This summer’s hottest (no pun intended!) travel trend

After the record-breaking scorcher that was summer 2023, travel experts are predicting an upward trend in people seeking to vacation in cooler, more moderate climates. “Coolcationing” has become summer 2024’s new buzzword, signifying the trend for vacationers to opt for more bespoke, curated experiences that veer away from the typical sunny — and sizzling — tourist destinations.

Senior couple dancing in water near shore
Photo: iStockphoto.com/Halfpoint

Effects of the Climate Crisis

Last summer, the world experienced its hottest stretch of months since modern record-keeping began in 1880, leading to climate-related disasters like devastating wildfires and prolonged and deadly heat waves. 

It’s becoming clear that global warming is going to continue to impact travel patterns worldwide. People don’t want to gamble their hard-earned money on vacations that could be canceled due to weather events or rising temps. 

Travel Prices Are Up

Martin Messner, a top Travel Leaders agent based in Schoharie, New York, notes that prices are way up right now. “Travel is more expensive, it’s harder to plan, and the deals aren’t as frequent as they used to be,” he says. Citing the post-COVID travel boom as part of the problem, Messner says that many of his clients are opting for cruises in particular, despite the increased cost. “We’re seeing a lot less deals for cruises in general, but you can still find them if you’re really flexible about when you’re going,” he says. “Off-season is always a little bit cheaper.” Off-season is often “a little bit cheaper” merely because tourists aren’t guaranteed warm, sunny skies for the entirety of their travels. 

Where People Are Going

Opting for destinations that are a bit off the beaten path has several advantages — in addition to moderate temperatures. There are typically fewer crowds to battle, and many of these places offer unique, exciting opportunities that you just can’t get on a crowded beach. For example, the northern lights have become a popular attraction, and elsewhere adventure enthusiasts can try their hand at things like dog-sledding or hiking snow-capped mountains.

British travel company Iglu Cruise says it saw demand for Arctic destinations increase 235% in 2023 compared to 2022, along with an increase in the number of people requesting tours in Canada, the British Isles, the Norwegian fjords and Alaska. The International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators reports that a record 105,331 people visited Antarctica in 2023, continuing a rapid rise. 

Northern European countries like Amsterdam and Iceland offer countless things to do and see, not to mention downright chilly summer temps from 40 to 65 degrees. And don’t sleep on Southern Hemisphere destinations, either. Coastal Uruguay has become a global foodie destination and offers mild 60-degree days in the middle of July. Easter Island in Chile, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has similar temperatures and is home to 1,000 iconic statues carved by the indigenous Rapa Nui people.

Top image: iStockphoto.com/Solstock.


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