Dreaming about my next holiday destination is one of my favourite parts of the planning. But once you’ve ticked off some of your favourites, how do you decide where to go next?
Our FOCUS travel writer, Kerry Moss, has compiled a list of questions to help you.
Can you travel for a reason (other than the blatantly obvious reason that you like to travel of course)? Perhaps there is a festival or special event you can include on your travels.
Make a tropical holiday out of friends getting married in Fiji. Package up your desire to have a flutter on the horses with a city escape at the Melbourne Cup. Or find your spiritual (and colourful) self at the Holi Festival in India.
Do you choose the accommodation or the destination?
Maybe you want to stay in an indulgent spa resort or the world’s most luxurious hotel. Perhaps you like the idea of a themed hotel or a resort that offers all-inclusive packages. Sometimes the accommodation is the attraction, and it wouldn’t really matter where in the world the hotel was, it’s the accommodation that you are searching for.
Why not combine your two loves – travel and your hobby?
There are travel companies that focus solely on special interest travel.
Think yoga retreats in the hills of Bali or Foodie Tours of Italy. If your idea of a dream holiday includes a round of golf in the morning followed by drinks in the clubhouse, then there are loads of choices for you too.
If you’d like to go one step further and learn as you travel, then there are also companies who specialise in educational travel, where you can travel with an expert and learn as you go. Examples such as photography tours or farmers’ tours often give travellers the chance for training and learning from those in their industry.
Who are you travelling with? And what do you hope to get out of the holiday?
The type of holiday you yearn for can sometimes be limited by your travelling companions. Some destinations are more suitable to group travel; some are more appealing for individuals.
If you are travelling as a family, sit down and discuss it as a family. What does everyone like to do? Is there a destination that satisfies a diverse range of interests and activities? Or is this year you choose to keep the kids happy when the idea of Disneyland sends you cold?
If you are planning a romantic getaway, research the options. Your idea of a romantic weekend might be completely different to someone else’s. See what pre-packaged ideas are available. Packages with extra inclusions are only a good value if you use the extra inclusions. If you don’t like the idea of a couples massage, then you’d be crazy to pay extra to have it included. Customise your getaway to meet your own needs.
A fast growing area of travel is volunteer tourism, where travellers give back to the community in which they are travelling. It could be as simple as using locally based tour guides or eating in local restaurants rather than large multi-national hotel restaurants, or as dedicated as being involved in the building of local school. Travelling with a conscience is good for everyone.
Visit a travel agent …They’re the experts in travel. The good ones have travelled extensively and have loads of stories to share. Develop a relationship with your travel agent, and they’ll pretty soon be able to make recommendations based on your interests, budget and trends of upcoming popular destinations. They spend all day every day researching holidays for people just like you.
Whatever your inspiration, it is better to see and experience it just once than it is to hear about it a hundred times.