How to Choose a Travel Destination

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How do you choose where to travel? Do you have a long list of places you’d like to go to? Need ideas on how to choose your next travel destination?

Planning a trip, and especially deciding where to go, can be confusing.

There are so many options and low-cost flights make it easier than ever to go just about anywhere.

But it doesn’t have to be confusing. 

Here are some of the main things to consider when choosing a vacation destination and planning your trip.  Just work through them and make life easier for yourself.

Pick your destination by how much time you have

For a short trip, it’s wiser to go to one destination, or two at most. Think about it as preferring quality over quantity.

It’s nicer to immerse yourself in one place, get to know its culture and meet new people, than to rush around trying to see too much.

If you try to see too many places in one short trip, you’ll soon find that it’s too stressful, transportation may be both time consuming and exhausting, and that you’re left with less time to actually enjoy the holiday.

After all, you’re going on a short break to relax, so don’t wear yourself out.

If you have more time and are planning a long trip, you have more options.

Even if you choose many destinations on your long trip, you’ll need some time to process the new experiences of each of them.

I can’t stress this enough – Give yourself that processing time.

When planning a long trip, I like to start and end the trip in destinations I consider relaxing.

It’s nicer to start the trip in a place you already know, or where you have friends or family – it’s a way to ease into travel, or to switch into travel mode.

After a relaxed, easy start, you can go on and explore new places as energetically as you like.

The end of a long trip is also best spent in a quiet, peaceful place. There comes a point when you’ve experienced so much on the trip that your mind is saturated and all you want to do is relax.

Frankly, this is something I wish I’d been told when I first started going on long trips…

Choose your destination by how much money you have

Money is a determining factor for many people when it comes to travel, especially when choosing a vacation destination.

Some research online will help you find destinations that suit your budget.

One of the coolest feature on some flight search engines like SkyScanner is the flexible destination option:

You enter “Everywhere” in the “to” box and get a list of places you can fly to and the lowest fare for each of them.

Flexible destination search on SkyScanner - How to Choose Your Travel Destination
Flexible destination search on SkyScanner

Off season travel can save you a lot of money on both flights and accommodation.

You can also research the cost of living at your potential destination very easily.

Use an online database like Numbeo and get a list of common expenses, such as a meal at a restaurant, a cup of coffee, public transportation and so on.

Expatisan is a similar service that will let you compare the cost of living in your city to that of your destination.

If you travel on a budget or just want to save money on your trip, read this budget travel guide for more useful tips. 

Choose a holiday destination according to the weather

When considering how to choose your next travel destination, the weather is a key factor.

While you can’t control the weather, you can plan your trip so as to avoid harsh conditions.

If you’re going skiing or going to the beach, the weather you’re looking for is fairly obvious.

For me ideal weather when I choose my holiday destination is springtime: not too hot, not too cold, so I can be out and about all day long and go out in the evening as well.

You can look at the average temperatures for any destination simply by Googling the name of the country or city you’re considering going to.

Next you’ll want to focus on the parts of the country you might want to visit and the time of year.

For example, when planning a trip to Spain I Googled “average temperature madrid spain september” and then “average temperature seville spain september”.

I found that Seville can be way too hot for me in September, while Madrid was just perfect.

Depending on how flexible you are and how much time you have, you can plan to avoid uncomfortable weather and aim for the ideal conditions for you.

What would you like to do on your trip?

Go hiking or skiing?

Go to a festival?

Visit museums and art galleries?

Try the local cuisine?

Learn the local language?

Just relax?

When you choose where to travel, ask yourself why you want to travel, what are your interests.

You can go further and ask yourself what’s the purpose of your trip and what you want to get from it.

Start by checking sites that list a ton of local activities and tours, so you can get a good idea of what you can do. Viator will pretty much give you the full picture on what to expect in just about any destination.

Viator - pick a destination, discover things to do

Also check out Airbnb Experiences to find unique activities in major cities around the world.

For nice bargains on activities, check out the Experiences section on lastminute.com.

I know many people who go travelling without making plans or even thinking about what they want to do on their holiday.

That’s fine, but since you’ll have to decide what to do at some point, it’s better to decide before you go than to spend precious vacation time on making those decisions.  

How do you balance that with the need for spontaneity?  Simply make a general plan. You can change it later if you like when you arrive at your destination – there’s always room for that.

The thing you want to avoid is finding  yourself wasting way too much time on the internet during your trip, searching for things to do… do it in advance and make the most of your time when you travel.

Surprise yourself – Let someone else pick a destination for you!

Ever wanted to just ask someone: “Choose a destination for me”?

It can be done 🙂

Go to TravelZoo and in the destination field select “Anywhere“.

Within a few moments, you’ll have a list of deals in different places around the world to choose from.

Here’s another idea: Surprise trips!

Basically, you book a trip with a travel agency and let them surprise you.

Srprs.me is a service that surprises you by booking your trip for you, but not letting you know where you’re going to go.

The only clues you get in advance are the weather forecast and the measurements of the luggage you can take…

You discover where you’re going only when you reach the airport 🙂 I like their slogan – “travel without expectations”.

If you’re still puzzled about how it works, check out this video.

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After you go through the list above, you’ll end up with travel destinations that match your interests and your budget, that fall within the time frame you have for travelling and hopefully enjoy nice weather on your trip.

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Things to consider when choosing a vacation destination

How to Choose Your Travel Destination

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6 Replies to “How to Choose a Travel Destination”

  1. such an informative article on internet! I really appreciate you on this. I found it very interested specially the point “let someone else to pick a destination for you”. Over all nice post.

  2. Great Information! You really have shared a very important article. Your article really helpful to those who are very fond of traveling, but can’t decide where to go. All the information about choosing a travel destination is very unique but very informative. Thank you for sharing this valuable information. Keep Posting.

  3. I feel Skyscanner is such a life saver. It’s presented me with so many cheap flights too arrange of different countries! Very thankful to that website. However one thing is, I really like the idea of suprise trips! I might have to just consider this for the future…

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