• 4 steps to choosing the best vacation destination

    2017-02-02

    It's an easy and exciting decision to go on a vacation. However, when it comes to picking a location for your trip, it can get a little tricky. It can be overwhelming to sort through all of your options - big cities, a tropical oasis, a European country, etc. - and find one that will make your trip the best it can be.

    Whether you're traveling solo or embarking on family travel, it's important that you consider your destination carefully so you end up somewhere that caters to your preferences and expectations. Use these steps to help you decide on the location of your next vacation.

    1. Figure out when you can go
    Reserving a few specific days on your calendar for a trip can be challenging with responsibilities like school, family and work taking up most of your time. However, The Huffington Post emphasized the importance of reserving specific days or weeks for your trip ahead of time to determine which destinations you should look into. For example, if you want to have a relaxing beach getaway and you can only go in July, it may be best to avoid the most popular tropical destinations like the Bahamas, as tickets to these hot spots are going to be at their highest during the summer's busiest travel period. Consider a retreat to a beachy U.S. location, such as Southern California. It will be easier to find affordable airfare, especially if you're trying to make last-minute plans.

    Take the timing of special events into consideration as well. You may want to avoid New York City or Chicago on the weekend of a major sports game or if there's a parade being held during your vacation, as events like these can make travel difficult and more expensive.

    2. Determine the number of people in your group
    The number of people in your travel group determines many essential aspects of your trip, according to USA Today. If you end up recruiting several friends, you should look into group packages and discounts at hotels. Short-term apartment rentals or trending accommodation options, such as Airbnb, may be the most affordable and convenient choices for you. These options may also be the only ways that you and your companions can stay together in the same living space. On the other hand, staying at a hostel is often very cheap if you're traveling alone. It's also a great way to meet people.

    With this in mind, remember that certain places work best for large groups, while others cater more to solo travelers. A Location like beaches in Miami or cruises often work best for groups. Meanwhile, a quieter beach town on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, would be ideal if you're traveling alone.

    3. Make a list of your interests and desired activities
    Lay out potential itineraries to determine the activities you want to do and the types of attractions you want to visit during your vacation. This will help you narrow down your list of choices to a couple of destinations where you'll be able to complete these desired activities. For example, deciding whether you want to visit museums or sit back at the beach for the majority of your trip will drastically narrow down your options.

    4. Decide on a budget
    One of the great aspects of traveling nowadays is that no matter what your budget is, there's bound to be accommodation and transportation that meet your needs. USA Today suggested taking a trip somewhere close to you and booking a three-star hotel if you have a tight budget - you'll probably want to save international travel for another trip when you have more funding. However, if you're set on Europe travel, taking a trip on your own presents the perfect opportunity to backpack through your destinations.

    Cities can be expensive destinations, but they usually offer plenty of affordable hotels, hostels and dining options. It may be more challenging to find a cheap resort in a town near the shore or on a Caribbean island. However, there are budget-friendly tricks, like packing your own lunch to bring to the beach and renting an apartment with a kitchen so you can make the majority of your meals.

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