Industry experts have said the high price of flights will not slow down in 2024.
But savvy travellers are booking their airfares earlier to stave off price increases, and the experts are booking clients onto itineraries to lesser-known regions. And some, are even switching to river and expedition cruising.
The agents say the rush is starting now. You’ll want to act quickly to avoid price hikes across Europe 2024 travel. And this includes flights, tours, hotels and internal travel.
Sharon Summerhayes owner of Deluxe Cruise & Travel says all the Instagram posts and reels are creating FOMO (fear of missing out) amongst some of her clients.
“We are really seeing a huge ramp up in interest and enquiries for Europe 2024. It’s Europe, Europe, Europe at the moment.
“People over there are doing the marketing themselves on Instagram, getting people interested for Europe 2024.”
As well as this, Ms Summerhayes says lots of people who missed out this year are eyeing next year.
“There were lots of people who wanted to squeeze it in this year that are setting their sights on next year now. I just had someone enquire about flights in September, look at the flight prices and decide to go next year instead.”
How much can you save as an early bird?
Ms Summerhayes says savings on flights are particularly rewarding for fast bookers.
“You could save at least a thousand dollars per person on a Europe flight by booking now. As opposed to the end of the year because they’ll just keep going up.”
Katrina Van Der Merwe, Flight Centre Cruise Specialist says there are lots of early bird discounts and reduced deposits going.
“It is possible to get some early bird discounts, or reduced deposits from some cruise lines. You might be able to find a better price if you wait a bit, but you run the risk of missing out entirely, due to a lack of availability.
“Airlines and cruise lines are no longer doing the last-minute discounted sales to make sure that cabins and seats are filled. They are confident travellers will buy the spots. People have figured out that cruises are much more affordable than they thought. And, sometimes half of what you’d pay for a resort on land.”
James Spencer, A Flight Centre Travel Expert says the formula is simple. The earlier the better.
“In short, passengers that book the earliest save the most. Other than the price, the benefit of booking nine to 10 months early is choice – a wider choice of travel dates, cabin type, even down to its location on the ship. It’s much easier to plan that amazing trip you want if the balcony is available on the mid-ship.”
Belle Goldie, from iTravel Penrith, says the difference is thousands, particularly for Europe Europe 2024.
“You can save thousands in some cases. The difference is paying $1800 return or $3,000 return. But it’s not just the airfares. It’s the availability of cruises, land content and tours.”
Will prices be just as high for 2024?
Ms Van Der Merwe says high prices aren’t going anywhere.
“Everyone is still trying to recover financially from the last few years, and the demand is such that there is no pressure to lower costs. As the price of everyday items such as fuel and food goes up, the cost of your holidays is going to go up as well.”
Mr Spencer says Europe 2024 prices are staying steady, and there are plenty of cruise deals to snatch up.
“While airfare prices are remaining steady, many cruise lines are welcoming passengers with deals including on board credit, room upgrades, extra reward points, or drinks packages.”
Where are people going and who are they sailing with?
Ms Van Der Merwe is seeing huge spikes in interest in Croatia, as well as a rise in river and expedition cruises.
“Croatia and the Dalmation Coast are attracting a lot of attention from people who are choosing to cruise. Many people have done the Rhine, the Danube and the popular (but still exquisite!) sailings from Amsterdam to Budapest.
“We’re seeing a big uptick in something in people wanting to cruise somewhere new. Adventure and expedition cruises with niche cruise lines like Hurtigruten are booming. These take in the fjords of Norway or chase the rugged magic of Iceland. They’re less travelled, but increasingly finding their way onto people’s bucket lists.”
Mr Spencer is seeing people tend towards the French Riviera and Spain for their cruises.
“I’ve noticed a lot of customers choosing cruises that take in Spain and the French Riviera. Many of these cities and towns are so small that either the accommodation is too costly. Or, the transport is too complicated. This only adds value to the low cost of cruising around the Mediterranean.”
Ms Summerhayes is seeing big interest in the Greek Islands, with Celebrity Cruises’ new ships leading the way.
“The Greek Islands are of course getting huge interest, as well as Norway and Scandivanian itineraries.
“People are loving the new Celebrity ships, Ascent and Beyond. I’ve got quite a few bookings for those. Also, Oceania is getting a lot of attention, the new ship and addition of restaurants have lots of people excited. Silversea and Holland America are seeing interest as well.”
Ms Van Der Merwe says the inclusivity and ease cruise is making it the ideal European trip in the current travel landscape.
“It certainly is! A seven-day cruise for the family, with all your meals, entertainment and transport included is so much less than the same itinerary on land. You have the luxury of unpacking once, and having someone else worry about getting you from point A to B. Your meals are taken care of and your entertainment is provided.
“The tours and excursions are carefully researched and tailored to your desires. You get the chance to see the best part of each destination while on a shorter time frame without hiring a car, and driving in unfamiliar environments.”
Mr Spencer says he’s been booking clients on cruises as cheap as $230 a night and that value just can’t be beaten in Europe.
“Cruising has long been an underrated and underpriced way to see all the magnificent cities around the Mediterranean. I’ve booked a lot of customers on week-long cruises for as low as $230 per person per night. This covers all meals, transport between cities, a comfortable room with turndown service, and a drinks package.”
Ms Summerhayes says there’s no better way to see Europe, especially so much of it, than on a cruise.
“You can see so much more of Europe on a cruise than you ever could on a land-based holiday, especially for first-timers.
“You can do 20 destinations in three and a half weeks. But on a land-based destination, there’s the hassle of getting in and out of hotels, taking your luggage down cobblestone streets, overpriced transfers and so on.
“Train travel or other travel can take up whole days whereas with a cruise you just wake up in your new destination, it’s much easier and you get to see more.”