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RIP spontaneity: why travellers need to get organised in 2023

Sorry, not sorry: the days of impulsive travel are over. Now more than ever, it pays to plan ahead

Ed Cunningham
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Ed Cunningham
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You know those incredibly spontaneous, somewhat-reckless-but-totally-thrilling holidays? The last-minute city breaks, the impulsive getaways, the ones where you ditch everything for a burst of sunshine? Yeah, well they’re gone. Gone forever. Probably.

In 2023, travel is becoming much, much less spontaneous – at least for anyone who isn’t a millionaire. And there are a number of reasons for that.

One is the sheer number of people taking revenge on the last few years by travelling as much as they can afford to – including a new wave of Chinese travellers who are finally able to see the world again, and a generation of digital nomads untethered by the remote-working revolution. Another is the pandemic hangover of needing to book ahead to visit even the tiniest attractions and restaurants.

But whatever the factors, travel – especially on a budget – just isn’t as impulsive as it used to be. And if you want to nab decent prices for transport and accommodation, in 2023, more than ever before, you’ll be rewarded for being organised.

Book early, save money

Of course, it has long been the case that the best prices and deals have come to those who’ve booked furthest ahead. But nowadays, thanks to the cost-of-living crisis, saving cash is a priority for even more travellers – which means you’ll need to be even more organised to beat the crowds.

We’ve already started seeing this in action. British travel trade association ABTA says that 29 percent of those it surveyed had already booked a package holiday for some time in the next 12 months – especially for summer 2023. A third of those said that this was in order to get the best price for their trip. Some bargain-hunters are already looking at summer 2024.

Accommodation site Booking.com has also said it expects economic hardship to cause travellers to become more organised. A whopping 61 percent of survey respondents said that they were planning trips further in advance in order to get a more affordable holiday. The upshot is that spontaneity itself is now a luxury: you’ll need deeper pockets than ever to book a last-minute trip.

How to beat the crowds

So what can you do? Well, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. In 2023 it’s time to get organised, plan and book all your travel as early as possible. It’s not sexy, but it will save you money and make you feel less stressed.

You could also get clued up as to when travel sales might pop up so that you can make the absolute best of them. You probably know about the January travel deals and discounts. But did you know that loads of airlines and package companies also drop prices in August to try and beat the post-summer slump?

There are other ways to save money, too. ‘We’re seeing travellers adopting an increasingly flexible mindset,’ says Laura Lindsay, the resident travel expert at booking company Skyscanner. ‘More and more travellers are switched-on to the idea that being flexible on where and when they travel can unlock both better prices and great experiences.’ Which is why 2023 is the year to take a trip somewhere you’ve never heard of, and (if you can) travel outside the peak summer season.

But if you’re still determined to visit those TikTok-famous destinations, or can’t be flexible about when you travel? Then it’s time to fire up those spreadsheets. Welcome to 2023: the year that you (yes, even you) become a hyper-organised travel booking machine.

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More tips to save money, beat the crowds and travel better in 2023:

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