Recently I was asked how we choose travel destinations when we decide to travel. It was a good question, and one that often stumps the would-be traveler to the point of immobility.
For me, my brain often screams:”I want to go all over the place!!”
…But, this is not a realistic goal.
Budget and Time are two of the most important deciding factors when planning your itinerary, so it’s best to start there.
After you’ve determined the budget and time you’re working with, move on to the following questions we ask ourselves a whole lot:
- City, Beach or Mountains?
- Hot, Cold or Mild weather?
- Adventure or Relaxation?
- Any Food, Sites, Entertainment you want to experience?
- Want to go Shopping or Volunteering?
- Off-the-beaten track or tried-and-true destination?
- Culture Vulture or Brain switch-off?
- Budget or Splurge? Somewhere in the middle?
- Independent Travel or a Tour?
- Traveling with kids? A partner? Solo?
- Want to Drive, Walk, Bike or Be Driven?
- Hate Moving Around or Love it?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you can start to hone in on what kind of travel you want to do and where to do it.
10 Tips for Choosing a Destination:
1 Find Inspiration
By looking at photos of places on Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest you may find yourself getting really excited about a destination. Look at what your friends have been posting from their holidays, explore a hashtag (ex: #beach, #mountains, #beautifulcity, etc…) or keep an eye and an ear open for any kind of cool-sounding place in your circles.
2 Be open-minded
Odds are: if you’re willing to go a little off the beaten track you’ll find some awesome stuff. There are plenty of places that you might never have thought of going to. Maybe even googling a place that sounds weird and funky could land you to an awesome spot and get you a cheap ticket, to boot! Just, make sure you do your research: read blogs, reddit pages and maybe ask your social media network for any tips before you go. (I like to peruse Lonely Planet’s Thorntree forum, which has some great ideas and will answer any questions you may have!)
3 Be Decisive
This is harder to do than to write. We find the best way to be decisive is to book the tickets (be they airline, bus or rental car). Once you’ve laid down the cash to get there, you’ve got the hardest part done. Seriously. It’s really easy to waffle on stuff like this, so maybe going by price drops and sales that an airline can offer will give you the kick in the pants you need to make a decision.
4 Consider your Network and Background
Have friends abroad? Family? A place you studied in High School that you’ve always wanted to see? Start there. Having a person or place to reach will help structure your trip.
5 Safe Choices aren’t Bad Choices
Got a place that’s tried and true? Do it. Sometimes you just wanna go to that special restaurant or beach and relive the good times or show someone special a happy-place. That’s cool! You don’t have to reinvent the wheel when traveling.
6 How Far Away are you Going?
This can be a real deciding factor. If you’re choosing a place on the other side of the world you’ll need to consider: jet lag, travel time, and cost. If you only have a week off, maybe going to New Zealand from New York will be cutting it fine. Alternatively: what’s around the country you are traveling to? Europe is always a great area because you can get to so many different countries so quickly. How much do you want to see?
7 Don’t Forget to Look Around you!
I’ll meet a lot of people who are from The States that have traveled all over the world, but have never been to Canada or Mexico! Or Germans who have never been to Poland or France. Sometimes, hopping next door or taking a road-trip around your homeland can be really fun and different.
8 On a Budget?
Consider the places you are looking at and their exchange rates with your currency. There are large areas of the world where a US dollar can go a long way.
9 Food, Language and Culture
For us, anyway, this is a really important factor. Are there any places in the world that specialize in something delicious? We’ll go there just to try it. Or, maybe we want to learn some Spanish? Or, take a cooking class?
I hate to admit that this is such an important factor for us, but it is. If we’ve heard from multiple sources that a place is really awesome or really terrible that’ll help us determine if we should go or not. Reading travel blogs and talking to other people and friends will help us flesh things out. If there is no reputation: that’s where tip #2 should come in mind…
If you need some inspiration, this is the list of travel destinations we are planning on going to for the next big Round-The-World Trip:
January – Sri Lanka
March- South Africa
Once you’ve decided your destination, you gotta’ book it! Keep an eye out for cheap flights (hell, sometimes this is your deciding factor on where to go!) and deals you can take advantage of!
These are some of the sites we check regularly for cheap deals:
Do you have any tips to find a great travel destination?