There is an instinct within the traveler that tells when it's time to break out into the world. It may have been years since your last trip, months or maybe it’s your first calling, but whatever your travel experience, it’s clear your curiosity about the world has shifted into gear and it’s time to go! Now is the best part: choosing your destination.
It’s important to remember that not everyone is inspired to travel the same way. Some folks want a tropical vacation, some seek thrills or are looking to be immersed in an exotic culture. If you’re not sure about your travel style or just where the next adventure should take you, ask yourself the following questions to figure out the best vacation destinations for you:
Is there a certain place that keeps coming up or tugging at you?
Pay attention to your sense of curiosity. Research places you’ve been hearing or reading about that hold your interest or have you intrigued. These may not be places you intend to travel to, but opening up that channel is a great way to start making a list of choices and doing some comparison shopping.
What is your motivation?
Look at the things stacking up in your life that are deepening your desire to get away. Are you bored and seeking a new challenge or burnt out and looking to relax and escape? Maybe your sense of adventure is nagging at you or you need a peaceful place to do some soul searching. Keep that motivation in mind as you peruse the map. Do your research so you end up where you should. Maybe Istanbul when you’re looking for an exotic, inspirational whirlwind trip, or Mexico when you need to sit on a beautiful beach, do yoga and relax; instead of the other way around.
What inspires you?
We’re all inspired differently. For some, destination attractions will include art, food, climbing or studying foreign language. Others will seek out locales rich in fashion, history or natural beauty. Ask yourself what it is you’d love to see or experience in the place you visit and brainstorm places where you think you’d find the most delight.
Who are you traveling with?
Your destination options will vary depending on your travel companions and your compatible interests. Some places are safer to travel solo or with children and some are more friendly for traveling with your parents, significant other or family members. Regardless of who is accompanying you, it’s important to have a conversation about what your motivation and inspirations are before deciding on your list of possible destinations. Try not to get attached to a specific place before having this conversation, remember it’s a big wide world and there will certainly be places that appeal to everyone. Also keep in mind that just because you travel with someone doesn't mean to have to spend every experience together. Plan a few days where you can go off and do your own things, that way everyone will get what they're seeking from the trip.
What is your Budget?
Money goes further in places like Thailand or Mexico than it does anywhere in Europe, New Zealand or the Caribbean. There are many places in the world you can travel on less than $20 a day including lodging and, depending on the price of airfare, it can be less expensive to spend a month traveling to destinations like Nepal or Bali than traveling for a few weeks in the U.S. If you can travel somewhere for a longer period of time, eat better food and stay in nicer accommodations for a fraction of the price (not to mention put a little exotic culture into the mix), that place is well worth consideration.
How Long do You Have to Plan?
Places like China, India, Russia, Brazil and many others require a visa that must be obtained in advance of your trip. If you’re not able to pay big bucks for an expediting service, this can take several weeks, even months. Other countries offer landing visas which are much more convenient and can be acquired on arrival. You’ll also need to pay attention to vaccination and passport requirements. Many countries require a certain number of blank pages in your passport and at least six months of validity. These are all things that take time to research and procure. If you’re looking for a spontaneous adventure, this will definitely narrow down the field of options.
How Long do You Have to Travel?
It doesn't make sense to spend three or four days traveling to and from your destination when you only have a week to get away. For instance, it takes over 15 hours to travel from Los Angeles to Melbourne, Australia non-stop. This doesn't include the time difference of 18 hours, so you've already lost almost four full days of your trip just being on the plane. Save farther away destinations for occasions when you can maximize your time or you’ll come back exhausted and jet-lagged instead of rejuvenated.
Other things to consider when beginning your research include climate, language barriers and transportation options. Ask yourself if adverse weather would spoil your trip or if the frustration of not being able to communicate would be too much for you. Find out if you have a friend or connection anywhere who could act as a host or show you around. Lastly, think of your past positive and negative travel experiences and look at what worked and what didn't. Was it the people, the weather or the prices that affected your trip? Try not to make the same mistakes twice!
Make sure you choose your destination based on your own ideals and don’t pick a place like Rome or Paris just because they are famous tourist destinations (unless that's what you're going for). Pay attention to what draws you in, what places excite and attract you so you get the most out of your experience, wherever you choose to venture.
Kristin Daemon is a yoga teacher, freelance writer and owner of Seaside Yoga, a new studio in the small town of Seaside, Oregon on the rugged Pacific Northwest coast. You can find and friend her on Facebook or check out and follow her blog, kristindaemon.com.
Images via: @namastephh