Adventure / Travel

Tips on destination choices

Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica
Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Choosing the right vacation destination is a big responsibility.  Especially if you are going with friends or family.  There are many things to take into account; budget, location, personal interests and flight costs.  Your main goal is for everyone to have an enjoyable, memorable experience.  Here are a few of my tips for what factors into your destination choices.

Backpacking travel takes critical thinking to a new level.  For me weather plays a key role in choosing a location.  I don’t want to spend most of my time in the rain or being cold.  I try to pick tropical destinations because my husband and I love the heat and swimming.  Or floating with a margarita in hand!  Scott surfs so he would like that option at least part of the trip.

I choose the destination and decide if we want a round trip flight from one location and only explore that area.  Or, I choose a flight that offers one destination arrival airport and a different departure airport.  This allows us to start in one country and make our way to another while ending at the departure airport.  I use the website Kayak for this research.  It has been really helpful to me.

Another factor in planning a backpacking trip is ease of public transportation in the area.  We need to be able to catch a bus, boat or shuttle relatively easy.  Scott and I choose not to rent a car when it’s just the two of us.  We argue too much about his driving and it tends to be more expensive than public transportation.

So far in my travels, I have chosen to avoid areas that are having big celebrations or festivals.  Because we don’t have reservations it can be a stressful challenge to find decent lodgings and everything is more expensive.  I’m not against making reservations for something like that ahead of time it just hasn’t happened yet.  I would definitely advise preplanning and booking ahead if you plan to stay during festivities.

I like to research on Trip Advisor if I know of a town or city I want to visit.  By reading reviews of different accommodations I can envision the area it’s located from their comments and determine if it’s near the attractions we want to explore.  This was how I found a great Bed & Breakfast in Antigua, Guatemala called Chez Daniel.  It was walking distance to everything we wanted to see and we really liked the staff and property.

My last tip on picking the right destination is deciding what you really want to do on a trip.  Is it mainly about walking in villages and small town and seeing how the locals live?  Sampling local cuisine?  Is it about staying in different beach cabanas and sipping margaritas on the beach all day?  Exploring the night life in a spectacular city? Once you have decided what your trip priorities are it will be easier to make a final decision on a location.

Panama City, Panama
Panama City, Panama

So much thought goes into this decision making process!  I’m so lucky this is what I love to do and get to plan for others.

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