Here are 10 must-visit locales.
As a record-breaking year for travel volume comes to a close, all eyes are on 2024. Where are travelers set to go in the new year? Those itching for a getaway in need of a dose of destination inspiration are in luck.
American Express released its annual list of trending destinations, featuring 10 must-visit locales based on Amex card member bookings and curated recommendations from the company’s 7,000 travel consultants. This year, travelers are thinking bigger and bolder, embracing more off-the-beaten-path spots and ever-more-immersive experiences.
“People have become incredibly purposeful about the trips they take. Travelers are building vacations around their passions, knowing what they want to get out of a trip,” Audrey Hendley, president of American Express Travel, told Travel + Leisure. “These passions are drawing people to new itineraries and bringing them to new destinations, beyond the traditional hot spots.”
The trending locations, driven by Gen Z and Millennials, highlight a desire to go beyond conventional vacation cities. An early 2023 Amex-commissioned report found that 89 percent of respondents want to travel to destinations they’ve never visited before; 68 percent of respondents say they pride themselves on finding places to go to before they become popular.
Therefore, it’s no surprise that Amex’s list spotlights alternatives to popular destinations around the world. “We are still seeing demand for the tried and true destinations like Rome and Las Vegas, but these off-the-beaten-path places also have so much to offer, and younger travelers are gravitating towards new experiences,” Hendley notes.
For instance, Hendley and her team say that instead of flocking to Mexico’s Riviera Maya for its scenery and vibrant culture, head over to the equally picturesque (and perhaps more food-oriented) inland experience of San Miguel de Allende. On the other side of the world, the expansive biodiversity of the Seychelles is offered as an alternative to the iconic beaches of The Maldives. (Luxury properties in either of the locales, such as Rosewood San Miguel de Allende and Four Seasons Resort Seychelles at Desroches Island, are part of Amex’s Fine Hotels + Resorts program, providing perks like room upgrades, complimentary breakfast, and late checkout.)
The full list of 2024 trending destinations are:
Adelaide Hills, Australia as an alternative to Blue Hills National Park, Australia.
Bodrum, Turkey as an alternative to Istanbul, Turkey.
Cervo, Italy as an alternative to Amalfi, Italy.
St. Kitts & Nevis as an alternative to the Virgin Islands.
Niseko, Japan as an alternative to Sapporo, Japan.
San Miguel De Allende, Mexico as an alternative to Riviera Maya, Mexico.
Santa Fe, New Mexico as an alternative to Sedona, Arizona.
The Seychelles as an alternative to The Maldives.
Udaipur, India as an alternative to Agra, India.
Zermatt, Switzerland as an alternative to St. Moritz, Switzerland.
As for where Hendley wants to go herself? “I would love to go to Udaipur, India [and] dedicate a couple of weeks to properly explore and get a feel for the local culture,” she says.
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