For some people, the urge to travel becomes more than just a ‘want’ in their life. It becomes a ‘need’. Whether this need is fuelled by an urge to discover new places, to meet more people, to push yourself outside your comfort zone or simply to have just as much fun as possible in this big, old world – it inspires you to give travel a high priority. Of course, this may wax and wane depending on what else is happening in your life but generally, when something is enough of a priority to you, you just find a way to make it happen. Where there’s a will, there’s a way!
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This might sound easier said than done but there are so many different ways to travel. You don’t necessarily need a job that flies you to all four corners of the globe or buckets of money to jet off at the drop of a hat (although that would be nice!).
Some people prefer to save all year for that big, blow-out dream trip whilst others like the ‘little and often’ approach, taking lots of weekends away. Some people feel the need to earn as they go and take jobs abroad such as teaching or nursing whilst others choose to go stay with family or friends and enjoy some familiarity. Some people want to soak up all the key experiences a country has to offer like skydiving or white-water rafting whilst others are just happy to enjoy the gentle pace of local life.
Choosing any of the above or something totally different doesn’t make you any less of a traveller than those who might do it day in and day out as part of their lifestyles. However, if you’re reading this I imagine I am preaching to the converted!
So, for all of us who choose to make travel a part of our lives in some way – how do you answer that ultimate question: where to next?
When I make the decision to hit the road, sometimes I have a place in mind, other times I have several… and it can be too hard to decide! Here are a few factors that have sent me off on my adventures and sent some of my friends off on totally different experiences – any of these sound familiar to you?
These are 7 tips on how to choose travel destination.
1) The Trip That’s Always Been On Your Bucket List
I’ve got one word for you – Asia. Yep, I’m one of the Alex Garland gang who read The Beach in her teens and fixated on creamy crescents of sand, swaying palms and like-minded individuals living out of backpacks. However, it was actually Indonesia rather than Thailand that took me away on my first adventure. Three weeks turned into seven and before you knew it I’d spent over four months out there – thanks student loan and thanks irresponsible younger self! But no regrets. The spectacular sunsets… the mind-blowing beaches… the fascinating culture… and the food! Since then, I can’t stay away from Asia. There’s a reason your bucket list number one stands out in your mind – realise that dream.
2) The Trip Chosen By Someone Else
Last year, I was lucky enough to meet up with some of the other Travelettes girls for a week’s sailing in Croatia. I can honestly say, I would never have experienced a trip like it if it hadn’t been organised as a meet-up. I have always been wary of sailing trips as I suffer from motion sickness and for anyone out there that hasn’t experienced it, there is NOTHING that leaves you feeling more wretched and miserable than feeling nauseous on a holiday. Particularly if that holiday is going to involve lots of parties out on the open sea.
But what was I going to do, turn down a sailing trip? To coin my favourite, 90s catchphrase: ‘As if!’
So, I did what any travelling girl worth her sea-salt would do – dosed up on sea-sick drugs, kept a weather-eye on the horizon and had one of the best experiences of my life with the girls. Sometimes a trip that comes out of left field can be just as amazing as the one you have planned out yourself.
3) The Trip Where You Sort Your Life Out
You’re in your mid-twenties. You have a job in a decent, reputable company. A nice flat in the centre of a great city. A long term relationship. Everything is sorted and sensible and makes sense… Or does it?
Unfortunately, something wasn’t right for me. So, all of that went out the window and I took off for two and a half months to clear my head and sort my life out. And it worked! Sometimes putting a lot of mileage between yourself and a complicated situation gives you the space to think, reset and get back to what matters to you. Think of it as a very long, moving meditation.
4) The Trip Where You Have A Purpose
A good friend of mine recently returned from a six week stint of nursing in Sierra Leone. Hearing her stories about helping people affected by ebola has been in turn harrowing and inspiring… Yet she said that despite how tough the experience has been, she would go back in a heartbeat.
You see, she had always felt an urge to go to Africa and not just for a holiday. Six years ago, before she began her training, she was clear that Africa was where she wanted to go, to the countries that needed help the most.
If you feel a similar call to go and work in a certain destination and you’re not sure where it comes from, don’t ignore it – you could be that person that really makes a difference to peoples’ lives.
5) The Trip Dictated By Finances
Travelling on a shoestring, you need to think about your destination carefully. Asia is always great as you can live like a king on a small amount of cash. However, I was keen to try somewhere new – Central America was calling and a friend recommended Honduras as one of the cheapest destinations by the Caribbean Sea. Breezy mountain towns, white sand beaches, the best snorkeling I have ever experienced in my life, cheap rum and an exciting new culture and way of life to me… This was one situation where being a bit poor actually ended up paying me back and then some.
6) The Trip Dictated By Weather
Before writing, I used to work in a school, so some of my big trips over the past few years have taken place during the UK summer holidays. However, this is also a time when much of Asia is swept by the monsoons and as I do like to ensure some guaranteed good weather for beach time, I needed to look a little closer into our route.
We chose to make our way from Cambodia (which was due to experience prime monsoon season) down to the Perhentian Islands of Malaysia. I hadn’t even heard of these little beauties until I turned into the weather-girl, but the rustic beauty of Perhentian Kecil was exactly the island we were looking for. Glassy waters, thick carpets of sand and chilled out vibes… Shout out to the monsoon for sending us to paradise!
7) The Trip Inspired By Love
I haven’t fallen head-over-heels with someone I met on my travels but it did happen to my sister on her first big, backpacking trip after uni and what an adventure it led her on! She ended up moving out to Melbourne for over two years and although the relationship didn’t end up working out, it was the catalyst for an experience that brought a brand new city and lots of new friends into her heart.
I have however, made many trips accompanied by someone I love. And one thing’s for sure – there’s nothing like travel for creating and sharing unbelievable memories together.
So many factors can send us off around the globe, I’d love to hear what inspired your most memorable trip?