Travel Planning: How to CHOOSE the Perfect Destination

How do you plan the perfect travels? The first consideration is to decide on a place or places to go. This could be a difficult decision so you might find it easier if you ask yourself some questions. But what kind of questions? Here is a handy list of things to consider that will help you whittle down your options.

deciding where to go by looking at a map

  • What are the things you like doing? Are you sporty, creative or a history fan? Make a list of your interests so that you can match this to a destination that fits your passions and hobbies. For example, I love food and I’d love to eat my way around a great foodie destination, such as Italy. This is harder to achieve somewhere not known for its culinary delights, such as Antarctica. However, I do want to see penguins, seals and whales so Antarctica would be a much better option than Italy to see these species. In this example, I would research Michelin starred restaurants or remote places to see wildlife and this would help me decide on the perfect destination.

writing down a list of destinations in a notebook

  • What types of experiences do you want to try or activities you want to participate in that you cannot do at home? Is there something that you want to achieve, for example, to face a fear or learn a new skill? If you want to overcome anxiety around flying this is probably easier to accomplish somewhere that offers helicopter tours, skydiving or even flying lessons! I chose to learn to dive at Sipadan, Borneo as this was a way to really maximise my experience of that destination. I’d only learned how to swim properly and overcome my fear of depths a few weeks earlier. Passing the course was character building and a great goal to achieve as part of my travels.
  • How active do you want to be? Vacations are a chance to explore and pack in many new experiences. They are also an opportunity to just relax and hang out by the pool with a good book and a fancy drink. Consider whether you prefer tranquillity or adventure, somewhere full of life or off the beaten track. Also, will there be enough for you to do? Some places can be a bit lacklustre in the tourism department whereas others have oodles of opportunities. You may want to see if there are other places nearby that are easily accessible so you can combine them into a multi-stop adventure. It was easy to include a one night stay in Helsinki when I visited Tallinn in Estonia, as it was only a short ferry ride away. Personally I thought that I would struggle to be entertained for longer than a couple of days in Finland’s capital city but Tallinn had much more to offer me based on my interests.

Like this post? Subscribe to the Soulful Travel newsletter for Annie’s packing checklist plus travel related advice, news, competitions and more. Sign up here.

If you need travel advice, request a free 30 minute coaching session. In the chat Annie will help you choose a destination, create your itinerary and review safety precautions. Or she can discuss how you can incorporate more travel into your life by saving, making money, travelling for free or being paid to travel.

pins in a map of places to visit

  • How much time do you have? If you only have a few days you might not want to travel too far away as this will eat up so much of your precious holiday time. You might also want to consider how you will get around – is there a good public transport system, is the city walkable, do you need to factor in taxi rides? Additionally embracing ‘slow travel’, where you spend longer in a destination and really get to know it, explore it at leisure rather than rushing through and ticking off a list of ‘must-sees’ that everyone else and their cat has already done.
  • What is your budget? If you have a limited budget you might want to rule out places that are very expensive to visit or make a compromise, for example, how long you spend there, the type of accommodation you use or the number of times you eat out or take part in costly activities. To help with this situation you can also look at how to travel for free, and how to boost your budget with these excellent tips on how t save money and how to make money for travelling.

choose the right season for winter sports

  • When is the best time to go? Does that fit in with your schedule? You might want to ensure there will be snow at your destination if you want an amazing skiing holiday. Additionally, you may not want to choose a destination that is having a general election or religious festivals when you are planning to visit. Alternatively, if you have flexible dates then you could bag a bargain by going in your destinations’ low season. For example, the very beginning of the rainy season to East Africa is low season and the rains might not affect your trip so badly, therefore, saving you a considerable amount of money.
  • Who are you travelling with? If you are travelling with family or friends ask them the above questions to help narrow down your choice of destinations to places that would satisfy everyone’s requirements. There may need to be a degree of compromise! You don’t all have to go on every activity together, some of the best holiday experiences I have had are when my friend and I take a few days to do our own thing and meet up for dinner and drinks in the evening.

Like this post? Subscribe to the Soulful Travel newsletter for Annie’s packing checklist plus travel related advice, news, competitions and more. Sign up here.

If you need travel advice, request a free 30 minute coaching session. In the chat Annie will help you choose a destination, create your itinerary and review safety precautions. Or she can discuss how you can incorporate more travel into your life by saving, making money, travelling for free or being paid to travel.

destinations matching up to expectations

  • Is the destination safe? Nowhere on planet Earth is guaranteed to be 100% safe, there are criminals everywhere. However, you can research your destination shortlist and assess how safe a country, region or city is. You can also take steps to stay safe when you are travelling. Remember what the main things that kill tourists are and practice safe travelling.
  • Other considerations you might want to take into account include:
    • Visa applications – Do you have enough time to apply for a visa and what will you do if you are denied entry?
    • Immunisations – Visit a qualified medical professional for advice. You may need to get some jabs several weeks in advance and also medication to prevent diseases whilst you are there.
    • Research local laws and governing practices, especially regarding women and the LGBTQ community – In many countries homosexuality is illegal and you might want to boycott places that oppose your beliefs. For example, those that have oppressive laws against women, or have violated international human rights agreements.
    • Culinary options – If you have dietary restrictions then you may want to find out if there are places to cater for your requirements or that you can bring supplementary foods into the country to top up your daily food intake.

relaxing with a coffee on the beach

Asking questions like this can make your destination decision easier to make and also your travel so much more rewarding.

Like this post? Subscribe to the Soulful Travel newsletter for Annie’s packing checklist plus travel related advice, news, competitions and more. Sign up here.

If you need travel advice, request a free 30 minute coaching session. In the chat Annie will help you choose a destination, create your itinerary and review safety precautions. Or she can discuss how you can incorporate more travel into your life by saving, making money, travelling for free or being paid to travel.

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