A new year brings a renewed interest in passions and hobbies, including travel. In fact, according to Skyscanner, 81% of travelers who took trips in 2023 plan to do even more in 2024.
According to the report, 76% of travelers will spend at least as much, if not more, on travel than they did in 2023. About 20% of the respondents want to upgrade their flights to business or first class, and 29% want better food on flights.
With the demand for hitting the roads and skies as strong as ever, it’s imperative to be mindful of common pitfalls travelers experience. Travel experts cite three main mistakes families make when planning their next vacation: booking at the last minute, overspending on travel, and overwhelming their itinerary.
To avoid these mistakes and have a more enjoyable experience overall, here are some simple tips to remember when planning a 2024 vacation.
One of the first mistakes someone can make when planning a vacation in 2024 is to wait too long to book reservations. Flights, hotels, and ancillary purchases like theme park tickets and other attractions are less likely to go on sale at the last minute than in previous years, warns Kimberly Fidler, VP of Marketing for Get Away Today. She urges travelers to “Book early! We’re seeing fewer last-minute deals because people are planning so far ahead.”
Theme park journalist Megan duBois echoes this advice, noting that the early bird gets the worm regarding travel deals in 2024. She says, “Book your vacations as early as possible to get the best deals and be able to travel when you want versus when the destination has availability. One big mistake to avoid is assuming there will be room for your family just a few weeks before you want to travel. Theme parks, major destinations, and cruises are booking up earlier than ever, so plan your 2024 trips now.”
Booking early also allows for more flexibility with flight and hotel availability, which can add up to significant savings. Scott McConkey, founder of Miles With McConkey, recommends that families “Think outside the box when planning your travel days. We found that by traveling from Tuesday to Tuesday or Wednesday to Wednesday, we have saved hundreds of dollars.”
It’s tempting to max out a budget so the family can have the best experience possible, but sound budgeting is more likely to bring out the best in a vacation in 2024.
A memorable family trip is not hiding behind a hefty paywall. One of the simplest mistakes families make is overspending on travel because they feel they must have a great trip. Monica Fish, founder of Planner at Heart, knows this from first-hand experience. She says, “I’ve learned from my kids over the years that it doesn’t have to be an elaborate, far-flung trip for it to be a great one. A stay at a family-friendly resort with a great pool, epic putt-putt battles, ice cream nights, and rounds of UNO can be a magical family vacation.”
That said, budgeting is always a crucial component of travel. Not being mindful of the ever-rising price of airfare, hotels, and ancillary activities is another big mistake. Sarah Gilliland, travel editor and writer at On The Road With Sarah, notes, “Prices are reflecting the state of the world after the pandemic. We cannot expect prices to stay the same or go back to what they once were. It’s going to take a conscious effort to budget properly for vacations now. I think more families need to consider travel insurance to protect their vacation investment.”
Do Not Overwhelm the Itinerary
The opportunity to make mistakes continues once a family is on vacation. It’s understandable to want to get as much out of a trip as possible, but overloading the itinerary will only lead to meltdowns, warns Mikkel Woodruff, co-founder and editor of Sometimes Sailing.
Having too many things to do is especially prevalent in theme parks and major destinations like Walt Disney World, where riding every ride, seeing every fireworks show, and meeting every character is tempting. In those instances, Woodruff advises families not to overbook themselves, adding, “Remember to book a hotel you’ll enjoy just as much as the parks because when the parks get crowded, and you need a break, you’ll look forward to going back to the resort hotel you booked as part of your vacation, not simply a place to sleep.”
Rest and relaxation are crucial components of any vacation, but this is essential at Disney theme parks. Woodruff continues, “You’ll be grateful for the time to truly rest there and relax because while a Disneyland or Walt Disney World vacation is memorable and incredible, we all know how exhausting they can be.” With a week-long vacation, no one wants to burn out after the first few days. Taking short breaks throughout the day and ensuring everyone gets enough sleep will help avoid one of the biggest mistakes of any vacation, especially a Disney vacation.
This article was produced by Media Decision and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.