Sometimes one of the hardest parts of travel is choosing where to go. There are so many amazing places to see, the possibilities are overwhelming.
Our tips will help you to make the decision quicker and with confidence:
1. Start With Something Simple
Don’t stress yourself with overcomplicated itineraries which might put you off travelling. Start with a destination which you feel comfortable with. It can be an interesting place in your country which you haven’t been to yet.
Choose a place where you will feel safe. If going abroad, check the most updated security information on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of your country or contact the destination’s embassy or consulate to have peace of mind.
It makes things much easier if you are able to communicate with locals. If you like the idea of travelling overseas, choose a country where you can understand the language or their language is similar to yours. It might also help if it is a common holiday destination for people from your country, the locals will probably speak or understand your language at least a little.
We started our journey in the Czech Republic, where we both come from, and then expanded our comfort zone by visiting the neighbouring countries first, followed by other European countries. This way we built up enough confidence to start exploring other continents and even do a few round-the-world trips.
2. What Are You Looking For?
Are you a beach bum or are you looking for an active holiday? Do you prefer exploring cities or nature wonders? What are your interests – are you fascinated by history, architecture or culture? Are you looking for an adventure or relaxation?
You can find a lot of useful information on what to see and do in many interesting destinations on Wikivoyage. You can also check what other travellers think on Tripadvisor. The websites of the local tourism boards are worth looking at too.
Try to be realistic – you can do only so much in a day. It is tempting to try to squeeze as much as you can into a trip, especially if you are travelling far (we still do it sometimes!).
Over the years we moved from visiting cities, which is easier because of better infrastructure and facilities for travellers, to exploring nature and mountains because we really enjoy being outdoors. Choose whatever makes you happy.
Get inspired with Google Flights where you can search for flights to various destinations by interest:
3. Time Of Travel
Check when you could get time off at work and request it in advance if possible. You don’t want to waste time on planning the trip and getting excited, only to find out that you have to change your dates and start from scratch again.
Try to avoid any public or school holidays if you can, the prices are higher and the availability limited.
Start just with a day or a weekend away, see how it goes and if you are enjoying yourself, try to make the next trip longer.
Don’t assume anything and do your research. In August, there is summer in Europe or North America but there is winter in Australia, hurricane season in the Caribbean and rainy season in Thailand.
It might be tempting to take the risk because flights during low season are cheaper, but this is for a reason. Even though nobody can guarantee you the weather you want, check the weather forecast and pick your travel dates wisely to maximize your chances of good weather.
We like to travel in the shoulder season when the weather is usually still ok but the prices are lower and places aren’t that busy.
And if you aren’t lucky with the weather, take it easy – there is always something to do and see indoors. When we were in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, it was so hot that it was impossible to stay outside. During the day we kept ourselves entertained by trying different things like indoor skiing or desert safari, doing some shopping, etc.
5. Good Value
We always have a few interesting destinations, which we would like to visit, in mind but we are open. If we aren’t sure where to go, we check if there are any deals on flights and we go for the best-value destination.
This way we decided to go to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. We were looking for an interesting place out of Europe but we couldn’t decide on the destination. Then we found out that KLM had a special offer on flights to Brazil. We loved the idea of visiting Rio and the Iguassu Falls, we booked the flights and it was one of our most memorable holidays.
Related Post: How To Travel The World When You Don’t Have Money
6. Total Costs
If your budget is limited, work out the approximate total costs before making any bookings to see if you can afford the trip. Some countries can be much more expensive than you think. In the end you might realise that you don’t want to spend so much money and you will opt for another destination instead.
The major costs are usually the air tickets, accommodation, local transportation (car rental, fuel, etc.), food and activities. Add a little extra for miscellaneous expenses which always happen.
Numbeo is a useful website where you can compare costs of living between various countries.
7. Recommendations And Reviews
Ask your family and friends for their thoughts and experience. They know you well so they should be honest and suggest places which they think could be the right fit for you.
This way we decided to travel to Thailand on our first long haul trip. A Kat’s workmate, who was well-travelled, recommended Thailand as a destination perfect for beginners – beautiful, exotic (at least for us), cheap, great food, friendly locals and many people speaking English. And she was right, we were glad we took her advice and we had a great time.
Check online reviews on Tripadvisor, Google or online forums to see different points of view. But don’t rely on the reviews too much – we all are different and what someone likes you might dislike. Be aware that some reviews might be misleading. It is good to read a few of them to get the bigger picture and make the decision for yourself.
Make sure you have a valid passport or another ID you are going to travel with. Many countries even specify minimum required passport validity. Be aware that most countries require children to have they own passports (there might be even further requirements related to travelling children).
Verify if there are any other entry requirements like an entry visa, a local sponsor, specific vaccinations, etc.
Don’t forget to check the requirements not only for the destination but also for any transit countries. The most reliable sources of information are the destination’s embassy or consulate and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in your country.
It is very important to check the rules before making any reservations because it might take a few weeks or even months to get things organised and you may have to postpone your trip which can be costly.
Following these simple steps will help you to narrow down the choice and pick your next holiday destination with more ease.
What is your experience with the process of deciding where to travel? Is there anything you are struggling with?