Traveler Experience
2023 Summer Travel Tips: What to Expect — and Avoid

2023 Summer Travel Tips: What to Expect — and Avoid

Libby Zay

26 May 2023
5 minute read
summer travel tips - an aerial view of a beach

With leisure travel numbers back to pre-pandemic levels, it’s gearing up to be a super-busy summer travel season.

Whether your travel plans include jetting off to Hawaii, embarking on a road trip to Disney World, or exploring a national park, these summer travel tips can help you easily navigate your upcoming getaway.

In this blog post, you’ll find:

  • What to know before you go
  • Money-saving booking tips
  • Essential air travel tips
  • Must-have road trip advice

And don’t forget to pack your sunscreen!

What to Know Before You Go

The travel landscape for summer 2023 looks different than in years past. Below are some smart travel tips based on the latest news leading up to this summer travel season.

1. Prevent Passport Issues

Avoid getting denied entry to a country because you have an expired or soon-to-expire passport.

If you’re traveling internationally and need to renew your passport, get started ASAP. Soaring demand has pushed the routine passport processing time in the U.S. to 10–13 weeks.

Even if your passport is valid, don’t forget to check the entry requirements of the places you’ll be visiting. Some countries enforce specific rules, such as requiring your passport to be valid for three or six months beyond your intended stay.

2. Find Alternatives to Packed National Parks

This summer, already-popular national parks are expected to be teeming with people. Demand has been so high at national parks that some have needed to implement reservation systems or lotteries. Visit to see if the park you plan to visit is affected.

Several national parks hit record numbers in 2022, and visitation overall was up 5% YoY. As people make up for time lost during the pandemic, those numbers could climb even higher.

To avoid the crowds, check out some of the lesser-known national parks, or try a state park instead; many are similar in terms of geography, history, and beauty — but don’t have the crowds.

3. Expect Air Travel Woes

This tip may seem like a no-brainer, but it deserves a callout because both the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and airlines are forecasting that this could be the busiest summer for air travel in history.

The airline industry was rocked by widespread flight delays and cancellations last summer, and already in 2023 there have been staffing and scheduling issues, air traffic control problems, and labor disputes.

If the recent surge in spring break travelers is any indication of how airlines will fare this summer, then the industry (mostly) passed the stress test.

Our advice: Pack your patience and prepare for long security lines and full planes.

Money-Saving Booking Tips

If you still need to book your summer vacation, here are a few tips to help you get the most mileage for your money.

  • Book airfare on Fridays. The most recent Navan data shows that the lowest average booking price ($420) was available on Friday, with Thursdays close behind ($437).
  • Compare train v plane. Traveling between two cities? Choosing a train over a plane saves an average of more than $100 per booking — and it’s a more sustainable option, too.
  • Stretch your dollar. For those planning to head to Europe, the dollar and the euro are still hovering close to each other. And if your destination is flexible, your money could stretch further if you skip trendy spots like Hawaii in favor of alternatives like Thailand or Ecuador.
  • Broaden your search. In the Navan app, search flights by location or metro area (think: New York City or San Francisco) instead of specific airports. You might find a sweet deal to an airport nearby!
  • Bank on blended travel. Traveling for business this summer? Consider extending your employee-sponsored trip with some leisure time. As long as you get the green light from your employer, you’ll only need to pay for the leisure portion of your trip — and you can even bring along a friend or family member.

Essential Air Travel Tips for Summer 2023

The TSA forecasts a record number of travelers will pass through America’s airports over the next few months.

Navan data supports that prediction: We’ve already seen a flood of personal bookings for summer travel, up 53% compared to last year. (And following the reopening of borders across the globe, international airfares for summer 2023 jumped 82%.)

The TSA typically suggests that travelers arrive two hours before domestic flights and three hours before international departures. If you’re traveling over a holiday weekend, add additional time.

Tips for a smooth summer travel experience by air:

  • Choose flights earlier in the day.
  • Fly nonstop if it’s an option.
  • Pack only a carry-on bag.
  • Check-in online.
  • Save your boarding pass to your mobile device.
  • Download the MyTSA app to track airport security lines in real time.
  • Plan for the security process by dressing and packing appropriately.

If you’re not already enrolled in a fast-track program, it usually takes 3–5 days to get approved for TSA PreCheck, or you can sign up for CLEAR online and finish the enrollment process in person at participating airports. 

Trip canceled or delayed? As travel ramps up, airline support systems may become strained. Navan’s innovative AI chatbot can help with rebooking if your vacation plans change unexpectedly. And thanks to the Click-to-Accept Schedule Change feature, travelers using Navan can easily make changes on their own — and often receive notifications before airlines are able to send them.

Essential Road Trip Tips for Summer 2023

Lower fuel prices could mean more people will be on the road this summer than last year.

AAA predicts that this Memorial Day weekend, 88% of people who travel will drive to their destination. INRIX, a provider of transportation data, expects that major metro areas like Boston, New York, Seattle, and Tampa will likely experience travel times twice as long as usual. 

Tips for a smooth summer road trip:

  • Buffer your trip with plenty of travel time.
  • Travel in the early morning or late evening to avoid the worst of the congestion.
  • Pack snacks and drinks to avoid long lines at rest stops.
  • Download the GasBuddy app to track gas prices on the go.
  • Use a navigation app such as Waze to get real-time travel updates.

Need to rest? Weary travelers can find a hotel near any point of interest or address by dropping a pin on the map in the Navan app. Simply choose the “Near pin” feature when you search.

Navan can help manage business, personal, and blended travel all in one place. Get started in just five minutes.

Further reading:

Return to blog

More content you might like