Where to travel next year? Two studies offer some fresh ideas.

Photo (c) Denis Tangnery Jr. - Getty Images

Tulsa? Louisville? Milwaukee?

Now that summer vacations are pretty much in the books, what places hold possibilities for 2024? Maybe you want to vacation in the U.S. and get a great return on your dollar and not have to worry about safety issues?

Two new studies show that travelers are thinking about mixing it next year and looking for perks and places they typically haven’t in the past.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of YMT Vacations, one survey revealed that 51% of respondents seek relaxed vacations, 43% prioritize cultural exploration, and 38% look forward to visiting historical sites.

The number of people traveling to different destinations is expected to increase in 2024. France, Mexico, and Canada were the top three candidates, each with 42%. In second place was Spain with 40%, Italy with 32%, and Greece with 21%.

The American Revolution and Ancient Egypt were the top historical scenes travelers (46%) desired to see. The Greek Golden Age (40%) and Viking Age (38%) followed closely behind. In addition to Renaissance Italy (30%), 28% would like to explore World War II-era Europe.

An interesting trend is that some travelers are so caught up in the movies and shows they’re watching, that nearly half (44%) want to go there and savor that slice of life firsthand. The streaming shows "Emily in Paris" (21%) and "The White Lotus" (16%) were the popular choices.

Movies were also influential (36%), with "Triangle of Sadness" (16%) and "Top Gun: Maverick" (13%) mentioned as notable films that travelers would like to visit the sites where the movies took place.

Safety and uniqueness – the best of both worlds

Another study conducted by Vivint – one that scoured subreddits of travelers nationwide – shows that home-sharing vacationers are prioritizing security as a top factor when booking a rental. On average, home-sharing renters would go over budget by 33% for a safer rental.

Breaking that down, the cities with the most secure short-term vacation rentals include Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, CA, and Bakersfield, CA. As for the cities with the most positive reviews about home-sharing rentals, the top three were Tulsa, Okla., Milwaukee, Wis., and Louisville Ky. – places that offer some uniqueness that many travelers haven’t sampled yet.

With 67% positive comments on Reddit, Tulsa, had the most positive home-sharing sentiments. There are plenty of short-term vacation rental options in Tulsa, which is home to first-class museums – like the new Bob Dylan Center – a zoo, and the Center of the Universe.

With nearly 60% of the comments positive, Milwaukee, located on Lake Michigan, was the second-most friendly home-sharing city according to the subreddits surveyed. Beer, baseball, bikes, Summerfest, and where the average summer day never gets past 77 degrees. What’s not to like?

Another rarely-visited gem is Louisville. Not only did it rank number three on the Vivint survey, but according to Airbnb, the Derby City was the number one trending destination in the U.S.

Like Milwaukee, it’s got baseball with the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory, but also a whole section of town devoted to bourbon. Plus, there’s the Muhammad Ali Center, the Kentucky Derby Museum, and it’s a foodie haven.

Where not to go? As for the cities at the bottom of the list, reviewers hardly had any positives to share about their stays in Portland, Oregon (26%); Raleigh, North Carolina, received only 20% positive mentions; and Wichita, Kan., bottomed out with only 15% positive comments.

“If you plan on visiting any of these three locations, you may want to skip the home share and book a hotel instead,” the researchers said.

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