Hi guys! I thought it would be fun to share my essential tips on how to pick a destination for your next trip. The list includes several considerations that are important when choosing a destination or planning a trip.
On my first solo trip I traveled to Vietnam for several reasons. Firstly, it was cheap and I was a perpetually broke college student. Secondly, it has a rich culture and a warm climate and I wanted to soak up culture and some vitamin D.
Lastly, it wasn’t Thailand.
This might sound ridiculous, especially considering the fact that I’ve since been to Thailand and enjoyed it thoroughly. However, everyone went to Thailand and I didn’t know anyone that had visited Vietnam. I wanted to discover the unknown.
Since then, I have planned quite a few more trips, both solo and with family or friends. Here are some essential questions to help you pick a destination for your next trip. Answering these will hopefully limit the options to a more manageable list.
What do you want from this trip?
This sounds obvious, but it’s the most important question to answer. Do you want to climb mountain? Great! Maybe you should visit Nepal or Kilimanjaro. Do you want to relax on the beach with a mojito? Awesome! Maybe Mexico or South-East Asia might be better suited. Consider what you want to do and then adjust your destination (or destinations) accordingly.
What time of year are you going?
Spend a little bit of time researching weather patterns, rain seasons and average temperature. I once saw a very confused guy in shorts, flip-flops and a T-shirt standing outside of the airport in Johannesburg in July while it was cold and rainy. He was looking up at the sky showing nothing but bewilderment. Apparently no one told him winter exists in Africa. Or how seasons work on the other side of the equator.
Knowing when to go, or when not to go, will help you be prepared for the weather. Don’t be like that guy, looking all confused because it rains in Africa.
It also depends on what seasons you like or think are most comfortable. I’ve been wanting to visit South America for years. Argentina especially, I dream of bold red wines, juicy steaks, and of failing terribly at the tango. Then again, I dislike the winter and the cold. Which is an issue if you only have time to go during the summer holidays in the Northern hemisphere. 11 C is not my idea of a vacation. So I’m (not very) patiently abiding my time. Maybe I’ll spend a Christmas in Argentina some day.
Who is going with you?
I’ve been to London with one of my best friends three times so far. We have our own rituals (they mainly revolve around eating and shopping) and habits while there. I don’t think I would enjoy London as much visiting it with anyone else.
Who goes with you is an important consideration when picking your next destination. Talk about the types of things you want to do and what sorts of activities constitute a holiday for all of you. If you want completely opposite experiences, either spend time digging into destinations that offer both, or maybe reconsider your traveling plans.
What is your budget?
Me: I want to travel!
Wallet: Where? To the backyard?
Captain obvious here! New York or London is probably not so much fun when you are broke. If I ever go to New York, I want to ride in a yellow cab, preferably while drinking a cosmopolitan and with someone making a movie about me. This might not be realistic on a very tight budget. Check out the prices of your must-do’s before planning.
Seriously, consider your budget when picking a destination. Some destinations are more expensive than others. Try to account for unexpected expenses as well, such as exchange rates or needing expensive gear, inoculations or malaria tablets. The money you spend outside of the actual trip can add up quickly.
What are the current affairs?
Consider the news when making a last-minute decisions. When I was in India with my friend Ellen, we had the opportunity to visit Nepal. Although Nepal is on both of our bucket-lists, they had major shortages of fuel and food and there were protests in some area’s. Locals were waiting in lines at gas-stations for days. It didn’t feel right to visit at that time and use precious food and fuel, which was so limited already. Instead we flew to Goa and had a brilliant time in the south of India.
In addition, check out what your governments’ office of foreign affair recommends about a destination. This type of information can be essential to your safety. Also, a lot of travel insurances will not cover you if you disregard a no-go advice from your government.
If you answer these questions, several options for your next trip will probably come up. Do you have any more considerations before you pick a destination for your next trip? Let me know in the comments.