Every January, I lay out my plans and predictions for traveling Europe and writing about Europe in the upcoming year, if for no other reason than so you fine people can hold me accountable. Without further ado, let’s start with my Promises & Predictions for 2023.
“Tell the folks back home, this is the promised land calling— Chuck Berry
And the poor boy is on the line“
1. Luberon Loop Hiking Guide will be available at the end of January.
It’s back from my editor and receiving the final, final touches. We’re just a couple of weeks away! I’ll first release the full package — PDF guide, GPX hiking routes and Google map — for $19 (subscribers like you will get a 50% off coupon). The PDF guide clocks in at about 80 pages, and every twist and turn is captured on the GPX files. With the full guide, you could probably do this hike blindfolded, though I don’t recommend it.
About a week later, I’ll release a free “starter guide” with just the first 20 or so pages of the PDF guide. This will be for experienced hikers who want to plot a route themselves and don’t mind spending hours finding and booking accommodation and meals. And for those on the fence, it’ll help you decide whether this hike is suitable before shelling out for the full guide.
2. I will publish TWO NEW travel memoirs in 2023.
The two new works are, well, still in the works. I won’t divulge much until The Luberon Loop is out the door, but here’s a quick preview:
- “A Swiss Reckoning” is coming in summer 2023.
This short story covers a reckless trip my brother and I took to Switzerland back in March 2003, totally and utterly broke and unprepared. Set over 24 hours, it documents our comedic and exasperating campaign to find a hotel room. And once the sun goes down high up in the Swiss Alps, any room, shed, outhouse or shithouse will do.
- “A Walk in Provence” is coming in late November 2023.
This is the inside look as I fumbled my way across the Luberon to accidentally compile THE WORLD’S GREATEST HIKING GUIDE (The Luberon Loop). This is the story behind the guide. It’s about the people, history, experiences and the wonderful folly of walking across Provence. There will be jokes. And many mangled attempts at French.
3. Updated Essential Travel Tips guidebooks will go live throughout the year.
After skipping the last update due to a communicable disease whose name we shall never again mention in this newsletter, I’m updating my Paris, Rome and Amsterdam guidebooks. The revised books will publish starting in early summer, followed by updated and revised digital companion maps in the fall.
4. My newsletter will continue growing and improving.
EuroExperto’s subscribers grew by 24% in 2022 to reach over 14,000 travelers. Woohoo! Already in 2023, the little European-travel-newsletter-that-could is adding new subscribers at a record pace. Help me maintain the momentum: Share my newsletter with any and all your travel-loving friends and family (except that one cousin you haven’t heard from in awhile… and last time you did, he was living in a shed out by the airport…you can probably skip him).
Last year, I endeavoured to send EuroExperto weekly instead of every other week. I almost/sometimes/maybe did it! Well, I came damn close, sending 43 newsletters in 2022. The increased frequency was well received, and I just know you’ll love the new addition for 2023: a Q&A section!
Starting in mid-January, I’ll include a link at the bottom of every newsletter for a question-submission form. If you have any questions (about European travel!), be they broad or specific, pertaining to food, trains, wine, hiking, museums, packing, planning or itineraries, you can drop your question into that online form. Every week, I’ll randomly select 2-3 questions and answer them. And if I can’t answer them, I’ll reach out to my fellow travel writers for help.
Now, for some predictions. Predictions! What could possibly go wrong?
“I’ve got a secret I’ve been hiding under my skin— Styx
My heart is human, my blood is boiling, my brain I.B.M.“
1. Germany and the U.K. will spend big to lure tourists.
Both Germany and Britain face economic headwinds in 2023, and tourism is the easiest way to quickly generate foreign-exchange earnings. Ok, that’s a wonkish way of saying you will see heaps of marketing about these countries and lots of interesting deals, be they cheap rail passes (the return of the €9 ticket?), crazy-good airfare deals to London, Berlin, Frankfurt and Munich and other government-subsidized incentives to lure travelers. Within Britain, Scotland will emerge as the clear winner, and with more heatwaves on tap, international tourists will finally discover Germany’s lovely Baltic coast.
A little inside baseball: The marketing money is already flowing to media outlets, travel writers and influencers. But…
2. It won’t matter. Spain, France and Italy will reign supreme.
France will supplant Spain and recover its crown as The World’s Most-Visited Country, a title it held pre-communicable-disease-whose-name-this-newsletter-no-longer-mentions. Despite the heavy spending, the U.K. and Germany will remain in fourth and fifth place, respectively, behind the Southern Europe Triumvirate of Travel.
3. Transatlantic flights will be less full in 2023 than in 2022.
Flying in 2022 was not fun, mainly because pent-up demand and low flight volume led to jam-packed flights and flustered airport staff. (My British Isles-based readers are chuckling at their geographic good fortune.) This year will be better. Demand will revert to the mean as more North American travelers look to a reopening Asia (especially Japan), and airlines staff-up with more scheduled flights across the pond.
4. Transatlantic airfare deals will return in 2023.
Per my last prediction, if flight demand flattens and routes are increased, then that could mean only one thing: the return of flight deals. Not only was flying a total drag last year, but airfare was also the most expensive it’d been in years if not a decade. We’re still seeing less competition on transatlantic flights, so don’t expect budget-carrier-heyday blowouts like $199 roundtrip from NY to London. But I do expect average airfare to drop significantly and more deals like $500 roundtrip from the East Coast US/Canada to Paris.
5. Outdoor-recreation travel continues surging in popularity.
Travelers will keep seeking more opportunities for hiking, camping and cycling on their travels. And no, before you ask, I’m not predicting this because I have a hiking guide coming out in a couple of weeks. (Well, maybe, a little.)
6. Second cities become first stops.
Lyon instead of Paris. Lucca instead of Florence. Zaragoza instead of Barcelona. Utrecht instead of Amsterdam. 2023 is the year Europe’s overlooked cities step into the spotlight. Burnt out on crowds and seeking a less mainstream experience, travelers to Europe will opt for less-popular destinations in 2023…and come away all the richer for it. (This would make a great topic for a future newsletter. Stay tuned.)
7. Western Europe gets serious about digital nomad visas.
Bureaucracies will be hurdled and skeptical politicians will succumb to the digital nomad. Repeat visitors are the proverbial low-hanging fruit for converting into nomad-visa holders, and nowhere else on Earth attracts as many repeat tourists as Europe. While Eastern Europe has been leading this initiative, Western European countries will follow Spain’s lead and unveil proper digital nomad visas in 2023. I’m looking at you, France and Italy.
Well, that’s seven predictions that are 100% guaranteed to come true. Nothing but confidence here at EuroExperto World HQ.