We are continually updating this article, as the travel landscapes shifts, to alert you to your smartest moves in 2024.
Are you worried about traveling in the Middle East? Read these reports from WOW List travelers:
Just back from Jordan and Oman
Just back from Egypt
Just back from Turkey
Just back from Morocco
11/8/23 Save on business-class airfares to Europe for 2024
10/29/23 How to ensure rain doesn’t ruin a winter trip
10/25/23 Exciting 2023-24 New Year’s holiday travel ideas
10/15/23 Time your African safari smartly to get the best value
10/22/23 How to travel safely now
10/11/23 If you had Israel travel plans, here’s our advice
9/27/23 Europe in 2024: Where and when you’ll find highest prices, worst crowds
9/17/23 What travel in China is like now
9/10/23 Morocco earthquake update: Only place to avoid is the Atlas Mountains
8/20/23 Europe’s high season is now May-Oct. Shoulder season is Nov-March.
OUTLOOK FOR 2024
The high post-pandemic travel demand for Europe that we saw in 2023 taught travelers that if they want a certain caliber of accommodations and experiences there, they must book farther in advance than before. The result: More of Europe has already been booked for next spring and summer than was ever the case in past years. This unprecedented demand, exacerbated by inflation, will assure that prices remain steep there. If you’re bound and determined to see Europe’s most popular countries—especially Italy, France, and Greece—you’ll find the best value in under-the-radar locations. Experienced local trip-planning experts know which hotels and other service providers most successfully handled 2023’s flood of travelers and are therefore the best bets in 2024. If instead you’re seeking true value for your dollar in 2024, think South America or Asia instead. Read on to learn why.
SOUTH AMERICA: Get it all close to home. South America continues to be an underappreciated destination—even though it has both staggeringly beautiful landscapes and a cultural fabric that weaves indigenous civilizations with colonial influences. Many destinations there are no farther from home than Europe is, and there’s little to no jet lag (a big plus if you’ve got school-aged kids and you’re traveling during a short school break such as Thanksgiving week or spring break). Brook is headed to Peru in January; stay tuned for her on-the-ground insights. Read WOW South America trip reviews.
ASIA: Japan is back. After finally reopening its borders in late 2022, Japan was our travelers’ favorite spot in Asia in 2023. If you’re keen to go in 2024, keep in mind that 5-star hotel rates are particularly high for popular periods such as the spring cherry-blossom season. Compare that with China, where luxury brands often charge less than half what they do in Europe. Opportunities also abound in Sri Lanka, which still struggles to attract visitors even though the political situation has stabilized since 2022’s unrest. Read WOW Asia trip reviews.
PACIFIC: Consider Australia and New Zealand only if you can travel at off-peak times. These countries are our travelers’ top two destinations for 2024. If you’re still thinking about traveling there next year, look to the “shoulder seasons,” when the weather is still good but the crowds aren’t there and prices are a bit lower. The good news is that the U.S. dollar is very strong compared to its Australian and New Zealand counterparts, so prices are lower than they were pre-Covid. Read reviews from travelers just back from Australia and New Zealand.
EUROPE: Choose your timing wisely. Mediterranean countries will be as popular in 2024 as they were in 2023, particularly in summer. If you can only travel then, learn how our travelers beat the heat in 2023 (hint: stay close to the water) and where you can go to avoid the crowds. If your schedule is flexible, get ideas for successful winter trips here.
Opt for nonstop flights. Every connection creates an opportunity for something to go wrong: a missed flight, lost luggage, an inconvenient delay. The good news is that there are more and more flights from U.S. cities to interesting international locales. If a stop is essential, choose one of the smartest airports for making connections in. When you are making a domestic connection to an international flight, consider overnighting at the connection point. (For instance, if you’re flying to Africa via JFK, missing your connection could seriously disrupt your safari plans, so consider spending the night in New York.)
The larger your group, the earlier you need to plan. Since Covid we’ve seen travelers bring more family and friends along—often because they are celebrating a milestone like a graduation, or making memories as a clan of grandparents, their adult kids, and the grandkids. When you only need one hotel room, it’s usually possible to develop the ideal itinerary to suit your interests and trip goals, and then book suitable hotels. But when you need two or more rooms, you may have to patch together hotel availability wherever you can get it and let that dictate your schedule. With a multigenerational trip or other large group, booking early will maximize your options.
Buy travel insurance and evacuation assistance. It can protect your financial investment, cover any medical expenses, and give you peace of mind. If you’re sick or injured, the right travel insurance policy will cover your care at the nearest appropriate facility; you need a second layer of protection if you want to be treated at home.
Links to Useful Resources
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