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Of course, you should choose a vacation destination because you love it and would love to explore it. But there’s a lot more to consider when picking where to travel to. What’s the weather? Does it fit your budget? Is it safe?
Here are some of the most important things to consider when choosing a vacation destination.
1. The Kind of Vacation You Want
The first thing to consider is what type of vacation you want. Beach vacation? Outdoor adventure? African safari? Skiing trip? City vacation? Some places are known for their spectacular beaches, others are perfect for backpacking adventures and some cities are ideal for exploring museums and other urban attractions.
Once you figure out what kind of trip you want, you can then narrow down your destinations and choose the best one.
Once you pick a particular destination, the first thing you should always check is how safe it is. Check if there are any travel advisories from the State Department and look up news stories about the country and city you are going to.
Look out for issues like riots, high crime rates, political unrest and terrorism. Also note that some destinations, though generally safe, can be a security risk for specific people like women and the LGBTQ.
Some places are more expensive to visit than others. The hotels cost more, restaurants charge more and activities are more expensive.
So make sure you pick a place that fits your budget. That said, don't shy away from expensive cities. You can often find cheaper hotels, restaurants and other amenities if you research properly.
Keep in mind that budget doesn't just depend on where you go. Factors like time of the year (high vs. low season), how far the destination is and what activities you are going to do also determine how much you’ll spend on your vacation.
4. Time of the Year
The time of the year matters a great deal when choosing where to go. That’s because it determines the weather of your destination. You want to avoid places that are currently experiencing inclement or extreme weather like heavy rain, cold, heat waves or tornadoes.
Look for destinations that will be mild and warm when you visit. But it also depends on what kind of trip you are looking for. Maybe you don't mind a bit of rain or you are going on a skiing trip, meaning winter is the best time to visit.
The important thing is to know exactly what kind of weather to expect when you arrive.
5. Walkability/Public Transport
If you are planning to vacation in a city or town, check how easy it is to explore. It’s unfortunate but many American cities have terrible walkability and it can actually be dangerous to explore them on foot (though there are still plenty of walkable American cities).
If you are traveling to Europe and some places in Asia like Japan, they tend to have more walkable cities. Their public transport is better, too.
Walkability and good public transport are especially important if you are elderly. It will make your vacation safer, less stressful and fun.
6. Length of Your Vacation
How long will your vacation be? If your vacation will be just a few days long, choose a destination that’s closer. You don't want to waste any vacation time on travel or recovering from a long flight.
If you are going for longer than a week, you can afford to choose a destination that’s further away, probably even an international one. You’ll have plenty of time for travel and rest.
Keep in mind that longer vacations are also likely to cost you more.
If you are traveling with your kids, that should factor in when picking a destination. You should be even more careful picking a safe destination. Also pick a place that is child-friendly and has lots of activities and attractions for kids.
This is not one that many people think of until it is too late. Visiting some countries can be an absolute headache in terms of paperwork.
So it’s a good idea to check what travel documents you need for a particular destination. Of course, if you want to avoid any paperwork, you can choose a local destination.
Don’t forget to look up what other people think about a particular destination. Is it overrated? Is it worth a visit? Check places like Reddit for people’s experiences of their time there. YouTube can also be a great place to check what a destination looks like.