How to Decide Where to Travel


Do you stand in front of a dart board, dart in hand, with a map taped to the dart board ahead of you, throwing the dart to decide where to travel to next?  Do you choose the place that has been dancing in your dreams for years? Do you choose your next vacation based off of a friend’s suggestion? Do you choose a place because it easy and safe? Or do you choose a place that is daring and exciting?

How do you choose where to travel next?

   Sometimes we choose a place for a reason. Maybe we are visiting family or friends. Many of our own trips are chosen because we have a strong sense of curiosity and intrigue. We chose to go to Italy for a family wedding, but we stayed 4 weeks to explore, to taste, to learn, to feel, to live. We wanted the chance to share with our boys what an incredibly beautiful country Italy is. In 2014, we took the boys to Wyoming to explore Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. We drove along a herd of bison, stalked a black bear, hiked to waterfalls, played in the snow in June, patiently waited for geysers to explode, rode horseback, cheered on a rodeo, and rafted down the bumpy rapids. All of these we cannot do in our home town. All of these are new, exciting, and thrilling. We chose Iceland for the beauty that leapt out of pictures or movies that showed Iceland’s temperamental setting. We chose Iceland because it is like nothing we have seen and like nothing we will see anywhere else.

There are many factors that go into picking a place to travel to. Here are important things to keep in mind when picking a place to travel to:

1.  How much time do you have to travel? This is a biggie! If you only have 4 days you don’t want to travel to Japan. Or If you have 2 weeks you don’t want to just travel to one small location. Being realistic about how much time you have to travel is so important. You want to make sure you are including the time that it will take you to travel (fly or drive) to the location and back. If you want to go to a place like Wyoming, 5-7 days is plenty to see and do so many great things. If you want to go to Rome 7 days is perfect (2 days for flying and 5 days to explore). But what if you want to do to Ireland and you want to visit a few different parts of Ireland?  10-14 days would be best (2 days of travel, 2 days Dublin, 2 days Kilkenny, 2 days Cork, 2 days Kerry, 2 days Shannon). Make sure you are realistic about the time. You don’t want to get to a place and feel rushed to see as much as you can, thus lose track of the feeling of being there in the moment and enjoying it.

2. Finances. Set a budget. Then research. Look at costs of flights, places to stay, activities, food, and anything else you may indulge in. Iceland is cheap to fly to but the rental car and food are very expensive. Ireland can be expensive to fly to, but food and activities were very inexpensive. Does the place you want to go to fit into your budget?

3. 3 vacations in one? Do you have a good amount of vacation days, 2 or 3 weeks? Consider flying to one destination and then travel around to other destinations surrounding your location? Are you flying to Denver because it is inexpensive? Rent a car and explore Yellowstone or Glacier National Park too! Going to London? Take the train to France and then head to Switzerland. Go to the big destination and then if you have the time and finances, see what is around there. You may get more destinations for your buck!

4. Climate. Do you hate being cold? Do you melt sunbathing at the beach? Think about what temperature you enjoy and choose a place based on that. Don’t go to Rome in the summer if you don’t like the heat. Travel to Rome in the early spring or early fall.

5. Vacation type. Do you get bored laying on the beach all day? Are you scared of heights?  Do you like hiking? Do you mind sitting in the car for long periods of time? Think about what you really enjoy doing. What do you not like to do? I personally am not a big city person. Place me in the middle of a hiking trail and I am as happy as a clam! However, because I am intrigued by anything new, new cultures, new food, I will happily break out of my comfort zone to visit a city.

6. Don’t follow the leader. If you can, step out of your comfort zone. We all get comfortable in our day to day lives. It’s very hard to break out of that comfort zone. But trust me, it’s worth it. Flip through a travel book, google travel destinations, find a place that gives you goose bumps and research it! Traveling should fill all of your senses and your heart!

So now the big question is, WHERE TO NOW?