Backroads, the leader in active travel, announced its 2023 top adventure travel trends based on guest bookings to date. From people reserving trips further in advance than in prior years to increased demand for active adventure vacations for all ages and fitness abilities, Backroads is tracking interesting shifts in how and where people want to travel next year. Whether they are seeking an island escape, a US national park, the Kentucky Bourbon Trail or a seaside village in Northern Europe, Americans are on the go again and the following exciting trends are emerging.

Backroads’ 2023 Top Trends (based on early booking data)

FOMO Is Motivating Earlier Bookings Than Ever Before – In 2022, travelers were inclined to make last-minute bookings, driven by the fear of change (i.e., COVID-19 regulations, canceled flights, etc.). Backroads is currently seeing a big increase in bookings more than 9 months out for 2023 departures as travelers book milestone celebrations and private group travel, and those with FOMO (fear of missing out) organize and secure vacation plans for next year – especially to bucket-list destinations. 

Northern Europe Is Trending Hot – For decades, the countries of Western Europe were all-the-rage destinations. Spain, Italy and France remain extremely popular, but countries making many 2023 bucket lists now include Norway, Denmark, Ireland, Scotland and other nations in the northern part of the continent. 

Wine- and Spirits-Focused Adventures Are Having a Moment – The wine regions of California and Europe continue to be enduring favorites, but spirits tours are also of great interest among a growing segment of travelers. Trips spotlighting spirits like scotch and whiskey, along with a region’s history, culture and culinary delights, are enticing adventure travelers to enjoy beautiful biking along with walking and hiking in Cuba, Kentucky, Ireland and Scotland.

Wild Places and Outdoor Spaces: US National Parks Continue to Sell Out –Americans have rediscovered US national parks, where they can spot wildlife and explore some of the country’s most extraordinary landscapes with friends and family. The desire to experience America’s treasured outdoor spaces actively continues in 2023 with Glacier, Yellowstone & Tetons, Maine’s Acadia, Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula and Bryce, Zion & Grand Canyon topping the list.

Islands and Tropical Adventures Are the Ultimate Escape – Americans’ unrelenting digital lives can take a toll, and islands have always been regarded as a refuge from the modern world. In 2023, the allure of active adventures featuring beaches, wildlife and warm weather is evident, especially to places like Bali, Hawaii, Greece, Sardinia & Corsica, Sicily, Spain and the San Juan Islands

Active River and Ocean Cruises Navigate Their Escalating Popularity – Traveling aboard a small luxury ship, actively exploring multiple destinations and only unpacking once gets a big thumbs up from guests booking Backroads Active River or Ocean Cruises for next year. Trips along the Danube, Seine and Portugal’s Douro Rivers, as well as Venice to Croatia, Iceland by Sea, Chile’s Patagonia & Fjords and Tahiti are proving to be the biggest draws.

Luxury Active Travel Happening at a More Relaxed Pace – When it comes to active travel, “active” is in the eye of the beholder. People are looking for just the right amount of activity coupled with the right amount of leisure time. This is the idea behind Backroads’ Dolce Tempo Trips, which strike that optimal balance between “doing” and “being,” so that they appeal to an even wider range of travelers. The most popular of these adventure tours are in Netherlands & Belgium, Puglia, Ireland, Tuscany and Spain.

E-bikes Are Here to Stay – Today e-bikes (electric-assist bikes) are in high demand and offered free to Backroads guests on most Biking and Multi-Adventure Tours and all Dolce Tempo vacations with biking activities. While many travelers prefer regular “acoustic” bikes, traveling companions of different fitness and biking abilities are increasingly discovering that e-bikes not only help level the playing field, they also provide a boost when needed to help conquer hills. Not to mention, they’re just plain fun!

“Health and fitness have always been a big part of my life and factor into the design of every Backroads trip,” said Backroads Founder and President, Tom Hale. “Whether it’s hiking, biking, taking it slow on a Dolce Tempo trip or traveling with family, the desire to be active on vacation is definitely not a new trend, just a growing one. Backroads has been helping people actively discover the world for 43 years, and we look forward to doing so for many more.”

For more information on all of Backroads 2023 trips visit backroads.com. To take over an existing scheduled trip to make it a private group go here.

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