One the most difficult decisions you’ll make before you leave on your round-the-world adventures will be deciding on where to go. The world is a big place. There are so many fascinating places to visit, sights to see, food to eat and people to talk to. How on earth do you decide which ones to do, and which ones to skip!
The above question is what I hope to address in this post.
Choosing between countries and cities does not have to be a huge event, in fact, it can be a lot of fun. The trick is to lower your stress levels and let your creativity flow. Lose control. Set yourself free.
Taking the stress out of travel planning sounds harder than it really is. Every traveller wants to have a trip of a lifetime, but there is nothing written in stone that says you can only travel once in your lifetime. It is possible to travel extensively, or stay closer to home and travel sporadically. Whatever your travel style, the key to planning your destinations is to lose control. Let go of your have-to-see-everything-on-a-single-trip mindset. Trust me, you’ll be okay. The world will not end. Your heart will not break.
Yes, I wrote the “P” word. Sit down and think about (possibly write a list) of the places/sights/foods you must see/experience. Now look at your list and compare it against a map. How realistic is it? Based on your trip savings, can you hit each of the items on your list in one trip? If the answer is no, it’s time to go back and start trimming.
Think About Your Budget
Look for cost-effective ways to travel to your dream destinations. If you’re planning to travel extensively, then plan your route in sections so you can travel slow (if you wish) and save money. Look for cheap ways between your destination choices and compare them against the amount of time you have. Will you feel rushed? Are you going to be so exhausted from travelling that you won’t enjoy yourself? If they answer is yes, start trimming. You don’t have to do Asia/Europe/Australia etc. in one trip, you can go back.
Don’t Plan Everything!
Whatever you do, do not plan everything. Leave yourself some room. Things happen, plans change. Don’t freak out. Relax. Go with the flow and be ready to make new plans when you’re on the road. I promise you, if you leave the room, you won’t regret your decision. Some of my best travel experiences happened when I didn’t plan a thing.
I am a huge fan of visual aids. Whenever I start to plan a new trip, I always pull out a map and tack it to my wall. There is nothing better than plotting a route and then laying in bed at night starring at it, dreaming about it.
Some people use maps, some create vision boards and some do both. Whatever your preference, find a visual aid that will help you stay motivated and focused. Look at your route, make adjustments and changes. Don’t feel guilty if you cut a destination. Remember what we talked about above, you can always go back.