Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Travel Tip Tuesdays: How to Decide Where to Go

How do you decide where to take your trips?

According to legend, some people solve the problem of where to go with a world map, a blindfold, and a throwing dart. My decisions were never that random, although they often hinged on whims: “I’m going to Arizona!” “Why?” “Because I heard it’s pretty!” Deciding where to go has never been difficult for me. However, if you’re having trouble narrowing down the options, here are five ways to decide where to go:

Some places you're just obligated to
visit, like that one canyon in Arizona.
Locate family and friends. If you’re a budget traveler, this is one of your best options. Anyone who’ll be willing to put you up and show you the sights will make your trip awesome. I’m grateful to the family who have put me up in Colorado, Arizona, California, and, of course, Oregon.

Look at guidebooks. You know that everyone wants to go to Paris and London, but is that really something you would enjoy? A good guidebook can help you figure that out. Whenever I’m interested in visiting a place (such as the Southwest or Germany), I visit the library and check out as many guidebooks as they’ll let me. This helps me figure out what is most appealing to me.

Find a volunteer situation. You knew this was coming! Volunteer travel was my preferred method in my more nomadic days. Usually I started with a general geographic region and searched for help exchange hosts in that area. 

Travel to a special event. A festival in another city is really just an excuse for you to travel. Look up event calendars of cities you’re interested in, or check out a general event calendar (for events in the United States, I like Spirit magazine’s list).

Seek out somewhere completely different. I live in Missouri, so the Sonoran Desert, the Northwestern forests, and the Alps were foreign experiences to me. It’s fun to go places that remind you of home, but it’s a lot more exciting to do something crazy! You never know what place you’ll fall in love with next.

Whatever method you decide, remember to have fun, to appreciate what you experience, and to let your eyes be opened to a new set of wonders.

Got a travel question? Leave a comment and I’ll answer!

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