Most of us want to travel, but we’re not always 100% sure of where to go. You have this urge to leave the comfort of your home, discover unfamiliar places, meet new people, and experience other cultures. The question is always where to go. Here’s some advice on how to choose the right destination for you:
Regardless of whether you live in Europe, America, or Asia, the duration of your trip often depends on work and what you can afford. Once you have a fair idea of the length of your impending trip, start looking at different options. If you can’t travel for more than a week, consider destinations reasonably close to home. No point in flying overseas if you only have seven days to spare. The same applies to the reverse situation. If you can travel for a month or more, why not pick a place further away?
Before picturing yourself somewhere exotic, think about what you really can afford. How much have you saved? Write that figure down and consider all initial costs: flight/train ticket, guide books, gear or equipment you need to buy before leaving. Also multiply daily costs such as accommodation, food, sightseeing and local transportation by the number of days you will be away. Remember there’s no set budget for anything.
No matter if you travel with a backpack or a suitcase, how well you budget can make or break your trip. Based on your estimations, it probably shouldn’t be too hard to figure out what part of the world is best for you.
The current exchange rates may not affect your travel plans, but smart travelers do take advantage of shifting currency rates. Where in the world would you get best value for your money? Check what your currency is worth abroad and in which countries you will get the most for the least.
Where to travel in terms of climate all comes down to personal preferences. Some of us need sun and warm temperatures to relax and unwind; others can’t get enough of snow and wintry landscapes. Either way, the question is what you long for now. Research which destinations offer the weather you prefer and make sure to double-check when the hurricane or cyclone seasons occur. You wouldn’t want to end up in Southeast Asia, with visions of warm days on the beach under a blue sky, just to discover you arrived during the wrong time of year.
Since people more or less speak English everywhere, there’s no need to worry about whether locals will understand you or if you can make yourself understood. If you’re in a country like Japan where even the younger generation’s knowledge in English is poor, take advantage of body language and signs. Or perhaps there’s some language you’ve always wanted to learn, or improve. Travel to the country where you can speak and hear it the most. But never let any language barriers hinder you from visiting new destinations. You will always get by and survive. Non-verbal communication goes a long way.
Advice from other travelers
Let’s face it: sometimes tips and recommendations from other travelers carry more weight than what you’ve read in a guidebook. The people you know or meet have ‘non-edited’ and honest advice you probably won’t find in a book or a glossy magazine. Ask around among those who have spent time at the destinations you’re interested in. Try social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter, and online travel communities and review sites where people gladly share their highs and lows of recent trips. You might stumble upon great advice you would never have found otherwise.
What activities you like plays a big role when picking your next destination. Are you into skiing, surfing, trekking, climbing, diving, and other adventurous sports? Or does a day at museums and art galleries appeal to you more? What about history, culture, shopping, food and wine, nightlife? Once you know exactly what you’d like to do while away, selecting the best destination will get much easier.
Erica Johansson is a freelance writer based in Sweden. She runs the very popular travel site, Travel Blissful.