Choosing a Travel Destination
With so many stunning images popping up on our social media handles, we feel it’s time to pack your bags and go to those exotic locations. Italy, Switzerland, Croatia, New Zealand, New York, Maldives, Greek Islands, or the Philippines where should we go? There are nearly 200 countries in the world and they have so many cities and regions. It’s not a mean task, to decide your holiday destination. Ironically, if you are a seasoned traveler, it becomes all the more difficult to choose a country as you have already seen the best. If you are a new traveler, the world is wide open for you. So how do you decide where to head next? The idea will not suddenly dawn on you. You can conduct a Twitter poll, ask your friends, or just randomly decide by throwing a dart. It would be a better idea however if you weigh down all the pertinent factors before zeroing down on a destination.
- Why you want to travel is the first question. Are you looking for a relaxed holiday after a very stressful work life or do you want to spend quality time with close ones? Maybe you are looking for peace & solitude or are in the mood for some adventure. You might be interested in history & culture or maybe a culinary/shopping vacation. The question is pertinent.
- Once the purpose of the vacation is decided, it becomes easier to focus on the type of destination for your vacation. Beaches, mountainsides, cities, islands, countryside, wildlife sanctuaries, historical sites, luxury, or budget. The options are too many and it’s time to narrow them down.
- Naturally, your decision will depend on your travel companions. If traveling with kids, go for cruises, wildlife safari, an all-inclusive resort, or family places like Orlando where you can engage in family fun. If holidaying with friends opt for a place where you can gamble, party, and chill like Las Vegas or Miami. Couples should choose peaceful and romantic locations like the Maldives or maybe trek together in Kathmandu. As a solo, you would like to go trekking or meditation in Bali. The affinity of co-travelers has to be taken into consideration and compromises have to be made so that trip is enjoyable for everyone traveling.
- The dilemma has just started. Time is one of the most vital factors to be considered. If you have just 4-5 days, you would not want to waste it flying to far-off locations or cramming it with too many stops. You should not feel like you need a holiday when you reach home. So, go for a destination closer to home where the traveling involved is 3-4 hours and you have time to enjoy the vacation. However, if you have 3-4 weeks, you can head to distant regions with an elaborate itinerary. Wherever you go, remember it’s not about ticking boxes, but enjoying and savoring the experiences.
- Unfortunately, everything comes down to money at some stage. Some destinations like Scandinavia, Germany, Russia, and Japan are quite expensive while South-Eastern Asia and Eastern Europe are budget-friendly. You can choose cheaper flying & lodging options but it’s better you stick to the comforts you are used to, otherwise, you won’t be able to enjoy the vacation to the utmost. You don’t want to be counting pennies all the time. Going in non-peak time is much cheaper, and if the extremities don’t bother you, use the opportunity to go in the offseason. Not only flight tickets but hotels, local transport costs, food expenses, and sightseeing tickets must be taken into consideration while calculating the budget.
- The time you are traveling will automatically eliminate lots of locations. You can’t travel to Egypt, Dubai, and New Zealand in May-June as these places are either too hot or too cold at that time. In the same way, no point in going to Europe, Alaska, or Iceland in December, unless you want to do skiing. However, if you want to see the Northern Lights, you have no option but to face the chilling winds and below-zero-degree temperatures. Going in a rainy season can wash away all your plans. So, do your homework, before buying that ticket. If you can manage to take out time in September or November, they are good months to travel sans the crowd.
- Airline or hotel sales, currency depreciation, the offseason, and economic meltdown are some of the reasons which might bring down the cost of your trip drastically. So, no harm in being swayed by them, providing your safety is not being compromised. Don’t go to places where there is political upheaval, security issues or some climate calamity forecasted.
- Landing in a foreign place and trying to find your bearings can be an intimidating experience. If you are new to all this, please don’t opt for places where there are language issues. If you are still tempted, book an organized trip. In case you have lots of dietary and cultural restrictions, it’s better you head to places that suit your temperament.
- When you go out on vacation, the purpose is to have fun. You don’t want to be hassled or tensed. So please check the visa requirements, layovers, immigration, vaccinations, and other logistics. Can’t count the number of times I have seen programs of friends and relatives being canceled as they had not received a visa in time. Visas to countries like the UK and Brazil can take up to a month. Plan in advance.
- If you have an opportunity to witness a festival, World Cup, or some glorious natural phenomenon, don’t think twice. Tulip season in Amsterdam, Cherry Blossom in Japan, Carnival in Rio, Northern Lights in Norway, Wimbledon in London, Great Serengeti migration, and Holi in India are experiences that you will cherish forever. Check out some of the Best Festivals in the World.
All this is easier said than done. It means you have to wade through unlimited information dolled out by Google. The best place to research is Tripadvisor where you get reviews from real travelers. Rest you can rely on reputed travel blogs and books like Fodors Travel Guide and Lonely Planet. If reading is not for you, just search for related hashtags on Instagram and Pinterest. You will be swarmed by millions of pictures that can inspire you. Friends and relatives are always there to advise but do your homework so that you are prepared for everything and your vacations are memorable. The destination is decided, but what about hotels? What are the factors we should consider while booking a hotel?
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