Most of us only have limited days off per year, and we all want to make most of it. But how to find the perfect destination for your next vacation — that place that has all you want and need and helps you recharge your batteries?
My approach has always been (and still is) reading guidebooks, watching documentaries and listening to other travelers. Which is, I admit, a pretty time-consuming task.
To help you with your vacation planning and make it easier, I sat down and thought about the key questions you have to answer to find the perfect destination for your next vacation: Here they are:
1. Know which climate your soul thrives in to find the perfect destination for your next vacation
I think the climate of your destination has to be fit to your needs, otherwise you’ll suffer, and that’s not really what a vacation is about. Of course, you can’t really rely on any weather forecasts anymore (not that this ever worked). However, general climate conditions are fairly consistent for specific destinations, meaning you’ll never suffer from heat stroke in Germany or from snow blizzards in Costa Rica.
A great help for finding the perfect climate is the website The Best Time To Visit. This site allows you to pick your preferred month of travel, the continent you want to visit, the average low and high temperature (make sure you know if the temperatures are in Celsius or Farenheit) and the maximum number of rainy days you can handle.
2. Know how big your travel budget is to find the perfect destination for your next vacation
Most of us start out with small travel budgets when we’re young, which will hopefully grow over time. But to be honest, some of my most memorable experiences were not related to the cost. Sometimes eating with a local family in a Cambodian island village (who turned their dinner table into an impromptu restaurant for a couple of pennies per plate just because they saw you were hungry) can be far more memorable than an over-priced sunset dinner in your private bungalow in Tahiti (where you have to listen to noisy jet skis cruising past).
The only important thing is that you know beforehand how much you want to spend and the cost of food/lodging/transportation in your targeted destination. A great tool for this is the Budget Your Trip website where you can search for a country and then see how much the average traveler spends in total or in different categories.
3. Know how you want to spend your days to find the perfect destination for your next vacation
For some people, a perfect vacation is lying on a beach, sizzling in the sun and reading a book. While I enjoy doing this every now and then, it would drive me crazy if this was my only option for 2 weeks. I love to experience unique and memorable things on my trips; instead of living vicariously through the adventures of a book, I want to live my own adventures.
I love hiking, diving, kayaking, watching wildlife, taking a shower under natural waterfalls and all that kind of stuff. It’s not always easy to find these activities everywhere I go, but I always make sure there are at least a couple of things to do that I really enjoy.
Finding a place that matches your criteria for activities is probably one of the hardest tasks when trying to find the perfect destination for your next vacation. Sometimes the geography gives some hints (although, don’t expect every island to have beautiful sandy beaches), and sometimes the local flora provides some clues (no need to look for monkeys in a desert), but most of the time you need to do a little research to find out exactly what to expect, reading guidebooks, searching the Internet, and talking to locals at the accommodations where you plan to stay are all good research tools.
4. Know how well you learn or speak languages to find the perfect destination for your next vacation
While some people hate to visit countries where the inhabitants don’t speak their language (like the French who seem to only go to their former colonies for holidays — sorry my French friends 😉 ), others thrive in polishing up their long-neglected high school language skills. Of course, there are also those who are happy enough to rely on hand gestures (though you have to be careful with this, as the Huffington Post shows us in this article).
I like busting out my rusty French and almost non-existed Spanish (studying Latin in high school turned out to be a good idea after all), but every person is different, and I understand when somebody freaks out because no one understand what they are saying.
Find out first what type of language person you are, then use this little helper: the interactive language map of StatSilk.
5. Know your favorite scenery to find the perfect destination for your next vacation
Being a mountain girl (born and raised in Bavaria – that place between Germany and Austria) I go bananas when I go too long without seeing anything on the horizon but wide-open space. I’m not saying that I strive to climb every peak I see … but just seeing them gives me a comfortable feeling of familiarity and home.
On the other hand, I also love the ocean and its countless hues of blue, as well the insane varied green of pristine rainforests. So I guess I would have a tough time visiting a desert for an extended period of time.
To figure out what kind of scenery you can expect at a destination is again not as easy as just clicking on a website. It requires a little research; so, read, watch, and talk to others to see what you can learn.
It’s a lot of work to find the perfect destination for your next vacation, isn’t it? Especially, since you often already need to have a country in mind before you can find out if it offers what you’re looking for. Many times this sends you back to step one, and all the fun starts again.
Lucky for you, we just made your life easier! We created a very short quiz (only 5 question, but they pack a punch), where you can list your expectations for your perfect vacation, and it will spit out the country you should visit based on your needs. Have fun with it and share your results with your friends on your social media channels!