The Dos and Don’ts of Choosing Your Vacation Destination

When it comes time to plan your vacation, one of the first things you’ll need to do is decide where to go. But with so many fantastic choices in the world, how do you narrow them down? Even if you know what your interests are, it can be difficult to decide, but you want to make sure you choose a place that’s going to allow you to maximize vacation time and give you the trip of your dreams. Rather than spending extra money on a travel agent (money that could have gone towards your trip), here are some tips and tricks to help you figure out the best vacation destination for you:

DO set a budget ahead of time. The last thing you want to do is to get your heart set on a place that’s outside of your price range—or worse, realize halfway through the trip that you can’t do anything except sit around the hotel for the rest of it because you have no money left for activities! Great vacations can be had on a budget, don’t worry; you’ll just want to be a bit more selective about where you go. If you’re really on a budget, try searching “free activities [CITY]” to see what you can come up with—some places might surprise you.

DON’T forget to use a VPN when searching for airfare. A VPN will limit the information that a site sees about you, which is important when booking flights, by hiding your IP address. If a site sees that you’re returning to the same airfare search over and over again, they’ll bump the price the second or third time you visit the site. Once you appear interested in that flight, they believe you’ll buy it whatever the cost. With a strong VPN, your browsing history will remain hidden, and you’ll continue to see the cheaper fares as though that were your first time searching.

DO figure out what your interests are. At least in the broad sense, you should know the type of vacation you’re looking for. Do you want to go hang out on a beach for a week, or are you looking for a trek through the mountains? Are you looking for a place that’s wholly unlike home, or do you want someplace closer to home but with fewer responsibilities? Will you be working remotely and need internet, or do you want to go someplace more rustic and off-the-grid? Right off the bat, you can narrow down your choices a lot just based on what you want to do.

DON’T get too hung up on one destination. Maybe you’ve decided you’re looking for a beach holiday but flights and accommodation for the French Riviera are too high; there are plenty of other beaches in the world! The same goes for other choices. Looking for Roman history and food? Try Turkey. Looking for a uniquely Asian experience? Try Mongolia instead of Japan. You have options, so if you’re looking for something specific, do some exploring and figure out what best fits your budget and location restrictions.

DO choose the style of trip you’re looking for. If you’re looking to take a tour, you can really find them all over the world at this point, but not all tours are equal. In some places, you might feel a bit awkward, as if you’re the only person on the tour; in other places, you might feel as if you’re lumped in amongst dozens of other travelers and aren’t getting the full experience of the place. If you’re not taking a tour, the infrastructure in some places may make it difficult as a solo traveller or a couple, especially if you don’t plan to rent a car. Make sure your dreams for your trip are realistic.

DON’T forget to find the best travel-planning websites. The key to planning the best vacation is knowing where to look for deals, ideas, and more. Reddit, Trip Advisor, and other forum sites can be a great resource to get firsthand information when planning your trip. There are also several travel apps you can download onto your smartphone and tablet for use when you’re on the ground. Investigate your options prior to departure to make sure your trip runs as smoothly as you might hope.

DO remember to include other travelers in the planning process. Although it can be tempting to just focus on personal wants when planning your vacation, it’s important to remember the other people you might be traveling with. If you want a beach and they want the mountains, maybe pick a place such as Vancouver, which has both. Or if you want history and they want food, maybe pick a place in Europe where you can get some of both. Worst case scenario, try to compromise; you get the trip you want this time, and they get to plan the trip next time. Flexibility is key; otherwise it’s possible that you’ll both make the trip miserable for each other.

DON’T stress the details too much. One of the biggest problems facing travelers is the stress of planning their trip. Relax a little though. Even if things don’t work out perfectly, a little flexibility should still ensure that you have a good time. And if things go really wrong, well, it’s just an adventure that’ll give you some great stories to tell everyone back home when you return!

Although planning your vacation can seem a bit stressful at times, just remember to keep in mind how much fun you’ll have when the trip is finally here and everything that you’ve planned comes to fruition. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed; figure out what you’re interested, what resources you have at your disposal, and the rest will follow from there. Pick the right place, and you’re sure to have the time of your life.

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