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colorful houses along the coast of southern italy
Travel buzz

8 benefits of planning a trip in advance

Jan 20, 2022 by Lindsay Day

A new year has arrived. With it come endless and exciting possibilities for the months ahead—plus hundreds of new 2024 tour dates to choose from! So, if your New Year’s resolutions include getting out and seeing the world, there’s no better time than now to start planning.

We know: 2024 might sound like a long way off when you’re eagerly awaiting a long-dreamed-about adventure, but planning a vacation in advance has its advantages, and plenty of them. Here are eight benefits of planning a trip in advance.


1. It makes travel more affordable

The memories you’ll make on tour are priceless. But getting to your destination—not to mention staying in those comfy hotels, trying out all those cozy restaurants, and enjoying all those authentic, local experiences—requires a financial investment.

One of the major benefits of planning a trip in advance is having time to save up for it. Making things even easier: tools like our interest-free AutoPay option, which automatically takes a smaller, more manageable payment straight from your checking account or debit card each month leading up to your tour. (One fewer thing to remember every month? Yes, please.)

“I always plan one to two years out,” said Group Coordinator Janet of traveling with Go Ahead. “It gives me time to get things completely organized, as well as a longer time to have participants pay for the trip. Many use AutoPay, so it makes the payments smaller.”


2. You can pick your perfect destination—and travel dates

It’s a big world out there, with endless things to see and do. (Temple-hopping in Egypt. Wine-tasting in Tuscany. Toucan-spotting in a Costa Rican cloud forest. Whew! And that’s just to name a few.) Whether your future travel plans include one companion, a few friends, or 10 members of your extended family, finding a tour that’s perfect for everyone can take a little time. (Take our Tour Match quiz to help figure out where you should go next!)

Planning a trip in advance gives everyone time to thoughtfully consider where they’d like to go and what they’d like to experience, as well as what their ideal time frame is for traveling. The same applies even if you’re planning travel in advance for just yourself.


3. You can get to know your destination—and decide what to do during your free time

When you plan a vacation in advance, you can spend the time leading up to your trip diving into novels, movies, maps, cookbooks, destination guides, and other resources that will not only familiarize you with the places you’re headed to, but help you decide how to spend your free time there, too.

For example: Want to see the facade of the Bridgerton family’s lavish London home while exploring the city on tour? Check out our guide to Bridgerton filming locations to visit in England and you’ll know just where to go.


4. You can plan for a longer trip

If you’re planning travel for the future and dreaming of taking a longer tour, like our 15-day Grand Tour of Italy, putting PTO on your work team’s radar—and that shared office vacation calendar—early will give you plenty of time to coordinate with your co-workers.

And whether you’ll be requesting time off from work or not, a longer countdown will give you ample time to line up babysitters, dog-walkers, plant-waterers, and other essential support so you don’t have to hurry back home. (Planning to pick up some thank-you souvenirs on tour? Browse the travel tips section for helpful shopping hints.)


5. You can score cheaper flights

We’ve all been there: booking a flight just weeks ahead of our departure date only to find that airline ticket prices are, well, sky high. (Sorry. We had to!) On the other hand, when you plan a vacation for the future, you’re more likely to snag flights at lower prices. Even better: adding our convenient airfare package to your tour. Not only does it ensure a locked-in price for your flights, but it also includes airport transfers in your arrival and departure destinations, and assistance with rebooking in the event of flight cancelations or delays on the standard arrival and departure days.


6. You can get access to special events

Traveling to experience a special, limited-time, or seasonal event is tons of fun and can put a unique spin on a place for first-time and repeat visitors alike. It can also pose challenges, such as sold-out hotels, fully booked restaurants, and almost-impossible-to-get event tickets. Unless you plan well in advance, that is.

Want to peep peak fall foliage in New England? Take a haunted Halloween tour of Dublin, Edinburgh, and London? Or toast your fellow travelers over a giant stein of beer at Oktoberfest? Among the many benefits of traveling in 2024 for these events is that our expert travel planners can reserve rooms at conveniently located hotels and snag limited-supply tickets when they’re needed. Bonus: Planning travel for the future means that, for your free time on tour, you’ll also have plenty of time to reserve a table at that in-demand restaurant you’ve read so much about.


7. You can savor the anticipation

Although nothing quite compares to actually taking in the sights, sounds, flavors, and traditions of a destination while on tour, one of the benefits of traveling in 2024 is having more time to enjoy the anticipation. “It almost goes without saying, but having a plan gives us all something to look forward to,” said Group Coordinator Carol. “Much of the journey is in the excitement of what is to come!”

Group Coordinator Debbie agrees. “The dreaming and anticipation is as much fun as the tours!” she said. “It also gives me lots of time and opportunity to post tidbits and pictures of our destinations, so everyone can visualize themselves in those beautiful pictures!”


8. You can bond with your fellow travelers before you even leave town

One of the many advantages of group travel is exploring alongside equally curious and adventurous tourmates—and possibly even making new, lifelong friends along the way.

Another bonus of planning a trip in advance: spending time before tour getting to know your fellow travelers. Group Coordinators Diana and Michael typically plan their groups’ trips one year to 18 months in advance. “This allows for our travelers to do some research about where we are going, and to get to know each other ahead of the tour,” they said. “We have a meeting with a potluck lunch once a month.”

Another way to connect with tour mates before your trip is via our free mobile app, where you can introduce yourself, exchange messages, and share photos. Head here to learn how.

Thinking about planning travel for the future? Browse our tours →

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About the author | Lindsay Day
A devoted aisle seat-sitter, Lindsay first traveled overseas—to Italy and Greece—with EF as a high school sophomore. Since then, she’s visited nearly 60 countries on six continents (one of these days, Antarctica!). When she’s not in the office (or on the road), she’s probably cooking up a new plant-based recipe or biking on a local rail trail.
views of the aegean sea from the greek islands with white buildings in the foreground
views of the aegean sea from the greek islands with white buildings in the foreground views of the aegean sea from the greek islands with white buildings in the foreground
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