Kickstart 2024 with 5 Travel Resolutions for the New Year

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Travel came back with a bang in 2023, and even more travelers are expected to fly away to the world’s top destinations in 2024. We saw a rise in digital nomadism, multi-generational travel, wellness travel, and ecotourism in 2023, but what can we expect travel to look like in 2024?

Experts are predicting a rise in home swapping, sports tourism, “coolcations” (ditching summer heat for moderate temperatures), and private group travel – but we’ll have to wait and see if the trends hold.

With 2023 being the hottest year on record and one of the largest recorded years for tourism, there are major problems that need to be addressed in the tourist industry in the years to come. Overtourism, pollution, loss of culture, and the rising cost of travel are just a few of the obstacles facing tourism in 2024. Regardless of our travel style, we all should have responsible tourism on our 2024 New Year’s Resolution lists.

Below are 5 travel resolutions to consider for 2024!

5 Travel Resolutions for the New Year

1. Stop Contributing to overtourism

Ever since travel reopened after the pandemic, overtourism has been a persistent and ever-present problem around the globe. Hordes of tourists are gathering at some of the world’s top destinations like Dubrovnik (which surpassed Amsterdam this year as the most popular destination in Europe), Machu Picchu, Bali, and Phuket and are contributing to skyrocketing prices, damaged historical sites, increased pollution, and overcrowded attractions.

During my trip to Lisbon last August, I experienced the ramifications of overtourism first-hand. In 2023, Lisbon became the most expensive city in Europe for rental accommodation which, considering the staggering low minimum wage in Portugal, has created a devastating situation for locals who can no longer afford to live in their own city.

In addition to these skyrocketing rental prices, visitors to Lisbon last summer (and fall) were met with shockingly long queues, yellow trams jam-packed with tourists, closures of historic shops and restaurants, and significantly increased prices compared to recent years. Talking to Lisbon locals (people from Portugal, not the digital nomads), I learned that many don’t even consider Lisbon a Portuguese city anymore. Tourists and expats have pushed the real Portuguese culture further and further outside the city…until it’s become almost unrecognizable.

So, how can you be sure you’re not contributing to overtourism besides adding it to your list of New Year’s resolutions? Try out the suggestions below to do your part to curb overtourism in 2024:

  • Travel in smaller groups
  • Support local businesses as much as possible
  • Avoid the mainstream destinations in favor of off-the-beaten-path experiences
  • Participate in “second city” tourism = swap overcrowded tourist hotspots for charming, lesser-known destinations
  • Do your best to combat overconsumption and waste

2. Trade Major Attractions for Unique & Authentic Experiences

Seven million people visit the Eiffel Tower each year. Six million tourists visit Rome’s Colosseum every year, and the Taj Mahal attractions between seven and eight million annual visitors. Consider for a second the scale of those numbers.

Although these sites undoubtedly attract so many visitors for a reason, the popularity of these experiences comes at a price. Exceptionally long queues, significantly increased ticket prices, unavailability of tickets in the on-season, and crowds thick enough to obscure the attraction itself can be expected when visiting attractions this popular.

Fortunately, they’re not the only option. In 2024, add discovering unique and authentic experiences to your list of New Year’s Resolutions! For every attraction like Niagara Falls or Sydney’s Opera House, there are hundreds of thousands of hidden gems just waiting to be discovered.

This past October (which should have been off-season in Lisbon, but wasn’t in 2023), my friend and I headed to Sintra for the day to see the world-famous Initiation Well at Quinta da Regaleira. We bought tickets and hiked 15 minutes uphill in the Portuguese heat only to be met with a line so long we could not see the end.

On the other side, one of my favorite trips so far was back in September 2021 when I visited Copan Ruinas on the border of Honduras and Guatemala. The weather was perfect, everything was insanely affordable, and we only saw four other tourists during the five days we stayed there. What really struck me was the authenticity of the experience. Yes, there were guided tours and a few souvenir shops, but the town existed for itself – not the tourists.

Wild scarlet macaws enjoying some lunch at the Mayan ruins in Copan Ruinas.

3. Stop Overpaying for Travel

With overtourism comes shockingly increased prices and tourists overpaying for flights, accommodations, and tours based on their popularity alone. This was certainly the case for anyone hoping to have a European summer in 2023…

I paid over $1.1K for my round-trip flight to Lisbon at the beginning of August. The sad thing is that this was actually pretty low considering that some tourists paid upwards of $1.8K to get to Europe and back last summer.

I don’t know about you, but one of my New Year’s resolutions for 2024 is to stop overpaying for travel! I strive to travel smarter and pay less 👏🏼.

If you’re on board to pay less for the same trips in 2024, try out these simple travel tips below:

  • Avoid flying on weekends whenever possible
  • Bundle your hotel, flights, and rental car and save big $$ on travel sites like Expedia
  • Stop checking a bag (or open an airline credit card – more information below!)
  • Sign up for travel loyalty programs like Hilton Honors
  • Track flights and utilize the Fare Lock option if you’re not ready to commit
  • Fly to less popular destinations in the off-season to avoid fare surges

4. Reap Those Travel Rewards

There are tons of travel reward programs out there and, in 2024, it’s my goal to take advantage of them.

In 2023, after my trip to San Francisco, I opened a United Explorer credit card. This simple decision changed the way I travel forever…and got me hooked on airport lounges (because there’s nothing like a free mimosa and a plethora of outlets while you wait to board).

With my United Explorer Card, for $95/year I get free checked bags on domestic flights (which is saving me $90 already on my flight to Roatan in February), two complimentary lounge passes, priority boarding on every flight, 25% back on inflight purchases, and a 60,000-mile sign-on bonus when you spend $3,000 in the first three months. On United, 60,000 miles paid for 100% of my flight to Roatan AND I still have 20,000 miles left to spend on another trip.

Besides the United MileagePlus program, there are plenty of other travel rewards programs to take advantage of in 2024. Like…

  • World of Hyatt
  • American Express Membership Rewards
  • Delta Sky Miles
  • American Airline AAdvantage
  • Alaska Mileage Plan

5. Travel Slower & Enjoy Yourself more

There’s nothing worse than paying top dollar for activities, experiences, and museums you don’t even want to visit because you’re overtired, physically exhausted, or just plain not interested.

I see this all the time. People try to cram too much into too little time. They spend half their vacation en route to the next destination, and they’re exhausted 100% of the time.

This is why I love slow travel – and why one of my 2024 travel resolutions is to prioritize it.

I realize as a digital nomad that I have the unfair advantage of being able to live and work from a destination as long as I want. However, even those with limited time off can participate in slow travel. It’s very simple – just cut the non-essentials out of your itinerary. Have 7 days in Italy? Don’t cram Rome, Florence, and the Amalfi Coast into your itinerary. Instead, hunker down in Florence as a home base and enjoy a day trip or two outside of the city into wine country. The other destinations will still be there for your next trip, but you’ll allow yourself the opportunity to actually enjoy this one.

Additionally, don’t do something only because you feel like you have to. Not a museum person? That’s okay! Skip the Residenz München and instead seek out the best Bavarian eats in Munich. Don’t want to step foot in one more church? Fine! Cancel your visit to St. Mary’s Basilica and take a pierogi-making class in Krakow instead. It’s your time and you should enjoy it how YOU see fit.

Final Thoughts: 2024 Travel Resolutions

These five travel resolutions aim to revolutionize your travel experiences in the New Year, as well as contribute to responsible tourism as a whole. From savoring the joy of slow travel to taking a more eco-friendly approach to the places we visit, these New Year’s resolutions are intended to change the way we travel in 2024. It’s about less rushing, fewer non-essentials, and more of what truly matters: immersing ourselves in the destinations we visit, engaging with local cultures, and creating lasting memories – without bringing harm to the environment, culture, or local communities.

Remember, at the end of the day, travel is a deeply personal experience. It’s your journey, and you should feel empowered to shape it in a way that aligns with your interests and values. Whether that’s skipping the must-see museums to discover the best local eats, or opting for an eco-friendly stay, each choice contributes to a richer and more fulfilling travel experience. Let’s raise a glass to more thoughtful, sustainable, and enjoyable travel in the New Year!

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