I’ll be honest, I’d be pretty happy to travel just about anywhere. I’m not terribly picky when it comes to my destinations. And while I certainly have some preferences (cities over remote places, warm weather over cold weather), I’ve also found exceptions to that rule (Iceland! You have my heart).
It can be kind of stressful to choose where you’re going to travel to next, especially if you have a long bucket list with items on it that you’re equally excited about, but all for different reasons. You can’t do everything at once, so you need to focus on one or two. But by choosing one place and buying the ticket, you feel like you’re also putting all those other dreams on hold, indefinitely, until you cash in your next round of vacation days. So how do you narrow the selection down?
Figure Out What’s Calling You
Yes, this sounds super granola, but hear me out. Oftentimes, when I’m torn between two different options, deep down I already know which one I want to choose. Sometimes I’m looking for reassurance from friends and family, other times I’m trying to be my own devil’s advocate, and a lot of the times I get in my own head about the potential outcomes. In these cases, I really am my own worst enemy and I’m just psyching myself out.
Since we’re visual creatures, I recommend hopping on Pinterest and searching around for what inspires you. Whatever is calling you—be it a particular destination or a particular travel experience—find the top few that your heart gets all fluttery for. For example, I’d really love to see the canals in Venice, but if I had to choose between that or visiting a cat cafe in Tokyo, you can bet damn well I’ll be sipping a cocoa with some felines first.
Decide On Your Budget + Travel Style
Budget and travel style go hand-in-hand. Figure out how much you can feasibly set aside for a trip because this will dictate what will be possible in certain locations. You can still live like a queen on a small budget in many US cities and countries. I found Chile to be dirt cheap, getting meals for $2 or $3 most days, but I wouldn’t have lasted long in Switzerland on the same budget.
So think about it like this: you’ll have the happiest next vacation when you find a place that will allow you to meet your budget needs but also suit your travel style. Once you’ve put some consideration into this, take a look again at the top few destinations you’re thinking of for your next trip and do some research into average costs and what traveling through the area is really like.
Before clicking the “Purchase” button, make sure to also look into:
- Visa requirements (if you’re looking to go overseas, you can’t just show up to every country expecting them to let you in)
- Weather that time of year (I almost bought a ticket to Sri Lanka during monsoon season…that would have been interesting, to say the least)
- Special events going on (New Orleans at Mardi Gras ≠ New Orleans other times of the year)
Don’t Sweat It
In the grand scheme of things, if you’re picking between a few places high on the list, you’ll end up happy no matter what. I know I always panic a bit after I book a big flight, thinking of where else I could have put that money or all the things that could go wrong. Just don’t do it; it’s such a waste of energy.
In the end, you might end up near broke and beyond exhausted, but you’re likely not going to say, “Well taking that trip was the worst thing ever.” Even if things go bad, it will be an unforgettable experience. You’ve got a big, bad world to see, and you’ve got to start somewhere!
What’s your number one deciding factor when planning your next trip?
ps if you’re looking for more travel inspiration, check me out on Instagram. 🙂 Lots of fun stuff going on over there!