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Traveling to a foreign country is one of the best ways to expand your mind, learn about different cultures, and broaden your perspective. However, for first-time travelers, planning a trip abroad can be intimidating. In fact, it’s not uncommon for inexperienced travelers to feel anxious or overwhelmed when choosing a destination for an international trip.
Researching which foreign destinations are safe and getting a handle on the attractions each has to offer can be time-consuming and laborious. Furthermore, in today’s day and age, destinations that were once safe for travelers such as certain regions in Latin America or Eastern Europe, for example, can quickly become unadvisable destinations due to recent current events or political instability. Getting advice from experienced travel experts can simplify the process of choosing your next travel destination.
Luckily, we’re here to help. What are some of the hottest countries for international travel today? This guide will break down how to choose your ideal travel location for an international trip.
Understanding the Benefits of Destination Travel and Planning Your Trip
Everyone loves a good vacation. That said, most people don’t realize the difference between a vacation and destination travel. Vacations are typically oriented around comfort, relaxation, and pleasure. While destination travel can incorporate all of those attributes, there is special attention paid to discovering the region and getting to know a new culture.
When it comes to destination travel, choosing where you want to go is perhaps the most important step in the journey. When looking for the perfect destination, it can often be best to begin your search in advance. That means making a list of all of the different priorities that you’re looking for in a destination, and then seeing which destinations meet those criteria.
Priorities could include your desired natural landscape or topography, cultural or historical interests, languages spoken, cost, flight time, attractions, and hospitality offerings such as resorts and restaurants. Reverse engineering your travel planning in this way can help you avoid overwhelm and decision fatigue.
You’ll also want to research whether all-inclusive packages are offered in destinations you’re considering which could help cut down on the level of planning necessary to meet all your criteria. When you have a good idea of what you want from your trip, you can make a list of possible destinations and begin researching each option individually.
Researching Possible Travel Destinations
Once you have narrowed down your options of destinations, you can start researching the pros and cons of each of your candidate destinations to understand the unique benefits that each has to offer. There are a variety of ways that you can start to gather more information about different countries or cities you’re considering visiting, so let’s look at a few of the best strategies to educate yourself about your different travel options.
Speaking to friends and family members that have visited one or several of your top travel destinations is a great way to get first-hand word-of-mouth insight into different candidate countries or cities. It’s a very time-efficient method to understand the benefits and drawbacks of certain destinations in a direct and personal way. You can also learn about common pitfalls or mistakes you should avoid when planning trips to specific destinations.
While word-of-mouth information-gathering is great for destination travel, it has its limitations. Maybe no one in your network has visited a candidate destination, or maybe they visited many years ago when the country or city was very different from what it is today. That’s why it’s a good idea to diversify your research efforts.
Online Research for Destination Travel
Reading travel blogs is a great way to do an in-depth deep dive into the pros and cons of different destinations. Be conscious of the publication of each blog you’re reading to make sure the information is up-to-date when it comes to recent travel trends. You should choose travel blogs written by authors who have first-hand experience visiting or living in at least one of your candidate destinations.
You can also use travel blogs in conjunction with directory sites like TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Google MyBusiness to research specific restaurants, resorts, and shopping options in your candidate destinations. These websites will also feature reviews from previous customers of listed businesses, providing you with first-hand insight into their experiences.
When researching different destinations, you’ll also want to be careful to factor in your available budget and game out all of your anticipated expenses, including airfare, time off work, accommodation, and entertainment.
Consider Special Events Such as Destination Weddings
If you’re deciding between different destinations, it’s important to consider specific events you’ll be planning for your trip. For example, destination weddings are a hot trend that many couples are integrating into their travel plans today. International destination weddings can offer romantic, exciting venues, affordable, luxurious resorts, and interesting cultural experiences.
If you do decide to plan an international destination wedding, you’ll want to do specific research on the specific resorts, hospitality staff, region, and cultural experiences available in your target destination. Common picks for destination weddings today include Cozumel in Mexico, Ochos Rios in Jamaica, Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, and Cartagena in Columbia. That’s because these regions offer resorts and accommodations that specifically cater to couples and weddings.
Whether you’re traveling for a wedding or another special occasion such as a corporate retreat, educational sabbatical, or surfing safari, you’ll want to choose a destination that is well-equipped to cater to those goals.
Logistical Concerns for Destination Travel
Aside from all the research, you should do on the destinations you’re considering, you should also take into account certain pre-travel logistical concerns. For example, you should look at your packing and luggage options to find ways to travel light. Depending on which destinations you’re considering, purchasing travel insurance could be a good idea to limit the risk of mishaps.
You should also do some research on the local cultures of target countries to make sure you will respect local customs and traditions. Learning a few words or phrases in the language of your destination can be a great way to bridge cultural gaps and connect with locals.
Finally, you should consider the interpersonal dynamics relating to the people you’re traveling with. Conflicting personalities can become even more obvious when going abroad, so you’ll want to plan your itinerary in a way that accommodates everyone’s preferences. If you’re traveling solo, you should make plans that facilitate opportunities to make connections and friendships with ex-pats or locals abroad.
As you can see, there is a lot to consider when it comes to destination travel. However, planning your trip should be a fun and exhilarating experience that enables to you expand your horizons and learn about foreign cultures. For more guidance on choosing travel destinations, especially if you’re planning a wedding, get in touch with us!