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  • Writer's pictureAlessia Balducci

Adventures on Budget: That’s the 2023 Travel Trend

Low-cost and adventure tourism proved to be the most popular forms of traveling in 2023, research shows. The Groninger talked to tour operators and an experienced traveler to learn more about this trend.

Hiking trail in Guatemala © Julianne Veltman

This year more than the previous one, tourists have a stricter budget. That’s a direct result of the economic recession – which is the decline in economic activity – as economists had predicted.

“People are definitely looking for low-cost experiences,” explained Esther, a travel operator at Aran Travel in Madrid, “mostly because airlines and hotels raised their prices a lot, especially when it comes to visiting big cities.”

Esther also noticed that people stopped looking for short getaways for a few days. According to her, they now tend to prefer longer trips to less common and cheaper destinations, Egypt and Turkey among others.

Hot air balloons in Cappadocia, Turkey © Timur Garifov via

Mike Tomo, who runs a travel agency in Groningen, also confirmed this trend.

“Over the last months people have been very interested in Asia as a destination,” he said, “which is now also cheaper than South America as there’s a larger ticket offer, which drives down the prices even more.”

Indonesia, for instance, is one of the most popular low-cost and adventure destinations. It had a 69% increase in foreign tourism this year, with a peak in August.

“I was in Indonesia this August and I spent eight days at a diving resort on a very little island near Borneo,” said Julianne Veltman, 24. “I always wanted to see a shark in real life, which is why I went there. Every day a guide was taking me and the others on a tour to explore the ocean.”

Houses on the island, Indonesia © Julianne Veltman

“One of my last days there we got up very early in the morning when it was still dark. After an hour and a half on a tiny little boat, we finally got to the middle of the ocean. The sun was rising and the water was the only thing we could see around us.”

Once they stopped, a 12-meter-long shark came close to their boat. “I remember at a certain point I made eye contact with it: it was such a surreal experience,” added Julianne.

Shark in the Indian Ocean © Julianne Veltman

So far this year, road trips and outdoor adventures have been more popular than city and resort vacations. Also, most people preferred to visit destinations not yet discovered by the majority of tourists, for a more authentic experience.

Julianne also had a road trip to Guatemala, in Central America, about a year ago. Talking to her friends, she noticed that road trips are becoming more and more popular among people her age, partially because they help save money.

Excursion in Guatemala © Julianne Veltman

According to what she saw, these low-cost countries (mostly the ones in Southeast Asia and Central America) are also adjusting to the demand, improving their roadways, and offering a lot of activities for these adventurous travelers.

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