreakers. Now there’s a demand for ultra-luxury adventure travel on the seas - sailing to the world’s remote destinations.

And there are stats to back it up – according to the Virtuoso Luxe Report 2024, ‘small-vessel cruising is on the rise, with upscale voyagers favoring river cruises for the wide-ranging itineraries and proximity to major cities.’

Where to go: The Peruvian Amazon, the Mekong river through Cambodia and Vietnam, or the Galapagos Islands, on board one of the five ships in Aqua Expeditions’ fleet. Each carry 16 to 40 guests, with bespoke 1:1 service, and take guests along incredible routes that are only accessible by boat.

REWILDING

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Perfect for travelers seeking to immerse themselves in nature, the rewilding trend – building momentum at hotels all around the world – sees a focus on wild spaces as amenities. Where there might have been a swimming pool before, guests can expect projects to increase biodiversity and regenerate the land.

Tim Williamson of Responsible Travel says they’ve seen a 34 per cent increase in inquiries for rewilding holidays in 2023, compared to pre-pandemic. “We’ve also seen a 20 per cent increase in enquiries for wildlife holidays in Europe, suggesting the desire to connect with nature and wildlife is spreading to holidays closer to home – not just long-haul safaris,” he adds.

Where to go: In the Cotswolds, head gardener at Whatley Manor Hotel & Spa, Lucy Bowles-Lewis, makes attracting wildlife and ensuring minimal environmental impact her priority. Further afield, at the Fairmont Maldives, Sirru Fen Fushi, underwater art installation the ‘Coralarium’ doubles as a sanctuary for ocean life to thrive, while a full-time marine biologist monitors the rehabilitation of the Shungimbili coral reef at the exclusive-use Thanda Island, in a marine reserve off the coast of Tanzania.

TRADITIONAL TECH

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Whether it’s taking a digital detox, or a full-on escape to the world’s first ‘phone-free’ island – Ulko-Tammio in Finland – travelers are seeking the spontaneity and human interaction that ruled holidays before the era of the selfie. And hand-in-hand with that comes a nostalgia for more vintage tech, such as Polaroid or film cameras, or even a trusty camcorder, instead of the latest gadgets.

Many adults would undoubtedly prefer society to return to a time before constant connectivity, and backlash against the hyper-connectivity that smartphones has given us looks set to continue…

Where to go: Take inspiration from the surroundings of the Turkish Riviera at Yazz Collective, Fethiye. The chic boutique hotel, which is only accessible by boat, encourages guests to ditch their phone screen and join in with art workshops instead, led on the beach by resident artists.

COOL-CATIONING

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Following an increase in extreme temperatures, the fly-and-flop summer holiday – all about baking in the sunshine as much as possible – is out, and destinations with more bearable July and August temperatures are in. According to a survey by luxury travel network Virtuoso, a whopping 82% of their clients are selecting destinations with more moderate weather conditions for 2024 – whether that be Iceland, the Netherlands, or Scotland. Another plus of a less ‘traditional’ summer destination is that it will be less crowded – and it might even work out much cheaper too.

Where to go: Como Alpina Dolomites in Italy’s South Tyrol has awe-inspiring natural surroundings, a little-known local cuisine that combines Italy with the Alps, and enjoyable sunshine unlikely to result in heatstroke - perfect for the temperate traveler.

BEYOND THE SPA

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Whether it’s saunas being positioned on stilts, or in treetops, with impressive views of nature; new ways of experiencing sound-healing – meditative soundscapes, connecting with nature through sonic vibrations of plants, a spiritual silent disco – or offerings being inspired by a hotel’s location, such as mindful star gazing nights, wellness no longer just belongs in a spa. Essentially nature has become a luxury in itself, with so many of us experiencing how time spent connecting with the great outdoors can help our emotional wellbeing.

Where to go: Newport Beach, is one of the best places in the world for year-round sightings of whales, offering visitors the chance to experience ‘wild wellness’. Spending time on the ocean can give travelers a sense of calm and wellbeing known as ‘blue health’, and encountering whales and dolphins in the wild is a powerful experience – and can even help relieve stress.

Top image credit: Thanda Island

The Biggest Luxury Travel Trends to Look Out For in 2024 (2024)

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