Let’s face it. The world is probably in its most complicated situation in the past 20 years.
Inflation is record-high (10% and more), the Euro is weak, the stock market is going down, a war is ongoing, and the travel industry still not recovering from the pandemic.
In this context, it is key that we understand the upcoming travel trends to make our next trips safe, smooth, and cheap. It’s important to stay ahead of the curve to save money on future travel and vacations.
What are the 2023 travel trends? What do we need to be aware of as travelers?
In this post, I cover 7 things you need to know before your trip in 2023, based on my own research and travel industry announcements for 2023.
1. The US will be more expensive than ever
The US dollar is in its strongest moment in 51 years. Even with 10% inflation around and princes going up.
On the other hand, the Euro (€) is going through its weakest moment since its inception, now even cheaper than US dollars, and a similar situation is happening to the British Pound (£) and other currencies around the world.
If you were planning a trip to the United States, say from Europe, there’s no longer a currency advantage you can rely on. Before, a $20 dollar meal was equivalent to a €15 dish in Europe, which made many expensive places in the US such as New York, Miami, and San Francisco more affordable to Europeans.
Now, not only the Euro is weaker, but also, due to inflation, many prices have gone up in the US. Way up. I recently spent $50 for a meal in Miami downtown, in a cheap restaurant. That’s more than €50!
Flights, hotel stays, meals, and also fuel prices have gone up, consider at least 20%. Renting a car can still be cheap compared to Europe, but in general, if you can, try to stay away from planning trips to the United States for a while and consider other destinations until prices are more stable.
2. Instant cashback Is More valuable than points or miles
10 years ago, the miles and points game was not only fun but very rewarding. Now things have changed. Trust me, I’ve been in the points game for a long time, and I’m a freak. I’m that kind of guy who got 40 credit cars just to get their sign-up bonus and travel the world using points.
However, post-pandemic, it has become increasingly harder to use those points and find good rewards that would make that effort worth it. You can check this post where I share how I struggled to burn and get something out of my 750.000 SAS EuroBonus points. And the same happens with other airlines. Availability is harder to find, and points are being devalued month after month.
In this context, cash back is much more powerful. You can see the value of that cash back today, rather than racking up points that you have no idea how much are they going to be worth.
$10 off now is much more valuable than $100 in points in a distant future. The travel industry is changing rapidly given the world’s economic situation, competition is fiercer and demand for travelling is high. It’s probably one of the worst times in history to try to use points, so don’t try to get more of them.
Instead, try getting cash back or rewards that you can use right now. Use a cash back credit card or debit card, like Revolut or Curve. I’ve written many posts comparing them, and you can easily find the one that suits your need in a great way
3. Try Doing Sustainable Travel
81% of global travelers say that sustainable travel is important, with 50% saying that recent news about climate change has influenced them to make more sustainable travel choices.
It’s one of the best times to aim for sustainable travel. These days it is pretty easy to identify which flights are impacting more on CO2 (old planes vs new planes), and also knowing which hotels are compliant with sustainability policies.
You can use tools like Booking.com or EcoHotels.com to find sustainable hotels or accommodations, and also check WayAway which you can use to donate cash back from your flights directly to Sustainable Travel International.
When it comes to banking, there are also credit and debit cards, and bank accounts that aim for sustainability. Both Bunq and Revolut are contributing to this space, planting trees for every €100 you spend, and reducing their operation’s CO2 footprint, becoming carbon-neutral. Big banks are losing in this space.
https://airlapse.net/blog/7-things-you-need-to-know-before-your-trip-in-2023-2023-travel-trendsIn recent surveys from Booking.com, it shows that 57% of travelers would feel better staying in a particular accommodation if they knew it had a sustainable certification. More than 100,000 properties globally are now recognized for their sustainability efforts with a Travel Sustainable badge on Booking.com
4. Avoid The High Season
People are spending more money on travel. Demand is increasing at ridiculous rates, but supply is not at pre-COVID levels. Many hotels have shut down, and airlines reduced routes and the number of flights they operate.
This is a very competitive context! It means that now more people want to travel, but since demand is low, prices are going up: flights, hotels, car rentals, everything.
As is expected, this is even worse during high seasons. On-peak holiday season has always been more expensive than off-peak times. Expect prices to go way up during peak weeks.
As a tip, try to start thinking now about alternative dates for traveling and taking some days off. Example: I spent 1 week in Miami Platja, close to Tarragona (Spain) in the end of June 2022. The place is fantastic, the weather is amazing, and the town is not crowded as it is during August or September. Consider alternative mid and low-season dates
You can check WayAway smart calendar to consider cheaper dates for accommodation when you book a hotel. You can also get up to 10% cash back to your PayPal account when you book through them.
5. Don’t count on that last minute deal
According to recent surveys, more people are expecting last-minute deals than ever. This is typically a good indication to go against the wave and avoid doing what everyone else. It’s an opportunity to be smarter.
In my 15+ years of booking trips, there were only a couple of times that I could really take advantage of a last-minute deal that was worth waiting for it. I’ve booked over 1000 things between flights and hotels, and rarely, very rarely, it’s better to wait than to book.
On the contrary, I remember more those times where I didn’t book with enough time, and the I ended up paying more, in a painful way.
Try to book as soon as you know your dates. You never know when prices will go up. And they will go up for sure.
6. Expect less COVID restrictions, but more visas
Most countries have lifted their COVID restrictions already, asking for only vaccination status, or nothing at all. They don’t even ask for a recent vaccination proof (within 6 months).
On the other hand, the recent migration trends (for several reasons) is imposing harder restrictions when it comes to getting visas, even a tourist visa.
Europe is planning on introducing ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System), which is an electronic travel permit for Europe, from November 2023. Travelers will have to give advanced passenger information to the airlines and fill in an online form, before taking their flight. Similar to the ESTA visa in the United States.
Other countries are also applying more restrictions such as the United Arab Emirates or Australia.
Make sure to check the required paperwork with enough time in case there are visas you need to apply for.
7. Start loving Those small planes
These are single-aisle airplanes, so typically much more uncomfortable than big planes like the 787 or the A350. However, they turn out to be more fuel efficient and sustainable for some international routes (transatlantic).
Airlines are increasingly adopting these planes for long routes. Avianca for example now has 6 or 7 hour flights with their A320, plus they are also selling insane connections. Seats don’t recline and they are awful for a 6h ride.
Look at the following example: a ticket from New York to Buenos Aires with Avianca. That’s a 23h flight connecting in Bogotá, first a 6h flight on an Airbus A319, plus a 10h layover, plus a 7h flight on an Airbus A320neo. That’s awful.
Sure, it makes it cheaper sometimes, and if you have no kids and that could work for you, it does the job, I took many of these long connecting flights because of the price. However, keep in mind that these planes are not as comfortable as bigger planes.
Pay attention to the aircraft type when you book your next ticket, especially for long flights.
8. Forget about roaming. Use eSIMs (BONUS)
The old days of getting a local SIM card or paying extremely high roaming charges are long gone. The use of eSIMs has become increasingly popular. So much, that now even Apple announced that their latest iPhone 14 is only coming with support for eSIM, and no tray for a physical SIM in their US model.
Recently, some marketplaces and apps started to make much easier the process of buying, installing and using eSIMS, no matter where you go. I’ve been using Airalo the last couple of months, and bought eSIMs for Spain, United States and Argentina. Check my Airalo review here.