When it comes to making choices, picking your travel destination has to be one of the most exciting decisions to have to make in life.
You’ve got time off, you’ve got some money in the bank, you’re ready to go – but you just don’t know where to go. The planet is large and somehow you’d like to see it all, but for now, you have to make a choice. Here are 5 points to consider when planning your trip.
1. Is it safe?
What countries are safe/unsafe for travellers?
This should always be a question at the top of your list. Websites like the US Governments Travel Alerts or Australian Smartaveller are a great place to check what’s going in in the world as they are constantly updated. If your travel insurance doesn’t cover it, there’s probably a reason for it.
2. What’s your budget?
The biggest game changer in where you end up is the money you have available to spend.
Consider flight distance: Longer or more flights, means higher fares.
Consider your preferred style of travel: are you happy to share dorm rooms? Do you prefer privacy and meeting locals in a Bed & Breakfast environment? Or do you like the convenience of a concierge at a hotel?
Consider some countries are way cheaper to travel in than others. Asian countries like Cambodia, Vietnam, India have cheap accommodation, transport & food – even the internal flights are very cost efficient. In comparison, places like the UK or France are relatively expensive. For example, a three-star hotel in India’s capital of Mumbai costs US$85 and up. A 3 star in London, UK starts at US$150.
Go somewhere you can afford! Having Champagne taste buds and a beer budget can be a real dampener of spirits. Don’t go to Paris, spend everything you have on accommodation and flights and then not afford entrance into the Louvre. Paris isn’t going anywhere – do it when you can do it well.
3. How much time do you have?
Have you got a week? Do you have six months? Do you want to immerse yourself in the place or do you just want to tick places off your bucket list?
Consider the time it takes to travel between the places you want to see. Do you need to fly or are there buses? How long are the journeys?
If you have a shorter time, pick a spot with a short travel time to maximise your time on the ground exploring.
Consider that you might not want to do a 8 hour trek after being on a 24 overnight bus ride. Build in rest days – we all need them.
Just because you made it to Bangkok, doesn’t mean you know Thailand. Like any place, truly getting to know a place, its food, culture and landscapes takes time.
If you have limited time, pick a few things you really want to see and do them well, rather than just ticking places off a long list. You’ll be richer for it.
4. What climate do you prefer?
Consider that it may rain a lot during a monsoon or some places are affected by hurricane season.
Consider that the northern and southern hemisphere climates are opposite.
Consider summer heat waves. Coming to Australia to experience the surf in summer is awesome. Also, consider that it can hit over 40 Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) in January/February and whether you’re prepared/can handle that.
5. What do you want from your holiday?
Do you want an action packed holiday filled with thrills and adrenalin inducing adventures or do you just want to swing in a hammock whilst drinking piña coladas?
Do you want to give back and do volunteer work?
Do you want to encounter and immerse yourself in an unfamiliar culture?
Are you a foodie that wants to taste lots of new flavours?
Are you into nature and landscapes or prefer big cities and civilisation?
Do you want to move around a lot or prefer staying in one spot?
If these questions don’t help narrow your field at least a little bit, there’s always the option of playing ‘spin the globe’. Wherever your finger lands, is where you’ll go! Otherwise talk to your friends or work colleagues, buy a travel magazine or find inspiration from some of these travel blogs. There’s much to be explored. Happy planning and bon voyage!