Be travel savvy – Overcoming the dilemma of choosing a vacation destination

Written by Nigel Simpkins

Going on vacation is fun; deciding where to go, not so much. In fact, choosing a vacation destination can be the most stressful part of the planning process for most people. That’s because there’s an overwhelming number of options to choose from and you only have one shot at planning a memorable vacation, so there’s a bit of pressure to make the right decision. Things can get even more complicated if you travel with your family or a large group of friends. 

Everyone has a different idea of what the perfect vacation looks like, so what you consider exciting might be boring to someone else. So, how do you find the ideal vacation destination for you? This is a dilemma that most holidaymakers come across when preparing for a trip. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t let this little conundrum ruin your enthusiasm. After all, you’re getting ready for an amazing getaway, not struggling to file your tax returns

Fortunately, you can take the stress out of the equation by following a few simple steps that will help you narrow down your options and make the decision-making process feel less like a chore. Here’s what you need to keep in mind. 

Know your wants and needs 

Even if you’re not an avid traveller, you must certainly have an idea of the kind of travel experience you prefer. Think about what excites you, what you liked to do on your previous vacation and make a list with all your interests and the activities you’d want to try out in your future travels. Some people enjoy outdoor adventures, while others are more into cultural explorations or beachside relaxation. You have to figure out what type of traveller you are and what you expect from a trip so you can identify the destinations that match your vision.    

It’s also important to think practically and understand that what you want might not always equate with what you need. Maybe you’re daydreaming about an adrenaline-fueled adventure but if you’ve been dealing with chronic fatigue and your energy levels are low, a relaxing vacation might suit you better. Conversely, if you’re stuck in a routine and you never get out of your comfort zone, it might be a good idea to plan a getaway that will challenge you to try something new for a change. And don’t forget to ask your fellow travellers about their own wants and needs, if you’re travelling in a group. 

Consider your budget

If we’re being realistic, all your travel plans depend on how much money you have in your bank account. You don’t need to spend a small fortune to enjoy a memorable vacation, but you do have to make sure that your aspirations and your finances align, so you can figure out how much money you can afford to get out of your pocket without leaving a huge dent in your budget. 

When assessing your budget, you have to factor in all travel expenses, from the items you need to purchase for the trip to transportation, accommodation, food and the activities you want to enjoy while you’re away. You might also want to check out Manchester airport parking fees if you plan to leave your car at the airport until you return. Making these calculations early on will help you adjust your expectations and plan an accurate budget for your trip. 

Decide when’s the best time to travel 

Timing is of the essence when planning a vacation. Ideally, you should start preparations as early as possible, especially if you’re not travelling alone, so you can coordinate your schedule with everyone else’s. 

Season and weather conditions also play an important role in choosing a destination. Although summer is usually the best season to travel, it’s also the most expensive time of the year as prices for transportation and accommodation are much higher during these months. If you’re on a budget, you might want to wait for the shoulder season when the prices are cheaper, temperatures are generally milder, and popular tourist destinations are less crowded. 

Determine your trip length 

Determining your trip length is just as important as deciding on the best time to travel. If you only have time for a short city break, it might not make sense to travel to a faraway destination as you’ll want to make the most of your time. What’s the point of spending half a day on a plane when you could be out exploring instead? However, if you can afford to take a 2-week long trip, you can take into consideration more distant locations as well.

Also, if you’re flying off a busy airport like London Heathrow and you don’t want to waste time trying to find a parking spot, booking your parking Heathrow in advance might be a great idea. Being organised will help you save time and money, and enjoy your travel experience to the fullest. 

Research potential destinations 

After going through all the steps mentioned above, you’ll probably have a list of potential destinations in mind. So, the obvious thing to do is to start researching each location individually and see which one fits your criteria best. 

There are plenty of online resources and tools that can help holidaymakers find out every relevant detail about the destinations they’re interested in, from transportation conditions to prices for accommodation, the attractions and activities you can enjoy, safety and so on. Learning as much as you can about the places you intend to visit will not only make it easier for you to narrow down your options but will also help you avoid unpleasant surprises down the road. 

Comparing and analysing different travel destinations will give you the knowledge you require to make an informed decision, but you should also listen to your gut feeling. If you still find a destination appealing although it doesn’t check all your boxes, there’s nothing stopping you from giving it a try. In the end, the best adventures in life happen when and where you least expect them.