Deciding on a Travel Destination | Things to Consider When Planning a Trip
Trying to decide on your next travel destination? Me too! I've actually never planned my own trip before, and deciding where to go and when, took a little bit of planning and research before actually deciding where. Here are some things I consider when planning my trip, and a few ways to decide where I'm off to next!
~ #1: Are there restrictions on when & where you can travel? ~
Do you have a passport so you can travel outside of your country? This is an important thing to consider if you wanted to travel outside of your country. You need to consider the time it will take for you to do the application and requirements, and if the passport will arrive to you in time. I have a valid passport, however, Brian's passport has expired and it's a bit of a hassle to get a new one. We might not get it in time for the trip, so I decided we would stay "local."
What time of the year would you want to travel, are you restricted to certain times of the year? An example would be, if you're in school, you'll probably be planning for your trip to happen around the times you have break. Brian is working full-time, but also attending school as part of his job to get certified and specialized training in his field. Thankfully his classes aren't on any traditional schooling schedule and are condensed, fast - track like so I just need to avoid the "black - out" periods where he is in classes. Also, since we have a trip with family planned for later in the year, I wanted to take a trip with Brian earlier / middle of the year.
~ #2: What is your budget? ~
Are you trying to be cost - conscious / have a strict budget that you need to stay in? Brian and I have a budget to stay in, but since it was a surprise trip, the budget was specific to what I would be able to afford. After you consider when / the different times you would want to travel, set your budget on how much you can afford for the trip. I broke it down further to how much I'll spend on things I need to book and how much I want to be able to spend when I travel.
Tip: I would make a spreadsheet to track expenses / my budget for this trip, to make sure I am staying within the budget and I'm not sacrificing too much in one area just so I can go on the trip. Ex: Am I doing an AirBnB because it is cheaper than a hotel, but the AirBnB does not meet the standards I want it to? Would I be able to sacrifice somewhere else to afford either a better AirBnB or a hotel room instead? Or even, considering: Is this trip out of my budget, and do I need to pick a more affordable location / trip? Ex: I would love to go to Paris, but that is out of my budget right now.
~ #3: Do you have a time-frame? ~
Do you have an allotted vacation time / paid - time - off (PTO) that you need to consider? Brian and I both have PTO from our jobs, but we don't want to use it all at once. Brian can accumulate PTO and they don't expire, however mine does re-set every year, with a few months to allow x-amount of roll over. Do you have enough PTO for a week, or even a couple weeks, and how much do you want to use for this trip?
Do you want to go during a certain time [ ex: May ] but have an event you need to attend [ ex: a graduation ]? We do have a graduation to consider, but it won't be landing during the time we will be going. Be flexible with your time as you don't want to cut - it - close with things.
~ #4: Do some research ~
Roughly, how much are tickets, hotels,etc? Is it within your budget? You don't want to go to town on the tickets, and not be able to afford good services such as your hotel and other expenses. You want to get a rough estimate of the current cost to go on the trip. Don't look for the "cheapest" just yet, you want to be able to have a "cushion" when you actually start planning. Basically, if you go in knowing you can afford a $400 plane ticket, but find and book it for $200 when you've decided your destination, you now have $200 you can put towards something else, or save it for when you reach your destination.
What are some activities that you want to do there? Make sure that if you're on a strict budget, that your destination doesn't have too many expensive tourist traps and that there are locations that you want to see / go to, without breaking the bank. If you want to go zip-lining but the cheapest is $200 per person, is there another activity you would want to do instead of shelling out $200 for a couple minute ride?
~ #5: Decide your destination! ~
After taking close consideration of your circumstances, where are you going to travel? For ideas, I used the app Hopper to look at places during the time I want to travel and it pulled up several options. Since we have to stay within the United States, I picked that list, which then pulled up the different options such as Los Angeles, Washington, and more.
Since Brian and I can only go away for a long weekend trip, I decided that we would travel locally, to another Hawaiian Island. I know Brian has been wanting to go to Maui, Big Island and Kauai for different views and experiences.
So, I guess we're going to... The Island of Hawaii [ aka The Big Island ]!
Stay tuned for more travel posts! What do you want to see next?