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The report revealed that a surge in travel is expected to 'culture capitals' of the world, including Dubai Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: This is the year that people are choosing all new experiences, a report by Expedia, and Vrbo revealed. The report calls 2023 the year of 'no-normal' when it comes to travel experiences.

The survey revealed that a surge in travel is expected to 'culture capitals' of the world and Dubai is featured in the top ten places in this category. The report also talks about hacks to save money when planning your big trips for the year.

UAE Public Holidays

For regional insights, Skyscanner released their 2023 report with a focus on travellers in the UAE and the rest of the Middle East. Solo trips, the travel website said, are in demand with 2 in 3 (69 per cent) of travellers from the UAE considering going on holiday on their own in 2023.

So, where to go in 2023

Expedia's data showed that in 2023, travellers were looking for the 'path less trodden'. Many destinations were also being chosen based on TV shows, the report stated. And people are still looking for travel advice from family and friends in 2023. When planning a break, Skyscanner stated that 93 per cent of their respondents were influenced by social media with Instagram on top for UAE travellers, followed by Facebook.

The trending topic for travel according to Expedia is 'culture capital' and Dubai is on the list.

  • Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Lisbon, Portugal
  • Tokyo, Japan
  • Dublin, Ireland
  • New York, USA
  • Sydney, Australia
  • Dubai, UAE
  • Montreal, Canada
  • Munich, Germany
  • Bangkok, Thailand

Jon Gieselman, president of Expedia Brands was quoted in the report as saying, “We’re seeing a surge in trips to culture capitals, a new wave of interest in wellness retreats, and a spike in demand for outdoor destinations beyond just beaches and mountains — not a new normal, but people branching out to unexpected trends in what we’re calling the ‘no-normal.’"

The study was conducted among 24,000 respondents across 17 countries, in addition to data from the three travel companies.

Edinburgh, Scotland is the top 'culture capital' on Expedia's list; Skyscanner listed Vienna, Austria and Phuket Island, Thailand as the top picks for families and couples respectively.

Skyscanner, on the other hand, said Vienna, Austria and Phuket, Thailand were trending for families and couples' trips, respectively, in 2023. The website added that travelling while working is going to be huge this year, while countries with digital nomad visas were trending - such as Croatia, Greece, Mexico, Spain and Taiwan.

If you are looking for budget-friendly trips from the UAE, Skyscanner is listing Santorini, Vienna and Sarajevo as destinations that have seen the biggest price drops this year in comparison to 2019.

Both reports state that 'wellness' trips are in demand this year with travellers choosing to treat themselves while travelling. Beach holidays, luxurious itineraries and wellness retreats are high on the list of these travellers.

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Affordability and flexibility

Travellers in 2023 are looking for spontaneous fun at affordable rates - by booking one to three-star hotels choosing free breakfast or luxurious toiletries as bonuses.  Globally 35 per cent of travellers plan to stay in one- to three-star hotels in 2023, the report said.

Vrbo's data in the report showed that people were looking for kitchen amenities in their vacation rental. Using kitchen amenities to cut down on travel expenses is a big trend for 2023 and having an equipped kitchen is a big demand for group travellers.

Solo travel
Solo trips, Skyscanner said, are in demand with 2 in 3 (69 per cent) from the UAE considering going on holiday on their own in 2023.

Best days to book and travel

For international trips, Expedia's data shows that planning ahead by at least six months can get you good deals. However, if you haven't planned that far ahead, make sure you book your flight on a Sunday, the report said.

While Sunday is the best day to make the booking, Expedia said the best day to actually depart or travel is Wednesday. Tuesday mornings can also give you cheaper fares, according to, since airlines release their fares on that day. Mid-week travel, most of these reports concur, offer the cheaptest flights but don't wait until mid-week to make that booking.

Having flexible dates for your travel plans can be the best way to find the cheapest rates, according to these reports.