Having trouble choosing where to travel to next? Are you feeling overwhelmed and maybe a little paralyzed by all of the possibilities? If you are like me, then deciding where to travel to next is one of the hardest parts of travel planning. Because there are so many great places to explore in this big old world, it can be a little difficult to narrow down your options. Plus, for every destination I check off my list, I usually add three more before I even get home (big sigh). Wanderlust is real, people.
Anyway, back to the point at hand. If you are in the difficult position of trying to decide where to go on your next adventure, I suggest you ask yourself the following questions:
- How much time do you have?
- How much money can you spend?
- What time of year is it?
- What is your risk threshold?
- Do you have any special requirements?
- Is there an alternative option?
Now let’s explore these questions in greater detail. Also, I wrote a part 2 to this post that compares the following questions side-by-side and could help when choosing your next destination.
When choosing, ask yourself: how much time do you have?
A long weekend? One week? A whole month? Let’s be real, you do not want the time it takes to get to a destination to be longer than the time you have to enjoy being there. The more time you have, the more options you have. So if you’ve only got five days, then you might want to cross South Africa off the list. We tend to leave the really long flights (think Asia) for those vacations in which we have two weeks or longer. But Mexico or the Caribbean, they can easily be enjoyed on a much smaller time frame. And science says eight days is the ideal length for a vacation.
How much money can you spend?
We like to do things on the cheap. That way we get to do more. But that philosophy is easier to do in some places than it is in others. New York, Switzerland, Iceland: these places are not cheap and your money will not go as far. On the other hand, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Idaho (shout out!): these places are more affordable. You just have to decide what is a good value for the money you have available to spend.
What time of year is it?
This needs to be looked at for two reasons: weather and cost.
If you do not enjoy colder weather, then you are probably going to be a bit picky about where you go in say, February. And if humidity is not your thing, you may want to rethink Florida in August. (It will still be humid in January, just not stifling so.) Another thought to keep in mind: travel options can be very limited in certain places during a particular time (e.g. Morocco during Ramadan, Maine in the winter, Peru during the rainy season, etc.). It is critical that you do your research.
Also, certain times of the year cost more. Christmas is an obvious one. So is summer. But did you know that there is usually a significant increase in travel prices from February to March? We blame spring break (whether it deserves it or not). This comes back to the question about how much you have to spend. You’ll need to keep in mind that if you are planning to travel in July, you will have a harder time finding the good deals.
Side note: busy season means more people. If you want to minimize your interaction with crowds, you’ll really want to think about this question.
What is your risk threshold?
It is sad to say, but some places are just safer than others. Especially for women. That being said, each Jane is unique and a country/city’s safety is a bit subjective. There are places R and I are more than comfortable traveling to that our friend C will not even consider. And there are definitely places I am not planning on traveling to any time soon no matter how beautiful or exotic you tell me they are…most countries that end in ‘stan’ are a no-go for the immediate future. Deciding where you are and are not comfortable traveling to definitely needs to be considered when deciding where to go next.
Do you have any special requirements?
This is always changing for us. One time on a particularly hot and humid trip (that had been proceeded by several hot and humid trips), R looked at me and said, “The next place we travel to has to be cold.” Pause. “And I want to be able to drink the water.” Guess where our next trip was to? Iceland.
Whatever your particular requirements are at the time, take them into account. They may really be able to help you narrow down your next vacation.
Is there an alternative option?
What if you have your destination in mind but for whatever reason, you cannot make it work? Maybe the cost is just too much or the flight times are not right. Get creative and see if there is a similar destination to what you are planning. R really wanted to visit Egypt a few years ago. But things have not been real smooth there for a while and it fell just below my risk threshold (as discussed above). So instead, we went to Morocco. We still want to travel to Egypt one day, but Morocco was a perfect alternative at that time.
A few simple questions can help narrow down your options and assist in choosing your next travel destination. I hope the questions above help and we cannot wait to hear where you decide to go next. Happy choosing!