Choosing where to go is often one of the hardest parts of travelling.
There are so many amazing places to see, and the possibilities can be overwhelming, especially if you’re just starting.
Our tips will help you make the decisions quicker and with confidence:
1. Start With Something Simple
Don’t stress yourself with overcomplicated itineraries that might put you off from travelling.
Start with a destination you feel comfortable with.
You don’t have to travel abroad – consider exploring an exciting place in your country that you haven’t been to yet.
Choose a place where you will feel safe.
If going abroad, check the most updated security information on your country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs website or contact the destination’s embassy or consulate to have peace of mind.
It makes things much easier if you can communicate with locals, so 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’s a common holiday destination for people from your country.
The locals will probably speak or understand your language at least a little, and you can meet other people from your country there.
We started our travels in the Czech Republic, where we come from, and then expanded our comfort zone by visiting the neighbouring countries first, followed by other European countries. This way, we built enough confidence to explore different continents and even make a few round-the-world trips.
2. What Are You Looking For?
Are you a beach bum or looking for an active holiday?
Do you prefer exploring cities or natural wonders?
What are your interests – are you fascinated by history, architecture or culture?
Are you looking for adventure or relaxation?
You can find helpful information on what to see and do in many exciting destinations on Wikivoyage or Google Flights.
You can also check what other travellers think on Tripadvisor, and 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’s tempting to squeeze as much as possible into the trip, especially if you are travelling far (we still do it!).
Get inspired with Google Flights, where you can search for flights to various destinations by interest:
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 enjoy being outdoors. After becoming parents, our priorities have changed again – we always check if the destination is family-friendly to avoid unnecessary hassle while over there.
3. Time Of Travel
Check when you could get time off from work and request it in advance if possible.
You don’t want to waste time planning the trip and getting excited only to discover that you must change your dates and start from scratch again.
Avoid any public or school holidays if you can – the prices are higher, and the availability is limited.
Start with a day or a weekend away, see how it goes, and if you enjoy yourself, try to make the next trip longer.
We have always checked the team roster at work to ensure we can get time off when we need before we book anything – changing an air ticket or accommodation is usually expensive these days…
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 the low season are cheaper, but this is for a reason.
Even though nobody can guarantee the weather you want, check the weather forecast and pick your travel dates wisely to maximise 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; that’s life – 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 entertained ourselves by trying various activities like indoor skiing, visiting an aquarium, shopping, etc.
5. Good Value
We always have a few interesting destinations we would like to visit, 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 destination with the best value.
This way, we decided to go to Rio de Janeiro. We were looking for an exciting place outside of Europe but couldn’t decide on the destination. Then we discovered 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.
Check Momondo or Skyscanner – they have valuable tools to show you the lowest fares without specifying the destination (just search for going to ‘everywhere’).
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, and in the end, you might realise that you don’t want to spend so much money and will opt for another destination instead.
The significant costs are usually air tickets, accommodation, local transportation (car rental, fuel, etc.), food and activities.
Add a little extra for miscellaneous expenses because they always happen.
Numbeo is a helpful website where you can compare living costs in 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 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 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; also, be aware that some reviews might be fake.
It’s good to read at least 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 if allowed) that you will travel with; many countries specify the minimum required passport validity.
Be aware that most countries require children to have their own passports – there might be even further requirements related to travelling children, like carrying their birth certificate, etc.
Verify if there are any other entry requirements like an entry visa, a local sponsor, compulsory vaccinations, etc.
Don’t forget to check the requirements for your destination and any transit countries – again, the most reliable sources of information are the destination’s embassy or consulate and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in your country.
Checking the rules before making any reservations is essential because it might take a few weeks or even months to get things organised, and postponing your trip can be costly.
. . .
These simple steps will help you narrow down the options and pick your next holiday destination more easily.
What’s your experience with the process of deciding where to travel?
Is there anything you usually struggle with?
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