5 Travel Tips for 2024

As 2024 approaches we all start to plan our 2024 vacations! What better way to start the year than having an incredible adventure to look forward to? As you begin to consider your 2024 plans – here are our top tips and good travel practices for the coming year:

1. A Minimalist Approach to Packing

There’s nothing worse than arriving at your destination and discovering your luggage is nowhere to be found! Left with the few items in your purse, you’re suddenly spending the first few days of your trip buying new clothes and trying to track down your lost luggage. In 2023 there was a lot of lost luggage as airlines struggled. For 2024 we recommend embracing the ‘carry-on only’ style of travel. Minimize your wardrobe, do a spot of laundry, and follow our carry-on-only packing guide to have peace of mind and start your vacation the moment you land!

a golden vally of vineyards and trees with a winding river off to the side in Portugal
[Vineyards and the River Duoro in Porturgal – Photo Credit: Eduardo Lages via Unsplash]

2. Slow & Sustainable Travel

Embrace the joys of slow travel this year. Instead of trying to see it all – consider an immersive experience in one or two destinations. Places like Portugal, Kyoto Japan, and Southern Italy are all known for their slower pace of life. They’re perfect starting points to help you slow down and get to know a place more intimately.

Slowing down goes hand in hand with traveling more sustainably. By slowing down and spending more of your money in one community – you support the locals and emit fewer emissions. Pair this with a reusable travel mug, water bottle, and slower train travel and you’re on your way to being a sustainable traveler!

3. Book Early & Check Your Passports Immediately

Kayak has found that eight months is the true sweet spot to start planning your vacation. Last year was a big year for travel and this year promises to be the same. So starting early and booking early can ensure you get the exact vacation you hope for! Imagine all the hotels, tours, and experiences are available for your exact dates. 

Along with booking early, checking your passport expiration dates as early as possible is a must this year. Renewing your passport can take up to 4 months! Don’t leave it down to the wire when you’re stressed about whether or not you’ll be able to take the fabulous trip you have planned! Many countries require your passport to be valid for at least three to six months from your travel dates. You can check passport requirements here.

[Photo Credit: Spencer Davis via Unsplash]

4. Don’t Underestimate the Value of Travel Insurance

In a world of Covid and lost luggage, unexpected emergencies, and last-minute changes – travel insurance has never been more important. Travel insurance can help cover you in so many situations. If your luggage is lost – it can cover the cost of new clothes. If you or a travel partner suddenly tests positive for COVID-19 – it can cover those non-refundable expenses and changes. If your flight or train is delayed because of a strike and you miss a few days of your vacation – it can cover your unused hotel rooms and date changes.

Ann next to an Elephant at the sanctuary in Thailand

If you’re going to spend money on a trip – it’s worth spending a little extra to ensure you don’t lose it all when the unexpected happens.

[Photo Credit: Ann via Shared Adventures — read about her trip to Thailand here!

5. Stay Informed With the Best Apps

We are firmly in the age of apps. So why not use them to help you stay up-to-date and informed during your trip? Ensure you know how to use your phone abroad and then use it to its fullest! Use a reliable weather app to check each morning so you know what to wear. Always download your airline’s app to keep track of your flights and be able to check in with ease. Download the U.S. government’s safety app (Smart Traveler) to see what visas and vaccines you’ll need before traveling and where to find help if you need it during your trip. Whether you’re using them to calculate the exchange rate, look up the best route from one site to another, or keep track of all your expenses – apps are infinitely useful! These are our 7 top apps for your travels.

We hope you’re ready and excited to start planning your 2024 travels! Whether you’re following the eight-month suggestion and getting ready to plan for summer, looking to plan a quick getaway this spring, or already excited to start planning your December 2024 adventure – we are ready to help you every step of the way!

7 Ways to Save Time and Maximize Your Vacation

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Whether you’re going on a multi-city adventure around Europe or an all-inclusive getaway to Mexico – you always want more time to relax, enjoy and explore! Time is our most precious luxury these days. There’s never enough of it, and no matter how we spend it- we can’t get it back. As travel advisors, we help you save time in the planning process by taking on the tiring logistics. That way you have more time to do the fun where-am-I-going-to-eat research! Then, while you’re on vacation, your time is truly a luxury to be enjoyed. There are a few things you can do to save time and spend more of it enjoying your vacation!

Here are our Top 7 Time-Saving Tips for your next adventure:

TSA Precheck & Global Entry

Begin saving time right away and get through the airport faster! Paying a little extra to skip the long security lines makes the airport process a breeze and will jump-start your vacation with ease and relaxation. There are actually four options for skipping the airport line – we’ve broken down the pros and cons here!


a long queue snaking underneath the Eiffel Tower - save time by using skip-the-line tickets

There’s nothing worse than arriving at a must-see sight like the Louvre or the Tower of London only to find an impossibly long line snaking around the corner. Now you have to decide – is this site worth standing in line for hours to get in? You didn’t plan the perfect vacation with us just to spend your precious vacation time in line!

[Photo Credit: Chris Shopland via Pexals]

There are a couple of ways you can save time and avoid this dilemma. From a Fastpass at Disney to guided tours with special access. Or, simple skip-the-line entry tickets that allow you to join a shorter entrance line without needing a full tour guide. However you decide to see the incredible sites in your destination, it pays to plan ahead for the ones that are likely to have long lines! 

Get an Early Start & Plan a Few Buffer Days

Setting aside a few days to sleep in is always nice on vacation, but when you have a destination full of things to do and see it’s best to get an early start! There’s something magical about wandering around a city before the day trippers and late-risers flood the streets. Having the most stunning sites all to yourself is an unforgettable experience and a true reward for that early morning wake-up call.

Always plan a buffer vacation day on either end of your trip. Before the trip, this gives you time to double-check that everything is ready for travel, and run any last-minute errands. And, you can sleep-in in the morning, and get to bed early to make sure you’re well-rested for your vacation! After your trip, having an extra day to get over jet lag and slowly go through all the photos (and laundry) is definitely worth it. 

Reserve A Beach Spot

Don’t spend all your time on the beach looking for the best spot to put down your towel. When possible, reserve a lounger, umbrella, or cabana with your hotel for at least a few days of your vacation. That way you can just breeze right down to your spot and let the beachy relaxation begin immediately without having to worry about staking out a place. For resorts that don’t offer advance reservations like that, investing in an upgraded club- or butler-level room category sometimes brings with it special perks like reserved beach areas.

[Photo Credit: Valentin b Kremer via Unsplash]

rows of white beach loungers set against the blue sky of Saint Tropez

Make a Favorites Map

There are so many useful apps and technology tools to help us travel these days. One of our favorite time-saving tools is Maps. With either something like Wanderlog or just My Maps by Google, you can drop pins of must-see sights, delicious-looking restaurants, and delightful street art. You’ll avoid constantly trying to look up directions or remember what that one little cafe is called. You can use a personalized map to see what’s already nearby or automatically look up directions without having to remember the name and address. 

Pack Light

There are few feelings more freeing than walking off the plane and heading straight to your hotel to start your day. No need to worry about lost luggage or wait at the baggage carousel. If you can pack it all in a carry-on it’s worth it! You won’t need to struggle lugging heavy suitcases around the airport or hotel – and when the plane lands, you get to waltz right into vacation mode!

Use your Concierge and the Tourism Office

Who knows their city better than the locals? And these locals are specifically tasked with helping you discover their city! Both the hotel concierge and the local tourism office will have intimate knowledge of the best restaurants, upcoming markets, hidden gems, and local tips and tricks! Don’t spend all your time trying to do the research on your own. Instead, utilize this vastly underutilized resource! Or lean on your travel advisor during the planning process (if you did not already know this, Shared Adventures offers concierge service – from restaurant recommendations and reservations to finding the most specific kind of shop or gallery you can imagine — for a very reasonable hourly fee.)

Time is a finite resource that cannot be recovered, so make it count. Let us know if you’re ready to save time on your next adventure!

You provided excellent guidance for us. I appreciated that you really had us think about what was most important to us when we were selecting the right cruise – and not to totally focus on what other people had to say. THANK YOU for helping to make this a memorable trip for our family! It really was a trip of a lifetime!

Clare and Mark (family cruise to Alaska)

The level of service we experienced was out of this world (and we did NOT make it easy on Ann). We weren’t quite sure where we wanted to go, when we would be able to go, or what “vibe” we were going for. After asking us some key questions (what we liked, didn’t like, why, etc.) Ann helped us narrow down our trip details and planned the honeymoon of our dreams. She helped book some of our excursions, answered some emergency questions while abroad and was always available/willing to help. I think it’s safe to say we won’t be using anyone else for future travel planning – Ann is a rockstar!

Carli (Italy and Spain)