Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Travel: 5 Tips on Choosing Your Next Adventure

by Kelly Rae Smith, published in Explore Travel Guide

 Where should I go?

Have you asked yourself this question recently? If you’re like me, making a decision on where to travel, from literally a world of options, can be as stressful as it is exciting – especially when finance has the final say.

However, there are a few rules I’ve learned to stick to when all else fails. Use this method as a narrowing-down tool the next time you find yourself stuck between a rock and a hard-to-pick place.

 1. Write down five places you’ve been wanting to visit, for any reason at all.

Don’t think about any factors apart from your desire to get there at some point. For all intents and purposes, we’ll use my list for the discussion. This year, I would love to go to Prague, Macau, Sydney, Cape Town, or Rio de Janeiro.

 2. What time of year are you able to travel, and what kind of weather are you hoping to encounter?

For example, if you’re like me and can’t get away until January, and you prefer sunscreen to a winter coat, then you can count Prague out.

Macau is also chilly, although clear, that time of year, so you may want to eliminate that option as well. Brazil and Australia are in the middle of summer at the start of the year, as is Cape Town. And so you see? Now we’re down to three.

3. Who do you know?

It’s always better to know someone wherever you go. They can a. show you the local flavor without b. you breaking the bank on tourist traps, while also c. catching up with an old friend.

If you’re like me, with friends all over the map, you’re probably always thinking you should go visit that college friend who moved to Dubai or an old colleague who has a life in New Zealand now. So why not do just that?

Looking back now at the cities that have not been eliminated, I do have friends I want to visit in Macau (but it’s been ruled out), Sydney, and Rio. So since there’s no one I know in Cape Town, I’d really rather forego South Africa, for now, while I have the chance to pay a long overdue visit to some great people who can help me get the most out of my travel experience.

Don’t depend on these friends for lodging or playing tour guides – you’ll want to feel out a lot of it for yourself. But dinner and drinks and laughs as a group one evening will help make some amazing, lasting memories. It looks as if those memories will be made in either Sydney or Rio.

 4. How long can you get away for?

If you’ve only got a week of vacation left to use, like I do, you’ll want to go somewhere that gives you the maximum amount of relaxation as possible. You don’t want to spend your holiday in every mode of transportation imaginable, so we can eliminate the destination that’s the farthest away. Sorry, Sydney, but Brazil is nearly halfway closer to me than Australia. And then there was one.

 5. Rest assured it’s the right decision

Rio wins! I can rest assured that it’s the only option now, given the factors that got me to the final answer.

I can save Sydney or Cape Town for next year, when I have more time to travel, and I can always do Prague in the space of a few days if it’s the right season for exploring city streets on foot. Macau will always be there, too, as will my friend who does not plan on moving anytime soon.

Narrowing those destinations down was relatively painless, and I know that I could have otherwise spent too much time dwelling on the possibilities at my disposal rather than logically determining the very best fit for myself at this very moment. Good luck with your decision making, and remember to, whatever you do, keep exploring.

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