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Travel trends for the year ahead: where, when and how Irish holidaymakers are booking trips in 2024

Conor Pope: As a new year begins and bookings for the months ahead take off, a shift in travel patterns is emerging

Where are people going and when? How will they get there? And how much will they have to pay? These are just some of the questions those in the travel industry are seeking to answer as a new year begins and bookings for the months ahead take off.

One travel trend for 2024 appears to be early booking. In times past, January was the bumper sales window for airlines, tour operators and travel agents, and while they will do a significant percentage of their sales this month – up to a third of bookings – many travel companies started advertising discounted tickets and deals in the pre-Christmas period.

According to online travel agency Click&Go, one-in-five Irish holidaymakers had booked their 2024 summer holidays before the end of 2023. Of those that had not booked, more than three-quarters said they would commit before the end of March, with 11 per cent saying they would be booking closer to their departure date.

“I always encourage people to book their holidays as far in advance as possible, because that is how you get deals and variety,” says Paul Hackett, the chief executive of Click&Go. “If you want to save, book now; prices are only going to get higher.”



Prices will generally be higher in 2024 compared with 2023 due to a multitude of factors. The cost-of-living crisis is not unique to Ireland and has been mirrored all over Europe – and indeed other parts of the world. That has seen the cost of hotels and eating out overseas climb significantly when compared with pre-pandemic prices – although a coffee and a pastry in the Algarve will still be dramatically cheaper than at home, and the price of a menu del día in Gijón on Spain’s northern Costa Verde will always make you weep tears of joy.

When it comes to the cost of plane tickets, prices will soar as we head towards the summer, in large part because of the basic law of supply and demand, notes travel writer and new owner of trade publication TravelExtra, Eoghan Corry.


He also warns that “issues with airline delivery from either Boeing or Airbus might not directly impact carriers into Ireland, but once you have capacity issues across the Continent, it effects everything else”.

This year will see a significant shake up when it comes to travel across the Atlantic, with US low-cost carrier JetBlue entering the market for the first time.

It will fly daily from Dublin to New York and Boston from March, operating out of Terminal 2 at Dublin Airport, with access to the US customs and border protection facility so passengers will not have to go through immigration checks when they land in the US.

JetBlue is likely to be in direct competition with Aer Lingus and a number of other American carriers, including United and Delta.

“That’s a nice little bit of competition,” Corry says, with consumers travelling to some key US destinations set to benefit.

Aer Lingus has not been coasting in that space mind you, and will be spreading its transatlantic wings this year with a new direct service from Dublin to Denver, Colorado, and the re-launch of its Minneapolis-St Paul route.

The first flights to Minneapolis will take off from Dublin in April, initially on a four-times weekly schedule before becoming daily later this year. The Dublin to Denver routes will also operate four times a week from May.

When it comes to short-haul, there are fewer headline grabbing stories, Corry says. He points to new options for people flying from Dublin to Dalaman, in Turkey, with increased services to Greece, Italy and other popular destinations such as Malaga and Faro.

Away from Dublin there are new routes out of Belfast to places including Tunisia, Cyprus and Malta. “They could prove attractive, particularly to anyone living north of Dublin,” Corry says.

There also appears to be a shift in travel patterns emerging. While high season will remain with July and August still attracting a huge volume of bookings – mainly from families needing to travel during school holidays – the Click&Go survey suggests the most popular travel periods for those planning to book in the first quarter of the year have moved from July and August to May and June. This might reflect a desire among holidaymakers to avoid the sweltering heat that saw some popular destinations literally burning up in 2023. The survey of more than 1,200 people found that 23 per cent will travel from January to March, while 40 per cent will take their holidays from April to June. Thirty per cent will travel from July to September, and 11 per cent will hang on until October.


Some people are also likely to make choices based on what they experienced or read about last year, with the climate crisis driving a change in travel bookings as more holidaymakers are seeking out cooler destinations, according to the chief executive of eDreams Odigeo, Dana Dunne.

He says the majority of travellers still book classic summer destinations in the Mediterranean, but some customers are turning to typically overlooked destinations. “We see a shift, with those [cooler] places seeing very material increases during the hottest part of the year,” Dunne says.

Corry echoes that view, and notes that places including the Algarve where “the weather was perfect last summer while the rest of Europe was burning” will stand to benefit, as will the north of Spain.

However, he says that people will still chase the sun with bookings to Rhodes, which made headlines for all the wrong reasons last summer as a result of forest fires, holding up for 2024. Similarly, high temperatures have had “no impact whatsoever on sales to Tenerife”.

The Paris Olympics has inevitably made the French capital a hot – figuratively at least – destination for the summer ahead with data from Airbnb suggesting that searches for accommodation there from the end of July to the middle of August have jumped seven-fold when compared with the same three-week period last year. Although, we suspect anyone looking for affordable accommodation in that city for those weeks may have already missed the boat.

Looking across Europe, the Airbnb research suggests that Irish people are researching familiar hotspots such as Greece and Spain. “However, the allure of Europe extends beyond these borders, with countries like Sweden, Poland, France, and Italy witnessing a surge in popularity,” the research notes.

The Airbnb data also looks at emerging trends closer to home, and it suggests that for those planning a staycation this year, island destinations such as Galway’s Inisheer and coastal towns including Miltown and Killorglin are front and centre.

It will not come as a surprise to learn that Dublin is also proving popular, particularly in June and August when Taylor Swift and Coldplay come to town – it will be a cruel summer for anyone looking for a bargain in the capital on those weekends.