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Where to go in 2024: the best destinations, hidden gems, and top travel trends

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Where should you travel in 2024? We take a look at the most popular destinations, trending cities and a couple of lesser-visited places, as well as examine future travel trends and touch on where you might want to avoid next year

It’s been a busy year here at Kiwi.com, so we’ve taken a look at our booking data and compiled a list of some of our most popular destinations to give you some ideas about your next trip. City breaks, beach holidays, luxury trips and more are all catered for, and they’re all available for great prices on Kiwi.com. Where will you go in 2024?

The most popular destinations for 2024

Rome, Italy

 

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The Italian capital tops our list as somewhere that is wonderful for first-time visitors and rewarding for those who return time and again. It suffers slightly from having a number of obvious tourist traps, particularly in summer, but also maintains its capacity to surprise — there’s always an unexpected view or a delightful coffee shop to discover whenever you head even slightly off the beaten track.

Discover the foodie delights of the Trastevere or Testaccio areas, the bizarre area known as Little London, or escape the city on a day trip to one of the surrounding Roman settlements that are easily accessed by local public transport. Dig further into the best Rome has to offer right here.

Tenerife, Spain

Woman sitting on wall looking at sunset in Tenerife — Getty ImagesAlways a popular choice, Tenerife is one of our best recommendations for 2024 — Getty Images

A year-round destination, the largest of the Canary Islands is home to almost half of its residents and accepts around five million tourists a year. People come for the sunshine and the beaches, some of which are surrounded by hotels, some of which are well-hidden and virtually deserted, and some of which — like the popular Playa Jardin or the wild Playa de Las Gaviotas — boast curious black sand.

It’s also a popular place to party: the huge Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife attracts visitors from all over the world, and both Santa Cruz and Las Palmas (on the neighboring island of Gran Canaria) are cities with great nightlife and a sense of fun. To walk off all that partying, there are also stunning hiking trails through the forests and up Mount Teide, the volcano that rises from the center of the island.

Skopje, North Macedonia

Old Town bazaar in Skopje — Getty ImagesSkopje Old Town — Getty Images

Skopje has existed in many guises, from its Roman roots to becoming a major urban center for the Byzantine Empire, Bulgarian Empire, Ottoman Empire, Yugoslavia, and finally as a European capital in its own right. You can see this in its architecture which includes churches, mosques, a fortress, 1920s grandeur, 1970s brutalism and some of the wildest and least tasteful statuary (over 280 sculptures in all) that you’ll ever see.

It also still retains a touch of the wildness that other cities in the region have lost (not that that’s a bad thing). It feels less sanitized, a touch uncontrollable, and all the more rewarding for it. And it doesn’t suffer from the crowds of the Croatian coast, or of cities like Prague and Kraków; as a tourist, you’re still a slight curiosity. Make the most of it while you can.

Dubai, UAE

 

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As both a hub and a destination, Dubai is becoming more and more popular every year and 2024 will be no different. Even as a stopover destination, Dubai has its merits. For instance, the airport is close to the city, easily accessible by a Metro line that can drop you right at the base of the famous Burj Khalifa tower. But if you’re settled on it as a destination, you can have a number of holidays in one.

You can shop ‘til you drop in the malls and eat and drink on the waterfront. Swim, sunbathe, snorkel or kite-surf on the clear blue waves, or explore the older parts of town. You might want to get out of the city and into the desert for a night under the stars, drive a 4×4 through the dunes, or simply be pampered and relax in one of the many spa resorts.

Istanbul, Turkey

View over Istanbul's Hagia Sophia — ShutterstockIstanbul’s grand Hagia Sophia — Shutterstock

Consistently one of our most-booked destinations, the Jewel of the Bosphorus is one of the great cities of the world. Straddling Europe and Asia, it’s a whirlwind of languages, religions, cultures, food, drink and much, much more. With sights like the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque among its many glories and a much-storied history, it’s a city that you’ll come back to over and over.

Even if you’re not really a culture vulture, you can take a boat trip (especially at night to see the city lit up in the distance), negotiate the markets, wander around the parks and gardens, or even take in a football game (Turkey’s Big Three clubs are all based in Istanbul). For more inspiration, check out this city guide.

Destinations to avoid in 2024

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While we’d never want to discourage people from traveling, we also want to encourage responsibility and common sense. There are many cities like Athens that are suffering due to overtourism; the city has recently introduced timed-entry visitor zones, capping visitor numbers to popular sites at a still-massive 20,000 people. Meanwhile, Venice has introduced a fee for day-trippers to try and curb its overtourism problem. For 29 days in spring and summer 2024, it’ll cost €5.00 to visit the city. The fee only applies to day-trippers arriving between the peak hours of 8.30 am and 4 pm, but it’s been coming for a long time and may be extended.

Trash on beach in Koh Samui — Getty ImagesOvertourism has led to pollution of some beach destinations in Thailand and Vietnam — Getty Images

Koh Samui in Thailand has always been a tourist hotspot, but visitor numbers have meant a lack of fresh water for local people. Over 70% of the water is used up by tourists, pushing prices up and meaning the introduction of water rationing in some cases. Another Asian destination, Ha Long Bay in Vietnam has been suffering from plastic and oil pollution in its waters for years now, with almost 5,500 tons of plastic ending up in the sea annually. A film of oil and scum has built up in its once-clear waters, destroying half of the coral reefs in the region.

Also, while not a reason to avoid traveling, 2024 sees the introduction of the European Travel Information and Authorization System— ETIAS — which will apply to visitors to Europe from more than 60 countries including, the US. Learn more about it here.

So when you’re traveling in 2024, please be mindful of your impact on the environment and the people that live in the areas you visit. Travel is changing, and here are some of the things you can expect to see in the coming year.

Travel trends to look out for in 2024

Earlier in 2023, we had a good look at the way Gen-Z travelers are affecting the travel industry worldwide — how and why those in this age bracket are seeing the places they choose. You can read the full piece here, but the main takeaways were as follows:

Getting involved with local culture

People engaging in Japanese tea ceremony experience — Getty ImagesThe opportunity to immerse oneself in cultural activities is fast becoming a major factor in people’s travel choices — Getty Images

Instead of just going somewhere just to let off steam, people are becoming more sympathetic towards local culture, language and habits. We’ve seen campaigns such as the one by the Amsterdam tourist board that actively encouraged people to stay away if their only reason to visit was to party hard. And generally, it seems that these days, a genuine interest in a destination and way of life is a big factor in what makes people book to travel somewhere.

Personalization

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That idea ties in with the fact that, after many years of wanting to recreate experiences seen on social media, an increasing number of travelers are veering away from that. Simply copying someone else’s Insta experience is now taking a back seat to actually discovering a place for yourself. That goes hand-in-hand with Kiwi.com’s advanced travel search filters, too, so you can tailor every aspect of your trip to precisely how you’d like it.

Attitudes and sustainability

Same-sex couple taking selfie in Berlin — Getty ImagesIt’s more important to people than ever before that they’ll be met with tolerant attitudes at their destination — Getty Images

Another encouraging sign was people choosing a destination with regard to LGBTQ+ rights and sustainable travel. Destinations seen as LGBTQ+-friendly rank higher for desirability, and trying to travel responsibly — using public transport, electric scooters and the like while you’re there — is also increasingly seen as important. As you might know, Kiwi.com not only sells flights but ground transport as well, so if you’d rather ride the rails than fly to your next destination, we’ve got you covered.

Do you want more travel articles? Visit Kiwi.com Stories.

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