5 Things to Consider When Deciding on a Vacation Destination

When it comes to vacation planning, the possibilities are pretty much endless. The world is a big place and there is so much to do and so much to see. For that reason, many adults find vacation planning to be a stressful process, which somewhat defeats the purpose when the entire goal is to relax or get away from the stress of daily life. Vacation planning should be fun, and when you take an organized approach, it can make it easy to pick the perfect vacation destination and align on the activities you want to do and the places you want to see.

It may seem too simplistic, but a tried and true method for vacation planning leverages the five “w’s” that we learned in school – who, when, what, why, and where. When you think through the detail tied to this very elementary concept, it makes it easy to narrow down the ultimate decision – where to go.

  • Who – This is the best place to start. Who will be taking the vacation with you? Are you planning a romantic getaway with you and your partner? Are you planning to take children along? What about bringing your elderly parents, or perhaps you are in your retirement and need to avoid locations that require too much altitude or hiking? Perhaps this is a group of girlfriends escaping the husbands and kids. Whoever is going along, you need to understand that because that will absolutely influence the destination. You may not want to bring your young kids to see the pyramids in Egypt, and if you are a young group of women looking to escape, do you want to be climbing an ice berg in Iceland?
  • When – Now that you have determined who is going on the vacation, you need to consider when. Start by figuring out what school or work schedules that you need to work around. Or, consider if you will be recovering from a medical procedure, or perhaps planning for one that will limit your ability to travel to certain places for a defined period before hand. Aside from these scheduling conflicts that you need to work around, it will help you to hone in on possible destinations as certain locations might not be the best to visit at certain times of the year due to climactic conditions.
  • What – With who and when figured out, now you can start considering what it is you want to do and see. Do you want to travel to Agra, India to see the amazing marble palace the Taj Mahal? Or the Eiffel Tower that was constructed for the 1889 World’s Fair? Or maybe you want to see the World’s Largest Ball of Twine. Maybe you want to hike the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) like Reese Witherspoon did in the 2014 film Wild, based on Cheryl Strayed. Just maybe, you are planning to visit multiple places in multiple places. Whatever these important activities are, make sure you make note of them.

As part of the process of identifying the what, don’t be afraid to list off far more than what you know is practical for this particular trip. The goal here is to narrow down activities that might be on your bucket list or that you have been considering for some time. It is also important to consider what you need to make those visits possible. If you are indeed going to hike the PCT, then you probably need to start thinking through some supplies. If you are going to see the Taj Mahal, you probably need to make sure your passport is up to date and that you apply for a Visa to visit India.

Finally, this is a good time to consider your budget too. How much do you have to work with – what is your budget for the vacation?

  • Why – So now that you know what you want to see and do, you need to consider why you want to do those activities. This is an important step as it can help you to rank the ideas that you came up when considering the what. This step will also help you to think through any activities that might be time bound. For example, if you want to climb Machu Pichu in Peru, is this something you want to do now or can it be pushed off for a while, and why is it that you want to see it? If you know that Machu Pichu is starting to limit the number of tourists that can visit due to erosion and the need to maintain the Lost City of the Incas, then a trip sooner than later might be wise.
  • Where – So by now you probably have quite a bit of information documented in your notebook or tucked away in your brain. That’s great, because you will want this detail handy for the next and final step in the vacation destination decision making process. By knowing who is going, when you will be going, what you want to do, why those sites are important to you, you can narrow down the where.

For example, if you and your partner are planning an adventurous getaway for the two of you, and you want to travel sometime near the holidays, perhaps that is the right time to head to India to explore the culinary delights and the amazing historical sites. From a climactic perspective, October through March are the coolest months, making it much more comfortable for tourists. And, if it is only July, you have plenty of time to coordinate passport renewals while also starting the process to obtain a tourist Visa. Further, you can take advantage of travel discounts by booking five months in advance. Destination decided and problems solved – India and the glamorous Taj Mahal made of remarkable white marble – a bucket list item indeed!

Wherever you decide to go, and whatever you decide to do, by planning early and taking the time to walk through the above steps, you will be sure to lessen the stress that can often go into the vacation preparation process. There truly is so much to see in the world and we only have a finite time on earth to see and appreciate everything that we can. So with that, get planning and make it a vacation to remember!

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