Itching to travel once again? But how to choose the next vacation location?
This is the dilemma that my hubby and I face every time we get hit by the wander bug… which is about every 2-3 months. We love to travel and explore new cities or sometimes just get away to relax. But as much as we love vacations, vacation planning can be stressful! How to choose when there’s literally a whole world of options.
1. Are you looking to relax, discover, revisit, or go on an adventure?
This is the quickest way to eliminate options. You want to relax? Consider the beach or a cabin in the mountains. You want to discover? Consider a city or locale you’ve never seen before. You want to revisit? What have been some of you favorite past destinations or what’s a place you would like to take more time to discover? Want an adventure? Consider something more adrenaline packed or physically demanding, like white water rafting, skiing or hiking the Incan Trail.
2. How many vacation days can you take?
This gives you a pretty good idea of your range. If you’ve got two days, that’s going to limit your travel territory. You’re probably going to need to stick close to home–or at least on the same continent if you don’t mind losing a big chunk of your time to air travel. If you’ve got two weeks or more, the world is pretty much open to you. From the US, flights to Europe are usually around 10-16 hours, whereas flights to Asia tend to be more in the 16-24 hour range (these are estimates based only on the flights I’ve seen). If you’ve got two weeks and three weekends, you’re going to get where ever you need to go with time to adjust to jet lag and see the sights. For week-long trips, consider sticking close to your timezone so that entry or reentry is not too difficult.
3. How much money do you have to spend?
This will also give you a good idea of your range, however money gives you a little more flexibility than those vacation dates. This is because you can skimp on some areas and splurge on others. Pricey airfare not in your budget, look for awesome cities you can drive to, check out discount flights through websites like Kayak, or surf travel hacking sites for tips on how to work they system. Want to go far away, but have a limited to mid-sized budget? Consider spending on that plane ticket, but saving on the hotel. Check out hostels, Air BnB, or get a hotel a little more out of the way to save some dough. Whatever your amount, work up a rough estimate of big ticket items such as transportation and lodgings, then factor in for food, tour costs, or whatever else you might need.
4. What’s on your travel bucket list?
We all have those “one day…” places we would love to visit. Does your time and money allow it to be this trip? Then do it! Make your one day today! If not, are there ways that you could cut back on this trip to make your dream travel possible?
5. Do you have points to spend (or points you need to gain)?
Points are a great way to ease the spending burden. So even though Delta may not offer the cheapest ticket 90% of the time, we’ll go with them to compound our miles. Same with hotels, we often stay at hotels in the IHG family to spend or earn more points to fuel other vacations. You can also collect points through your credit cards–a great method as long as you always pay them off on time! Most cards offer some kind of points or cash back that you can horde up for your big travel dates.
So how do you choose your next vacation location? What most effects your decision? And what’s your number one dream vacation location?
The hubby and I are tallying our way through question three, so stay tuned for our next adventure. I can’t wait to share! And don’t forget to pick up my FREE ADVENTURE GUIDES in the Adventurer’s Resource Library–get instant access here!