Here’s How You Traveled in 2023
If you’ve traveled at all in the past year or so, you’ve likely noticed a fascinating collective energy moving through airports, on board trains, and across the ocean: excited, antsy, even a little bit frenzied. The anxious rebound from the travel restrictions of the pandemic were obvious everywhere you looked. Social media feeds were bursting with photographs of everyone in some faraway destination (most often Positano or Lake Como). In nearly every major publication, there were trend pieces about “revenge travel.” Even last year’s aviation fiascos like the meltdowns at Southwest Airlines and Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport served to underscore the point: Everyone is traveling again.
All of the above was verified by the results of Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards 2023, with one pleasant caveat: As frantic as our traveling in the past year appeared to be, most trips were actually about leisure, taking our time, finding relaxation, and using our vacation days. And bucket-list trips. A lot of you went on bucket-list trips. (What do you know that we don’t?)
For more of the highlights and takeaways from this year’s survey, read on. May they invite you to reflect on your own year in travel—and get excited for what’s to come next.
Nearly all of you are traveling for leisure again
After so many years defined by constraints and travel limitations, everyone had many different reasons over the past year to book a trip: about 69% of readers said they went to new-to-them places, and 47% said they returned to a familiar or favorite destination; 61% said they traveled internationally, and 39% said they took local trips. About 43% of respondents said they took trips to see family, but also—trend alert!—23% said they took solo trips, up from 14% in our 2021 survey, making good on their promises to hit the road on their own.
These days, you’re seeking rest and restoration
Speaking of rest, 75% of survey respondents used all of their vacation days in 2022. (Most Americans don’t take enough of their vacation days, so this is nice to see.) Among our readers, 70% said they took trips with the goals of relaxation in mind; 28% specified that wellness was part of their travel intentions.
At the same time, many travelers hit the road (or the air, or sea) to celebrate the excitement of life. Adventure travel was big with 63% of our readers; 38% went on trips to commemorate birthdays, honeymoons, and other celebrations; and group trips among friends took up 38% of your travel. It’s true—there’s nothing like the euphoria of actually getting the entire group chat to Tuscany.
You’re traveling for longer periods of time—and more slowly
In 2022, survey respondents said that they wanted to maximize their future trips, whether by going to places they’d never been before or taking a long, long, long trip. According to this year’s results, that’s exactly what they did. Nearly two in three (65%) took a trip that lasted a week or longer, while 41% traveled for 11 days or more. Roughly one in four took trips lasting over two weeks.
Traveling for longer also meant you had more room for multi-destination itineraries (39% of respondents took such trips) or you prioritized traveling slowly. When asked about slow travel—that is to say, staying in a place for more days than usual with a focus on learning more about the people, culture, music, and food of that place—about 38% of respondents said they planned to take such a trip. Roughly half said they were intrigued by the idea, but had no plans to do it just yet.
You’re sneaking in travel however you can
Though you’re all traveling for longer, a great many of you are also sneaking in a cheeky little trip here and there however you can. Getaways were big with many of you in 2022: 51% of readers said they took weekend getaways, while 28% said they managed short, mid-week getaways. And 9% said they took remote work trips, fusing travel with the ability to work wherever they are.
You’re taking the bucket-list trips of your dreams
In 2022, 22% of survey respondents said they plan to take a once-in-a-lifetime trip. So many of you had great follow-through: about 36% of this year’s respondents said they took a bucket-list trip. After all we’ve been through since 2020, it’s plain to see that savvy travelers know that the present is a gift, that we should seize joy—and see the world—while we can.
What’s in store for 2024 (and beyond)
In the future, more and more of you may be hitting the high seas. Though only 27% of respondents took a cruise in 2022, many are cruise-curious and willing to book a ticket under certain circumstances. For more than half of respondents, the key factors will be about finding the right itineraries, schedules, and prices; 47% said they were interested in sailing on smaller ships—perhaps with Emerald Cruises, voted the best cruise line in our small ships category.
The intersection of travel and sustainability is a growing area of interest for 29% of those who took the survey. Those travelers say that they want to support local businesses (75% of respondents), eat at places that locally source food (60%), conserve water wherever possible (54%), and avoid single-use plastics (54%).
As for the rest of the year and beyond? At the time of the survey, three in four respondents said they have two or more trips booked for the rest of 2023; 10% even said they had seven or more already planned. And though their travel calendars for 2024 were relatively open—only 34% said they have one, two, or three trips booked for next year—there’s still plenty of time to book.
Need some inspiration? Review the winners of our Readers’ Choice Awards in 2023: pick one of the best cities in the world to visit; the best spa resorts, if you need a wellness retreat; or the best islands if you need a sunny and sandy getaway—and start planning how you’ll get there. And remember: Use your vacation days.
For more of our Readers’ Choice Awards, see all the survey results here.
Originally Appeared on Condé Nast Traveler