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Are you overloaded with pictures of travel online and need some help choosing your travel destinations? Then you’ve come to the right place.
Whilst we’re not in the business of actually booking trips for others, but we can certainly offer you expert guidance on how to choose a destination that meets your interests and budget.
While we all have those bucket list places we want to tick off, sometimes time, money, and other factors get in the way of us booking those trips – but that doesn’t mean you have to give up on the idea of traveling.
If you’re desperate to get away and embark on a trip somewhere new and exciting, then here are some questions you should ask yourself to help you narrow down your choices, as well as some tips to help you choose which destination to travel to next.
- How to Choose A Vacation Destination
- Tips for Choosing a Travel Destination
- Final Thoughts
- Pin To Save On Pinterest
How to Choose A Vacation Destination
When choosing the perfect travel destinations, the ideal place is never the same for two people. It depends on factors like:
- your personal travel style
- your interests
- the length of time you have available
- and your finances
With so much advertising shoved in our faces from newspapers, magazines, travel blogs, TV, Instagram, and more, all vying for our attention, deciding which travel destinations to visit can be overwhelming.
Sure, it can be travel inspiration, but it can also lead to procrastination, and procrastination leads to you being the world’s best armchair traveler.
I like this quote, not just in regards to travel, but to life:
“Many things will catch your eye, but only a few will catch your heart…pursue those.”Anonymous
When choosing your next vacation spot, the following questions will help you narrow down your list and clear the confusion.
Why Do You Want to Travel?
Seriously, this is the first question you should ask yourself. WHY do you want to travel?
First knowing why you want to do anything is important. If your WHY is clear and strong enough, you’ll commit to it and make it happen.
For me, travel is more than checking things off my list.
Sure, it’s nice to get that photo in front of the Grand Canyon and post it on Facebook bragging to your friends, but is there something deeper you want to fulfill?
I don’t travel for the sake of traveling, especially now with young kids because it’s certainly not always relaxing, often the complete opposite.
Do you travel for:
- cultural experiences
- to get away from the normalcy of life
It’s important you value your hard earned dollars and if you put more meaning to your trip, you’ll have a better chance of it being a memorable and rewarding experience.
Who Are You Traveling With?
Your destination choices can be affected dramatically by your traveling companions.
If you travel as a family, sit down with your kids and discuss your ideas and interests.
Memorable trips are those where each member of the family gets to experience something they love. Finding the balance between adult and kid stuff is important.
If you travel as a couple, talk about your individual desires and expectations.
Be clear on what you both want and make the decision that will suit both of you.
Don’t leave it to one-half of the relationship to always make the decision. Maybe you could simply take turns in choosing a destination each year?
What Kind of Trip Did You Have in Mind?
A big part of your decision will come down to personal travel style and the purpose of your trip. What do you like to experience, and what is your everyday life like?
Is your working and family life so hectic that you need a trip to relax, recharge and spend quality time with your family?
Or, are you the type who can’t sit still for long, are wired for action and want to see and do as much as possible?
Personally, I like a balance between down time and exploring new things.
Do you prefer:
- Cities or countryside
- Beaches or mountains
- Resorts or road trips
- Festivals and cultural experiences
- Shopping or food experiences
- Adventure or relaxation
- Luxury, mid-range, or budget
Are you the type of person who likes to sit by the pool or on the beach all day with a book? Or would this bore you to death?
By answering these questions you can narrow down your list.
How Much Time Do You Have?
If you only have 1-2 weeks of vacation time per year, you don’t want to waste too much of that time traveling to and from your destination.
But if you have a month you can look at traveling a little further.
Below are some key points to keep in mind in regards to how much time you have:
Short (1-2 weeks)
- Have less time moving from A to B.
- Choose only 1 country or region.
- You’re likely to spend more money in order to save time.
- Tendency to stuff a lot of activities in, but be warned this can exhaust you.
- More likely to visit those countries that are more expensive.
- More likely to have a rigid schedule with things booked in advance.
Longer-term (2+ weeks)
- Can allow more time for travel between destinations.
- Depending on length, can visit multiple regions/countries.
- Will sacrifice time in order to save money.
- Will need to be extra vigilant with budget and finding deals.
- Focus on packing light and embracing minimalism.
- More room for flexibility in your schedule.
What Is Your Budget?
You can almost always find a match for your budget choices whatever travel destinations you choose.
However, it could change your ultimate decision as it might not be budget enough, particularly if you are traveling long-term when it’s best to stick to the cheaper regions!
Carefully consider the strength of the currency you are traveling on and what areas you can make your dollar travel further.
What other currencies is your dollar stronger against?
Think strategically about your options.
What Seasons Do You Like?
Many people travel for the seasons. Are you a summer or winter person? Do you enjoy spring break vacations?
For us it’s usually summer destinations for family vacations. It just appeals to us as there is more you can do outdoors and you can travel lighter – trust me, when travel with kids you will appreciate this.
So unless you are looking for winter activities, you are more likely following the sun too. This will often mean prices can be higher, except for those regions where it is always hot – like the Top End of Australia and Southeast Asia.
Consider the impact seasons have on where you go and whether the weather conditions will be right during the time of your visit.
You can waste a lot of money if you don’t get the timing right.
Can You Travel in the Off-Season?
If you are fortunate enough to be flexible in when you can take your vacation time, good for you!
Even if you have kids in school, consider traveling a week or two outside of major school holiday periods to take advantage of the savings.
Once you have a list of places in mind, look up their shoulder season dates and see if they work for you.
Tips for Choosing a Travel Destination
Now you have the main questions covered, here are our top tips for choosing a travel destination…
1. Fly Where the Deals Are!
Instead of thinking too much about the location of your next travel destination, let the cheap flights make up your mind for you!
Use Google Flights to search for Flight Deals by selecting “anywhere” as the destination, and input your travel dates, and see what shows up.
Think about using airfare sales to help determine the location of your next vacation, rather than the other way around.
Skyscanner’s go EVERYWHERE feature is cool. Type in the word everywhere in the “To” box on their site and this helps you to select the cheapest destination from your point of origin.
Or you can also just leave the “To” box blank. If you’re not fussed on your destination and just want to get out of town this is a fun tool. See more of our tips on finding cheap flights.
2. Travel in Your Own Backyard
If you’re struggling to save money for travel, or if time is an issue for you, don’t underestimate the benefits of staying local and exploring in your own backyard.
This strategy is one of the most overlooked and cheapest ways of having more travel in your life. Some of the key benefits of local travel include:
- Less planning
- Less packing
- Les time away
- No jet lag or burnout
- Usually cheaper
It’s an easy strategy to implement. Start by taking day trips, then short breaks. After a while you’ll be looking for bigger and longer adventures.
This is what helped us overcome reverse culture shock after returning home after yet another extended period of travel. We now do that with our other site This is Raleigh, spending our days with our traveler eyes exploring our backyard and encouraging other Raleigh residents to do the same.
3. Choose Somewhere With No Visa
If you’re looking to go away fast and don’t have time for careful planning, simply choose somewhere where you don’t have to get a visa for your passport.
Last minute trips to South America, where you need to get Yellow Fever Vaccinations, for example, are not the wisest decision.
4. Look For Holiday Deals
Most people want to get home in time for Christmas, but rarely do people want to fly on Christmas Day itself.
We know people who have flown over New Years Eve and had incredible deals on plane tickets before fewer people want to travel on those days. Here are some holiday travel ideas.
5. Go Somewhere With Infrastructure
If one of the reasons you can’t pick a destination is because you’re not ready to jump out of your comfort zone, then choose a destination that has infrastructure.
Think about places that have a culture not too far from your own.
I always say European countries are the easiest to travel in because everyone speaks English, and the infrastructure is set up to make travel easier.
6. Go on a Guided Tour
Let someone else make the decisions for you. Travel planning can be overwhelming and time consuming. Plus, it can be a logistical nightmare to make it work independently if visiting multiple locations or short on time.
There can be a lot of negativity around taking group tours – as if it’s cheating and not a valid way to travel. I completely disagree. As a busy mother who runs her own business, I now love nothing more than showing up with my suitcase and jumping on a bus or boat and having everything taken care of for me.
On our recent summer Europe trip, we joined an 8-day Avalon Waterways Danube River cruise and absolutely loved it. We visited 3-4 countries, had incredible food and wine, wonderful experiences, stunning views the entire time, and had friendly service and met lovely people on the cruise. Even our kids enjoyed it.
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7. Just Go To Your Bucket List Place
If none of these tips are working, just go to your bucket list! Have you dreamed of seeing The Northern Lights in Iceland or witness gorillas in Uganda?
You only live once, and if you have the time, don’t waste it. You can earn your money back, but you can never get enough time.
So, there you have it, those are some questions you should ask yourself to help you choose a destination, and some of our top tips for picking a place to travel to.
Now you know how to choose your next destination, be sure to read our guides on how to find cheap flights, how to save money on accommodation, and how to find the best deals on rental cars to make your money go further.