At the time of writing this, we’re about a third of the way through March. That means we’re very nearly into Spring and summer is just around the corner. If you’re planning to go aboard, you want to be looking at flights no later than ten weeks before. Besides, the earlier you can get your accommodation booked, the better. When I was on booking.com the other week, I was already struggling to find space at some of the hostels I’d looked at a few days prior.

In saying this, it’s really not too late to book up your summer of ’24 and make it one to remember. Part of the fun is sorting out where you’re going, who with and what kind of places you want to see while you’re there. So, for a beginners guide: Where do you start planning your summer of ’24?

People

First thing has to be to decide who you’re going with. I’m lucky enough to have several friends who travel, one who’s coming backpacking with me this year and several others who are up for city breaks. But before you book anything, you need to know rough numbers, and make sure it’s something you all ahve the budget for and will all enjoy. There are so many places to suit every budget and vibe – but to know what those are, you first need to find your travel tribe. Or if you’d prefer to, do it solo!

Destination

Unless you’ve already got somewhere specific in mind, I’d advise looking at roughly three places that you’d like to go. Compare average price of flights and accommodation (Skyscanner and Booking.com being my personal choices for doing this) and looking at activities for each place. You don’t need to be too specific yet, and this isn’t usually too time consuming. Plus, if there’s a group of you it gives you a great excuse for a travel-planning meet up. It’s also good to do some research on food price as you don’t want to be surprised when you get there – Costa Rica was a huge shock for me on how expensive the food was in comparison to neighbouring countries.

You should also check things like visa requirements and vaccines you’ll need for each place.

From these three, you can narrow it down to which you like best – based on knowledge of price, activities and what kind of thing you really want from your trip.

Rough Itinerary

This isn’t in depth, or with anything booked. This is simply so you have a rough idea of how long you’ll want to spend in the place. I’d advise using travel blogs, trip advisor and travel guides such as lonely planet to work out how long you need there. Once you’ve got this, you can put in some firm dates.

Book your Accomodation

Book it well before your flight! I love Booking.com for the number of properties that have free cancellation – you can book these up and then, if for some reason you can’t get your flight, you’ve not lost anything. It’s also a lot cheaper to book these up well in advance. When I was booking in September for summer, so many properties had already been reserved. That’s not to say you won’t find anywhere, however the better properties for cheaper will be some of the first to go.

A hint when using Booking.com; check reviews and star ratings – these are from travellers like yourself! Look at the most recent ones too in case any problems have recently arisen. However, the vast majority of the time, you shouldn’t have a problem.

Book Your Flight!

(Pretty self Explanatory)

These two points are interchangeable, dependent on timings. You should book your flights at least ten weeks before flying but you can have a look at them before then and see if price is fluctuating. So if you’ve got time before the flights come out (check each airline for specific timings on how early they release flights), start on your itinerary. Otherwise, go straight to flight booking then to itinerary.

Itinerary

It depends what kind of traveller you are as to whether you like a fully fleshed out itinerary, or a guide. I prefer to have somewhat of a plan so I don’t miss anything while I’m there, but enough time scheduled in for experiencing the small cultural things of a place, or spontaneous activities that you won’t find online before you go.

It depends very much on the location whether you need to book activities in advance or when you get there but as a general rule if you’re travelling in peak season in summer: if you really want to do it, make sure it’s booked so you don’t miss out!

If you want some local advice, it’s a great idea to ask at the hostel or wherever you’re staying for their advice on eateries, activities and what to see in the area. If you want advice before you go, you can always ping them a message on booking.com to get the information beforehand.

Shopping, Packing, Documents check…

You’re planned! Now all there is to do is the pre-travel shopping, packing and checking you’re good to go.

If you’re completely stuck for destination ideas, a few ideas to check out:

Greece – a classic summer destination with amazing food, weather and historical culture. Have a read of Greek Islands – Which One Is Waiting For You if you’re considering Greece.

Malta – Malta’s MTV music festival is Europe’s biggest free music festival – and it’s held in summer! I went last year and loved it. More articles to come on the music festival itself but you can check out the island as destination here.

And as an intercontinental trip (if you live in Europe), have a look at Costa Rica for your 2024 summer break: 5 Reasons to Visit Costa Rica in 2024.