America’s Biggest Vacation Regrets [2023 Study]

biggest vacation regrets: new study
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From poor planning choices to missed opportunities, there are experiences we all wish we could rewind and do differently.


At Passport Photo Online, we’ve decided to delve into the nation’s biggest vacation regrets to help others better prepare for future trips.

Keep scrolling for the gems we’ve discovered.

Trip Planning and Research

Let’s talk numbers for a second.

According to a Skynova study, the average American takes 14 days off work annually. Meanwhile, Europeans across the pond take a generous 24 days.


So when we asked our survey respondents about their regrets* in the trip planning and research category, we weren’t too surprised when “not taking enough vacation time” came out on top.

Take a look:

ranking of the biggest vacation regrets in the planning and research category
*Respondents were asked to rate their vacation regrets on a scale of 1–5, from no regret to extreme regret. We then calculated the percentages by adding up the four and five ratings.

The second spot went to “not booking flights/accommodation in advance and facing limited/expensive options,” with 70% of the vote.

It’s a mistake many of us can relate to. Luckily, it has an easy fix.


In the next section, we’ll look at the biggest regrets in terms of packing and preparation.

Packing and Preparation

Picture this:

You’ve made it to the airport, bags in tow, ready to kick off your vacation.

Then it hits you.

You forgot to renew your passport.


The mistake of overlooking the importance of travel documentation can put a serious dent in your plans and cost you a LOT of money.

That’s why it’s the number #1 regret in the category, as per our research.

Have a look:

ranking of the biggest vacation regrets in the packing and preparation category

The takeaway?

It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

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Experiences and Activities


Before we’re over and out, let’s examine the biggest regrets in the experiences and activities category.

The results are in:

ranking of the biggest vacation regrets in the experiences and activities category

It turns out overspending takes the cake here, with 69% of respondents experiencing strong or extreme regret about it.

It’s followed by not trying local cuisine (67%) and not taking enough rest (66%).

That makes sense.

Stacking It All Up

There you have it.

A comprehensive look at America’s biggest vacation regrets.


What do you wish you’d done differently on your last big trip?

Let us know in the comments below.


We conducted an online survey of 484 US respondents via a bespoke online polling tool in May 2023 who’d taken a vacation at least once in the last 24 months.

The respondents were 52.1% male, 47.7% female, and 0.2% identified as other. 38.7% of respondents were 26 or younger, 46.1% were aged 27–42, 11.9% were 43–58, and 3.4% were 59 or older.

This survey has a confidence level of 95% and a margin of error of 4%. Given the gender and age makeup of our sample size, the study’s findings are statistically significant for the population at large.

This study was created through multiple research steps, crowdsourcing, and surveying. Data scientists reviewed all survey participants’ responses for quality control. ​​The survey also had an attention-check question.

Fair Use Statement

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