Up, up and away

Travel agents say if you are planning to head overseas in a year or so, now is the time to start looking at options and booking.

Planning for that big trip is part of the fun, and people are booking well ahead, knowing there is pressure on flights and destinations.

You Travel Manly director Trish Ryder says recent research shows that 35 percent of travellers are looking to travel sustainably, which has led to an increase in interest in offering holidays with sustainability in mind.

High on travellers’ wish lists are Europe, Japan, the Pacific Islands and Alaska.

Trish Ryder says destinations such as Maui and Morocco are expected to see a resurgence in demand for 2024 travel, as they open up following significant events.

She says cruise lines are offering everything from family-friendly Disney cruises to adults only Virgin Voyages, both sailing from Auckland for the first time this summer. 

Although Europe is the number one hot ticket item, Trish says kiwis are also expected to travel more widely in the USA next year, thanks to a significant increase in flights between here and the US.

Bucketlist Travel’s Michelle Downey says although Japan has always been a popular destination, it is right at the top of her clients’ bucket lists for 2024.

With Japan, timing the trip is everything as there are a lot of seasonal attractions. Some want to see the famous cherry blossoms in their full, vibrant bloom, others to ski down snow-covered slopes in winter, while everything from ancient temples to the cutting-edge technology of the cities, riding the bullet train and the tantalizing flavours of its diverse cuisine are also in demand.

Options include cruises, expert-led tours, or intrepid independent travel. Japan is also an ideal stopover for those on their way to Europe.

Michelle says Canada and Alaska are also “going off” for 2024. Travellers are booking cruises to the Alaskan inside passage on a small expedition ship or luxury cruise liner, hoping to see all the wildlife that this area has to offer, such as whales and bears. Rail journeys through the Canadian Rockies are in demand, with May – September being best time to visit that area.

House of Travel’s Dennis Payne says he has never seen Fiji and the Cook Islands busier, with travel almost impossible over the NZ winter this year. 

“We have been telling customers to book early and those that missed out this year have booked for 2024 already,” he says.

Europe was also “bursting at the seams” this year, he says, and not just the normal stomping grounds of London, Paris, Barcelona and Venice. Lesser-explored regions like Montenegro gained popularity, and Norway and Iceland have become ‘must-visit’ destinations. 

Cruising too experienced significant growth in the past year, especially on smaller ships, Dennis says. 

“Kiwis seem to have a close affinity for river cruising, with bookings for next year selling fast for the more popular routes.”

“I believe that travel is one thing you shouldn’t put off because you’ll never regret taking that trip.”