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Holiday Extras has been helping UK holidaymakers to have better holidays for forty years, so we've seen our share of travel trends come and go. Here are our top ten travel trends for 2023 - according to our customers, market research, and the biggest memes on travel social media.

1. Swapping for cheaper destinations

Every month we ask 1000 UK holidaymakers about their travel plans for the coming year, and one of the clearest messages coming out since the cost of living crisis started to bite was that people will be swapping expensive destinations for cheaper ones next year.

Since August we've asked 3000 people how they plan to travel in 2023. Even in a cost of living crisis almost no-one plans to give up a holiday entirely, but 51% of travellers plan to swap to a cheaper destination next year, and 12% have already booked somewhere cheaper for a 2023 break.

Change hassle free

That means lots of holidaymakers are heading out to more affordable eastern Europe for their city breaks (see below), and to Turkey or North Africa for some sun. So if you're planning to do the same, next year's bargains are already getting snapped up and you might want to book now before you miss out.

Change hassle-free

Swap those expensive destinations for somewhere more affordable but just as good

2. Eastern European city breaks

We help more than three million people with their trips every year, so we can see trends from the whole travel market as soon as they appear. And one big trend from the end of 2022 is city breaks to Eastern Europe. Of our top 20 highest risers in 2022, eight are cities in eastern Europe.

Why? Partly because it's cheaper than the more traditional city breaks in Italy, France, Germany and the Netherlands, and many travellers are looking to get away for less. Partly it's the impact of Skyscanner's "search everywhere" - if you just want a weekend away and filter destinations by price, you see a lot of Romania, Albania and Croatia. Partly it's the impact of Brexit - while it used to be easier to get in and out of the EU than the Balkans, these days you can miss out the "other countries" queue and the Schengen 90 days rule by heading just beyond the EU periphery. And most of all, these are just really interesting, often beautiful places that people are keen to see for the first time!

3. Life on the road (if only for a while)

Converting a van into a home on wheels turns out to have been a really popular project for whiling away the 2020 and 2021 lockdown. So scroll through Instagram or Tiktok and you can't help coming across people, mostly digital nomad couples, who've converted a van and are now travelling the world 24/7.

And where the influencers go, inevitably people follow - even if you don't quite want to chuck it all in and live in a van full-time, you can try life on the road for a week or two by renting one and taking it on holiday.

The explosion of van conversions over the last two years means there's now a reliable market for people renting them out, so you can easily pick one up either for a UK road trip or by flying somewhere and then living out of a van while you're there and seeing more of the country than you might from a hotel room. If life on the road is something you've scrolled through enough times on social media that you want to try it - this summer you won't be alone.

4. Doing your research

The single biggest change UK holidaymakers said they'd make next year is doing more research. That's just what they said in the last recession in 2008 too - when money's tight and you've had to save extra hard for a holiday, you want to make sure it's a good one.

81% of UK holidaymakers told us they'd spend more time next year researching their holiday to keep expenses down. That's another reason we think holiday bargains are being snapped up early for 2023. So if you were putting off planning your next trip, now's a good time to get ahead of the crowd.

5. Making every trip count

Longer trips were more popular than ever in 2022 - mainly because, as travellers told us, it wasn't worth hacking through the Covid regulations, Brexit delays and extra paperwork just to spend a night or two seeing Paris again. So throughout 2022 trips of less than four days have been down, and trips of ten days or more up.

There's also a solid argument that if you're trying to keep your carbon footprint down, flying less often and taking longer trips is one way to do it, because it means less time in the air each year.

Taking longer trips also makes it feasible to fly further. According to our research, people are willing to spend six hours max in the air for a week away, which gets you as far as the Turkish Riviera or the Canaries. But for two weeks away people said it was worth flying more than nine hours, at which point the world's your oyster.

Make every trip count

How long is it worth spending in the air for a holiday?

6. Hidden corners of familiar destinations

Not every trip has to be an adventure. There's always a case to be made for going somewhere you know you like just for the R&R.

Maybe that's why, even as Greece and Turkey rocketed in popularity among British holidaymakers these last three years to take the second and third spots, the top destination is still firmly Spain. Malaga and Mallorca in the summer, the reliable sun of the Canary Islands in the winter - whatever the season, Spain tops the charts.

But even the places we've been before have hidden corners, new regions and - here's probably the reason - new routes from new airlines and new airports opening up whole new holiday opportunities. In France, we're seeing more people go to Rodez; in Italy, Pescara and Sardinia; and in Greece people are striking out for lesser-known islands like Milos or Lesvos. So even if you're heading back to Spain, why not join them in trying Andalucia, Girona or La Gomera next year and explore a different corner of a familiar destination?

Türkiye's hidden gems

Next time you go, see something different

7. Going away by staying home

Swapping an overseas holiday for a UK break will be a popular choice for lots of people in 2023. 12% of UK travellers told us they'd already made that decision, and another 41% said they might.

There's lots of reasons to holiday at home - sure, it's a big saving if you're feeling the pinch, but it can also cut down the carbon impact of your travel and cut out the hassle that comes with flying.

More than that, the UK is one of the world's most popular travel destinations, and for very good reason. London is one of the world's great cities, and Yorkshire, Wales and the Highlands are three of the great outdoor adventures. Surfing in Cornwall, eating in Bray and seeing a show in Stratford or the West End are on bucketlists the world over, so if you add on a day or two of sightseeing and pair a show with a great hotel a theatre trip can easily become a break in its own right.

UK theatre breaks

Turn a night at the theatre into a mini-break with one of our breaks

8. Work/live/play breaks

Hybrid work looks like it's here to stay, which means teams that don't see one another 9-5 are getting together off-site for corporate retreats, team-building trips and conferences more than ever before.

A tight employment market and, in some cases, genuinely benevolent employers also means more jobs come with perks like sabbaticals, or spending part of the year working abroad. Which means more people are flying away for work, and then staying put for a week or more once they get there. Some countries have already moved to take advantage of the trend. Both Spain and Barbados are offering generous digital nomad visas for people looking to stay a while and work remotely

This is the work/live/play break - people settling in for extended trips which combine conferences, work retreats and fully remote working with some time to relax and see the local area. Longer trips are up, and some of that is because of new working habits which let people combine work and wanderlust like never before.

9. Responsible travel

67% of travellers tell us they consider the human rights record and other ethical considerations of the countries they visit, and 12% say it's the most important factor. That's why we built the Good Trip Index, to help people make an easy, informed decision about the places they go to.

This might be why Qatar fared so poorly as a tourist destination for the World Cup - 155th out of 179 countries on the index, its human rights record dissuaded a lot of people from heading out for the tournament. A month of news criticising Qatar's human rights record may not be the PR the country hoped for when it bought the 2022 tournament, but it could be the trigger travellers need to take more account of human rights and other moral factors when picking trips next year.

So we're going to see more of that in 2023 - holidaymakers choosing destinations for ethical reasons, be it sustainability, human rights, animal welfare or other factors important to each traveller. That could mean more trips to Scandinavia, which sweeps three of the top ten spots on our Good Trips Index, but also some further-flung destinations that score highly like Costa Rica, Aruba, Uruguay and Chile.

Have a good trip - winter sun

Best winter sun destinations from the Holiday Extras Good Trips Index

10. Aegean beach holidays

For the second year in a row, Greece and Turkey grew as popular UK holiday destinations. At the end of 2022 both saw bookings double those of 2019, and throughout the summer they knocked Italy, USA and France down the popular destination charts to take second and third place for the first time in the 40 years Holiday Extras has been helping people have better trips.

Turkey is an obvious choice for a holiday in 2023 - just outside the EU, with worse currency problems than the UK, it's easier to get in and out of than ever and the cheapest short-haul beach holiday you'll likely see this year or next. Greece's newfound popularity is more a function of the 2020 and 2021 travel lockdowns - the islands were the last places to close both summers, and having seen them and liked them when they were the only game in town, Brits are flocking back again.