So you want to get out and see the world! But where to go? I will confess this is not an issue I’ve ever really struggled with. I want to visit almost everywhere I read about so for me it’s more a matter of “when” than “where” to go. However this list must be culled somehow, and if you haven’t really traveled much, you may be a little lost on this question. Here are some things to consider when deciding where you would like to go:
Consider Your Options- Many people’s first instinct is to head to Western Europe. There is a reason it is so popular of course, but it’s a big world and you should explore some other ideas as well. Ask your friends, read travel magazines, surf around wikitravel– you’ll be surprised what you find if you open your mind to all the possibilities.
Consider Your Travel Style- Are you the kind of person who enjoys the challenges of roughing it? Or would you prefer somewhere with more familiar language and customs? It’s important to get out of your comfort zone, but at the same time you don’t want to set yourself up to be overwhelmed or miserable.
On my first big solo excursion, I decided to study abroad in London. I wasn’t used to being away from my family and friends or spending so much time alone, so going to England was a less stressful way to ease into the travel mindset. Now that I am more experienced my mind turns to more ambitious locations.
Consider Your Budget- the bottom line is that your money is going to stretch much farther in the developing world. This shouldn’t be the sole deciding factor but you can travel for a lot longer on a small amount in Thailand or Nicaragua than in Japan or Spain. Even within Europe your dollar will stretch further in Eastern countries like Bulgaria than in Italy. Think about how long and in what style you would like to travel and where in the world that fits with.
Consider Your Time Constraints- Are you looking to do a short, weeklong trip? Do some Internet searches and try to see what kind of deals are floating around. If you aren’t committed to seeing any one place an airfare sale to Peru can be a special kind of serendipity.
If you’d like to travel for a longer time than you might want to take a look at what tours, volunteer programs and other opportunities are available to you.
Consider Your Resources- One of the greatest excuses to plan a trip is that you have friends or family living abroad. At bare minimum you have a free place to stay and, if you are lucky, a great local tour guide. Start looking at your friend’s adventures as your good fortune.
Spend some time thinking about what other lucky breaks you might have. Do you speak a certain language? Do you have any connections that can hook you up with a job? What kinds of work visas are available to you? Any particularly marketable skills you can put to use abroad? In these tough times you want to take all of the advantages you can!
Consider Your Desires- I think many people have a dream location they really want to visit. Ask yourself where you’ve always wanted to go. It’s a great starting point at least.
Here are some reasons I have decided to visit a certain place:
- Family roots
- I saw a picture in National Geographic and fell in love
- It was close to somewhere else I was visiting
- Someone told me it was neat
- An author I like came from there
- I liked the way the name sounded
No reason is too small or too silly to want to visit somewhere.
Well that should serve as a starting point at least. Time to start brainstorming!