2023 Travel Trends: U.S. Travelers Aim to Experience Destinations as Locals and Crave More Authenticity

  • While on vacation, 90% of travelers say that experiencing a destination as locals do is a priority
  • Almost half (45%) are concerned their travel experiences are not authentic, and Millennials particularly worry about experiencing the real deal, as 67% expressed concern about not having an authentic experience, compared to 46% of Gen Z, 40% of Gen X and only 24% of Boomers
  • Nearly all travelers surveyed (95%) prefer to spend some time on their trip on new and unique experiences, ideally averaging 3 hours a day
  • While nearly all (93%) surveyed are willing to cut back on some aspects to save money on a trip, less than a third are willing to cut back on experiences or activities (29%)


When it comes to traveling in 2023, Americans want to be more than mere tourists and this desire is driving their travel plans to seek authentic and unforgettable experiences, according to a study commissioned by GetYourGuide, leading travel booking platform for unforgettable experiences. As more than half of leisure travelers (51%) say experiencing a destination as a local is a high priority, almost half (45%) are also concerned they are not having an authentic experience.


The local allure

As U.S. travelers weigh what matters most to their 2023 itineraries, experiencing new destinations authentically came into the spotlight. While on vacation, at least 3 out of 5 (62%) feel a trip is wasted if they don’t experience the local culture.

In addition, almost all (97%) expressed that certain aspects of the local culture are more important to them than others whenever traveling domestically or internationally. Not surprisingly, food tops the list of local priorities (70%), followed by seeing the sites (67%), learning about the history (58%), experiencing the local arts scene (48%) and interacting with the locals themselves (38%).

Memories are worth every penny

Travelers are increasingly inclined to seek out once-in-a-lifetime experiences and create memories. When traveling for leisure:

  • 95% prefer to spend at least part of their trip on new and unique experiences
  • Almost half (48%) say it’s primarily to have new and unique experiences

To make an international trip memorable, travelers are primarily looking to uncover something new:

  • 64% want to discover something they didn’t know about before
  • 60% want to visit a popular destination
  • 56% want to explore a location they’ve never heard of

And while nearly all (93%) are willing to cut back on some aspects to save money — such as gifts or souvenirs (65%), eating out (41%), transportation (36%) or accommodations (33%) — the majority (71%) are not willing to cut back on their activities and experiences.


Local guides bring incredible value

Nearly all (98%) travelers say they recognize the benefits of having a local guide. Some of the benefits they might be missing without a guide include:

  • Being able to see things they wouldn’t otherwise find out about (70%)
  • Avoiding dangerous areas (60%)
  • Less risk of getting lost (59%)

The most common causes for concern when exploring on their own include:

  • Overpaying (51%)
  • Not being able to do all the things they planned (49%)

With GetYourGuide, travelers in the U.S. can maximize each trip with a wide selection of experiences vetted by its local experts across the globe. With thousands of offerings to choose from, GetYourGuide is the ultimate resource to discover unforgettable experiences that build lifelong memories. For more information, please visit www.getyourguide.com.


About the Survey

GetYourGuide sought to uncover the key motivators and considerations for travel in 2023 and commissioned an online survey by Wakefield Research, conducted between Oct. 21–25, 2022. The survey was issued to 1,000 U.S. leisure travelers, defined as those traveling for leisure both domestically and internationally a minimum of once per year that requires an overnight stay.


About GetYourGuide

GetYourGuide is the booking platform for unforgettable travel experiences. Travelers use GetYourGuide to discover the best things to do in a destination — including walking tours by top local experts, local culinary tours, cooking and craft classes, skip-the-line tickets to the world’s most iconic attractions, bucket-list experiences and niche offerings you won’t find anywhere else. Since its founding in 2009, travelers from over 170 countries have booked more than 58 million tours, activities and attraction tickets through GetYourGuide. Powered by a global team of over 550 travel experts and technologists, the company is headquartered in Berlin, Germany and has offices in 15 countries around the world.

Press Contact


“Today’s leisure travelers are seeking one-of-a-kind experiences that highlight destinations through an authentic lens.

In a world where U.S. travelers have flocked back to traveling in huge numbers and are eager to book unforgettable experiences around the globe, we’re committed to helping them transform ordinary plans into trips they will remember for years to come.”

Kayla Medina
Caroline Berger
Head of Brand, U.S. at GetYourGuide
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