Arrange your journeys for the coming year!
According to Stephanie Oprea, platinum senior planner and director of marketing for Dunwoody-based Pixie Travel, the number of people taking trips and vacations has skyrocketed over the last year and reached levels even higher than pre-pandemic 2019. The return of wanderlust, as well as the widespread dropping of vaccine requirements, has contributed to the trend. Whatever the reason, people are getting back out there. If you’re ready to do the same, then it’s time to put a plan in place for 2024. Here, Oprea shares her tips and advice for setting your travel agenda for the coming year.
How far in advance should I make my travel plans?
I recommend booking early. People who did manage to travel in 2021 and 2022 were able to make last-minute plans. However, because demand for travel is so high again, it will take some early planning to get a good deal. You’ll especially want to plan ahead for popular weeks like spring or fall breaks.
What’s the best time to travel?
We have traditionally seen summer as the key time to travel, but the perception of summer is changing as many people believe destinations are going to be crowded and expensive. In metro Atlanta, many schools have several breaks built in throughout the year. Winter break is becoming a popular time for ski trips. For some, spring break lands in late March, which is the tail end of ski season but still gives people plenty of time to fly to Utah or Colorado to enjoy the snow. Options like Disney World, Caribbean destinations and cruises are great for fall break, which usually lands in early to mid-October and offers a great time for small crowds and low prices. Anyone not confined to a school calendar will have more flexibility; they just need to choose what works best for them.
How should I manage my travel budget?
I recommend working with a travel agent who can help you set realistic expectations. Prices are higher today due to inflation. Based on the funds you have available, you may have to pick and choose what you can do. You can also maximize things like credit card points or frequent flyer miles. The Disney Rewards Visa is another great option; Disney Reward Dollars can be used dollar-for-dollar to pay for things like cruises, tickets and food. When you plan far enough ahead, you can use something like that to your advantage.
What are some of the travel logistics I need to keep in mind this year?
If you’re planning to travel overseas, now is the time to either apply for or renew your passport. The processing time is around seven to 10 weeks if you don’t expedite it. Some destinations, including a few cruise lines, require your passport to be valid for six months after your sailing date— so be sure to check the expiration date. As far as airfare, try to book at least six months prior to your travel for international flights and three to four months ahead of domestic flights to get the best deals. Also, make sure you are well-versed on the cancellation or modification policy on your vacation.
What is your top travel tip for 2024?
The pandemic taught us that things can change instantly. So take the trip now while you can. We don’t really know what the future’s going to hold, so enjoy those times with your family, friends or significant other.
15 Minutes With columnist at Simply Buckhead. Freelance feature writer, children’s book author and President of Green Meadows Communications, LLC.