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How do you find your next travel destination & what impacts your decision?

So far, I did 2 bigger trips (each was over 2 months) to Central America and North America. Both because of friends recommendations. Now it's time for me to get out of my town again and discover something new. So I have a few questions on making my decision easier or get inspiration by you :)! 

  1. How do you choose where to go next?
  2. What is important for you to make a decision?
  3. And which sources do you use?
  4. What kind of a traveller are you?

Budget is kind of important for me and so far I used friends as "source" :D I love to get to know cultures and don't need Parties all the time :)

I'm looking forward reading your awesome answers! 

How do you choose where to go next?

What is important for you to make a decision?

And which sources do you use?

What kind of a traveller are you?

15 Answers

top answer by
Gina from Minneapolis

Fun question, Robert!

1. I'm constantly gathering information about destinations because I live, eat, sleep and breathe travel. I keep a running list of places I want to go, collect notes, hoard photos and if I find something new that piques my interest, I read about it voraciously and seek out information wherever I can get it. 

2. For me to pull the trigger on going to a place, a few factors have to fall into line. Budget is always a top consideration. I want a relatively cheap flight and I weigh the cost of the flight versus costs on the ground. Of course, mood also plays a part, so if two destinations I'm interested in have relatively similar costs, we're going to just go with what "feels" right and what has the most pull on us at that moment.

3. Of course, the Internet is an essential (blogs, image searches, news sites, forums, etc.), as are guidebooks. But I also look to nonfiction books (memoirs and reportage, etc.) and novels set in a place. My husband and I both have fairly specific tastes and interests, so I veer off the usual data trail to see how those interests apply in a place I'm considering. I mine my local museums to see if they have anything related, I go to restaurants, I scour Netflix and Amazon and iTunes for movies and TV shows, I look for bits and bobs of information everywhere. Cumulatively, I put a ton of time into research, but it's more a way of life than it is time that I take out of other activities. 

4. The word I most identify with as a traveler is "independent"—even though that term applies to my husband and I both, since we always travel together. What it means to us is forging our own path, figuring things out on our own and doing exactly what we want to do at the pace that suits us. 

5 thanks

answered by
Tiffany from Corvallis

We began to travel in earnest because my husband's job send us overseas. In that time we lived in Germany for 3.5 years and Spain for another two. Moving every couple years dictates my travel. With four kids, I focus on traveling in and around the places I live and try to truly know, understand, and make each of those places home.

I don't think I'll stop moving until I'm too old to move. The opportunities that present themselves when living in a place for a couple years are so much richer than traditional travel.

My next big move is always unknown, but I approach them without fear because every place has potential to be amazing and we make the effort to find the amazing in each place.

4 thanks

answered by
Kristal from San Francisco

Honestly, I usually have a place I am lusting over and try and plan my vacation time for the best season to visit that place. I then look up average hotel/b&b prices as well as flight prices to make sure they are within reason. Once I have honed in on that place I will start monitoring flights and commit when I see an offer I can't pass up.

However, if budget is your driving factor I would use sights like Skyscanner because you can input your closest airport and open your search worldwide. This enables you to filter by price and you can see the cheapest destinations for the time you have available. Also consider currency exchange because that can significantly help extend your dollar. 

Once you have narrowed down your options you can also do some research on which city or country provides the most free activities. There are definitely more budget friendly cities that offer free walking tours, museum entrances, etc. 

Good luck and safe travels!

- Kristal 

Eat & Escape

3 thanks

answered by
Richard from Cape Town

Obviously budget and time will be the main factors that impact on my decision on where to go. If money was not an option I would approach traveling a little differently. I would just go and you'd never see me again...

I used to be quite methodical about where I wanted to go. I would choose my destinations based on factors such as, top destinations for food or historical sites or best cultural experience. I would research those aspects and choose the country or city. I have in recent years found my favourite way to choose a destination is to take the advise of other travellers. On the recommendation of fellow travellers I have seen some of the most spectacular and unusual places.

2 thanks

answered by
Maria from Dublin

I have a subscription to Wanderlust magazine and National Geographic travel, read loads of travel blogs and follow lots of travel bloggers and photographers on Twitter and Instagram.

My decision to go someplace might be random, I travelled to Gothenburg in Sweden based on an article in Wanderlust, where the writer travelled there, on a cheap flight, and deliberately did not read a single thing about the place beforehand. She arrived, with a backpack, a camera and a credit card, no idea where she would stay, and had 4 days before her flight home. She stopped people on the street and asked for recommendations for places to stay and things to do. It was an amazing 4 days and she inspired me (and I would imagine a lot of people) to go there. I had a fab time too. I went twice, once in June when days were 20 hours long (it was bright until 1am and bright again at 5am) and then in Winter when we walked around in chilly darkness surrounded by fairy lights and cinnamon buns.

I travelled to Sri Lanka because I read an article about Buddhist prayer flags and climbing Adam's Peak before dawn. I went to Australiaa few years ago because I saw a travel show on TV about conservation in Daintree Rainforest

Sometimes I go based on recommendation from friends: Cape Cod White Mountain National Forest  Verona Cinque Terre Sometimes I find a cheap flight and think "that sounds interesting"!

Sometimes I travel solo, sometimes with family. If I'm going for a few days or moving around I generally stay in small hotels. If I want to base myself someplace for a while I'll rent an apartment or house.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Gothenburg (attraction)
  2. Sri Lanka (attraction)
  3. Australia (attraction)
  4. Daintree Rainforest (attraction)
  5. Cape Cod (attraction)
  6. White Mountain National Forest (attraction)
  7. Verona (attraction)
  8. Cinque Terre (region)
2 thanks

answered first by
Michele from San Francisco

Well, I'm currently writing to you from Kosovo, to start. I randomly decided to come here based on recommendations from hostel buddies of trips past combined with the amount of mileage I have, though the latter can be swapped out for great airfare deals from Kayak Explore. I have found that if I don't care where I'm going, I just buy the cheapest ticket wherever and begin my exploration there. Whether you are on budget or not, stay at a hostel. You meet friends, hear real time info on what is around and doable in a day or a week, and, most importantly, you will have couches to surf on in future trips. Good luck!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Kosovo (attraction)
2 thanks

answered by
Hazel from Port St. Lucie

Dauphin Island, Alabama marshes. Spiritual

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Dauphin Island (attraction)
1 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Justin from Phoenix

Mostly from other travelers, but also from people who lived in other countries. Here are some examples:

-In New Zealand, I talked to other travelers and told them how much I liked the glaciers and the volcanic areas. They said if I like that sort of thing, I should go to Iceland. So I did, and I loved it.

-When I was eating at a local Korean restaurant, the waiter asked if I'd ever been there. I said, no ... and he gave a great pitch for Korea (Food! Spas! Hiking! Karaoke! Well, three out of four ain't bad ...).

-And here's something random. I wanted to go to a summertime music festival in Finland because I'm a fan of Scandinavian/Nordic metal. So I found one ... and also found a 10K run in Tromso to continue my tradition of running 10k races on every trip. That's another factor - gotta have a 10k during my timeframe.

-Price isn't a big factor. I can get to even expensive countries and have fun without breaking the bank. It helps that I don't drive a fancy car, watch a huge TV or even have cable!

For sources, I prefer blogs. I refer to Insight guides a bit. But I take a lot of the info with a grain of salt. I like blogs that tell it straight, not parrot travel brochure superlatives.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Tromso (city)
1 thanks

answered by
Rasto from Edmonton
  1.  Since I live in Canada and my 4-week trips are usually Dec-Jan I narrow my destinations to countries in between 30° latitudes to escape darkness and winter. In summer, I enjoy long days doing road trips and camping in Canada and USA.
  2. Weather, what kind of activities I can do on my trips, uniqueness and diversity of the country, popularity among general public (I avoid touristy places and resorts like a plague), safety (but not based on gov't & TV recommendations and propaganda), bang for the buck.
  3. Internet & guide books. Sometime places recommended by travelers I meet during my trips.
  4. Backpacker and will always be. It's not because I'm on a budget what mostly people associate backpackers with, but because that's what I like and prefer. I like to plan everything on my own, be independent, travel light and focus my energy, mind and money on things that matter to me and be free from all daily life chores I have to endure at home.

1 thanks

answered by
Randy from Tampa

I start with the internet and do general searches like, "best islands" or "exotic places".  I'll change up the adjectives to vary the search results.  What I'm looking for is an image that really strikes me.  I'll do several hours of "visual scanning" of places until I found a place of interest.  Then I research to learn about the place, find out if there's enough things to keep my interest, the people, culture, etc.  If I can find a place that has great scenery, is different and offers a combination of culture, enjoyment and good food, then I start figuring out how to get there.  That's pretty much how I ended up at the top of Kim's Lookout Lord Howe Island among other great places.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Lord Howe Island (city)

answered by
Nam from Bangkok


I love reading about history, art and ancient civilizations since I was young but never dream about exploring any great places in the world.

I've started my first travel when I was 36 years old after 15 years of chronic sickness and resigned from work. First country was United Kingdom where I spent 11 weeks there.

During 2010 I have realized that I am into travel and I have begun a personal travel blog visiting WHS throughout Southeast Asia project. Now only Brunei Darussalam is the SEA country I've never been there. My bucket list will be completed soon.

1. Next place, I wish to go is based on history and art which safety have to be concerned. Mesopotamia and Egypt  are not the priority with safety factor but first place in mind.

2. Safety, according to world's situation, budget and my health.

3. I draft destinations from my interest and draw maps then fill the details from various sources, usually from travel blogs, websites, web boards, guide books and so on.

I have never taken guide books with me but do personal A4 size papers which fit my need and light weight. I have PDF files copy too.

4. I am solo traveler although go alone is more expensive than sharing, but it made my trips possible.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. United Kingdom (country)
  2. Southeast Asia (attraction)
  3. Brunei Darussalam (attraction)
  4. Mesopotamia (attraction)
  5. Egypt (country)

answered by
Lila from Las Vegas

I am an avid traveler and have visited 66 countries to date.  I am trying to get to as many countries as possible so right now traveling to countries I haven't visited is a priority.  That being said, a quality travel experience is also very important to me.  I choose countries based on previous experiences.  I loved Argentina, Uruguay and Chile so much when I started visiting Latin America.  It spurred my fascination so I have almost completed all of S America now.  S America is also very affordable, off the beaten track, the people friendly with just amazing natural sights and I am surprised but secretly pleased that it is not overrun by tourists.  Real travelers i.e. people who travel outside their comfort zone, go to S America and I have met such fantastic people on my travels there.

Lonely Planet is the bible for my trips.  I love their writing and philosophy. They cater to a different crowd than the regular or more conventional travel guides.  

I am an adventurous and fearless traveler in almost all aspects-I like different and real life experiences.  Seeing and experiencing daily life whenever possible; no watered down experiences please.  I travel because I want to learn and explore real situations with real people.  I have found myself occasionally in challenging situations and I am always delighted and grateful that the kindness of strangers have almost always prevailed.  

My next continent to complete is Asia.  I am headed to Nepal, Laos and Myanmar on my next trip.  Good luck on your travels wherever they lead you.  Just travel. :)   

answered by
Brianna from Brooklyn

I choose where I travel next based off of where I have enjoyed traveling in the past combined with seasoned travelers insights. I also think budget plays a role. If I have less than $1,000 USD to spend for a month's worth of travel I am far more likely to choose Nepal or Vietnam or Western Europe. I find that travel blogs are the best resource of information. 

My company focuses on helping older adults travel and my blog addresses the specific needs that they would have in traveling. For a young backpacker, I would look up people who have traveled to the destinations you are interested in on your budget. For an adventure travelers, they should seek out adventure travel blogs, etc. 

Most importantly have a blast. 

answered by
Anthony from Vancouver

UNESCO world heritage sites list all the coolest and best tourist destinations. Just about every good famous place I have ever been to all around the world has a UNESCO plaque on it

comments (1)

answered by
Polly from Washington, DC

I have a long, long list of places I would love to visit at some point in my life. But what usually tips the scale from "someday" to "right now" is an opportunity that won't come along again. Examples -

-I'd wanted to visit Egypt since the age of seven, but always figured that was far off in the future. I finally decided to go when a friend got a short-term job there and offered to host me for a week.

-I'd wanted to see a World Cup in person since I was a teen, and I'd always wanted to go to Brazil, so 2014 was my (probable) once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do both at once.

I plan almost every detail of my trips ahead of time and love the process. If I get there and want to change something, that's fine - but I can't stand getting to a new location and not knowing what there is to do and see right away, and how to best accomplish it. For example, I would have wasted so much time in South America if I hadn't read everything I could find on bus schedules and routes. Travel is heavily-saturated living for me.

As for what kind of traveler I am - I'm limited by my budget, but I also realize that a few splurges are worth it when I may never make it back to a place again. I also tend to plan my trips around the tourist "canon". I've never really understood people who plan their vacations entirely around what locals do - while I understand wanting to find hidden gems, if I were to give people advice based on my "local" experience in New York, it would have been shopping at chain stores in Union Square, going to the laundromat, and ordering cheap sushi on Seamless. I've found that even when you schedule three or four touristy activities in a day, you'll glimpse the true soul of the place you're visiting in the moments in-between. 

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