Choosing the ideal travel destination

What’s Your Ideal Travel Destination?

The hardest part about travel is often deciding where to go.

Because our time or budget is limited the pressure is on to find the ideal place where our precious holiday time will be well spent, where our dollars will stretch as far as possible or where we can happily splurge knowing that it’s worth paying extra for a once in a lifetime experience and a memory that will last forever.

So how do you choose the best travel destination for you? How do you work out where you’ll be happiest traveling to and where you’ll get the best value for money?

Here are some factors to consider before you book those flights and pack your bags.

1. Accommodation

Some travelers are attracted to specific destinations for the type of accommodation they offer. Many people are looking for unique accommodation. Be it a yurt, an ice hotel or a tree house, they want to experience staying somewhere unique.

Often when one style of accommodation becomes popular other similar places pop up in other destinations. For example, the first ice hotel is in Sweden and the latest ice hotel has opened outside Quebec City in Canada. Despite that destinations are still limited for very specific and unique types of accommodation.

Some frequent travelers like big name hotels where they know what type of accommodation to expect and can settle into their holidays with little fuss and no nasty surprises.

Families traveling with kids often want to make sure their holidays are easy and fun for everyone by choosing hotels which are known to be kiddie friendly, or resorts with a kids club and babysitters to allow the parents some well earned adult time.

Accommodation is a personal choice but if I want to splurge I prefer exclusive boutique-style accommodation like The Lyall Hotel in Melbourne where I’ll get personal service or be one of a handful of guests.

If my budget is limited then simple beach huts in Thailand or India where you can get back to basics and escape from the pressures of modern life are my idea of travel heaven.

2. Activities or Sight-Seeing

Adventure travelers and people who want to see the sights of Paris, Sydney or Bangkok often don’t care where they stay. They’re focused on what they can see or do when they get to their ideal destination.

This type of traveler wants to indulge in special activities which can only be found in certain locations such as:

  • scuba diving – try the Red Sea in Egypt or the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, Australia;
  • heli-skiing – try Whistler in Canada or Queenstown in Australia;
  • a yoga retreat – India is the holy grail for yoginis but  Bali has heaps of yoga retreats too;
  • sailing – the Bay of Islands in New Zealand or the Carribbean are ideal destinations;
  • learning to surf – Australia is popular but I recommend Costa Rica or Panama where the waves are less crowded and the water warmer.
  • a culinary tour – foodies can take their pick depending on their taste from Italy or France to Thailand or Japan.

If you have a specific activity in mind or dream of visiting a certain place then you’ll choose your travel destination based on fulfilling those travel dreams. If there are still several options other factors will come into play to help make the final decision.

3. Budget

All travelers have a budget to stick to and, even if we want to stay in five star accommodation or are prepared to splurge on a special travel experience, we still want to get the best value we can.

I subscribe to several airline and travel industry websites to hear about the best deals as soon as they come out. For example, with the global recession cruise companies are really suffering so cruise lovers can pick up cabins for as little as $50 per person.

Meanwhile travel lovers who are hanging out to go to Maui or Kauai like me can take advantage of cheap airfares to Hawaii as soon as they hear about them if they keep their ear to the ground. These kind of special deals come up regularly but sell out fast.

Places like South East Asia and India appeal to budget travelers while places with a higher cost of living like the Caribbean Islands tend to attract wealthier travelers.

4. Ease and accessibility

Another decision-making factor when chosing your next travel destination is how easy it is to get to.

Sometimes a local vacation or travel destination you can drive to is easiest if you don’t have much time and want to spend as much time as possible relaxing, not traveling.

The Gold Coast or New South Wales are both within easy striking distance of my home town in Australia for a long weekend or short break.

Sometimes you’re up for a real adventure where getting there is part of the fun. In that case you’re prepared to put up with a few hardships along the way. Other times you just want to get to your travel destination and start relaxing as soon as you can.

5. Timing

Many people are forced to travel at certain times, such as over Christmas when they’re given a longer vacation time, or during school holidays when they don’t have to worry about taking kids out of school.

Demand is greater during these times so prices for flights and accommodation increase, but if you know when you need to travel in advance you can still get the best possible deal or the best accommodation by booking early.

When you’ve considered all these factors, made the necessary compromises and decided where to travel to you can get on with booking your flights and accommodation then start planning the finer details of your travels.

Once you’ve carefully picked your ideal travel destination and booked it you can look forward to your trip knowing the hardest part has been done.

This blog post was sponsored by Flight Centre who are committed to providing great travel at the cheapest available price.

What’s your ideal travel destination? How do you choose where to travel to next?

Photo credit: Victoria Peckham
Author: Annabel Candy

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa June 28, 2012 at 10:51 am

I love the idea of travel that is organised for you. I have used Flight Centre before and they are really good at what they do.

My ideal travel destination has to be Morocco. It is vibrant and full of history. You can have a great adventure travelling around relatively cheaply in a grand taxi, which is really just an old Mercedes Benz.

From the mountains to the sea, Morocco is glorious. It’s a foodies paradise and a photographer’s dream. My favourite place in Morocco is Ouarzazate. It is located at an elevation of 1,160 metres (3,810 ft) in the middle of a bare plateau south of the High Atlas Mountains. To the south of the town is the desert.

The town is chiefly inhabited by Berbers, who constructed many of the prominent kasbahs and buildings for which the area is known. Ouarzazate is an important holiday destination in Morocco, as a base for excursions across the Draa Valley and into the desert.

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Annabel Candy June 28, 2012 at 11:03 am

Hi Lisa,

That’s great to hear, sometimes we do just want an easy time with experts organising it all.

Morocco sounds like a fab travel destination and if you ever go again you can stay in my friend Big Andy’s house which he bought a few years ago and has just finished renovating!

I’m dying to visit:)

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Ryan at Travel and Graphs June 28, 2012 at 12:50 pm

Very good criteria to think about before traveling in this post. Personally, the history and back-story of a place are most important! If I don’t know anything about a place before going, I feel like something is missing.

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Annabel Candy June 28, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Hi Ryan,

I only got interested in history when I got older. I grew up in the UK but I only really appreciate the old buildings and history now i don’t live there but go back for visits.

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Caylie Price June 28, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Hi Annabel,
I dearly want to take my partner to Europe for a few weeks and live ‘as the locals do.’ I’ve been but he hasn’t had the opportunity yet – there are so many things I want to share with him and so many more places I’m yet to visit.
What influences our choices – how much time we have available and cost.
Cheers, Caylie

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Annabel Candy June 28, 2012 at 2:29 pm

Hi Caylie,

I hope you get to revisit and share that experience with your man. going to Europe for Australia is expensive as far as flights go but at least the Aussie dollar is on our side now:)

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Sandra / Always Well Within June 28, 2012 at 4:23 pm

I like the way you outlined these different considerations. It makes sense to plan out our travel well.

My favorite travel destination is home…Hawai’i! The Big Island is generally more reasonably priced than the other islands, it has something like 11 different climatic zones, and has more of a sense of traditional culture, I’ve heard, than the other islands.

I have no travel plans in mind, but if I were to travel Tibet, South East Asia, South America all hold appeal to me.

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Annabel Candy June 28, 2012 at 4:50 pm

Hi Sandra,

Oh, I so want to visit you! Thanks for the tip, I’ve heard a lot about Kaui but Big Island is on my radar big time now:)

I love your three picks there. SE Asia is an old fave of mine, South America one day when I have a long time to enjoy it all and Tibet. Wow! That would be incredible.

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Susan June 28, 2012 at 11:00 pm

I stumbled onto this blog through Twitter, and have enjoyed making my way through the posts!

Cost is almost always my first criteria for a travel destination, with access to delicious food and independent adventure factoring in. I’ll go to expensive destinations (Tokyo, NYC, planning some Western Europe travel now), but I’m constantly hunting for cheap accommodations and low ticket prices. It’s like a game for me!

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Annabel Candy July 1, 2012 at 8:24 pm

Hi Susan,

Great to hear how you found our blog:) That makes sense – if the destination is more expensive you need to balance the costs by looking for cheaper accommodation and flights. It is a fun game and always a great sense of achievement if you can save money without cutting on quality or spend more time in a place on the same travel budget:)

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Grace Kelly June 30, 2012 at 10:45 pm

Annabel great post,
My ideal destinations are big cities, this may be because I no longer live in one but by the beach , so now I crave City life .
When I lived in Cities I craved the beach for holidays!

I tend to make holiday decisions based on what events might be on in that city at the time I am visiting, if I can mix networking, business and pleasure I book that ticket.

Love luxury hotels and have found many beautiful spaces to do my work and holiday in here in Italy and have found Trivago really good for luxury discounts in hotels in Europe.
Grace

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Annabel Candy July 1, 2012 at 8:28 pm

Hi Grace,

Yes, I’m a bit the same as I live by the beach I do enjoy the opposite for my holidays – but not cities for me, usually mountains or hinterland as we call the Aussie countryside.

Mixing networking, business and pleasure sounds like my type of travel plan – it’s always good to fit in as much as you can in a place:)

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Daniel McBane July 1, 2012 at 7:51 pm

For me, the ideal destination always seem to be the opposite of where I currently am–if I’m on a tropical island, I want to be in the mountains; if I’m in a huge city, I want to go out into the country. I guess it’s what keeps me traveling.

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Annabel Candy July 1, 2012 at 8:29 pm

Hi Daniel,

Lol, yep, you’ve got the travel bug bad:) I wonder how long you’ve been traveling?!

Reply

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