When there are so many places you want to see and so many things you want to experience, choosing your next travel destination can be a tough decision.
This little blue dot of a planet may be small but it is jam-packed full of life. Whether you want to experience the wilderness and the illusion of being the only person in the world or you want to stand in the middle of a crowd peering up at a tiny square of sky between buildings, this planet has it all.
As more and more people take to the roads and the skies to discover just what the Earth has to offer, the choice of destinations is increasing. The remote is no longer quite so distant and some towns completely transform during the summer months. While this is great for travelers in theory, it means that choosing the right destination for your travels just got a little bit harder.
Luckily, there are a few ways you might like to narrow your options down a bit…
1. Follow Your Gut
Travel is all about discovering new things and food is one of those rare things that binds all sorts of cultural aspects together. From street food to fine dining, food is about more than just flavors and cooking techniques, it is a chance to experience another culture through one of the most fundamental human needs: to eat.
Traveling according to your appetite is a great way to explore new cities, countries and peoples. Whether your particular taste is for an exceptional Pinot Noir or a fried spider, when you get to your destination, the people you meet and the atmosphere you experience will have a big impact on you. There is nothing quite like trying a new food or drink for the first time and connecting a memory to a taste is a strong way to hold on to it for a long time.
Following your gut can lead you to all kinds of places around the world. While large cities like London and New York might be more obvious, you would be surprised by the culinary prowess of smaller towns and cities, especially in European countries like France and Italy.
The new fashion for hosting small dinner parties is also a good way to discover new foods and make new friends too. While this isn’t always an option in other countries, if you are a solo traveler, it is always great to meet people but do be safety conscious at all times.
2. Focus on Experience
Every time you travel, you are motivated by gaining experience. This is true no matter whether you are planning to lie on a beach in the Bahamas or you want to explore a metropolis like Beijing. But, while a city break can be a lot of fun and a week on the beach can be restorative, variety is the spice of life. Choosing different experiences will be more fulfilling than doing the same old things in different locations – see the place you have traveled to!
In this day and age, Instagram has become a surprising force for influencing the way people travel. But while endless pictures of sunsets, skyscrapers and places of cultural interest are great for scrolling, they aren’t a good reason to go traveling. If all you want is a picture of your destination, you aren’t really experiencing it; in fact, you are simply replicating an experience you believe you should be having.
Instead of thinking about the places you want to photograph and filter, you should focus on the experience you want to have. Sometimes, simply lying in the sun with a good book, walking along the most beautiful stretch of beach and drinking mai tais with lunch is just what you need to relax, at other times, the exhilaration of exploring a new city is the excitement you need to rejuvenate your soul.
When you are planning to travel, instead of focusing first on the destination, you should decide what sort of experience you want. Only when you know what you want to achieve from your travels should you start narrowing down your destinations.
3. Check Your Budget
Unless you are very lucky and have endless funds at your disposal, your budget will doubtless influence your holiday destination choice as well as where you stay, what you do and how long you can enjoy your travels. Budgeting for your travels is a very important step to take before you even start looking at making any arrangements as you may have to save up a little more before you can go.
Everyone likes to travel in different ways. For some, a long trip taking in many different places is a dream come true but for others a few shorter trips each year is far preferable. If you want to travel for a longer period, you must be firm with your savings goals. Saving up for a long trip is more difficult than for a shorter trip as there is far more to take into account.
Though we tend to think of traveling as a way of getting to a location and exploring, it helps to think instead of the journey as a main component of your travels. You can often save money by taking a longer train journey rather than flying and there is a reason that road trips are so popular! Having the freedom to choose where to go next on the hoof is an incredible sensation.
While taking a long trip can be more economical in the sense that you aren’t having to pay for double the travel, taking shorter trips is often more feasible in the short term. Perhaps a balance is the best way to enjoy your travel opportunities. Go on the cheaper shorter trips while you are saving up and work towards an amazing experience later on.
4. Consider the Season
There are only a few places in the world where the seasons aren’t really that noticeable so it doesn’t particularly matter when you go. However, for the most part, you should always consider the weather you can expect when you arrive at your destination. If sunshine and warm weather are high on your agenda, it won’t do to arrive during the rainy season, will it?
Another good example of why timing is important is the cherry blossom in Japan. While Japan is a wonderful place to visit at any time of the year, if you really want to see the blossom specifically, you will need to time your trip accordingly. Indeed, the cherry blossom is such a temptation, there is a whole website dedicated to predicting when they will appear! If you want to experience a particular aspect of nature, you have to go with nature’s schedule.
As a general rule, the main tourist season is the most expensive time to travel. Popularity raises costs but it can also mean that the quiet destination you hoped for is crowded with people. Traveling in the off-season can be a great way to save a little cash and get a different experience of a place too. However, there are a few pros and cons to think about first. For example, during the high season, most places will be open for business but that might not be the case for the rest of the year.
5. Travel Roulette
Still not sure where you want to go next? Perhaps the only logical route left is to leave it up to chance. If you have a map of the world, close your eyes and simply point to your next destination or, if you prefer a more digital route, have a look at Earth Roulette (which has the added advantage of letting you book your travels on the same site, though you might prefer to shop around for the best deals).
Though travel roulette might not help you tick a destination off your bucket list, it is a fun way to consider new destinations that may never have occurred to you before. Of course, there is no obligation to go to the destination that comes up but it might be a good way to open your eyes to the real possibilities. Do a bit of research on where ever comes up and just see what you might like to explore.
Choosing a travel destination is a big task when you are a keen explorer and hope to visit as many different places as possible. While having a plan and a budget is admirable, opening your mind is always the best way to approach a new journey. Don’t just follow the same path well worn by other tourists, think about what you want to gain from your experience and do what will fulfill your ambitions, not those set out by Instagram influencers.
Enjoy your time on Earth, explore as much of it as you can, after all, as far as we know, there’s only one planet like it.