Monday, December 5, 2016

Choosing a Destination

So you want to travel. But where?

Sometimes it's just as easy as choosing somewhere you have always wanted to visit or a place you have heard great reviews about. In my opinion, it is always better to do as much research as you can before you decide to embark on a far away journey.

Why do you want to travel? What is important to you? Is there a dream you have always wanted to fulfill? We spend about a third of our lives working. Why not enjoy your earnings by creating memorable experiences and memories that last a lifetime!

Some questions you should ask yourself if you don't know where to start:

- Who are you bringing? What will they enjoy?

- Are you seeking relaxation or adventure?

- Do you want to sunbath by the beach or hike snowy mountains?

- Do you want to sight see or learn history?

- Are you willing to learn about a new culture or try new food?

If you don't ask yourself these questions, then what's the point? Put those thinking caps on and find out what you really want to achieve!

Do you have friends or family that lives in Spain? Or maybe a travel companion who has traveled to Italy? Maybe even your school or company has another facility outside the country.  Having these options, in my opinion, is one of the best ways to begin exploring a foreign land. 

The reason that brought me to Scotland is because my friend's father is living there for work. By having a local with you, it's easier to have them guide you to all of the best restaurants and attractions since they know the area best. They also know you best and understand what you really want to accomplish. Not to mention, maybe they will have a free place to stay the night if they are nice enough!

If you are going to school, take advantage of the study abroad programs. If your school doesn't have one, it wouldn't hurt to suggest it to a director or administrator. It is a great opportunity to learn a new language and new customs. So what better than to do it in the actual country that uses the language! 

Let's say your company's headquarters is on the other side of the country. Try to be brave and make  a new connection by reaching out to a colleague! Speaking to someone who works in the area will give you more information about the area or if there are any volunteering opportunities. And you would already have a shared interest working for the same company! 

Another way to figure out whether or not a destination is for you is to research it! Look online, go to the library, call a travel agent, however you get information, find out as much as you can about where you want to visit. 

Don't know where to start? Things to research:

- Current Events - This is more important than you would think.

- Season - What time of the year is the warmest or coldest in this country? Are there a lot of tourists?

- Language Barrier - Will it be too challenging to navigate to the sites you want to visit? Are you going to be able to understand what the locals are saying?

- Safety - Research laws and regulations that are allowed in places you've been, but not in places you are going.

- Customs - Are there any hand gestures or words you shouldn't say in order not to offend someone?

If you only have a limited amount of vacation days, it would be harder to travel further away. Take into consideration the travel time and if you change time zones. If you have a shorter vacation time (roughly 1-3 weeks) it might be more suitable for you to choose a closer region or country to reduce the travel time. Longer vacations (3-4 weeks or more) you would have more flexibility in where you want to visit. 

Things to consider: 
- Are you traveling to multiple countries 

- Mode of transportation - Will you need to fly or take a train?

- If you fly, will you change time zones? Would you have jet lag?

- Convenience - Would you be more likely to pay extra to take a cab or walk?

- What activities do you want to do and how much time they will take? What can you give up?

- Are you providing yourself enough down time for shopping or resting?

- Do you want a flexible or rigid schedule?

This is one of the most important factors to consider because it will determine what places you could visit and which places you should rule out. The upside to this is that you can match any place to match your budget. The downside is that the cost could change your decision to go to the less expensive parts of the country. 


Currency - What is the strength of your currency? What places can make your dollar go further? 

Transportation - Do you need to fly to your destination? Bus? Train? Drive?

Overnight Stay - Would you stay in a hostel or at a friend's place? Did you know you can sleep 
overnight on a train and wake up in a new destination? 

Food - How much food are you getting? Which restaurants are cheaper?

Shopping - Are you bringing back souvenirs? Can you take them with you on a plane or train?

Think about your options! Even though this is just a broad overview of topics to consider, the rest is up to you! 

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