I’ve been lurking on the travel forums lately. In part because I want information and inspiration for next year’s trip(s). In part because I love to help answer questions, so I was quickly addicted.
One question that keeps coming up in one form or another is this: How do you decide where to go next?
So I thought I’d tackle the question here. And the truth is that it’s been a little different each time:
When I took six weeks off between leaving New York and moving to Denver, I decided on Europe because it was the only continent I hadn’t visited yet. I further decided my destinations as follows: Ireland (because that’s where I found really cheap roundtrip tickets for), Austria (because the friend who invited me to Europe lives there), Italy (because I just love the idea of Italy), Slovakia (because, weirdly enough, the cheapest way from Vienna to Rome was via Slovakia) and France (because I was so close to it at the end of the trip anyway).
For my 2012 trip, I know I want to go back to Europe because A) I feel totally safe and comfortable traveling as a woman alone in Europe, B) I know they have the communications infrastructure I will need to continue doing business from afar and C) I just love the mesh of European cultures and languages and sights.
The specific cities/countries I would like to visit are: Edinburgh (if you’ve seen pictures of Edinburgh, you know. Plus, they speak English and I found a great place to stay almost immediately), Cambridge (stalking various English towns on Flickr brought Cambridge to the forefront due to its being a gorgeous city), Wales (because I’ll be so close, so I should give it a quick jaunt), Ghent (because it’s stunning and full of University students and it is vibrant and the food is good).
For other trips it went something like this:
Australia: I was in high school and wanted to see a kangaroo.
Southern Africa: I was in high school and wanted to help some impoverished babies and see a giraffe.
Thailand: I was supposed to go to Nepal, which I chose because it seemed beautiful and mountainous and wildly different, but the Nepali prince killed his whole family, so we were re-routed to Thailand.
Peru: I hadn’t been to South America yet.
The Bahamas: I was invited on a free cruise, no decision necessary.
Jamaica/Caymans/Mexico: Yet another free cruise.
Costa Rica: It was close and I only had a couple weeks that summer to travel. I wanted to practice my Spanish, help some people and hit Central America.
Morocco: My old childhood friend was in the Peace Corps there and would be alone for Christmas.
Spain: It’s really close to Morocco and the discount plane tickets I had couldn’t be used for Morocco directly.
As for my current process itself, it looks something like this:
1. Pick a continent based on weather, culture, etc.
2. Take out a bunch of guidebooks from the library and research countries of interest, narrowing it down to a few top picks.
3. Get on Flickr and check out photos of the cities that interest me (I love beautiful places!), which further narrows things down.
4. Pick the first destination and make a tentative itinerary.
5. Plan the trip!
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