How do you choose your next travel destination?

Stick a pin in a map? Roll a dice? Or, spend weeks and weeks of planning and research? For some people choosing their next country to visit is as easy as flipping a coin whereas others prefer to be meticulous in their preparation. It really depends on what sort of person you are but there are certainly benefits to each one, as well as downsides…

The ‘Stick-a-Pin-in-a-Map’ traveller

This type of traveller is spontaneous, impulsive and is quite happy to go with the flow. They will backpack hundreds of miles to a destination just because they met some cool people who were heading that way, they will jump on a flight just because the mood takes them and they will do all this without an itinerary in sight.

The benefits:

  • The excitement of not knowing where you will end up next – the world is your oyster!
  • The experience of visiting somewhere you might not necessarily have visited otherwise.
  • The sense of freedom that comes with travelling the globe without the rigidity of a set plan – nowhere to be, nothing to be late for!

The downsides:

  • Taking a spur of the moment trip only to find out it wasn’t what you’d hoped…no hostels, no shops and just a few unwelcoming locals.
  • You might run out of money because your budgeting will go out of the window.

The Meticulous Planner

This type of traveller couldn’t bear to just head off into the sunset without knowing exactly where they were going, how they were getting there and what their ETA would be. These travellers will spend weeks making a detailed itinerary and planning every last detail so that their trip runs smoothly.

The benefits:

  • You know exactly what you expect – where all the best restaurants are, what attractions there are to see and how much everything will cost.
  • You can plan an accurate budget so you don’t overspend but will still have money to do all the things you want to do.
  • You will have looked at hostel and hotel reviews so you won’t be disappointed by your accommodation.
  • Weeks of planning helps build up excitement for your travels.

The downsides:

  • Reading reviews doesn’t tell you everything you need to know about a destination; you still might get there and hate it.
  • If you book all your flights and accommodation in advance you won’t have any flexibility so, if you do decide you want to take a detour it’ll be more hassle.
  • Knowing too much about a destination can detract from the fun of exploring!

Of course, it all depends on the sort of person you are. Some people lean very heavily on one side or the other whereas most lie somewhere in the middle. It’s sensible to do some planning, both from a financial point of view and a safety point of view (you don’t want to end up on your own in a bad area of town). However, don’t let your trip be dictated by the guidebook. Half the fun of travelling is exploring things for yourself. That ‘authentic’, ‘traditional’ restaurant which is recommended by the guidebook might be swarming with tourists, whereas you might be better off asking an actual local where they like to eat. So, whether you’re a planner or a spur of the moment kind of person, get out there and make it happen!

How do you like to choose your next destination when travelling?

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