Choosing the next travel destination can be an exciting yet overwhelming task. With several incredible choices to explore around the globe, it’s essential to have a systematic approach to help you make the best decision. In this article, we will share seven essential steps that will simplify the process and empower you to select a destination that aligns with your interests, budget, and desired travel experience. Whether you’re an experienced traveler or planning your first big trip, get ready to embark on a journey of discovery and make your wanderlust dreams a reality. Let’s dive in!
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My husband and I finally lined up our schedules to take our first trip out of Japan since moving to Okinawa 14 months ago! YAY! In our world, getting significant time off together is rare. At first, I wanted to plan an excursion to one of the southernmost islands of Okinawa. As I sat there, figuring out plans, hotels, etc., something felt wrong. The more I thought about it, the more I learned we needed to take advantage of this chance. We needed to spend time in another country on this side of the world. This idea had me ecstatic until I sat down, opened my Google Maps and Skyscanner app, and became completely overwhelmed.
Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Bali, Hong Kong, Thailand. I could go on forever about all the places I want to travel to from Okinawa. Our original plan when we found out we would be moving here was to backpack through South East Asia for 4 to 6 weeks. This dream was crushed not only by the job I was able to secure but learning what Wade’s work life would hold. I get summers off, which happens to be his busiest time. Life is perfect like that!
Wade often travels for work, and though I’m jealous of the stamps in his passport, he doesn’t get much leisure time. He will be returning from a trip just before our vacation, so he requests that we allow him a few days before and after for some downtime and take this time to experience something other than island life. That leaves us about 10 days and narrows it down slightly! So what now?
There are many ways to choose your next destination, and it’s really up to you, but here are the seven steps I use, and hopefully, they help you select your next travel destination.
Go through your wish list. Don’t have it written down? Ha, me either; I’m taking the time to write mine down now as I write this! I’m terrible at making decisions, so I know this will happen again.
Research Different Destinations
Utilize travel websites, guidebooks, and online resources to research different destinations. Look for information on attractions, local customs, safety considerations, weather patterns, and traveler reviews. Take note of goals that resonate with your interests.
Time available to travel
Some can travel for months; some can only take long weekends. Your time limit will greatly help narrow down the possibilities. You must consider how long it will take to travel to your destination and within the country based on what you want to see.
Time of year
Are you a risk taker? Would you want to travel during a hurricane? How about the hottest month of the year? Research the weather for that time of year. Don’t just read the guidebooks; use blogs and weather charts for more specific areas. Remember, sometimes the best deals happen when it isn’t the best time to travel. Typhoon season happens in Okinawa from June – November. That doesn’t mean we get a typhoon every weekend in those months; this year, we had one in early May. Consider your risk versus reward.
and the fallKiyomizu-dera Temple in the spring
Money Money Money
I would like to spend 10 days in Australia right now, but that isn’t happening—flights, Hotels, food, activities, shopping, money, money. Set your budget and stick to it. Traveling will only make you want to do it more, so set yourself up to continue traveling. We came home from Greece under budget; it’s a good feeling!
But what if you can’t pick based on the time of year (the rainy season in most of SEA), and your budget opens up several spots on your wish list? How do you even begin narrowing it down? Don’t get me wrong; I understand this is hardly a horrible position to find yourself in. Some dream of being this lucky, but that doesn’t make it any less overwhelming of a choice.
Festivals, concerts, cultural events
Maybe look into what is happening around your travel date or base your travel around that time. I love flowers and gardens; my next dream vacation would be to Holland during tulip season, which falls in March, April, and early May. An unpredictable season of highs and lows
What do you want to do?
I am down for anything when it comes to travel, but for some, this is their only time to relax, and they want a beach chair and a good book (I’m looking at you, Mom!) Think about what you wish your vacation’s “after effects” be. Relaxed? New wardrobe? Are you a few pounds heavier? No one wants that, but you only visit Hong Kong once, and you best believe I’ll look like a dumpling when I leave there.
Visas and shots
Make sure you can get them before you go!
Still, having trouble? I know I am.
Seek Inspiration from Others
Talk to friends, family, and fellow travelers about their favorite destinations. Read travel blogs, watch documentaries, or browse social media platforms for inspiration. Engage in conversations and gather recommendations from people who have visited places you’re considering.
Prioritize and Make a Decision
Based on your research, interests, and preferences, narrow your choices to a shortlist of two or three destinations. Evaluate each option carefully, weighing the pros and cons. Consider accessibility, uniqueness, cultural experiences, and available activities. Ultimately, choose the destination that excites you the most and aligns with your travel goals.
Do the inevitable.
This is when I tell myself I’m overthinking everything and get my husband and make him choose. He chose Thailand. (with no help from the above-mentioned process HA!) So we are off to Thailand. Now I must decide what to do once we return to point one.
By following the steps outlined in this guide, you now have the tools and knowledge to make an informed decision when choosing your next travel destination. Remember to reflect on your travel goals, consider your budget and time constraints, research different destinations, seek inspiration from others, evaluate the best time to visit, and prioritize your options.