How to Choose a Travel Destination

Choosing a place to go when you have the opportunity to travel can sometimes be overwhelming. However, you can easily narrow your choices down with a thoughtful approach. Considering basic concerns, like what you and everyone else coming along enjoys doing, is an important first step. From there, factoring in how much money and time you have will further help you choose between destinations. Finally, comparing your final choices based on additional concerns, like the time of year and ease of travelling, will help you decide between them.
Method1 Determining Goals and Desires
1. Consider your interests.
Write a list of activities that you enjoy. Brainstorm others that you would like to try for the first time. Narrow down your destination options by knowing exactly what you expect to be there waiting for you.[1] Such activities could include:
Physical pastimes, like hiking, swimming, or skiing.
Cultural activities, such as museums, dining, and theater.
Rest and relaxation, such as spa treatments or simply reading a book poolside.
2.Factor in your current needs.
Now that you have created a list of things you enjoy in general, take a step back. Examine your life and situation as it stands today. Ask yourself what you would want most out of a trip if you were to go on one this minute. Then go back through your list and cross out those activities that don’t suit your needs at the moment.
For example, if you’ve been working 60 hours per week, fixing your house up during your off-hours, and training for a marathon, you might appreciate more laidback activities that will allow you to unwind, such as sightseeing or cultural/cuisine related experiences.
Conversely, if you’re bored stiff by your routine, you may want to climb out of your rut by challenging yourself with more adventurous pursuits, such as waterskiing or even skydiving.
3. Take fellow travellers into account.
If anyone will be travelling with you (such as family or a significant other), have them write their own list(s) of preferred pastimes. Share your lists as a group. Discover which activities everyone hopes to experience so you focus on destinations that will make everybody happy.[3]
If there’s an odd duck in the group whose interests don’t match everyone else’s, ask them to prioritize items on their list so at least some of their expectations are met. For example, if their #1 priority is hiking, while everyone else is more interested in museums, shopping, and theater, consider going to a city that also offers a lot of walking tours.
If only you and your significant other are going on this trip, and your lists don’t match, consider letting one person decide on a destination this time around, and then let the other decide your next trip.
4.Research travel destinations.
Consult online and print publications to find locations offering the experiences that you are seeking and that can accommodate the group you’re traveling with (or just you). Use tourism websites, travel blogs, and travel guides to gain an idea of what is out there. Search by location (say, “Italy”) or interests (like “Top 10 Destinations for Rock Climbing”). Ask friends, family, or other associates for recommendations and warnings based on their own travels. However, maintain a healthy skepticism when researching. Be on the lookout for:
Sources that are attempting to sell you something.
Out-of-date information
Reviews based on a different set of criteria than yours.
Method2 Evaluating Finances and Time
1.Determine your budget.
Figure out exactly how much you can afford to spend on travel, so that you aren’t breaking the bank for this trip. At the same time, determine what luxuries you can and can’t do without. With this info, whittle your list of preferred destinations down even further according to cost.
Ask yourself if you are willing to stay at a campground or hostel in order to see the sights you want to see, or if you need comfier accommodations.
Make the same call regarding food: is dining out an integral part of your dream vacation, or are you willing to live on peanut butter sandwiches to reduce costs?
2.Research costs of living.
First, come up with a list of items that you expect to purchase while travelling. Then, for each destination you have in mind, research the costs of those items to make sure they don’t exceed your budget. Remember that an American dollar, for example, doesn’t go as far in NYC as it might in Smalltown, USA.
Factor in basic items (like, say, grilled cheese sandwiches if that’s what you’ll be living on) as well as items specific to your trip (such as theater tickets).
If you are considering other countries, also factor in the exchange rate between their currency and yours.
Also consider whether each destination has a tourist season, when costs may rise above their off-season norm.
3.Decide how much time you have to travel.
Now that you have a firm budget, figure out how long it has to last you. Determine how many days (including travel time) you will spend away from home. Use this number to better decide which activities you want to focus on and how much money you are willing to spend on them.
A brief trip (like a week or two) may enable you to spend more on luxuries like fine dining and accommodations. Or, it may make a steady diet of PB&J seem more doable so you can spend your money on things like scuba gear rentals, Broadway tickets, or high-end shopping.
A longer trip of a few weeks will allow you to visit multiple places, such as all of Holland instead of just Amsterdam. You may have to sacrifice some luxuries in order to stretch your budget, but with so much time at your disposal, you can also utilize more cost-cutting options, such as indirect flights.
If you’re traveling with children, you’ll also need to consider their school schedule and whether or not you want them missing school.
4.Consider travel deals.
Look for all-inclusive or partially-inclusive travel deals that charge a flat fee for things like travel fare, accommodations, and food. Sign up for alerts from companies offering discounted travel or lodging. If you plan on traveling regularly, find companies that offer loyalty programs.
Method3 Considering Safety and Convenience
1. Think about convenience.
Research the realities of day-to-day life in your dream destinations, as well as any hurdles that you will have to overcome in order to get there. Then ask yourself how much hassle you are willing to endure in order to travel. Weigh this against the benefits of travelling there to make sure that your trip will still be a positive experience in the end. Consider things like:
Whether you will need to get a passport, visa, and/or vaccinations beforehand (which will also have to be factored into your budget).
How developed their infrastructure is in terms of medical services, public transportation, roads, internet and cellphone service, and availability of ATMs and/or currency exchanges.
How comfortable you’ll feel when visiting a country or region where you don’t speak the local language.
What special needs you or fellow travelers may require based on age, disabilities, or medical conditions.
2.Consider the season.
In addition to deciding how long you will be travelling, decide when you’ll be going. For each destination, research what weather you should expect during this timeframe. Decide whether these conditions are tolerable to you. Then judge their impact on the activities you hope to pursue while there.
For example, if you don’t mind the extra heat, humidity, and afternoon thunderstorms, there is little difference between visiting Puerto Rico in the summer and any other time of the year.
On the other hand, if you’re an outdoorsy type who hates the bitter cold, but who can only currently travel during the winter, you may want to postpone that trip to Maine for another time.
Also consider the weather’s impact on your health or those who will be joining you, based on age, medical history, and current health.
3.Take special events into account.
Of course, a special event (like spending New Year’s Eve in Times Square) may be part of a destination’s draw for you. But if not, research each destination’s cultural calendar to see if they will be hosting any big activities during your stay there. If so, gauge whether this will add or detract from your own experience.
Research how large of a crowd will attend based on past numbers. Then find out how this number affects availability for things like accommodations, tickets, restaurant seating, and transportation.
Consider the nature of the event versus the people you will be travelling with. Planning a family vacation to, say, Daytona Beach during spring break may not be the best idea.
4.Make sure the destination is safe.
Stay up-to-date about the current environment for each destination. Although it is impossible to foresee every eventuality, be on the lookout for any trends that indicate consistent danger. If traveling abroad, refer to government websites (such as for alerts and warnings about specific areas. Always consider:
Health risks, such as outbreaks of diseases.
Civil unrest, like protests, riots, rebellions, and war.
Spikes and trends in crime.
Environmental concerns, like seasons of high-risk (such as hurricane or wildfire seasons).
Method4 Making the Final Decision

1.Review your final choices.
If you’ve narrowed your list to a couple of choices instead of one stand-out, compare the two. Apply the same criteria that you used to eliminate other choices. Find out if one seems more sensible, doable, and enjoyable than the other.
2.Follow your gut.
If your final choices still seem equally appealing after a second comparison, forget the checklist. Take a step back, clear your head, and give yourself some time. Wait to see which destination you find yourself dreaming about more. Listen to your heart and go with that.
3.Compromise with fellow travelers.
If your group is equally torn between two destinations, work toward an agreement. Ask for everyone’s reasons for their preferred choice. Based on these, try to find a solution by considering things like:
The likelihood of being able to travel as a group again in the future so you can visit both.
Whether individuals in the group will have a chance to go to their top pick on their own in the future.
Timely considerations, like the season, special events, and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.
Whether a previous option that has already been nixed for this or that reason should be reconsidered if everyone can agree to it.

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