Jan 082013
 
How to Decide Where to Go on Your Next Vacation

Me, in Cappadocia, Turkey. My favorite vacation so far…but Peru is next!

Sometimes it’s easy to decide where to go on holiday – our last vacation was in Jamaica, where we celebrated my friend Gayle’s 50th birthday party.

Other times, you know you want to get away…but you have no idea where in the world to go.

Bruce and I recently decided to go to Peru, after discussing several other options (such as Greece, Thailand, Vietnam, and Cuba).

Here’s how we decided on Lima (Cusco, Machu Picchu, etc) – these tips may help you figure out where to spend your next vacation!

How to Decide Where to Go on Your Next Vacation

I’ve been to South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Jamaica, Mexico (twice), Hawaii (four times), St Maarten, Venezuala, Israel, Italy, Turkey, Costa Rica, Egypt, and many countries in Europe. When I was younger, I picked vacation destinations that were popular and cheap. Now, however, I’m learning the excitement and beauty of exploring countries that I would’ve never thought to go to.

For instance, Bruce had a work conference in Frankfurt, Germany. I tagged along for the fun of it, though I never particularly wanted to vacation in Germany. But I ended up staying for a week in Munich after Bruce went back home, because I loved the country so much!

When you’re deciding where to go on your next vacation, be open to places you never thought you’d want to see. They could be your best trips ever!

Look at pictures of your last – most favorite – vacation

Turkey was my favorite vacation because the sights were fascinating (Cappadocia, Istanbul, Ephesus), the people so friendly, and the culture so interesting. Jamaica and Waikiki were my least favorite holidays because I didn’t feel like I learned much about the culture. Those trips weren’t as deep or meaningful as Turkey was.

What was your favorite vacation? How did you feel when you were there, what did you do, who were you with? Those are all clues that will help you decide where to go on your next vacation.

Decide if you want to rough it or take it easy

Our last vacation was an all-inclusive resort in Jamaica, the one before that was Waikiki (Hawaii), and the one before that was Maui. I’m ready to rough it for a change! That’s why I’m keen on going to Peru; I want to hike and stay in hostels. I want to meet world travelers who aren’t afraid to hike in the back country for days. I want to really get into a country like Peru, not just skim the surface (which I feel like I do on all-inclusive resort vacations, even though we take day trips into the nearby cities, towns, and countryside).

What about you – do you want to enjoy the beach and pool scene? Or do you want to be challenged by the money, language, and culture of a foreign country? Both types of trips have their time and place…it just depends what you need out of your life at this moment.

Figure out how much you want to spend on your vacation

We thought about visiting Thailand or Vietnam, but the flight is super expensive (more than $6,000 for both of us). Since we’re only going for two weeks, we don’t want to spend a ton of money on air travel. If we were going for a month or more, it’d be fine to spend that much…but we can’t afford to drop that much dough on a two week trip.

Do you want to go on a cheap holiday? Cuba and Mexico are good choices, I think. Both countries have a solid mix of beach/pool relaxation as well as culture, so you could get the best of both worlds there.

Ask your friends on Facebook or Twitter for vacation destinations

I have over 8,000 followers on Twitter; when I asked how people decide where to go on vacation, David @wallowinwords said, “throw a dart on a map after you’ve had a 5th of tequila and won the lottery.” Throwing a dart on a map may not be such a bad idea! You don’t have to go there…just do some research on the country your dart landed on.

A related tip for choosing a vacation destination is to search for “the best things to do in X.” For instance, I when I Google “the best things to do in Peru”, I’m thrilled by the variety of choices and levels of activities. If you’re thinking about going to Hawaii, read 10 Best Things to Do in Maui – From Whale Watching to Hana. There’s a lot to do on the Hawaiian islands!

One last tip for choosing a vacation destination…

Yet another related tip for deciding where to go on your next vacation is to Google “best vacations 2013” or “top 10 places to see in the world.” I found a list by Lonely Planet for the best travel spots for 2013, but none of them appealed to me. I think California and Australia were on the list – those aren’t exactly unheardof vacation destinations.

What do you think – how do you decide where to go on vacation?

If you decide to go for an all-inclusive holiday, read What to Pack for a Vacation at an All-Inclusive Resort.

laurie pawlik kienlenI'm Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen (but I wish my name was Rosie Frost!). I'm a bookworm, travel bug, flute player, writer. My husband and I live in Vancouver, Canada with our cat and dogs.

Are you happy? My Grade 10 Social Studies teacher, Mr Merritt, always used to ask me that. And I am happy - despite a difficult childhood (schizophrenic mother, no father, foster homes), infertility, an eating disorder, and a chronic illness. The source of my peace and joy is God; I'm a Christian.

How is your life unfolding - what do you need? I welcome your big and little comments below, about big or little things. I can't give you advice, but writing can give you clarity and insight.

In peace and passion.... Laurie

  2 Responses to “How to Decide Where to Go on Your Next Vacation”

  1. Thanks, Ryan! Travel is definitely more challenging when you have kids. That said, however, my friend has two kids and a husband who likes but doesn’t love travel, and they go on a trip every year! Last year was Jamaica, and this year is Cuba. They’ve also been to Florida, Mexico, Maui, and Costa Rica. They decide where to go on vacation by looking for the cheapest all-inclusive packages they can find. Kids often stay and eat free.

    I’m getting tired of all-inclusive resorts, though. They’ll be great when I’m too old and wobbly to actually travel through exotic countries like Peru and Thailand! But I want to go on more active vacations right now.

  2. I admire you for traveling the way you do. I would love to travel to Turkey or some other location in across the ocean but I have found that it is nearly impossible to do a trip of that magnitude with a small child. I am hoping that next year after my company’s tax preparation season finishes up that we may be able to take my daughter and see Rome. The best vacations though seem to be the ones where we do something out of the ordinary, we have been to San Diego countless times and the vacations just blend together.