Destinations. A quest.
A couple weeks ago we briefly touched on choosing a destination. As I was writing about it, I quickly realized that this topic deserves a post all to itself. So, let’s jump into this!
There are so many things you can consider when trying to narrow down exactly where to go. What part of the world do I want to see? Are long flights or multiple connections going to be a problem? Will I like the local cuisine? Should I visit more than one city? Do I have a weekend or one or two weeks that I can be away? How will the weather be during that time of year? Is this a good place to go solo? What’s going to be happening locally? Is it a national or religious holiday and how does that impact tourism? (I was in Iceland for Christmas a couple years ago and all the restaurants were closed for two days!) Are there any major festivals drawing international crowds? However, let’s start with why.
If you’re like me, you have a travel to-do list that includes everywhere you haven’t already been (and you prefer not to repeat destinations). While it sounds like that makes the “why” easy, in most cases you’re traveling due to a more immediate why. For example, a couple years ago I was completely burned out on work and decided that I needed an impromptu weekend beach vacation. That became my more immediate why. I chose my destination based on the length of the flight (the shorter, the better), the price of the flight (last-minute flights can be pricey) and the price ranges of nice hotels for that time of year. And I ended up at a relaxing beach resort in the Dominican Republic, even though I’d previously been several years before.
Starting with why you’re planning to travel can help to narrow down the seemingly endless list of destination options. However, if you’re in the fortunate position where you’re planning your vacation well in advance and you’re open to almost anywhere in the world. Start with what you want to do and what kind of experience you want to have. When I want to be out in nature, capture great photos of plant and animals in the wild and get a little (or a lot) dirty on hiking trails, I tend to choose Central or South America and I start researching the different adventures in each country (like volcano boarding in Nicaragua). If I want to shop, eat, sight-see and otherwise stay relatively clean and comfortable, I choose Europe and research popular museums and cultural events (like Christmas markets in Austria). Once I have it narrowed down to a few options, I start looking at flight prices and hotel rates for where I would stay in the destinations I’m considering.
My final decision is usually based on how much I actually want to spend for this experience and that’s usually dictated by my vacation savings account balance. Flights to Africa are more expensive than the Caribbean, but if my savings are in order, there’s no reason for me not to book the flight to Morocco so that I can go glamping in the Sahara Desert! (And yes, we’ll talk more about saving for vacation later.)
Ultimately, you’re choosing an experience that you’ll remember for a lifetime; make sure it’s one you’ll enjoy.
Check back next week to learn more about choosing activities! This can make or break your adventure.