Travel

Top Travel Trends and Destinations for Summer 2024

Find out where to go and what to bring

Naturhotel Leitlhof is Europe's leading eco-friendly retreat, nestled in the Dolomites.

In the spring, our thoughts naturally drift to summer adventures. Looking for inspiration for your next trip? We’ve gathered the latest trends, hottest destinations, and insights from popular social media travel influencers for summer 2024.

 

Travel Trends

The biggest trend in travel this year is socially conscious tourism. Priorities include creating a minimal footprint, leaving destinations better than we found them, and respecting the locals and their way of life. 

The biggest issue in post-pandemic travel is over tourism. Cities from Amsterdam to Paris to Venice to Athens have instituted bans and restrictions in an effort to make life easier for the locals. Catalonia faces drought conditions, so visitors to Barcelona may also face water rationing this year. Here are three ways to travel in style without negatively affecting the locals.

 

Crowds of tourists in the narrow alleys of Gothic Quarter, Barcelona, Spain

Photo by Alexander Spatari/Getty

Boutique & Chic

Airbnbs are out, and smaller boutique hotels are in. Palma de Mallorca, Venice, and San Sebastian have all imposed bans of various kinds on short-term rentals. Between absentee owners, skyrocketing rents, and non-stop tourists, we avoid them whenever possible. Independent boutique hotels and old school B&Bs employ the locals and have firm roots in the community. The cleaning fee is baked into the room rate, and you will likely get free breakfast, housekeeping, and room service. 

 

Gaia Hotel and Reserve in Costa Rica was voted the World’s Leading Green Hotel for the past three years

Photo courtesy of Gaia Hotel and Reserve

 

Spread the Love

Distribute your tourist dollars evenly by considering second or third cities as alternatives. Experience all the local flavor without the crowds. Manchester instead of London, for example, or Rotterdam over Amsterdam. Southwest France instead of the South of France. Again, this boosts local economies in need, and usually provides a more intimate experience.

 

Fountain at Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester, England

Photo by Benedek/Getty

Shoulder is Bolder

Take advantage of shoulder season. With more remote work, more PTO, and more flexibility available to most workers, maybe the summer travel rat race is overrated. You don’t have to go anywhere because, as you know, summers in Seattle are divine. Save it for the pre-Thanksgiving deals when the leaves have fallen in Seattle. Or, before July, think places such as Prague, Potsdam, or Podgorica. They have spring flowers that bloom too, as well as locals that will be glad you didn’t arrive in the middle of summer.

 

Hottest Destinations

There might be more Seattleites in Iceland this summer than Icelanders. Meanwhile, there are numerous islands in Europe that deserve a longer look. Ireland for example, which is magical. Sardinia is becoming popular and makes a great alternative to crowded Italian cities. Both Crete and Cyprus offer gorgeous beaches, friendly locals and bountiful, inexpensive food and drink. 

Direct flights from Sea-Tac International Airport continue to open up locales including Belize, Helsinki, and Istanbul. Upcoming  new direct flights to Munich, Manila, and Taipei add more desirable destinations to put on your radar.

Japan is currently wildly popular with Seattleites. But it’s also a big country, so feel free to explore a little deeper. Instead of Kyoto, for example, check out Kanazawa. If everyone is going to Tokyo, take the road less traveled to Osaka.

Autumn at Kanazawa Castle

Photo courtesy of Todd Fong

 

Tsutenkaku Tower in the heart of Shinsekai, Osaka

Photo courtesy of Boutique Japan

Don’t Leave Home Without It

Nothing brings an exotic destination alive like well-written fiction or a gripping travel narrative, so we always pack a book set. And always pack a bathing suit whether you’re headed to the Gobi Desert or Antarctica. You never know when the penguins might invite you to a hot tub party.

 

Under the (Travel) Influence

These four Seattle-area content creators shared their favorite tips, ideas, and trends. Each uses Instagram to create content, and build their travel community. Their answers have been edited for clarity and flow.

 

@espressoandmartini

Photo courtesy of Neha Gurneha

Neha Gurneha posts stories to Instagram to connect with people who, like her, are crazy about travel, culture, music, food, art, and all the good stuff life has to offer.

Travel trends: More people are traveling during the shoulder season. Travelers are steering clear of peak tourist times, especially in destinations like Europe.

Hottest destinations: My husband and I are obsessed with Japan, the culture, food, music, experiences, and people. Japan’s allure lies in its ability to seamlessly blend tradition with modernity.

Never leave without: My camera.

@itstashhaynes

Photo courtesy of Tash Haynes

Tash Haynes uses IG to share high-quality photos and videos that highlight the uniqueness and beauty of destinations, while providing itineraries, tips and tricks, and ideas or points of view. 

Travel trends: I have been hearing a lot about this new trend of “cool-cations.” People are looking for places that are milder during summer to escape the heat. I have also seen an uptick in wellness travel, gastronomy-focused travel, and rural travel, to get away and unplug.” 

Hottest destinations: I just returned from Belize last month, and absolutely fell in love with the diversity of the region, the hospitality of the people, the food — oh my God, the food was incredible and the culture was so beautiful. I could have stayed in Belize forever.

Never leave without: My extended battery. I just never want anything to die.

@jessica_traveler

Photo courtesy of Jessica Carpenter

Jessica Carpenter connects with like-minded travelers, and also points to Instagram as a unifying force. “I’ve been able to form a community of followers and online friends who share my love for unique, off-the-beaten-path destinations and experiences around the world.” 

Travel trends: With how much the crowds have picked up over the last couple years, I think we’ll see more travel to up-and-coming destinations like Central and Eastern Europe, which are highly underrated.

Hottest destinations: As much as I want Albania to remain a hidden gem, it’s also at the top of my list for the hottest international destinations. It combines stunning beaches, mountain villages with hiking, and beautiful historic towns. Most of all, the people are some of the nicest you’ll meet.

Never leave without: My camera and a universal electrical adapter. 

@girlfriendgetawayguide

Photo courtesy of Girlfriend Getaway Guide

Portia Carlson Smith has been using IG for years to build Girlfriend Getaway Guide into her very own pink, distinct brand. She sees a new generation of travelers following in the proud tradition of Harry Potter and Tolkien tourism. 

Travel trends: Set-Jetting, aka cinematic adventures, is the latest in girlfriend getaway experiences. Groups are whisked away into their favorite films and shows through travel. From the romantic allure of Paris, a la Emily in Paris, to the mystical landscapes of Scotland as seen in Outlander, each destination offers a passport to the worlds we love on screen.

 

It’s a big world. We hope you get a chance to see some of it soon.

Follow Us

Lakeside Getaways: Peace and Awe

Lakeside Getaways: Peace and Awe

These Pacific Northwest destinations provoke a sense of nostalgia, tranquility, and romanticism

As temperatures rise and springtime thoughts turn to summer splashes, here is a roundup of the best “lake-ations” in the Pacific Northwest.

Sheringham culinary hotspot contest

Sheringham culinary hotspot contest

Island Hopping

Island Hopping

Leapfrog around these gorgeous Salish Sea islands

Few places boast islands as spectacular as those of the Salish Sea and Puget Sound. Our islands are majestic, mystical, stunning, and worldrenowned, offering some of the country’s best boating, fishing, hiking, and biking.

Group Getaways: Escaping With Friends

Group Getaways: Escaping With Friends

From scenic spas to movie sets, bond over unique escapes

It happens over wine or an espresso. The conversation about why you don’t see more of your close friends blooms into escape plans with your nearest and dearest. Group getaways strengthen the bond of friendship — laughter flows freely, and memories are made. The best group trips center on a theme: total relaxation, picturesque destination,