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7 travel trends hero

The Top 7 Travel Trends of 2024 You Need to Know

Alex Shaked
by Alex Shaked

May 31, 2024

11 minute read

With over 100 years in the guided travel space, the Collette has been watching travel trends fluctuate for a long time.

Solo travel has been popular. Quick, domestic getaways have been a highlight for travellers in recent years. The weeks-long travel across Europe fades in and out of fashion. From the mid-60s to the late 1980s, Collette travellers even loved mystery tours: buying a ticket, hopping on the motor coach, and finding out where your tour was going when you got there. We’ve seen it all. And we love to watch it unfold.

The Collette team — from product designers to Tour Managers and our Client Care agents and beyond — all work in travel for two reasons: 1) We’re curious people. 2) We’re travellers, too.

Collette tours are designed by travellers, for travellers. We want to experience the must-sees, but we want so much more.

Immersing yourself in the local culture and getting to understand a place versus just visiting it is a big part of what makes travel magical. And we know travellers feel the same.

This year’s trends have proven it.

Well into 2024, we’re confident (and excited) to see that this is the year of the culturally curious adventurer.

Trend 1

Off-Season Travel

seven travel trends off season travel

Since we’re talking about trends, let’s frame this a little like fashion. Summer travel is a bit like floral prints in spring, right? It’s predictable… and often just a little too busy.

When you opt to travel during off-peak times, you can get closer to those must-sees a little easier and save some money. Savvy travellers know this. It’s why our year over year bookings for Europe in November are up 23%.

and they know there are more than just these surface level benefits.

There’s a slightly more relaxed vibe when the crowds are smaller and there’s more of an opportunity to watch authentic daily life unfold. It’s easier to gain the local perspective when there are more locals around.

Shoulder Season in Sicily

I went to Italy for the first time ever this March, and members of our team had a meeting in Sicily in April. After reading a blog by one of our tour designers about some of the crowding in Italy’s top trending destinations, I was excited to visit the country during a quieter time.

The crew in Sicily completely agreed. There was a consensus among all of us that this was a perfect time to travel to Italy.

There are some incredibly worthy trade-offs. Some smaller shops may not be open for the season yet. The weather is pretty mild, but it’s not quite swimming weather outdoors yet. In March, you may have to work a little harder in a small town to find a restaurant that has gelato available so early in the season.

But imagine being on our Old World Sicily and Malta tour in March or April. During some free time, you’re able to sit at an outdoor café with your small cup of espresso. You can take in the warm, mild weather without sweating with a hot coffee. You’ll be able listen to the locals have a vibrant conversation in Sicilian, instead of listening to people ask for directions in English.

Off-Peak Peru

Peru’s high season falls between May and August. You’ll find warmer weather, but also more crowds during this time. Going guided means you’ll have guaranteed reservations to those key sites like Machu Picchu, and guaranteed access to tough places to reach like the Galapagos Islands. But there will still be crowds during that time.

Our recommendation to beat the crowds? Book your spot on the Machu Picchu and Galapagos Wonders tour somewhere between November through March. Bonus for foodies: These are great months to get reservations in some of Lima’s top restaurants. Our favorites for ceviche in the city are Awicha, Astrid y Gaston, and La Mar!

Low Season in Costa Rica

The distinction of a “rainy” season sounds a little daunting, right? I wrote a blog about touring Costa Rica with my grandma earlier this year, and we admittedly aimed for the dry season. But truthfully? We still had bouts of rain!

Costa Rica has a dozen different climate zones, and some are more prone to rain year-round. The Monteverde Rain Forest, for example, gets about 120 inches of rain a year. No matter when you go to Costa Rica, you should have a light rain jacket ready in these more rain-prone regions.

But the good news? Rainy season tends to have short lived tropical downpours. And the result of those? Access to stunning, lush greenery. Rainy season is also referred to as green season, and it’s worth braving some quick rain for those views.

Trend 2

Supporting Women-Owned Businesses Whilst Travelling

seven travel trends women empowering

Shopping from women-owned businesses has become popular practice in countries like the United States, Canada, and Australia. It is an opportunity to put our money behind diverse business owners. By shopping small at women-owned enterprises, we elevate their creativity and unique perspectives.

This is just as true afar as it is at home, but there’s a deeper impact globally according to Melissa Snape, our Head of Corporate Citizenship. “Women are the backbone of their communities,” she said. “They are more likely to invest earnings back into their local communities and family. The tourism industry plays a critical role in supporting women owned enterprises and promoting sustainable economic growth. As a company, we are constantly looking for opportunities to partner with women owned businesses.”

Here are some female-led operations you’ll find on our tours:

Female Farmers and Foragers

  • On our Japan: Past & Present tour, meet Ama Pearl divers. These women defy conventional gender roles every day. They are extraordinary freestyle divers who dive for fish, seaweed, and pearls. 
  • Learn about the incredible efforts at Jóhanna’s goat farm on the Icelandic Adventure tour. Owner Jóhanna Bergmann Þorvaldsdóttir has dedicated her life to keep the Icelandic Goat from facing extinction. You can sample and purchase products made at her farm, like different types of goat cheeses with fresh herbs, jams, and syrups.

Craftswomen

  • Kazuri Bead Factory started as a business to support single mothers in Nairobi’s surrounding villages. They still train and employ these women today and offer jewellery artisan training. Learn their stories and see their art on the African Safari: Kenya & Tanzania tour.
  • Mysteries of India tour travellers can choose to visit to Dastkar Ranthambore, a social enterprise dedicated to providing employment and training for local female artisans. See the wood block to fabric printing process and learn how women are keeping this art form alive.

Culinary Professionals

  • For six intensive months, disenfranchised women at the Amal Centre train in every aspect of the restaurant industry, with one goal in mind — to secure a job, and secure their own financial independence. Enjoy a hands-on class with them to learn a bit about their stories (and Moroccan cuisine) on the Colours of Morocco tour.
  • A half a mile from the Taj Mahal is the Sheroes’ Hangout, run by five women and staffed by women who are the victims of acid attacks. The Sheroes’ Hangout is an inspiring place, empowering women to build back their lives and find community over a cup of coffee. You’ll stop by on the Mysteries of India tour.
Trend 3

Private Touring

seven travel trends private touring

Small group touring has been a travel trend for quite a whilst, but we’re starting to see an increase in private touring in 2024.

Travellers who opt into this style of touring can build a guest list of 10 or more people for their own departure of whatever tour they want.

Whilst building camaraderie with like-minded travellers is a staple in the guided travel space, there’s something special about a curated travel roster, too!

Trend 4

Unique Accommodation

seven travel trends hotel

Where you go to sleep at night can be so much more than a place to rest your head. Culturally curious travellers want accommodation they can brag about when they tell the story of their trip.

Ana Rooney, our Vice President of Product Design & Operations, identified this as a huge consideration for our tours. “Our travellers have made it clear — they value excellent hotels,” she said. “They see hotels as an extension of the destination experience and see that unique properties can offer insight into culture. Chateaux, castles, riads, even glass igloos are some of the popular options our travellers love.”

Here are some trendy overnights we’re noticing have earned top marks from travellers this year:

  • Cape Pawna Hotel in Phuket, Thailand was once the site of a coconut plantation. The Sino-Portuguese style Pawna House mansion is set on the beach in a remote spot and offers some respite from the hustle and bustle of the busier Thai cities. Bonus: The food gets rave reviews! It’s featured on our Wonders of Thailand tour.
  • Bovey Castle in Devon, UK is a proper country retreat. Delve firsthand into the English people’s love of stately homes during your stay at this neo-Elizabethan manor house. Catch a glimpse into the lifestyle of English aristocracy on our new Shades of the English Countryside tour.
  • The Wallow in Victoria Falls, South Africa is a luxury safari lodge. This tented lodge is set on a private game reserve. The rooms combine sliding glass doors, wood doors, and canvas walls to create a simple but modern take on the safari experience. (Plus, everyone gets an ensuite bathroom because we all still want those creature comforts.) Get a little closer to nature on the Exploring South Africa, Victoria Falls & Botswana tour.
Trend 5

Safari Tours

seven travel trends safari

People spend their lives dreaming of going on a safari. And in 2024, adventurers are taking the leap and making those dreams a reality.

In Swahili, “safari” means “journey” and to you, it will mean that and so much more. Game drives across serene plains and sprawling grasslands. Searching for the elusive Big Five animals: the African lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, and the Cape buffalo. These tours also go beyond the wildlife, and take you closer to the culture.

The best part? It’s all within reach and super easy with a tour. Learn more about the benefits of booking a safari tour here.

Trend 6

Chasing the Northern Lights

seven travel trends northern lights

The elusive aurora borealis have had a hold on adventurous travellers for decades and that trend continues to shine bright this year. Whether travellers are chasing them in Europe or North America, there’s seemingly no end in sight to the lengths people will go for this natural phenomenon.

We started our own search with our Iceland’s Magical Northern Lights tour, and this remains one of the most popular destinations to find the lights. Scandinavian neighbour

Finland is catching up, though! Travellers flock to the Finnish Lapland, home of frequent occurrences of the aurora borealis (and also Santa, if you listen to the Finns.) The Northern Lights of Finland tour includes 3 nights at the famous Kakslauttanen Resort – a front row seat to the wilderness with both glass igloo and log cabin accommodation.

There’s a great opportunity to search for the northern lights in North America, too! Our suggestion is to head out on the Alaska’s Northern Lights tour. Their aurora season falls between late August and late April. In this sweet spot, travellers have over a 90% chance to see the northern lights when they spend at least three nights in Fairbanks.

Trend 7

Spontaneous, Last-Minute Bookings

seven travel trends spontaneous travel

Sometimes, it pays to just go. There are some great deals to be had with this method, and savvy travellers have taken note.

Whether it’s on a quick domestic trip, or a larger trip like a safari or a tour to a far-flung destination, more and more travellers are booking with a quicker turnaround. Our team has seen a significant increase in travellers booking within three months of their departure date. It’s an interesting trend, and something that was rare for our booking trends prior to 2020.

There’s an extra layer of comfort added to the “pack up and go” method when you opt to book a tour. There’s no stress about the details being missed in the crunched timeframe. You don’t have to worry about paying extra for an excursion because of a last-minute booking with limited availability. Dinner reservations are covered, too.

We take care of everything, so you really only need to pack up and go.

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