At this point we pause and think about destinations that fit the trip profile. Sometimes we aren’t sure and do research to come up with a complete list. We use the internet as our major source of research and are planning a post about some of the best sites for identifying destinations.
Once we have a list of potential destinations, we look into each of them considering the following important practicalities and preferences.
- How much to we want to spend? It’s not necessary to have tons of money to travel, but the dollars can rack up quickly. We come up with a rough budget for each trip and plan from there. Destinations can vary dramatically in price, and if it doesn’t look like a destination is realistic in our budget we cross it off our list. Important note: we always look at the currency, which can be a big factor in the cost of t he trip.
- What type of accommodations are we most comfortable with? Big resorts with lots of things to do are very appealing for some types of trips, but we generally prefer smaller places with less going on. There are also some destinations where renting a house or an apartment may be an option. When going the house/apartment route we consider whether there’s cleaning service (generally no), if we want to prepare lots of meals, if there’s a close grocery store, and if we’ll need a car. On some trips, especially in Europe, we consider if we want to stay in known brand hotels or hotels unique to the destination.
- How connected do we need to be? Reality is that sometimes we need to stay connected, both in terms of internet/phone and ability to get back quickly if needed. There are places that don’t have internet or it’s very spotty. When this is important to us we make sure we don’t choose off-the-grid spots.
- If we’re moving around, how are we going to do it? Train systems, car rental availability, road conditions, ferries, bus systems, subways, and small airlines and/or charters are important to research and understand and are unique to each destination.
- What is the destination known for? What do people do when traveling there? Sometimes this is obvious, for example if we’re planning a trip to Rome, but often it’s not. We gravitate to small towns, islands, mountains, and the countryside and look at things like restaurants, hiking trails, beaches, music/arts, local cultural highlights, snorkeling, etc.