Common Travel Blunders in 2023 and How to Avoid Them
Blundering Bill isn’t the savviest traveler. He rushes through the booking process mere weeks before he wants to go. He reserves accommodations and flights with great speed and little deliberation. After all, hotels have vacancies, flights are reasonably priced, and the world is open again, right?
Bill had it all in 2021 and 2022.
In 2023, things are changing. Bill searches for hotels but finds everything full. Airline tickets have skyrocketed well above cruising altitude. And the safari he promised his family, but procrastinated on buying? Sold out until November!
Blundering Bill may not be real, but 2023’s rising travel demand is. We’re expecting to see a world “back to normal” when it comes to vacationing. That means late planning comes with a high risk of competition, price hikes and unavailability.
A lot of people are going to be Blundering Bills this year. Don’t be one of them.
Blunder: Planning with the Pandemic Travel Mindset
In 2021 and 2022, travelers cozied up to “pandemic travel”: half-empty hotels, lower flight prices and discounts galore. They had the luxury of planning travel mere weeks before departure because their destinations were eager for anyone they could get.
Now, things are turning back to “normal.” We’re talking 2019 normal. My-dream-restaurant-is-booked-for-the-next-two-years normal.
With such a surge in demand, late travel planning is an increasingly risky gamble–you may have to settle for your second choice (or third, or fourth) of hotels and experiences, which can be disappointing.
➡ How to Avoid: Travel like it’s 2019 again. Be deliberate about your plans, and plan early so you can get exactly what you want, how you want it.
For a Tanzanian safari, we recommend reserving your space at least nine months before your preferred departure date (though you can, of course, book closer to departure when space is available). This ensures maximum choice about how and when to visit places like the Serengeti plains, cozy Nyumba camps and the lush eco-lodge of Gibb’s Farm.
Blunder: Taking the Well-Worn Path
Have you heard of “revenge travel”? Homebound jetsetters are making up for lost time in 2023 by going on vacation after vacation during school breaks and holidays. The result is a glut of travelers crowding into the same places, at the same times.
The pandemic-era stories of visiting an empty Venice? Long gone.
High levels of tourism also mean higher prices for souvenirs, services and hotels in those heavily trafficked regions.
➡ How to Avoid: Take the road less traveled. Explore an off-the-beaten-path destination that offers authentic experiences rather than a familiar name. You’ll often find these hidden gems contain worlds you never dreamed of.
Tanzania’s sprawling plains of greens and golds are the perfect counterpoint to bustling tourist hotspots. Even Tanzania in “high” season is sparsely-populated–that is, if you don’t count its thousands of lions and wildebeest thronged in the millions.
Blunder: Booking at the Buzzer
Lining up the perfect last-minute itinerary is a high stakes, high reward gamble. It’s like scoring the winning points in the final seconds of a game.
Unfortunately, last-minute booking is more fiction than reality in 2023. With so much demand in a limited timeframe, a “travel bottleneck” occurs. Everyone rushes to fill the same places, experiences, accommodations and restaurants before anyone else. Late planners may find entire months unavailable at their preferred destinations.
➡ How to Avoid: Make your reservations early! Restaurants, hotels and travel operators have space available, but they sell out. Plus, early booking ensures you can get lower flight prices than you would get with a last-minute splurge for the same thing.
Even safari destinations like Tanzania fill up fast–don’t miss your chance to roam stunning landscapes, witness one-of-a-kind wildlife and eat hearty, Western-style dinners in the bush, where zebras and wildebeest meander just beyond your table.
Blunder: Flexing the Strong Dollar too Hard
The U.S. dollar gained strength against the currencies of other major economies in 2022. This guarantees lower prices overseas, right?
Not necessarily. Inflation has weakened some of that power, offsetting the price declines it would otherwise see internationally.
➡ How to Avoid: Make international purchases thoughtfully! Here’s our guide to the best safari souvenirs in Tanzania.
Blunder: Forgetting 2024
Many travelers are already thinking ahead to 2024. If you find your preferred destinations and experiences unavailable in 2023, don’t give up!
➡ How to Avoid: Stay open to the possibility of later travel. Dates and prices for 2024 safaris are available now, and eager travelers are jumping on them!
And when you book with an operator like Thomson, we give you access to everything we have locked down: hotel rooms, guides, meals, and itineraries. All ready to roll out into the plains. All that’s missing is you.