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Top 2023 Travel Trends: The Ultimate Guide

As the world continues to open up post-pandemic, more people than ever are looking to travel and researching the top 2023 travel destinations to create a travel experience to remember. At Travel Design Loft, we believe that the shift toward truly unique, thoughtful, custom-made experiences will soon be the norm. Since this type of travel is our specialty, we’ve taken the time to curate a 2023 Travel Trends Guide for you to consider some of our favorite destinations for your travels in the year ahead.

Travel to Spain

Barcelona 2023 Travel Trends
Sagrada Familia has entered its final stage of construction after 133 years.

To start your trip to Spain, we suggested you begin in Barcelona to see the works of the Spanish architect, Antoni Gaudi. There are several buildings to tour throughout the city, but Sagrada Familia is one of Gaudi’s lifelong dreams and is still being constructed. Opt for a tour outside this city to Monserrat for spectacular mountain views around the Benedictine monk mountain retreat. Stand before famous art at the Prado Museum in Madrid and the Guggenheim in Bilbao. Taste tapas, paella, and other traditional Spanish cuisines. Spain is fun and flavorful – a great destination to begin your exploration of international travel.

Take a trip to Portugal and the Douro Valley

Portugal Douro River 2023 Travel Trends
The mouth of the Douro River is in Porto, Portugal.

Porto is Portugal’s second-largest city, but the Douro Valley is a beautiful destination in Northern Portugal that draws wine enthusiasts worldwide to its Porto-Douro wine regions. This area is listed as a World Heritage site and the majestic landscape features areas with “terraced steps that lead to heaven.” You can travel by boat, by train or by car. Learn more about Portugal and the Douro Valley here.

Lisbon – One of the Hottest Spots on the 2023 Travel Trends Guide

Lisbon is Portugal’s capital city and is considered one of the “coolest cities to visit” right now. It’s a hilly, coastal city with tons of history, great nightlife, and delicious food. It’s also one of the most budget-friendly capital cities in Europe. 

Lisbon 2023 Travel Trends
Enjoy the scenery in Lisbon and Portugal by traveling by train.

You don’t have to pick just one area to experience in Portugal. Several trains connect the two areas, so you can sit back and enjoy the scenery.

Mulitple Stops in Scotland

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo celebrates the skills and talents of military bands and display teams from throughout the world. This is an extremely moving festival, and visitors flock there every August to witness it. Millions more watch television broadcasts of the event! Consider this your starting point and immerse yourself in the beautiful landscapes and castles of Scotland.

Glencoe Scotland 2023 Travel Trends
Glencoe is considered one of Scotland’s top hiking and mountaineering destinations.

Take a drive to Glasgow, Scotland’s most populous city, just an hour and a half West of Edinburgh. Keep driving North and West of Glasgow where you will find Glencoe, considered to be Scotland’s most romantic area. Of course, there is “Nessie”, the mythical Loch Ness Monster, but the beauty of the area needs no accompanying storyline. “Outlander”, the television series is a virtual smorgasbord of Scottish Highlands scenery, and the majestic Isle of Skye is a must-see to round out your visit to Scotland!

Driving in Scotland may be challenging for some as the steering wheel is on the vehicle’s right-hand side. The gear shift in manual transmission cars is on the driver’s left, alongside the parking brake (note, manual transmissions are popular everywhere in Europe!). If you want to avoid driving, it’s surprisingly easy to get around Scotland without a car thanks to the rail network operated by ScotRail. Scotland is a friendly nation and the locals want to hear about your visit and how much you love it while you’re there!

Stopping in Scotland? Consider Ireland!

Consider adding Ireland to your Scotland trip because they make a great vacation combination. My youngest son just returned from Dublin where he attended the wedding of a friend, but he is already planning another trip to Ireland because he was so enchanted.

Dublin Ireland 2023 Travel Trends
Ireland is full of interesting architecutre and lush greenery.

Many consider Ireland to be expensive and that may be true in the larger cities, but traversing the countryside can be rewarding in more ways than one. Drive yourself and plan to use local Bed & Breakfast accommodations along your route! It’s budget friendly and you meet the locals with an opportunity to immerse yourself in their culture while taking in the lush, green landscape Ireland is known for!

Norway, Finland, Sweden, and the Northern Lights

Norway's Northern Lights 2023 Travel Trends
The Aurora Borealis are visible in Norway, Finland, Sweden, and other northern countries around the world.

Americans often overlook the Scandinavian Peninsula and other Nordic areas in favor of a warm beach, but these three countries have something for anyone that loves the outdoors including the “Aurora Borealis”, more commonly known as the Northern Lights. Norway is known for its fjords and mountains (“A fjord is a long, deep, narrow body of water that reaches far inland. Fjords are often set in a U-shaped valley with steep walls of rock on either side” according to National Geographic.) Popular activities here include hiking and exploring the rich landscapes. 

Speaking of Finland…

Finland 2023 Travel Trends

Finland is known as the land of “the thousand lakes” and that’s not an understatement, considering there are over 180,000 of them! Hiking is also popular here in areas covered by lush forests. Because of the country’s cold temperatures, Finns are the largest consumers of coffee (#1 in the world) and they definetly love their saunas!

Take a trip to Sweden

Sweden has endless forests. 57% of the country is covered by forests in fact! Sweden is also home to a favorite retailer in the US – IKEA! English is widely spoken in all three countries, but 90% of the Swedish population are fluent in English, so the language barrier won’t be a concern when visiting.

Sweden forest 2023 Travel Trends
57% of Sweden’s land is covered by trees.

Combine your Swedish vacation with a visit to a reindeer farm and take a sled ride across the snow-covered countryside. Dog sledding or mushing are popular in these destinations when searching for the Northern Lights. Ethical practices should always be considered when engaging in animal tourism. Be sure any company you plan to use follows proper guidelines for safe and loving treatment of animals. 

And Finally, add The Philippines to your 2023 Travel Bucket List

The Philippines, (officially, the Republic of the Philippines,) offers spectacular vacations for families, friends and even solo travelers. This is partly due to the fact that there are TWO official languages in the Philippines, Filipino AND English. Filipinos are very sociable people, who welcome visitors with friendliness and warmth. They love to eat so it’s easy to find great food that is reasonably priced!

Chocolate Hills Philippines – 2023 Travel Trends
The Chocolate Hills of Bohol in the Philippines

This destination is home to world-renowned natural wonders like an underground river, rice terraces, and even incredible diving spots rich in biodiversity. It is also packed with pristine, white sand beaches. Take time to tour the “Chocolate Hills” of Bohol where you can see the Philippine Tasiers in their natural habitat.

Island hopping is popular and relatively easy. It’s important to plan ahead because many of their interisland flights only operate on particular days of the week. If possible, stay away from the capital city of Manila to avoid huge traffic congestion. There are other airports that easily welcome international travelers.

Looking for help booking your trip based on these 2023 Travel Trends?

Our travel consultants are here to design your perfect vacation down to the very last detail. Contact us today to get started planning your trip.

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We hope this guide was helpful! For more travel planning tips and to start designing your dream vacation, get in touch with the Travel Design Loft Team. 

Lori Arzola, CEO, Travel Design Loft