As the calendar flips to a new year, daydreams of faraway destinations and sun-kissed adventures fill our collective thoughts. As a travel money provider, we wanted to delve into the 2024 plans of UK holidaymakers, recently undertaking a comprehensive survey amongst 2,000 adults. We uncovered, not only the shifting trends in travel but also the profound impact that planning and embarking on a holiday can have on our mood and mental wellbeing. The survey was conducted in November 2023 by market research agency, 3Gem.

The findings from the research echo a sentiment shared by many - holiday planning and having a holiday to look forward to is a source of immense joy for many - a staggering 83% of UK adults believe that having a holiday to anticipate significantly improves their mental health.

The act of planning, from selecting destinations to meticulously crafting itineraries, is an enjoyable process for many, according to our latest research, with over half of those surveyed stating that the anticipation of an upcoming holiday can sometimes even be more fun than the holiday itself.

Here’s what else we found.

The UK, Spain and France are the top destinations for 2024

Despite the ongoing cost of living crisis, many of us are still trying to make sure that we get away, with 71% of us either planning or considering going on at least one holiday in 2024.

Staycations are on the agenda

When it comes to the most popular destinations, holidaymakers are looking closer to home.

From the idyllic villages of the Cotswolds to the urban landscape of Manchester, the UK offers a vast array of experiences, making it a versatile and appealing holiday destination. With 40% opting to explore the rich landscapes and cultural heritage on our doorstep – the UK is the most popular destination for 2024.

Spain is still a favourite for UK travellers

Spain was found to be the second most popular destination with 21% planning a holiday to the country. A persistent favourite, Spain offers diverse landscapes and vibrant culture. Barcelona stands out as a must visit, with architectural wonders like the iconic Sagrada Familia and the historic Gothic Quarter.

Barcelona’s La Rambla comes alive at sunset too, offering bustling markets and authentic tapas bars. For a holiday by the beach, Spain’s Costa del Sol, is bathed in sunlight, boasts pristine shorelines and charming and lively seaside towns like Marbella.

Hopping across the Channel in 2024

Synonymous with romance and sophistication, France was found to be the third most popular destination, behind Spain and the UK. With its fusion of history, art, and gastronomy, France promises a memorable holiday experience. From its famous capital and city of love Paris to the French Riviera with its Mediterranean charm – it’s no wonder so many of us are looking to visit in 2024.

The top holiday destinations for 2024

1. UK 40%
2. Spain 21%
3. France 13%
4. USA 10%
5. Italy 9%
6. Greece 9%
7. Portugal 6%
8. Germany 4%
9. Turkey 4%
10. Canada 4%

Beach holidays, city breaks, and hotel stays are in

When it comes to the types of holiday we’re looking to go on in 2024, beach holidays and city breaks were found to be the most popular choice, with 40% planning on going to the beach, and 39% looking to do a city break.  All-inclusive breaks, trips to the countryside and adventure holidays also featured prominently in UK residents’ 2024 holiday plans.

When it came to accommodation preferences, a hotel was by far the most popular option (61% of respondents), compared to just 13% opting for an Airbnb or homestay.

The joy of holiday planning

As holiday anticipation grows, so does the quest for inspiration. Friends, family, and travel agents remain the most popular sources for most people, but social media platforms are also becoming more popular with Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok being the most frequently used platforms for holiday inspiration.

Why you should always take cash abroad

As the excitement of planning a holiday builds, the more practical aspects, such as arranging travel money becomes more crucial. Our research finds that 70% of UK holidaymakers always exchange foreign currency before travelling abroad for their holiday, with 79% agreeing that having cash whilst on holiday makes things more accessible.

In fact, the research found that a third (33%) of UK adults have been unable to make a purchase whilst on holiday before due to not having cash, and 28% have been unable to take a taxi.

Benefits of travel money:

Authentic experiences
Having local currency ensures that travellers don't miss out on authentic experiences, such as dining in local markets or exploring quaint shops. It also ensures that you are able to tip waiting staff or room attendants. Different cultures have different tipping norms, so be sure to learn how different countries tip around the world ahead of travelling.


Avoiding transaction fees
Almost a third of UK adults said that they specifically use cash abroad to avoid transaction or conversion charges. With many banks charging a fee for international transactions.


Prepared for an emergency
Carrying cash provides a financial safety net, especially in situations where cards may not be accepted or during unforeseen emergencies. But be sure to double check how much cash you’re allowed to take abroad before travelling.

Convenience and accessibility
Cash provides a hassle-free way to navigate local markets, take taxis, and indulge in spontaneous activities that may not accept card payments. In fact, 62% of respondents stated that they use cash abroad as it allows them to make purchases that they would otherwise not be able to on card.


Budget management
Over half of those surveyed say that using cash abroad helps them with budgeting, with using cash being an effective way to manage expenses and keep track of what’s been spent.

If this has inspired you to book your next holiday, then be sure to pick up some local currency, without commission fees. For great rates and 0% commission, pop to a Bureau de Change in our John Lewis & Partners shops around the UK, or order online for click & collect or currency home delivery.

Exchange rates in our shops may vary from those offered online. Click here for our bureau rates.

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John Lewis Finance is a trading name of John Lewis plc, registered in England with company number 233462, registered office: 171 Victoria Street, London SW1E 5NN. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 724309).

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