Travel insiders predict solo adventure trips in 2024

By Dana Forsythe
Travel insiders are predicting people plan solo adventure trips in the New Year and travel to Europe more. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
Travel insiders are predicting people plan solo adventure trips in the New Year and travel to Europe more. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 22 (UPI) -- Travel insiders are predicting that people will plan solo adventure trips in the New Year, travel to Europe more and try out new things like 3D printed food. Unfortunately, the cost of traveling, including airfare and food costs are likely to rise moving into the future.

This month, The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced airlines in general would see an increase in profitability through the end of the year, which would then stabilize in 2024. Reaching a height of $25.7 billion in 2024 (2.7% net profit margin), the number would be a slight improvement of $23.3 billion net profit this year. In total, airline industry operating profits are expected to reach $49.3 billion in 2024 from $40.7 billion in 2023.


According to the IATA, some 4.7 billion people are expected to travel in 2024, an historic high that exceeds the pre-pandemic level of 4.5 billion recorded in 2019. Cargo volumes are expected to jump up from 58 to 61 million tonnes in 2024.


The United States Travel Association predicted domestic leisure travel would continue to "normalize" with a general return to pre-pandemic trends expected in 2024 and beyond.

"International inbound travel's recovery will strengthen, exceeding our previous expectations, thanks to very strong growth out of Canada as well as stronger recovery expectations from key overseas markets such as Brazil and China," a press release stated. "Nevertheless, inbound travel is not expected to fully recover until 2025."

According to data collected by travel insurance company Squaremouth, travel prices have been up for the last three years, as the average international trip cost in 2023 is $6,574, up 21% from last year, and 30% from 2021. Of all the people Squaremouth surveyed, 82% of travelers expected their travel spending to increase or stay the same in 2024.

The Squaremouth survey also found that Americans were opting to travel to Europe over South America for the first time in 10 years. After topping the list for a decade, Mexico was finally dethroned by Italy as the most popular international destination. This trend is expected to continue in 2024, with countries such as France, Spain, and Germany emerging as the most popular destinations. In 2023, nearly 40% of customers purchased travel insurance for a European trip, the highest percentage Squaremouth has ever reported.


The company also reported that adventure tourism has seen a huge bump in popularity this year, with safaris, hiking, snorkeling and skiing topping the list of favorite activities.

In 2023, nearly 40% of customers purchased travel insurance for a European trip, another high for Squaremouth. According to a year end survey, 52% of travelers want to book trips where "the destination remains a mystery until they arrive."

Americans, they said, are seeking an escape from their everyday lives, with 56% "inclined to go off the beaten path", and 34% "willing to travel with strangers."

The survey also found that solo travel is booming, with 59% of those surveyed looking to venture alone.

"A whopping 68% of travelers believe they transform into the best version of themselves while roaming, but which version of themselves do they choose to showcase? With 62% relishing the anonymity that travel offers, 37% telling fictional stories about their lives, and 57% exuding 'main character energy,' the report said.

Travelers will also be looking for adventure in the foods they choose. The survey showed 78% of travelers seek out fresh flavors, with almost half planning their trips around specific restaurants or dishes. Almost 5 in 10 also reported seeking immersive "phygital" (physical plus digital) dining via VR or AR, with an additional 63% considering innovative plant-based options like 3D-printed vegan steaks and mushroom "foie gras."


While the rebound is impressive, IATA Director General Willie Walsh said Industry profits must be put into proper perspective. In both 2023 and 2024, the report said the industry's ROI was lagging.

"Of course, many airlines are doing better than that average, and many are struggling. But there is something to be learned from the fact that, on average airlines will retain just $5.45 for every passenger carried," he said in a statement. "Considering the major losses of recent years, the $25.7 billion net profit expected in 2024 is a tribute to aviation's resilience."

Despite the quick recovery, Walsh said the pandemic likely cost the aviation industry about four years of growth.

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