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Six reasons to book a boating holiday in 2024

As a conde nast traveller article lists the 20 main travel trends for the year we’re delighted to see boating holidays match six of them. Of course everyone at Nicols knows about the benefits of a self-drive boating holiday and we bang on about them here on our website, in our brochure and across our newsletters – but sometimes it is nice to read others talk about what’s going on in the world of holidays and travel and how that links in with what we do and love.

Conde Nast Traveller’s article ‘The Biggest Travel Trends For 2024’ talks about how for 2024 travellers will be putting what’s important to them front and centre of their plans, valuing deeper experiences that leave a positive impact, time spent with loved ones and wellness moments that last until well after they’ve returned back home.

It also talks about how the focus will be on choosing destinations carefully, slowing it down to enjoy the silence and the stars, indulging in our love of food in new and interesting places, and immersing ourselves in wellness practices that help us live longer.



What Are The Travel Trends For 2024?

For easy reading, the Conde Nast Traveller article provides a simple list of 20 travel trends that they expect, explaining how and why each trend will be important in 2024.Of course no holiday is ever going to match up with every single travel trend but what caught our eye while we were reading the article was that impressively a boating holiday can certainly be linked to six of the 20 trends that are listed.

While we would encourage you to read the full original list at some point, here in our own article we are going to focus on the six trends that they list which we believe fit perfectly with a holiday hiring a canal boat and exploring some of Europe’s finest and most famous rivers and canals.



1. Coolcating

The first thing needed here is an explanation as to what coolcationing is. More often than not a holiday is all about finding a destination that’s hot and sunny, but with record breaking temperatures of recent years and the problems associated with them many people are now considering booking holidays in more temperate locations – known as coolcations!

If you’re looking for a ‘cool’ holiday then a boating holiday is a great option. The boating season runs from March through to October meaning there are plenty of opportunities to get away outside of the warmer months of June, July and August. It’s also always cooler on the water than it is inland and a quarter of the Nicols fleet has onboard air-conditioning available.

Nicols has bases right across France and other European destinations, many of which are cooler than other holiday hotspots. Our recommendations for a coolcation would be boating holiday regions such as Alsace, Burgundy, Franche-Comté and Brittany in northern France, Ireland or the Netherlands.



2. Peak Season Gets The Cold Shoulder

People taking their holidays in the shoulder season isn’t a brand new trend – but for 2024 the prediction is that the numbers of travellers doing so is going to rise rapidly.

A combination of social, economic and environmental factors are behind the predicted rise. The cost of living crisis means that more than ever there is a heightened focus on value and let’s be honest, accommodation (including canal boat hire) is cheaper in the shoulder season months than prices in peak season.

This trend also links in nicely with coolcationing which we’ve mentioned above. In addition to cheaper prices another reason customers will choose to holiday in the shoulder season is to avoid both the summer temperatures and the summer crowds.

Off-season sailing



3. Private Group Travel

The pandemic might seem a long time ago now but the resulting desire to gather family and/or friends together to share a holiday experience with is stronger than ever.

Groups will come in varying forms. It could be multiple generations of the same family or it could be a friendship group made up of couples…but the common thing they are all looking for is spending quality time together, exploring new places and making memories.

A boating holiday is a great idea for a group holiday and will certainly provide endless memories for whoever makes up your crew. Everyone can get involved in the planning – deciding where you’re going to stop off and what you’re going to visit. A boat as your accommodation is also ideal with Nicols boats boasting home-from-home comforts and facilities such as en suite bathrooms.

Group boating without a licence



4. Skip-gen travel

If you’ve not heard the phrase before then skip-gen travel describes when grandparents holiday with grandchildren, in other words, "skipping" a generation. There is a rising trend of grandparents taking their grandchildren away. It could be down to the cost of living crisis where parents are keen to make the most of the time and childcare support from their typically more comfortably retired parents, or it could be that grandparents these days are still active enough to embrace a family holiday…but whatever the reasons a boating holiday is the perfect choice for a skip-gen holiday.

There’s a role for everyone on board from steering and map reading to helping with manoeuvres through locks and mooring up. Kids can get involved by helping as part of the crew while the adults on board can take turns at being Captain and First Mate!

The Nicols fleet is one of the safest on the market – particularly when it comes to accommodating crews with children and/or people with reduced mobility.

Intergenerational family trip


5. Silent travel

Silent travel represents a more mindful kind of holiday, one that doesn’t leave you needing a holiday to recover from your holiday and instead offers the chance to restore and reset.

Boating holidays are perfect for this type of experience as they are the complete opposite to the hustle and bustle of everyday life. You’ll spend your time travelling through peaceful picturesque countryside and explore off the beaten track places of interest. Even travelling by canal boat along the rivers and canals is a slow pace!

Enjoy silent navigation



6. Plan-free travel

A rising trend is saying no to the endless holiday planning and instead travelling with no plans at all…some people even going as far as booking a surprise trip. We sit somewhere in the middle here…as to get the most from your boating holiday there will be an element of planning required. But, with your canal boat providing your holiday accommodation as well as a mode of travel you have complete control over exactly when and where you and your crew want to go during your holiday.

The same applies to things such as meal times, where for other types of holiday you might be restricted to dining at certain times of the day and in specific places. With a boating holiday you have complete freedom. You might choose to moor up at the river bank, fire up the barbecue and enjoy a lunch on the top deck of your canal boat one day, but the next day decide to head into a waterside village and let someone else cook for you at one of the local restaurants.

Travelling without planning


Which of the holiday types could float your boat in 2024?

It’s clear to see that there are some really strong arguments for adding a boating holiday to your 2024 holiday wish list.

The flexibility to travel where you want when you want with a crew made up of those nearest and dearest to you, in some of the most beautiful and peaceful areas of Europe make this type of holiday experience appealing to all ages.

You don’t even need to worry if you’ve never set foot on a boat before either. No previous boating experience or a licence is needed – the boats are easy to steer and the helpful Nicols base staff will show you around your boat on arrival before heading out with you onto the waterways for a demonstration of how to drive and the rules of navigation. Within 45 minutes you’ll be ready to captain your very own canal boat!

All that’s needed now is for you to decide who is going to make up your crew and which of our wonderful boating holiday destinations you are going to explore, then find your perfect Nicols boat.

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