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Destination Dilemma? 7 Steps to Help You Choose Your Next Travel Destination

Updated: Apr 27

Choosing a travel destination can be an exciting yet challenging task. With so many options around the globe, it's essential to find the perfect place that aligns with your interests, budget, and preferences. In this guide, we'll unravel the secrets to help you decide on your next travel destination. So, grab your notepad and let's get started!

Step1: Define your travel preferences:

First, ask yourself the following questions, what are my travel goals and interests? Do I want a weekend getaway or a week-long vacation? Do I want to travel somewhere that is within driving distance or do I want to catch a flight?

Next, you want to consider your preferred travel style. A travel style defines your unique travel personality, and you may have a blend of different styles like I do. My travel style includes adventure, food and culture, relaxation, historical sites, and city exploration. It's important to know your preferred travel style because it will help you avoid choosing the wrong destination for your vacation. For example, If your style is relaxation, you probably would describe your perfect vacation as a weeklong getaway at an all-inclusive beach resort. If your style is city exploration, you would probably enjoy spending your vacation in New York City, NY.

Lastly, you want to identify the climate and weather conditions you prefer. Do you prefer winter climates or cool temps? Maybe you prefer hot and sunny weather. If you prefer a certain climate when you vacation, remember to always check the climate at the destination during the time of year that you want to visit.

Step 2: Assess your budget.

First, set a realistic travel budget. This step can be kind of tricky, especially with the rising cost of everything. I would start by assessing your budget and determining how much you can set aside to travel. The great thing is that travel can be affordable for any budget.

After you have decided on your budget, start researching destinations that align with your finances. If you only have $500 to spend on your trip, looking for a local destination within a few hours from where you live could be helpful. This way you can save money on flights, rental cars, and gas. If you have a larger budget, like 1,000-2,000 consider the cost of flights, hotels, activities, and food. A helpful tip to determine your food budget is to look up the per diem rates. Here is a helpful link from the U.S. General Services Administration where you can find the per diem rates for your trip.

Next, explore cost-saving techniques such as traveling during the off-peak season or utilizing travel rewards. Don’t sleep on off-season travel! I have found some great deals on hotels and flights by traveling off-season. When I lived in Washington, D.C., I bought a round-trip flight to Chicago for two people and booked a 2-night stay at the Loews Hotel for under 500 dollars! Granted it was in December, which is off-season in Chicago, but we had a great trip and spent way less than we would have if we went during peak season. Another cost-saving trip is to book a cruise or a trip to an all-inclusive resort. These are great options for folks that have a fixed budget. All food and activities are included, so once you book the trip most of the time you don’t have to worry about surprise expenses unless you want souvenirs or if you want to go on an excursion.

Step 3: Research potential destinations:

Now it’s time to start researching potential destinations! I would recommend searching Google for phrases like “best cities to visit in California during the Spring”, “Best USA destinations for budget travel”, and “best beaches to visit in October”. The important thing is that you want to be specific as possible so Google will generate results more in line with what you are looking for. Other helpful resources include travel-related Facebook groups, Pinterest, YouTube, travel blogs, and social media. If you want to stay local, view your city’s tourism website or other tourism websites in cities near you. It may give you some ideas on what the city has to offer.

Step 4: Consider practical factors:

First, always check the safety and security of the destination. When traveling within the United States, search for the cities' crime rates or areas that tourists should avoid. When traveling internationally always check the travel advisory on the U.S. State Department Website in addition to crime rates and areas that tourists should avoid. When booking hotels or Airbnb’s read the reviews and check the ratings for any red flags. Another thing to consider is the transportation options and accessibility of the city. Is it a walkable city? Do I need to rent a car? Can I use Uber/Lift? Does the city have public transportation?

Step 5: Narrow down your choices:

Okay, this is the fun part! It’s time to start deciding on where you want to go! First make a short list of destinations based on all your research, and interests. Next order the destinations starting with your “I want to pack my bags now” to “I can wait on this one”. Then circle the destination that you feel is in line with your current budget, meets your preferences, will leave you feeling rejuvenated, and will give you an unforgettable experience.

Step 6: Seek advice and insights:

Seeking advice from others can be beneficial. For example, if you decided that you want to go to Las Vegas, and you know someone that just returned from Vegas, it might be helpful to ask them for advice for your upcoming trip. There is wisdom in seeking advice, but if you receive negative advice from someone don’t always take their word for it. Do your research too. In other words, fact check. There might be factors that you are not aware of that may have caused their trip to be bad, but that doesn’t mean that your trip will be bad. This brings us to the last and final step!

Step 7: Trust your instincts and go with your heart:

This is probably the most essential step! Choose the destination that is right for you, right for your budget, and aligns with your interests. You don’t have to follow the trends on social media, go somewhere that will give you the experience of a lifetime!

Happy trip planning!



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