How to pick a travel destination…
Picking a travel destination can be quite the overwhelming undertaking, so many of us end up returning to the same spots over and over. There is a certain comfort in returning to a proven place where everything has been researched and experienced. If you are someone that likes mixing things up this is the article for you.
One of the questions that I get asked most often is “how you pick your travel destinations?” I would love to say that I open Google Maps, pick a spot, and just go. The unfortunate reality is that things just aren’t that simple. However, a few considerations usually help me narrow down my options and hopefully help you narrow down yours:
Time - Money -Travelers - Weather
Time and time again, time (cheesy word play intended) has proven to be the biggest deciding factor when choosing a travel destination. Most of us have limited time off. Some destinations require more time to reach than others, so vacation time oftentimes narrows the field of options. Examine if it’s worth spending a third of your available time in transit. Remember that spending lots of time on the road can be very tiring and sometimes leaves you with that feeling of needing a vacation from your vacation, especially if you’re jet lagged from travel across time zones.
Tip: Make a bucket list of all the places you want to visit and organize them by length, that way when the opportunity presents itself you have options. I have one.
Some of us might have more flexibility when it comes to spending money on their travels, but everyone has a budget. There are many ways you can balance your expenses and meet your budget goals. Airfare alone to exotic locations can be expensive, but there are ways to make up for an expensive plane ticket. You can stay with friends, combine travels with a work trip, or you can pick a country/city where affordable activities, accommodations, and food will balance out your transit expenses.
Tip: If your travel dates are flexible, avoid peak seasons. These vary between countries and depend on the weather, school breaks, and holidays (both, at home and at your destination). Consider travelling during off seasons with less tourists and cheaper rates. Look up the so-called “shoulder seasons” in your destination. That’s the transition time between peak and off-peak seasons, during which you can often get great deals.
Whether you travel alone, with a partner, a group, family, or kids, as well as the particular dynamics between travelers can completely refocus your vacation spot. Think about how the travelers relate to each other and what kind of interactions you hope to get out of your trip. Solo trips are easy, you only consider yourself. With a partner, you share decisions. That can work out great, but can also create a great deal of tension and frustration. Group trips are about experiencing a common goal. They can be crazy fun or logistical nightmares. Family trips are all about relationships and bonds and can be wonderful affairs. Just consider that kids don’t always share your interests and their age can restrict you.
Tip: when you travel alone, I recommend checking something off your bucket list and really pushing the envelope. Take advantage of making all the decisions!
The typical question: do you prefer the cold or the warmth? Weather will determine peak seasons (and associated costs), what you will pack, your activities, the scenery, your mood, and many more aspects of your trip. There are many countries that are nice to experience year-round, but oftentimes a certain charm is tied to the season and weather in a particular destination. Conversely, some times of the year have the locals escaping to find better living conditions elsewhere for some time. Be honest with yourself – do you prefer the warmth or the cold? Are you okay with rain? What about snow or wind? How much do you REALLY care about your hair, when faced with the prospect of 85% humidity? ;)
Tips: Pick a destination where the weather will enhance your experience or will make your destination cheaper. And don’t forget that cold weather requires thick clothes. That may add extra transit costs and inconvenience of an additional suitcase.
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