The travel destination that you choose is a very important decision. Here are some important things to consider. Do you want to travel but have no idea where to go? There are many interesting vacation spots to choose from. Also, are you looking for a little clarity and inspiration to get your trip planning started? Well, we can help! If you want your trip to be a success it starts with the right destination. Further, choosing your travel destination can feel overwhelming. This can happen whether you’re planning your first trip or you’re a seasoned traveler. It’s best to break the process down into smaller pieces to sort out what’s practical. This will give you a better feel for the planning process.
Choosing Your Travel Destination: Start with the Basics
For Starters, How Much Time Do You Have?
Are you thinking about a long weekend getaway, a 1 or 2-week trip, extended travel, or something in between? Depending on where you live and the amount of time you have to travel, certain travel destinations will make better sense than others. Regardless of whether you want to relax or have an active adventure, traveling too far or cramming in too much can make for a rushed, ungratifying trip.
Who Are Your Traveling Companions?
Are you traveling as a couple, with children, with friends, or taking a solo adventure? The people you travel with can make specific places and experiences more practical than others. You’ll have to ask what kind of destination would be enjoyable for everyone traveling.
If you’re traveling solo, is it your first time or have you been on your own before? Are you looking for an adventure outside of your comfort zone? Or would you prefer to keep things easy for yourself by taking a tour! There’s no right or wrong answer. Just follow what makes sense and feels right for your situation.
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What Kind Of Weather Fits Your Traveling Style?
Do you want to sightsee when it’s warm or work on your tan? Or do you prefer cooler temperatures and hope to see a perfect winter white landscape? Obviously, your weather preference can help narrow down possible travel destinations based on when you intend to travel. Remember traveling during peak seasons comes with higher prices.
Would you be ok traveling during a shoulder season in order to save money? Oftentimes, the weather is pleasant, but may not be what you imagine when you think of enjoying a particular destination. On the upside, fewer people visit during the shoulder season, which means you’ll be less affected by crowds.
What Is Your Budget?
You certainly don’t need to be rich to travel, but you also want to feel comfortable with the destination you choose. In addition, you don’t want to blow a hole in your budget.
You Will Need To Ask Yourself The Following Questions:
- Are you a budget traveler or a luxury traveler?
- Will you fly coach or only in business or first class?
- Will you stay in a luxury hotel or a budget hotel?
- Do you prefer boutique hotels? Or will you stay in an Airbnb?
- Will your destination require specific travel gear that you will need to factor into the overall costs?
- If you participate in airline or hotel loyalty programs, can you use miles and/or points to offset some or all of the costs?
- Do you know which countries are more affordable with a favorable exchange rate?
A financially savvy traveler/planner will find the answers to these questions and plan accordingly. With the above questions answered, you’ve finished the practical first steps to choosing your travel destination. The next step is where you can put your brain to work and envision the kind of destination that matches the experience for which you’re hoping.
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What Kind Of Adventure Or Travel Experience Do You Want?
Certainly, you need to decide if you prefer mountains or beaches, city sightseeing or an outdoor adventure, or a historical visit to famous cultural sights. Beyond this, though, travel planning is about crafting a journey or experience for you and your travel companions.
- What do you hope to gain from your travels? Will your travel companions gain from the trip?
- What experiences do you want to have with your travel companions, or if solo, on your own?
- How do you want to remember this trip? Is there a lasting impact you’re hoping for?
- If your answer is having downtime and spending time together, perhaps a beachside or mountain retreat is the right fit.
- Maybe you’re traveling with children and want the travel to be educational in some way. Consider, then, sightseeing age-appropriate museums, and cultural experiences.
- If you want an adventure as a couple, it might be the right time to finally make that epic hike or learn how to scuba dive.
- Understanding the type of journey or experience you want is the essence of choosing the right destination and making your trip a success. Too often, people are heard saying “I need a vacation from my vacation.” It doesn’t have to be this way.
- Travel can be very fulfilling if you take the time to plan a meaningful getaway that meets the needs, hopes, and wants of you and your travel companions.
- But, when you choose your travel destination because it’s where you think you should take your kids or where everyone else you know goes, your trip can end up feeling lackluster and not worth your time and money.
Where Should I Go? How To Choose My Travel Destination
Sometimes it’s hard to choose a travel destination. For example, let’s say you have two weeks’ vacation, and you want to get the most out of it that you can. At the same time, you want to see as much as you possibly can. You know that in just a few weeks’ vacation a year, you will be limited in what you can see and do on your vacation.
How To Go About Choosing That Special Travel Destination?
Here Are Some Things To Consider in Deciding Where To Go On Vacation, Along With Some General Recommendations:
1. You Could Choose A Destination By Type Of Travel
People vacation for a variety of reasons. Do you want to just relax at a spa, by a pool, or on a beach? Or do you want an active outdoor vacation with hiking or skiing or diving or whatever? Perhaps you prefer exploring a country’s historical sites, cities, museums, and cuisine?
Once you’ve decided what style of vacation you want, you can already start narrowing down possible destinations. For example, if you love to take long scenic hikes, enjoying the natural beauty, you might like the Scottish Highlands better than London and the Appalachian Trail better than Washington, DC.
Of course, you might want to combine more than one activity, visiting a historical site one day and scuba diving the next. A place like Malta or perhaps Egypt would suit you well.
Museums: New York City, San Francisco, Washington (where many museums are free!), Amsterdam, Berlin, and pretty much any major city in the world.
Historical sites: Egypt, Israel, China, Japan, Spain, France, Greece, and Italy.
Natural beauty: the US, especially the Southwest, the Rockies and the coast of New England; Canada, especially the Rockies and the west coast; the Alps in Switzerland, France or Italy; the Pyrenees; Sweden; the coast of Norway, game parks in Tanzania, Kenya or Malawi.
Scuba diving: the Red Sea in Jordan, the Caribbean, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, Lankayan Island, and Sipadan in Malaysia are on most people’s list of favorites.
2. Where Should I Travel? Consider Your Accommodations
Of course, you have to consider cost in making this decision, and part of that is considering what is important to you. For example, is a luxury resort right on a beach important to you or can you cut costs by staying in a simpler hotel a few blocks from the shore? Is fine dining important or could you save money by renting an apartment and cooking for yourself? Are you comfortable with less traditional forms of accommodation: couch surfing, hostels, or Airbnb?
You could also save a bit of money by choosing accommodations outside the city you’re visiting.
Choosing accommodations will also depend on your travel group. If you’re going solo, a Hostel or Airbnb could be an excellent choice. If you’re traveling with children, you might need a bigger room, or adjoining rooms, or a crib. Some beach resorts offer kids’ clubs, so you might want to choose based on that.
3. Consider Your Form Of Transportation When Choosing Your Travel Destination
If you are traveling somewhere that would require flying, choose some possible dates and look up how much it would cost to fly there. This might help you decide between possible destinations by choosing the cheaper one. Skyscanner has a nice gimmick: type in your home airport and then click “everywhere.” Add your dates of travel and you’ll get a list of the cheapest places to fly from your airport.
When you do book a trip, make sure to use incognito mode or you might see higher prices than when you first checked. Cookies allow the sites to see that you’re particularly interested in those flights and raise the rates in response.
Figure out what flights you want to book, then go to the airline’s website to actually book them. The airlines offer more guarantees when flights are canceled or delayed, so it’s safer to book directly through them.
Do you feel comfortable driving in the destination you’re considering? In some places, you really have to drive if you want to do any sightseeing. My trip to Guadeloupe is an example. I stayed in an Airbnb accommodation away from beaches, I wanted to do a lot of sightseeing, and the public bus system is very limited. So I drove.
Or a quick trip up into the Sierra from San Francisco. It would have been possible by bus but would have taken much longer. In some places, driving can be very stressful. Dubai, for example, where you can take the metro or a taxi easily and fairly cheaply. Cairo, where the traffic is pretty crazy. Amsterdam, where all the bicyclists and pedestrians seem to be on suicide missions. Or any big city like Paris, London, or New York, where public transportation is excellent and parking is expensive.
Trains Or Public Transportation
In many countries, public transportation is the best, cheapest, and least stressful way to get around. The great advantage of traveling by train or bus is that you get to relax and just enjoy looking out the window in this new and interesting place you’re visiting.
Of course, it depends on the country. In places like Japan, the Netherlands, and South Korea, the trains are well-maintained and run on time. In the case of Japan, the bullet train is very fast! Or, in some places, city public transportation can be excellent even when inter-city options are minimal, such as in many US cities. In some countries, buses or taxis are really your only public transportation option (e.g. Guadeloupe and Nigeria), and how relaxing the ride depends on the quality of the roads as well as the vehicle.
Car rentals: Make sure, if you are going to rent a car, that your hotel or other accommodation also includes parking. Get collision insurance if it’s not already included on your credit card. Check the car very carefully before you leave the parking lot to make sure you don’t get blamed for any dents that are already there. Take photos of the dents before you leave. Click the link here to go to our car rental page and get a super saver rental deal. ⇒ https://cheapairfareandtravel.com/car-rental/
Public transportation: Don’t assume that whatever tourist transport pass a city offers is necessarily the cheapest. Think about how much you’re likely to use it and do the research to find out what the best deal for you might be. A ticket like the local’s use could end up cheaper. Avoid the local rush hour by sleeping in, or choosing nearby walkable sights for your first sightseeing of the day.
4. You Could Choose A Travel Destination By Type Of Activities
Make sure to factor the cost of activities into your plans. Some activities are more expensive than others. Museum admissions can add up fast, as can renting equipment for scuba diving or skiing.
Hiking is usually free, but many other outdoor activities like skiing, snowboarding, sailing, bungee-jumping, or whatever activity you have in mind, cost money. Even on many beaches, you have to pay for a lounge chair or an umbrella. Check these things out ahead of time and budget them in. You don’t want to end up regretting that you couldn’t do a particular activity because you couldn’t afford it.
City cards: Many cities offer tourism city cards for a price that makes them worthwhile if you are planning to visit many sites in one city. Amsterdam has one, for example, called the Amsterdam City Card. You can look up these deals ahead of time on-line to see if they’re worth it.
Package deals: Similarly, scuba clubs often offer packages of a number of dives over several days that end up cheaper than renting equipment for one dive. The same goes for many other activities like skiing or visiting Disney parks: multi-day packages can save you money.
Pre-booking: Many of the most popular sights now allow pre-booking, which is often slightly discounted and, more importantly, allows you to skip waiting in a long line. Disney parks, for example, fall into this category. In Amsterdam, the Van Gogh Museum and the Anne Frank House come to mind.
Favorite Activities You Can Do
- Scuba-diving and/or snorkeling in the Caribbean, Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Australia, Tahiti, Fiji, Hawaii, or Malaysia (especially Sipadan)
- Taking a walking tour in pretty much any city; Excellent ones are in Athens, Barcelona, and Berlin
- Climbing a volcano in Guadeloupe
- Walking on the Great Wall of China
- Exploring outside the city in Hong Kong or Singapore
- Enjoying a short cruise on the Nile
- Whale and dolphin-watching in Martinique
- Taking a longboat trip into the ancient rainforest of Brunei
- Taking a cruise up the coast of Norway
- Visiting World War II-related and Cold War historical sites in Berlin
- Touring a chateau in the Loire Valley in France
- Taking a road trip through beautiful scenery in the Costa Blanca, Spain or the Scottish Highlands or the Rocky Mountains in the US or Canada
- Going on a safari in Tanzania or Malawi
5. Consider Food And Drink
How important is food to you? Your answer to this question will also affect how you choose a destination. If it’s important, make sure your budget accommodates high-end restaurants. On the other hand, if you enjoy exploring food that the locals eat, choose a place with a rich tradition of street food.
If food is just a matter of sustenance for you, you can choose a destination that is not particularly highly regarded for its food. Or you could rent an apartment and cook your own quick meals to save money. Also, you could choose a hotel with an all-inclusive or half-board deal and eat from the buffet.
In some countries – France, for instance – lunch in a restaurant is very similar to dinner, but the prices are often lower. If your budget conscious, make lunch your main meal and pick up sandwich ingredients to make your own dinner in your hotel room.
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Food And Drink Recommendations:
Where to travel for good food: France, just because, well, it’s French. And Italy because it’s Italian. Hong Kong has amazing food from lots of Asian countries; make sure to try dim sum.
Street food in Tokyo (delicious filling soups) or Singapore (Chinese, Indian and Malaysian food) or China are all wonderful. Also, cities like San Francisco, New York, London, and Berlin have food from all over the world in astounding quality.
Speaking of street food: Don’t just assume that street food is either unsafe or of poor quality; it depends on the country. Street food markets in Singapore and China are remarkably good, cheap, and safe since all the food is either boiled or cooked over very high heat in a wok. In addition, check the internet ahead of time for safety advice on a particular country or city you’ve decided to visit.
Haute cuisine: On the other hand, if you want to enjoy haute cuisine every night, you might want to choose a destination accordingly. France is an obvious choice, especially Lyon. So is Italy, especially Bologna. Also, any diverse big city will have a wide range of different national foods. Check out Berlin, New York, San Francisco, Vancouver, Los Angeles, London, or Melbourne all are good examples.
Alcohol: Don’t go to Scandinavia if you want to drink a lot. Alcoholic drinks are particularly expensive there. Anywhere else, try the local brews instead of spending lots more on whatever is familiar to you.
Vineyards and wineries: If you’re a wine connoisseur, you’ll love the wine regions of California, France, Italy, or pretty much anywhere else where wine is produced. Vineyard landscapes are beautiful and you can take wine-tasting tours as well. For obvious reasons, I suggest taking a tour rather than driving yourself.
Markets: Wherever you go, check out both the local market and the local supermarket. Both will offer insights into the food culture in the country you’re visiting.
Cooking: If you can, take a cooking class. Cooking classes will often start at a market, so you learn something about local ingredients as well.
Food tours: Many cities have food tours, which you’re sure to love if you’re a foodie. You’ll enjoy the guided tour in Krakow or the one via an app in Singapore. Some tours are more about food production than consumption, like the full-day tour I took in Bologna to learn about how parmesan cheese, balsamic vinegar, and parma ham are produced.
Some Suggestions For Novices In Choosing A Travel Destination
One must always be concerned about terrorist attacks but sometimes other worries come up. If you are an inexperienced traveler, you might look at independent travel with some trepidation. If that describes how you are feeling, I would suggest starting with an “easier” destination. In my mind, that means it should have:
- a stable, well-functioning society;
- good quality, comprehensive public transportation and/or a well-maintained, well-signposted road network;
- an English-speaking population, whether as a first or second language;
- safe drinking water, so that you can eat whatever you want, even if it’s uncooked vegetables.
Our Recommendations For People Who Are New To Independent Travel:
- The US
- The Netherlands (and make sure to venture out of Amsterdam as well!)
- The UK, including Scotland and Northern Ireland
- Republic of Ireland
- Scandinavia: Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark
- The Baltic states: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania
- Hong Kong
*****Please don’t be offended if your country is not listed.*****
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