Last year international tourism reached about 90% of pre-pandemic levels, and this year looks set to be even bigger. Research shows that the trend for travel is sharply focused in the direction of Southeast Asia, and according to Tripadvisor, the world’s largest travel guidance platform, interest in major cities in Asia is rising rapidly.

Out of the top Trending Destinations – places that have seen the greatest year-over-year growth in interest – there are eight Asian destinations in the top 10 and, of the Top Destinations, three out of 10. But if you don’t fancy flying halfway across the world, or even across the pond, some of the best holiday destinations can be founda little closer to home too – from gorgeous Greek islands to Middle Eastern metropolises.

So, if you’re thinking about your next trip and looking for inspiration, we’ve got you covered. Based on the best-reviewed places and the most up-and-coming hotspots, here are 10 of the most popular holidays in 2024.

1. Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Named the Top Destination in the World for the third year running, Dubai’s vast appeal can’t be minimised. This unique city is like no other place in the world, and over the past four decades, it’s grown from an unassuming Gulf trading hub to one of the world’s most famously glamorous, lavish, and futuristic destinations. This is a city that dared to dream, and its dreams are record-breaking.

But while this slick city is known for its soaring skyscrapers, five-star hotels, and extravagant shopping malls, there’s plenty of culture and history here. The ancient centre is a mish-mash of bustling souks and old Arabian houses, the nearby desert is ideal for sand-based adventures, and the cosmopolitan residents prove there can be both stability and tolerance in one of the world’s most troubled regions.

2. Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

Dubai might be the best-reviewed holiday destination, but Tokyo is 2024’s top trending destination. As one of the last countries to ease up on border closures after the pandemic, tourists are now flocking in, and there are many reasons why people are drawn to the Japanese capital. Tokyo is pretty much a model metropolis. It’s safe, has excellent transport links, compelling culture, and exhilarating nightlife.

This is a city where the past is honoured and the future embraced, and there’s a unique juxtaposition of peace and chaos. In the morning, catch the lively fish auction at Toyosu Market, visit tranquil temples and stroll beneath cherry blossoms. In the afternoon, feast on sushi, noodles, and wagashi (Japanese sweets) in busy street markets, and then finish the night in a frenetically fun karaoke bar.

3. Seoul, South Korea

Seoul, South Korea

The Korean capital is one of the most exciting cities in the world, so it’s no wonder that it’s the second top trending destination for 2024. It might be the business and cultural hub of South Korea, but Seoul has plenty of soul, and if you’re looking to find a sense of peace, or escape the sleek high rises that soar above you, the city’s many pagodas, gardens, and tiny tea houses are just the ticket.

This exhilarating, modern city is steeped in timeless traditions and ancient history, and you can learn about Seoul’s fascinating past at both Changdeokgung and Gyeongbokgung Palace. If you’re a Korean beauty and fashion fan, the city’s fabulous malls, vintage shops, and unique boutiques will excite you – while foodies will love tasting their way around the mouthwatering Gwangjang Market.

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4. Sapa, Vietnam

Sapa, Vietnam

Vietnam is best known for its spectacular cities, whether that’s historic Hanoi, riverside Hoi An, or exhilarating Ho Chi Minh City – but its rural regions are no less dazzling. Located in the mountainous north, Sapa is popular with visitors seeking peace, solitude, and rural bliss, so it’s no wonder it’s one of the best holiday destinations in 2024. If you’re looking for outdoor adventures, there’s so much to do.

Known for its stunning scenery of lush rice terraces, mist-wrapped mountains and rushing rivers, Sapa is an excellent trekking destination, but to up the ante, why not go mountain biking, zip-lining, or even climb Fansipan Mountain, the highest peak in Vietnam? Sapa itself is a charming, colourful market town where you can feast on fabulous food and learn all about the local way of life.

5. Crete, Greece

Crete, Greece

While it’s true that most of the best holiday destinations for 2024 are a long flight away, there are exceptions. If you’re looking for a short-haul holiday, you’ll be glad to know Crete made the cut – and this should come as no surprise. Whether you want a lazy beach break under blazing blue skies or a cultural excursion to sun-bleached temples (or both), the largest Greek island has something for everyone.

Crete boasts 650 miles of coastline, so if you’re looking forward to relaxing on the sand or swimming in sapphire seas, you won’t be disappointed. But Crete is also packed with history, so be sure to head to Knossos Palace and the Heraklion Archaeological Museum to delve into the past. Inland, you’ll find rugged gorges and mountains, while in the untouched west, there are traditional villages to explore.

6. Cancun, Mexico

Cancun, Mexico

Cancun might be known for being a party paradise, but there’s far more to this beautiful destination than nonstop nightlife – which is why it’s also in the top 10. If you’re looking for sun, sea, and sand, you’re in the right place, as this is the premiere coastal destination in Mexico, and its golden beaches, idyllic climate, numerous resorts, and turquoise waters make it a wise choice for a beach break.

But if you’re also looking for culture and history, you’re in luck. Cancun is the gateway to the Tulum and Chichén Itzá ruins, where you can learn all about Mexico’s sacred Mayan heritage. If you’re not a fan of Cancun’s city glitz, scratch beneath the surface and you’ll see another side to this destination – from hidden, laidback beach bars to cheap-yet-delicious taco stands frequented by locals.

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7. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

As the cultural hub of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur is synonymous with energy, excitement, and diversity. Luckily for tourists, it’s also smaller than many other capital cities, which makes getting around and exploring much easier. As one of Asia’s fastest-growing cities, Kuala Lumpur – or KL as it’s known – may be modern and innovative, but it’s also an intriguing blend of cultures, styles, and histories.

Foodies will be in their element, as KL is widely regarded as one of the world’s gastronomic hotspots, and the food is a tantalising mix of Malay, Chinese, and Indian cuisines – so feasting on laksa noodles, satay skewers, and fragrant curries is a must! The Central Market is the place to pick up souvenirs and haggle for handicrafts, while the old colonial buildings give you a glimpse of KL’s compelling past.

8. Brooklyn, New York City, USA

Brooklyn, New York City, USA

First-time visitors to New York City tend to spend almost all their time in Manhattan – but that means missing out on everything the city’s biggest – and coolest – borough has to offer. It was Brooklyn, not Manhattan, that’s one of 2024’s most popular holiday destinations, and there are numerous reasons why this beautiful, unique, and trendy borough deserves as much time as its busier neighbour across the river.

Gentrification may have caused Brooklyn to lose some of the edge it had, but each neighbourhood offers something different – and the dynamic dining scene easily rivals that of Manhattan (hotel rooms are usually bigger and cheaper too!). From Prospect Park to Brooklyn Bridge Park, the green spaces here are a joy. Plus, there are more bars, indie shops, and galleries than you can ever hope to visit.

9. Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Phnom Penh is a rather anomaly when it comes to Southeast Asian capitals. While it’s energetic, vibrant, and colourful, it isn’t full of looming skyscrapers and high-rise developments and, as a result, feels unusually relaxed and accessible. Wandering through the compact Cambodian capital will have you instantly charmed, and the bustling streets are lined with a whole array of must-try food stalls.

While most visitors feel that learning about the city’s dark past during the Khmer Rouge regime is a requisite, Phnom Penh’s history can’t detract from its bright future, and its optimistic energy can be felt all through the city. The riverfront is lined with restaurants and bars, the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda are wonderful, and the food scene is one of the most exciting and delicious in all of Asia.

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10. Bogotá, Colombia

Bogotá, Colombia

Bogotá is the sixth most popular holiday destination for 2024, and this culturally diverse, cosmopolitan capital is Colombia’s beating heart. Surrounded by soaring Andean peaks, this engaging, trendy city doesn’t always elicit love at first sight – but it has a way of subtly getting under your skin and, by the time you leave, you’ll be aching to stay. No wonder it’s finally getting the recognition it deserves.

The culinary scene here is exceptional, and the city is packed with eclectic, authentic eateries. The local wine is also fabulous, and there are frequent food festivals. Historic La Candelaria is home to the city’s main attractions, including Plaza Bolívar and the Gold Museum, while laidback Teusaquillo is known for its cultural and artistic hotspots, architectural heritage, and pretty green spaces.

Final thoughts…

Last year saw a resurgence of people flying out to all corners of the globe, and things haven’t slowed down this year.

If you’re looking for holidays in 2024, hopefully, the 10 destinations featured in this article will get you excited. The most popular and up-and-coming destinations show that the travel industry is evolving, and rather than flocking to the tried-and-tested European beach resorts, many travellers are looking for something different.

Southeast Asian cities are having a moment, but if you don’t fancy exploring a sprawling metropolis on your next holiday, there are still plenty of other options. Hit the beach in Mexico, uncover ancient myths and legends in Crete, or discover the stunning rural beauty of Northern Vietnam.

For more travel inspiration, head over to the travel section of our website. Here, you can find a variety of articles, such as 14 of the most underrated countries to visit in 2024 and 8 of the cheapest countries to visit in 2024.

Have you been to any of these popular holiday destinations? Or do you have any other ideas for which destinations will come into their own over the next couple of years? We’d love to hear your thoughts, so leave us a message in the comments below.