Travelers Ready to Get Moving Again in 2023

World Nomads and Adventure.Travel survey finds robust interest in far-flung destinations and active adventure pursuits.


Man hiking in mountains Photo © Getty Images / Marco Bottigelli

Key findings of survey

  • Vast majority of Americans (94 percent) plan to travel in 2023
  • 67 percent say value for money is most important in determining where to go, followed by availability of locally owned accommodations/restaurants (50 percent) and ability to walk or bike (44 percent)
  • 70 percent say exploring a new destination drives their wanderlust; 46 percent want to experience nature or wildlife; and relaxing/reconnecting and cultural immersion tie (31 percent each)
  • Adventure sports and activities are the main travel driver for 20 percent of those surveyed
  • Hiking tops the list of 72 percent of those surveyed, followed by snorkeling (29 percent), kayaking (25 percent) and cycling (22 percent).

Media Release: New York, NY – World Nomads, a fast-growing travel insurance provider, offering simple and flexible travel insurance and safety advice to help consumers travel more confidently, has joined forces with Adventure.Travel, a division of the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), the largest global network of adventure travel leaders, to survey 500 U.S. travelers on their intent to travel in the coming year.

Whether it’s 'travel revenge,' the desire to reconnect, or just pent-up wanderlust from having to put off trips for the past two years, 2023 appears to be the year that travel will come roaring back, with 94 percent of those surveyed saying they have plans to travel. In fact, 93 percent indicate they are planning on taking two or more trips this coming year.

Americans going further afield in 2023

While Americans continue to travel closer to home, with 65 percent planning travel in the coming year within the U.S., an easing of Covid restrictions and more countries opening to Americans has resulted in travelers’ increased desire to explore 'far flung' destinations for the first time in several years. Top international regions include Europe (52 percent), Asia (19 percent), South America (19 percent) and Mexico (15 percent). When asked where specifically they are planning to go in 2023, London, Paris, Rome, Amsterdam and Mexico City top the list.

“We are seeing a trend in more urban, international destinations in the coming year,” said Christina Tunnah, general manager of marketing and brands, World Nomads. “Maybe that’s due to a renewed comfort level in visiting dense population centers.

“But there are also indicators in the data that point to travelers wanting to seek out cities that are both bikeable and walkable, and cities that are in close proximity to green spaces, where within just an hour you can enjoy nature and wildlife and participate in outdoor recreation such as cycling and hiking,” said Tunnah. “What is also quite interesting is that our 2022 versus 2023 travel insurance sales data is showing a dramatic increase in Americans planning travel to truly long-haul and off the beaten path destinations such as Australia and Antarctica.”

Price still a priority; getting 'out' is 'in'

When asked what the most important factor is in selecting a destination to visit, 67 percent say value for money, followed by availability of locally owned accommodations/restaurants (50 percent) and the ability to walk or bike (44 percent).

Seventy percent say exploring a new destination is driving their wanderlust; 46 percent want to experience nature and wildlife, while relaxing and reconnecting and cultural immersion tied at 31 percent.

Active and adventure vacations are also seeing a resurgence. Adventure sports and activities are the main travel driver for 20 percent of those surveyed. Hiking tops the list of adventure activities planned for 2023 according to 72 percent of those surveyed, followed by snorkelling (29 percent), kayaking (25 percent) and cycling (22 percent).

“These findings align with what we at Adventure.Travel and the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) have seen recently from the supply side of the industry,” said Jason Reckers, head of ATTA Labs and Adventure.Travel. “Travel companies reporting into our 2022 Adventure Travel Industry Snapshot indicated an increase in travelers of 142 percent over the previous year. The most popular motivations for traveling were new experiences, to go off the beaten track, and to travel like a local. Seventy-three percent are seeing an improvement in domestic travel demand, and 62 percent are seeing an increase in international travel demand.”

“When we look deeper into our data, World Nomads also sees that travelers who discovered new hobbies and interests during the pandemic are now using travel as an outlet to further engage in these activities,” added Tunnah. “Hiking and other outdoor activities became popular over the pandemic, as those activities are accessible and can be done close to home. Now given the opportunity, travelers can take these skills to a bigger arena. Same with culinary exploration. Everyone became a baker or cook over the pandemic, now they can go visit the foodie capitals and learn from the best.

Seasonality is dead

When asked specifically when they would travel, respondents were split evenly in their responses of winter, spring, summer or fall. Perhaps because more Americans are working virtually, and many people have more flexible work schedules, the trend of everyone traveling during peak summer and holiday periods seems to be on its way out.

Covid, inflation and environmental concerns still loom

With inflation and a looming recession dominating the headlines, it is not surprising that the rising cost of travel and inflationary pressures remain on the minds of 64 percent of travelers and will influence their decisions. Thirty percent said that the threat of a Covid resurgence will influence their plans, and 34 percent point to global/economic instability as key factor that will influence their 2023 travel arrangements. The state of the planet is also on the minds of travelers, with more than half (54 percent) saying environmental concerns will impact their travel decisions in the coming year.

More Americans opting to protect their travel

With uncertainty still at play in the world, it is not surprising that 76 percent of those surveyed say they are likely to purchase travel insurance. The most important travel insurance benefits for those surveyed are emergency medical assistance and trip cancellation protection.

“It’s reassuring to see that the pent-up demand for travel that began in 2022 is truly starting to accelerate as we look towards 2023,” said Tunnah. “However, it’s not without consumer health, safety and economic concerns. Travelers want to get back out there. They want to go farther afield and try new things including active and adventure pursuits, but they also see the need to protect their vacation investment with travel insurance. Yes, they also want to seek out more sustainable ways to travel, but no doubt the value for money proposition will weigh heavily on decisions. Tour operators, airlines and hotels all need to consider how to offer sustainable options without passing along significant additional costs to the consumer.”

Editor’s Note: photos are available to download here: Photo credit: World Nomads.

Media contact:

Mandy Morrissey


Phone: +1.510.775.0780

About World Nomads

World Nomads is a fast-growing, global travel insurance company. We provide inspirational stories, safety tips and specialized travel insurance for adventurous and independent travelers. Our online travel insurance offers cover to travelers from more than 100 countries and allows you to buy and claim online, 24/7, even while already traveling.

Our travel insurance focuses on what we believe is important to travelers: emergency medical and evacuation costs, baggage, trip cancellation, trip delay and trip interruption costs. We also offer cover for more than 150 adventure sports and activities, plus tech and gear. Our policies are underwritten by a suite of specialist travel insurers that provide 24/7 emergency assistance, customer service and claims support, making us a top choice for many of the world's leading adventure, independent and youth travel brands.

World Nomads is a part of the nib Group which provides health and medical insurance to more than 1.5 million Australian and New Zealand residents. We also provide health insurance to more than 170,000 international students and workers in Australia and are Australia’s third-largest travel insurer and global distributor of travel insurance through our business nib Travel.

Adventure.Travel spotlights the stories of high value adventure companies inspiring people to travel sustainably. Through compelling video, images, well-crafted stories, research, and curated news centered on themes of community, culture, and climate, Adventure.Travel inspires the curious to experience the world. Adventure.Travel is a division of the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), the recognized voice of adventure travel businesses and destinations committed to long-term, sustainable growth of adventure travel.