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How to Choose Your Next Travel Destination

Posted on Tuesday, May 2, 2023
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by AMAC, D.J. Wilson
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Confucius said, “Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” Saint Augustine explained, “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” And Ernest Hemingway shared, “Never go on trips with anyone you do not love.” All great advice! But deciding where to travel might not be that straightforward. You’ve decided to take time off from work and you want a proper experience, but with so many places on the map you hope to explore, what’s the best way to decide? Here are six important considerations:

  1. Money – Travel is expensive, and prices can fluctuate based on the economy and independent factors such as seasonal pricing and demand. And then there’s the b-word to consider, budget. Unless you don’t mind hostels that share accommodations, camping, or roughing it, you likely won’t want to travel somewhere you can’t afford. Do sit down and analyze what you can spend. Consider travel costs, accommodations, food, activities, tips, souvenirs, travel insurance, and other expenses that may be incurred. Also, research costs associated with various locations that you are considering to best see what fits your budget. Compare travel costs, hotel, and restaurant prices, and more. If possible, make a price comparison chart. Also, consider risk factors that may affect your price.
  2. Time – Though heading to and from your destination is part of the travel journey, much time can be absorbed going to faraway destinations, especially those which involve overseas travel and multiple connections. In recent years there have been historic airport delays and flight cancellations and layovers that complicated travel for the masses. One must build travel time into the itinerary and decide whether international or domestic travel is preferred. Long trips may cut into relaxation or activity time at your destination. Thus, if you live in New York and have a five-day vacation, you’ll likely not want to choose Singapore as your destination as the shortest direct flight takes an estimated 19 hours nonstop. Thus, your actual vacation time is limited. However, a two-week break or longer makes that destination a much more desirable consideration.
  3. Travel Companions – If you’re not traveling solo, you’re likely obligated to consider a location that not only is suited to you but also appeals to the group. It’s important to keep lines of communication open and to actively share ideas. Always keep an open mind to discover what destinations appeal to the majority. You’ll also want to contemplate many aspects of the trip and consider the social and cultural features of your destination. Consider ages and activity levels, and interests. For example, a golf vacation may be undesirable for someone who does not partake in that activity. For group travels, you’ll want to ensure that there are amenities and activities for all guests to enjoy.
  4. Weather – Many travel destinations have seasonal weather and peak seasons for travel.  Generally, when the weather is most favorable, there are more tourists. With that, demand often drives up prices. Most people seek pleasurable weather and try to avoid vacations that may be negatively affected by severe conditions. Hot weather locations are ideal for vacationers who like to spend time outdoors on the beach and under the sun. Whereas cold weather vacations offer a different vibe with opportunities to ski or snowboard as examples. So, personal preference is also a big consideration.
  5. Health – This may not sound like a big deal to some but knowing that medical needs can be attended to in an emergency is very important. In the US, healthcare is widely accessible and insurance policy coverage generally applies. Travel outside of the U.S. is different, and health coverage may be denied in certain places. Travelers should research whether their health insurance coverage works at their foreign destination. Vacationers will want to consider this when planning their trip and perhaps pick up additional insurance. There’s a difference between travel insurance and international health travel insurance. The first generally covers cancellations, personal belongings, and emergency medical treatment. Note that exceptions may apply depending on the policy. The second is generally a standalone policy or may be sold as part of a comprehensive travel insurance plan. It is best for travelers who will be abroad for a sustained period. Since domestic health care plans may be denied outside the USA, it’s important to do your homework and acquire medical coverage to include emergency medical transportation when traveling internationally. Shop around for plans to compare pricing and coverage. Otherwise, expect to pay out of pocket to access care.
  6. Safety – No one wants to put themselves in direct danger for a vacation. Thus, safety is a major consideration when choosing a holiday destination. To be in the know, one may simply Google the list of most dangerous places to visit or heed warnings provided by the U.S. State Department. At travel.state.gov, one may find a color-coded map and advisories rated by levels to see where it is currently safe to travel. Level 1 means exercise normal precautions, Level 2 means exercise increased caution, Level 3 means reconsider travel, and Level 4 means do not travel there. Additionally, one may sign up to receive travel advisories and alerts at travel.state.gov/stayingconnected. It is a worthwhile idea for travelers to stay on top of the list as it is subject to change.

The world is full of exciting adventures. Now that we’ve turned the corner on COVID-19, travel has picked up and folks are ready to enjoy fabulous trips both domestically and abroad. With so many choices in an ever-changing world, it may be difficult to decide where to go. Whenever possible, reach out to people you know who travel and are willing to share their adventures with you. In addition to gaining perspective from them, the internet is full of valuable travel information. Of course, you’ll want to visit a desirable location offering fun activities you’ll enjoy. But, more than anything, it’s important to consider your budget, your time, others who are traveling with you, the weather, your health, and safety. Whether it be domestic or international, keeping all those things in the mix, you’re destined to be headed somewhere grand.

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