Choosing your destination is often the first thing to decide when booking a trip abroad. However, with so many places to go, a mountain of glossy travel brochures showing tropical destinations, and your friends and family recommending places to visit... where do you begin?
When planning a trip, the first question that will most likely pop in to your head is 'where shall I go?' Although this is the main element of decision, it is worth also considering simply 'why' you want to go.
Why not take this simple exercise
Close your eyes and think of your favourite place in the world. Whether it is a quiet park, a hot sunny beach or a memorable childhood trip abroad, why does this stick in your mind? Was it the climate, the company you had, the peace or tranquillity, a fun activity, the culture or learning something new? Now re-open your eyes and write down everything you enjoyed about that trip. This exercise aims to pick out the things that you enjoy and the elements that make a trip memorable. Keep these in mind when choosing your destination.
If you want to relax:
Choose a destination where you can read a book by the pool, go for a walk, enjoy a relaxing massage, or take yoga or pilates classes. You could also look to improve your language skills, or even learn how to cook new cuisine. Remember that if you are looking for rest and relaxation in your trip, you firstly need to create a relaxed mindset. Before you set off on your trip, get ahead of your work schedule, get on top of the housework and finish those tasks that have been lingering on your 'to do' list. By doing this, it will enable you to fully relax while on your trip and feel less stressed on your return.
If you are looking for adventure:
Activities such as skydiving, snowboarding, husky sledging, or surfing can create the perfect adrenaline rush if you're looking for a fun filled adventure holiday. Perhaps there was an activity that you enjoyed when you were younger and this would be the perfect opportunity to relive your memories. Even if you have children now, they would love to relive your memories with you and learn something new at the same time.
If you decide to go on an adventurous or sporting holiday then always make sure you have the correct level of travel insurance that also covers your planned activities. Many people venture abroad and decide on a spur of the moment activity, although you need to make sure that it is covered under your insurance policy. Failure to do so may result in high medical bills and/or unpaid claims.
Some Things to Consider
Check the up to date weather forecast for the time of year you are visiting, as it may appear to be hot and sunny in the brochures but in reality it is wet and drizzly. Places like Australia have their Summer months when it is Winter and their Winter months when it is Summer. Consider if your destination's climate will be comfortable for you - Do you find it hard to sleep if it is too hot? Do you have any allergies or medical conditions that can be worsened by the climate?
Remember to check the weather forecast again about a week or two before you are due to leave to reflect the current climate. This will ensure you pack correctly.
Airport location and price
Booking your flight from the closest airport may be convenient but not always the best decision. Consider changing the airports that you use as with a little research, it is possible to catch a flight to the same destination for a cheaper price. It is also a good idea to check their policy on flight cancellation, rescheduling, luggage allowances, cost of parking (if needed) and also the cost of any nearby hotels, just in case. These are just some of the additional elements to consider when choosing where to go.
Don't overlook your hotel choices when choosing your destination! Think about if there are any essential hotel facilities that you require such as a pool, gym or restaurant? Do you want to be centrally located in the hustle and bustle or do you want something on the outside of town? It is important to remember that although centrally located hotels offer a better location; this is often reflected in a higher price.
Consider all of your options as it may be cheaper to be in a hotel out of town and then get a taxi or drive to your destination. If you choose a hotel that is out of town but has a pool and entertainment facilities included in your stay, make the most out of these to relax or entertain the children on a budget. Remember that any money you've saved on accommodation can be put towards other aspects of your trip.
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