Deciding where to go on a trip can be overwhelming, you might not have an idea of where you want to go, for how long and how. Budget is an issue, and time constraints can be limiting to, but they are only one factor that can affect your decision. So here are a few (additional) things to consider before you book your holiday when you are deciding where to go, how long, where to stay and for how are you getting there.
- Budget and time – they are the main limiting factors, but they can also help you make a decision on where to spend your vacation, the shorter the time the closer the radius of travel is. So make sure that is the first thing you set out.
- Travel companions – travelling alone, as a couple, with a group of friends, or family will help determine your time and budget even further. For example, going solo you are more flexible for stop overs, or cheaper accommodation, while travelling with kids will affect your hotel level, your travel time, and the in between travel journeys which would eat up some time.
- Visa and medical requirements – based on your passport, some travelling can be onerous and costly than you might expect. I was surprised that as a Canadian I still had to get an online visa to fellow commonwealth Australia. Make sure you research that aspect before you consider the country at all; similarly, this helps determine the medical shots you need to get going there.
- Check the weather – try to go on “cusp” times just before peak and right after low season to save money. Usually this is due to holidays but more so for weather, so check the weather and see what you’re wiling to put up with while there (monsoon, tornadoes, snow, extreme heat, etc.).
- Direct flights – to see what direct flights go to a particular country (especially if you are with kids), search for the main airport in Wikipedia and see which airlines and their source city go to that particular airport.
- What to do there – in choosing a country, try wikitravel.org, it’s not concise but will give you an overall and general idea of what’s there to wet your appetite, Wikipedia is a bit more concise but Wikitravel is good to see what close buy tourist sites worth seeing if you want to explore some surroundings. Then visit your nearby indigo to check out some lonely planet or travel books (before you buy the book have a good read and see if it’s worth considering that destination).
- Travel sites – go to your favourite travel site (i.e. expedia or kayak) and see what flights go there for how long and how much, this will also factor into your budget and what options you filter out from the get go. I was surprised how long it takes to go from Toronto to Santiago (14 hours minimum) so with a child I opted for a closer visit to Belize (4.5 hours).
- What’s the point – Ultimately you need to figure out what you’re up for, some family fun to a theme park, some beach, some history, some nature hiking or a combination of a few things. See which country offers what you’re looking for and how accessible and affordable each of those activities are. Are you there to relax and take it easy, or to try some exotic flavours?
Any other things you consider before you decide where to go?