3 Tips for Choosing a Vacation Destination

With so much world to see, how do you choose a vacation destination?

 

My bucket list is at least a mile long. Israel, Bali, Myanmar, Peru, Portugal, Russia…these are just a few of the places I’m dying to visit. But I’m open to traveling just about anyplace, which means I have a terrible time choosing where to go. Each year, I can only get to three—maybe four—countries. So how do I decide which ones to visit?

Here are three tips to help you choose the perfect vacation destination when you’re not sure where you want to go.

Decide What’s Most Important: Date, Budget, Destination

When you’re searching travel sites for vacations, there are a few different ways you can filter the results: date, price, and place. So before you even begin your search, decide which of these is most important to you. Are you a sun seeker or a skiier? Do you like farms or cities? If you have a specific type of activity you like to do or part of the world you want to see, narrow your search using those details. Otherwise, if you’re open to any destination, your best bet is to base your decision on date and price.

Perhaps, you can travel any time of year, but you only have $1,500. Sort your search by lowest to highest price. This way you won’t end up flipping for something with a hefty price tag that’s out of your budget. You may be surprised by what you find. There are plenty of times I’ve booked a trip someplace I didn’t know I wanted to go because I found a smokin’ deal. But beware…You know how they say not to try on a wedding dress that’s out of your budget because you’ll fall in love and nothing will compare? Well, vacations work the same way. Don’t look at river cruises if you’ve got a Carnival cruise budget—no offence to Carnival. It’s just a lot cheaper than other options.

If you know you only have four days of vacation time, and you can only take days off in September, filter your search by date and number of days. You’ll weed out a bunch of options that don’t apply to you, making your choice for a vacation destination easier. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found the right place for the right price but then realized it was at a time of year that simply wouldn’t work for me. Talk about disappointing.

Who is Your Travel Companion?

Even though you may be open to all sorts of different places, your travel companion may not be. Consider the types of things the person you’re traveling with likes to do. Does this person like to shop? Then New York City might be the perfect escape. Or maybe your companion really likes animals. You might decide to take a safari together.

There are three people I typically travel with: my mother, my husband, and my best friend. Each one has completely different tastes. So when I look at my bucket list, I think about which vacation destination is right for each person. For example, my mom loves charming seaside villages. A river cruise through France is perfect for her. My best friend? She’s all about the shopping. Vegas or LA are the best types of places for us to hit up together. My husband is a bit more adventurous. For our next trip together, we’re thinking an ATV drive through Machu Picchu, for example.

There are many items on my bucket list that don’t interest my regular travel companions. For these places, I’ll either convince one of them to cave in and go with me, or I’ll look for other options. I might join a tour group, or I’ll simply hop on a place all by myself.

How Do You Like to Travel?

Do you like to create your own schedule while you drive along vast highways? Or do you prefer to let someone else do the driving? Maybe you like a mix of both. These are important factors that can help you narrow down your vacation destination.

If you like to be part of a large group, start your destination search with a look at what tour companies have to offer. If you like being on the open ocean, then look at different cruise lines to see what they have available that interests you. Don’t bother looking at dates and rates for tour or cruise vacations if they’re not your style, but you might want to use them as a jumping off point for planning your own vacation.

There are times when I like to plan every part of a trip—train tickets between towns, bed and breakfasts in little villages, entry fees for attractions. And then there are times when I’m super busy and like to let someone else do all the work. Get a stack of vacation magazines and brochures, and simply start leafing through the pages. See what’s out there that catches your eye. You’ll likely be inspired by a few different itineraries or images. You can either book directly with the company that made the brochure or start booking your own plans based on the itinerary you found.

Want more great ideas for the perfect vacation destination? Follow Wanderlust Wayfarer on Twitter, where we’re constantly sharing cool places to go and things to do around the world.

Planning a Cruise: It’s Easy as Pie

Tired of the time it takes to plan an amazing vacation? Planning a cruise is about as easy as it gets.

 

I spent years painstakingly planning elaborate vacations. I coordinated trains, planes, and boats to take me to different places every 24 to 48 hours. It took tons of effort to find appropriate accommodations in each location. You know what it’s like—reading TripAdvisor reviews and mapping landmarks. Then I discovered cruising and learned you can have your cake and eat it too.

Choose a Place, Any Place

planning a cruise

Where do you want to go on vacation? Name a place. Any place. I mean it. From Antarctica and Australia to Aruba and Africa, there are cruises to pretty much every part of the world. Then go to a consolidator, such as Expedia or Travelocity, and search all available offerings from every major cruise line for your chosen destination. You can filter your results by price, date, or length, whichever is most important to you.

From there, you can compare the itineraries for a few different options to see which is right for you. Simply click “Book Now,” and most of the work is done. You’ve planned the majority of your trip.

Pro tip: I usually check two or three consolidators to see if I can get a better rate or special offer. Sometimes you can get an additional onboard credit or a discount on shore excursions, for example. Once I know the cruise I want to take, I also check the rates on that cruise line’s website.

No Extra Work

planning a cruise

The hardest part of planning a cruise is picking where you want to go. Once you’ve done that, it’s smooth sailing—pun intended. Everything is taken care of for you, except getting to your departure point. I don’t always have time to become an expert on every port, and I don’t have to. The cruise line will take you to a variety of places, feed and entertain you, and even offer daily excursions to the most popular sights.

There’s no need to coordinate any other details, aside from your flights. If there is a sight you should see, it will be offered as a shore excursion. It doesn’t get any easier than this.

There are so many reasons why a cruise vacation is one of the most budget-friendly and convenient ways to travel. And there are countless fun things you can do at sea. But the main reason why I enjoy planning a cruise is because I can do it fast, easy, and without any extra work.

Do you agree? Is planning a cruise as easy as it sounds? Share your thoughts with the Wanderlust Wayfarer Facebook group.