Trip Planning: Picking a Destination

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Trondheim, Norway in May
Sometimes deciding where to go is the easier part of planning a trip. If your family is anything like mine, you'll have a running list full of places you'd like to visit. If you have place that jumps out at you, and you have the time and resources to get there, congratulations! You've picked your destination.

Unfortunately, in the world of Real Life we often have to consider monetary or scheduling restrictions when we decide where and when we travel. The good news is that there are countless places in the world worth visiting! Some are very close to you and some are quite far, so it's important to tailor each travel destination to the particular circumstances surrounding your trip.

I find that there are three considerations which factor strongly in choosing a destination: time, money, and safety.

When it came to our upcoming trip to Vienna, scheduling was the name of the game. My brother's strict schedule at med school was extremely limiting. We knew that there were only a few weeks in the next two years which would be open for a trip together, and we chose to build our trip around the restrictions instead of waiting until his schedule freed up.

Everyone has a budget. Money is probably the single most limiting element for most travel plans. I always travel on strict budgets. My family uses frequent flier miles to save money. Often, our biggest budget-related limitation is whether we can find tickets using our miles.

I'll be honest, this is a concern that I often overlook in my quest to see Every Place That Ever Sounded Interesting Ever. However, it's important to keep in mind that traveling to a country in the middle of a civil war may not be the best idea. Other destinations' safety concerns arise from potential natural disasters. If you have a specific destination in mind, take severe weather seasons and forecasts into account when planning the dates for your trip.

Once you have decided on your limiting factors, it's time to get specific. For our trip, we knew we had to go in December, that flights to Europe would be easiest on miles, and that we wanted to focus our trip on one city so as to limit traveling in bad weather.

Limiting factors can make great opportunities. For example, since our family usually doesn't travel during the Christmas season, we decided to take advantage of the festivities. We started our search looking for great places to experience at Christmas time.

This is where outside resources come in. Google is your best friend. There are tons of great travel websites and blogs including Lonely Planet, Trip Advisor, and Travel+Leisure that can give you ideas on where to go if you don't know where to start. This is a great step to really delve into. Search for any place that sounds interesting and read about it. Look for pictures and experiences from other travelers. See if it matches your travel style. Discuss options with your traveling companions and see which places excite people. Find a map of the world and google every place you've ever wanted to see. Do a search on Skyscanner from your city to Everywhere. Go to town.

Hopefully, at the end of your searching you will find a place which fits all of your criteria. Then you must celebrate. You have found your place! It's time to start planning and dreaming.

NEXT post in this series: Getting There
For more information and posts in this series, click here.

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  1. Hi,
    Thanks for sharing these amazingly gorgeous places, it has been a great help. Keep Sharing and caring.


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