Screw The Bandwagon: How You Should Be Choosing Where To Travel
We’ve all been there. We’ve all wanted to go to a place because we’ve seen our friend post about their travel on Facebook, we’ve heard an officemate rave about this nice place, or because we’ve seen a celebrity hanging out in a certain country. While there is nothing wrong with going with good reviews, maybe it’s time you think about what you really want and what you really travel for.
Screw the travel bandwagon. Everyone has their own pieces of paradise somewhere in the world. To find yours, here are some of the questions you should be asking yourself to know which travel destination you should be heading to this year.
City, beach, or countryside?
Are you looking for an urban place to shop until you drop, a nice beautiful beach with waters and islands you can explore, or are you looking for a quiet time to unwind and become one with nature? Depending on your preferences, you should really be tailor-fitting your travel to what gives you the most satisfaction.
While some places, luckily, have a bit of everything (like the Philippines!), there are destinations that are very niche and specialize in only one offering—and most of the time, these are the places that are really worth checking out.
Hot or cold weather?
When it’s hot in the Philippines, maybe you want to go somewhere a little colder. When it’s rainy season, maybe you want to travel somewhere where the sun is out to play. And more than the “where,” always consider the “when.” Always consider the season. Most countries have four seasons, so choose wisely what month of the year to visit. Japan, for example, offers a variety of tourist attractions depending on the month of your visit.
So, book your trips wisely, even though that airfare discount is too tempting to pass. You wouldn’t want to be bundling up at the height of winter if you’re not the cold-lover kind of person, or you wouldn’t want to be hiding under an umbrella all day if you’re not ready to see some tan.
Budget travel or all-out splurge?
While traveling comes with a cost, you can always customize your itinerary to fit your budget. If you’re interested in sight-seeing and not much of a foodie, you don’t really need to book that high-end restaurant everyone’s talking about.
Also, research the cost of living in your planned destination. Look at foreign exchange rates and plot your travels at a time when you can get the most out of your currency. One currency also has different buying power depending on which place you go to. Your dollar, for example, would go a long way in Smalltown, USA, but not in New York City.
But if you’re on a fairly relaxed budget and are willing to go on a spending spree, why not? Go all out!
Adventure or relaxation?
There are travelers who want to get the most adrenaline out of their itineraries and go for activity-heavy trips. There are beautiful natural trails New Zealand, Arizona, and Australia. There are beautiful seas and underwater gems to explore in Micronesia, the Egyptian Red Sea, or Belize. But not all of these are friendly to people who not very physically fit. If you’re not ready to hike for hours, for example, then maybe you shouldn’t be going to Machu Picchu just yet.
If you’re the chill type of traveler (like this writer!), there is no shame to that. If you’d rather lounge around in a beautiful hotel, eat some really fancy and tasty dinner, enjoy a musical or two, and get that long overdue spa session, then there are many travel options that you can take. Don’t push yourself to visiting the outbacks or the trails just because everyone else is doing it.
Traveling with family, as a couple, or solo?
The people that will be going with you on your travel could be one of the most difficult things to settle. If you’re traveling with your family and you’ve got kids to drag around, then maybe you shouldn’t be looking at too crowded places or places that specialize in bars and red light districts (hello, Amsterdam!).
If you’re traveling with your partner, talk to each other and know what the other wants. It is not uncommon when one wants to explore the rainforest of Amazon while the other prefers to do some luxury sightseeing and shopping in Paris. Arrive at a compromise before booking your trip to avoid frustrations and possible fights.
Traveling solo gives you a little more leeway on what you want to do and where you want to go. So go crazy! Explore a desert, visit a monastery hidden in the mountains, or try some crazy cuisine—it’s your call!