2024 Summer Travel Tips: The Washington Post Asked, We Answered

2024 Summer Travel Tips: The Washington Post Asked, We Answered

Where to next? Europe, a perennial favorite, is always a top choice. But where can summer travelers find a genuinely exceptional experience away from the masses? The Washington Post has tapped into the wisdom of travel experts, and we’re proud to be part of this esteemed panel once again, offering our expert insights. Our recommendations for your next European vacation may surprise you: from exploring castle-dotted Carinthia in Austria, Italy’s lesser-known Umbria region, aka the ‘other Tuscany’ with Perugia at its center,” or experiencing “La Deutsche Vita” in Germany’s heritage cities

Read the full WP article on 2024 European summer vacation destinations by Natalie B. Compton here

“Avoid some of the madness in these (tourist) hot spots by staying in neighborhoods away from the typical tourist zone.”

Sandra Weinacht, Inside Europe Travel Experiences

Without a doubt, millions are heading from the US to Europe this summer, where the busy season started even earlier than in 2023 – and will last well into the fall. We couldn’t agree more with our colleagues that in an ideal world, European vacations are best scheduled in the low or shoulder seasons to avoid overtourism. Remember, June, July, and August aren’t just time off in the USA (for school, work, etc.), but also when the locals are on vacation. Italy, Spain, Portugal, and the South of France aren’t just hotspots for American visitors but often beloved holiday destinations for the locals and millions of ‘neighbors’ heading there each summer, too. And, Europeans take long(er) trips, often by car or camper, which makes the highways and scenic roads even more crowded.

However, with all that said, for many Americans, Europe’s one, if not THE summer destination in 2024, and great vacay memories can be made with the proper planning and travel expert guidance. 

  • Wein am Stein
  • Cathedral in Trier, Germany
  • Happy Inside Europe travelers at Heidelberg Castle
  • Join Bobo and Chichi on their inaugural European beercation to the Czech Republic and Germany, July 2019.

Let’s summarize our top three insider tips for European summer travelers with our official comments featured in the Washington Post story and additional insights for you, our travelers:

1) Avoid European Port Cities — But You Don’t Have to Venture Far

If you’re considering a visit to a popular European city that’s also a cruise hub, beware,” travel journalist Natalie B. Compton rightfully states: “Not only will you be battling the usual summer crowds, you’ll be joined by thousands of day-trippers flooding into the ports — meaning Barcelona, Venice, Athens and Santorini.” She continues her European summer travel 2024 story, quoting our family-owned small travel business. “Co-founder Sandra Weinacht, who co-owns the tour company Inside Europe Travel Experiences, says you can avoid some of the madness in these hot spots by staying in neighborhoods away from the typical tourist zones. You can also visit top sites late afternoon or evening after cruise travelers have returned to their ships.”

Indeed, by understanding (and knowing the typical tourist routes), our guests do not waste hours waiting in (scorching) lines. Still, we empower you to make the most of your precious time abroad by experiencing your must-see sights without crowds. Strolling through the Acropolis or the Colosseum in the afternoon is much more magical, and by staying in equally charming Murano versus on the main island in Venice, you get an authentic taste of what local life is like. 

While it’s hard to say and write, Barcelona is one of those European cruise ports to avoid. Despite Catalonia’s capital being an Inside Europe favorite for decades and counting, during the summer months and especially during the XXL American and European cruise ship season, both BCN airport and the port of Barcelona are often zoo-like, translating into the city center not just crowded but packed. However, the whole Catalan countryside is waiting to be discovered by you and yours. The following insider tip dives deeper into where we recommend traveling instead, in addition to the big tourist cities.  

2) Go to Rural Europe — and Be Pleasantly Surprised!

Achtung, Wanderlusters, this insider tip or WP heading may be prompting thoughts of roughing it, but the opposite is true. Instead of exploring (just) major capital cities like Paris, France (host to the 2024 Olympic games, need we say more) or Lisbon, Portugal, there are nearby alternatives to consider in these and, frankly speaking, all European countries. Here’s how the Washington Post explains our Inside Europe recommendation to take the roads a little less traveled on your European summer trip: “Interest in Western Europe has not slowed down, and Americans are expected to surge back en masse this summer. If you want to avoid them, put rural European destinations on your radar.” Journalist Compton continues as follows: 

“Weinacht is bullish on Spain’s Rioja region, the Basque countryside, and the central Italian region of Umbria, which borders Tuscany but does not see the same levels of tourism. She’s also a fan of Carinthia, the least-populated state of Austria. “It is castle- and lake-dotted, doesn’t get too hot, and oh, the food and stories the cities and villages can tell,” Weinacht said in an email (the article ends). On a side note, Sandra commented from Frankfurt airport on the way back from a recent trip to Northern Italy and Germany because the best way to share what traveling is all about is to travel. 

Speaking of Deutschland, here’s how the WP story concludes. “Weinacht says she’s been getting more requests from Americans for trips to her homeland, Germany. The country is easy to navigate with its high-speed trains, and offers a mix of small and big cities spread across powerhouse wine regions, UNESCO World Heritage sites and many food festivals.” Compton adds: “According to Skyscanner, airlines in the United States have been increasing their flights to Germany — namely, Frankfurt, an international business hub — meaning you may be able to find more deals.”

FRA airport indeed makes for an ideal starting point to experience cities and regions Germans often refer to as “La Deutsche Vita” favorites — a wort spiel on the Italian “Dolce Vita,” that sweet life of enjoying great food and drinks in stunning sceneries, like a local, with the locals. You can experience this and much more also North of the Alps in cities like Trier, Regensburg, Tübigen, or Freiburg, to name just four of the 17 heritage cities known as the “Historic Highlights of Germany.” 

3) Go to the Caribbean 

Surprised? Compton concludes her summer travel outlook for the Washington Posts’ acclaimed ‘By The Way’ section with a(nother) coveted insider tip we agree with. “The Caribbean has its peak tourist season during the winter when Americans flock to warmer waters. That means summer trips to the region tend to be quieter and cheaper.” Depending on which island(s) or island cruise you choose, you can still get a European experience, just in a different setting. The French Caribbean with St. Martin, Guadeloupe, and Martinique are just three of many options. 

Virgin Voyages (fittingly shown as an ad in the online version of the story) is our top recommendation for adults-only cruising. If you’re curious about which Caribbean island offers the most European flair, we’re speaking from experience and, for a limited time, are offering a special deal including a $600 bar tab on us. Just email us at hello@insidetravelexperiences.com to find out more. 

In conclusion, whether you’ve already decided to go to Europe this summer or are still debating where to travel, our number one travel tip is to remember that the journey is part of the destination. Don’t rush your vacation, but include an extra day (or a few) to sit back, relax, and allow for those serendipitous encounters that make for the most memorable experiences. And why stress navigating the logistics of international travel when there are highly skilled travel advisors and expert travel companies? 

Hey there, so you think "Let's all go to Europe" sounds great in theory, but impossible to do for real? Well, that's where we come in. We've been where we take you, personally, with our family and friends, but also with as many as 400 of our travelers. We make sure to hit what's on your bucket list and then add some of our favorites. Together, we turn your travel dreams into an incredible time and you'll make unforgettable memories in Europe.