A common phrase heard year-round is, “I need a vacation.” Many people utter this phrase monthly, even daily! The excitement of going somewhere builds and builds, yet most people have no idea where to go or what places to visit. So they end up postponing their vacation until they’re forced to decide on something last minute or end up going somewhere that doesn’t excite them. Stop that! J
I found the list “The 20 New Most Popular Cities for Tourists in 2013” on the Business Insider website. Most places on the list are pretty well known and others probably not. I’m only including the top 10.
#9 Hong Kong
#8 Kuala Lumpur
#5 New York
What a list, right?! Yes, there are a lot of places to visit and a lot of sites to see. No, you can’t visit and see them all in one trip. Unless you’re super rich, in which case, take me with you!! J Planning a vacation is overwhelming enough, especially when there are so many different options to choose from. Here are some simple tips to use when deciding where to go, no matter the type of trip, in no particular order.
- Check the Clock: How many vacation or leave days are you planning to use? Determine how much time you have to spend at your destination. Factor in weekends. Depending on what time of year or month, look into combining with a holiday (if you get holiday pay). If you have the time off and want a little adventure AND relaxation, you can always look into combining two destinations into the same trip. You could visit one destination for 3-4 days, for example, and the second destination for the remaining 3-4 days. You would have to factor in travel time between both and adjust your days at each location accordingly.
- Know Your Limits: Determine how much you can, comfortably, afford to spend. For example, if you can only afford to spend $3,000, total, obviously a trip to New Zealand will not work within your budget. This amount is the TOTAL amount, including the cost of airfare, hotels, excursions, meals, tips, cab rides, etc. ANYTHING you plan to spend money on during this trip needs to be included in this budget. Note that more touristy destinations tend to have higher costs during peak tourist months or around holidays, especially cruises.
- Travel Companions: Before you can start narrowing down places to visit, you need to consider who you’re traveling with. Are you taking children, pets, older individuals, anyone with medical/health problems, friends, and extended family? This will give you a starting point to make sure that everyone has a remarkable time on the trip and, no matter their limitations, still have plenty of activities to keep them busy and entertained. It’s not wise to take your oxygenated grandmother to Six Flags or Zions National Park, where she has to sit in the car or on a bench and watch everyone have fun. Not cool… Also, find out what everyone else would like to do. If you’re in a group, you can always do a central destination and combine your time doing activities as a group and separate. Or do the split option mentioned in Tip #1. Visit another destination, then meet up with the group at the other destination and spend a few days.
- Dig Deep and Find What You’re Looking For: What are you hoping to gain or get out of this vacation? Adventure, relaxation, city or country surroundings, busy or quiet atmosphere, outdoor, indoor? If you’re craving some quiet relaxation, New York City might not be the place to visit… If there’s an activity you love like snowboarding, horseback riding, star gazing, camping, etc., there are package retreats centered on such activities that you can look into.
- Old and Familiar vs New and Adventurous: Do you have an old stand-by destination that you love taking yearly trips to? Worried about venturing too far from familiar territory or out of the country? Or do you crave new places and things and want to visit a new place? Decide if you have an old favorite you would love to visit again or if you’re up for something new and unfamiliar.
- Recommendations: Whether you start with getting recommendations or used the above steps to narrow down what type of vacation you would like, ask around and get ideas from people you know, trust and who might have similar tastes. You never know, they might throw out an idea or destination that you’ve never heard of or had never even imagined could be fun. Gather as much information as you can and do your own research on the place. Check out reviews and see if it’s something you’d really enjoy.
- Browse: Check out random travel blogs or see what types of places interest you on Pinterest. Are tropical destination pictures popping out at you more than a wilderness or city environment? Well, that might be your answer! Google is an amazing tool for finding random things, so look around.
- List It: Compile a list of interesting places as you go along. Just because you can’t, or don’t want to, visit that place this time, there’s always next time! Save the list and use it when vacation time rolls around. Add to the list and cross off what you do along the way. It’s a great tool to reflect on all of the really cool trips you’ve taken, too!
Follow these tips to help make the beginning of your get-a-way as less stressful as possible. The point of a vacation to feel energized, refreshed and to get away from “real life”. We don’t want you a frazzled mess from the get-go! So start on this list, figure out your next destination get-a-way and GET-A-WAY already!