How To Decide Where To Travel

What do you like to do? I’ve met a number of travelers over the years who were unhappy with their choice of destination. I suggest you choose based on activities you enjoy rather than any pre-conceived notion of popular tourist destinations, or the best airfares. If your idea of a good time is a six hour bike ride you probably won’t care for Hong Kong.

Below are some examples of destination searches based on what you want to do and where you might want to do it. If shutterstock_104531138you are a first time traveler these tips for traveling abroad may help you find a destination you will love.

Sports
Pick your sport and start by finding the destinations which offer excellent facilities. I typed “destinations for (golf, scuba, cycling….) into Google and had a variety of results.

Lazing in the sun
The same applies here. Type in destinations for beaches and you’ll find pages of contenders.

Help others
If you long to get to know some people leading vastly different lives from your own, search on “Volunteer Vacations” for lists of organizations which welcome volunteers to do a variety of jobs from assisting at an orphanage in Africa to teaching English in Peru.  In most cases you pay your own expenses, but the fees are often reasonable and possibly less than you would pay to go on your won.

See the sights

  • Cities & towns: Museums and churches, restaurants and shops, the bustle of a town not your own.
  • The countryside: mountains and meadows, glaciers and waterfalls, the lakes and the sunsets.
  • Search on “best of…” or “destinations for…”

Shop
I saved this category for last because it encompasses such a huge range.  In brief, it depends on what you are looking to buy. Even within a category such as “clothing” the possibilities are virtually endless. For instance, do you want tailor made clothes, inexpensive ready-to-wear or designer duds; silk, cotton or Harris tweed; made to order shoes, tooled briefcases or inexpensive leather goods (allegedly) cured in camel urine? Once you pinpoint your passion, you can search on that item and should be able to find destinations.

Having said that, however, whenever possible, I buy my wallets in Istanbul because it is the only place I have ever found a wallet which meets all my requirements, will accommodate my passport, and doesn’t take up the entire volume of my purse. Turkey is not particularly well known for leather, but it’s my favorite destination for it.

If you are travelling alone, you get to choose. If you are travelling with someone, you may have to find a location which serves both of your needs. Some combinations are not very difficult: a golfer and a shopper for wool suits might enjoy Scotland.  It’s more of a problem if you have a sightseer of mountains and a co-traveler eager for designer apparel.  That leaves you to split your time or find a more compatible traveling companion. If the companion is your spouse you’re on your own.

Having said all that, some places do offer wonderful surprises which you would  have missed if you had followed the suggestions above too slavishly. It’s merely a starting point and the zealous scuba diver dragged on a Mediterranean cruise may discover interests they didn’t know they had.