Within a few days my next trip arrives: I will travel again. I am going to visit the Golden Triangle of China (Beijing, Xi’An and Shanghai). This trip has been waiting for me for a long time, and finally, I can say that I arrive in Beijing this Saturday. Really an exciting moment, as it’s my first time in Asia. However this blog post is not about my trip and my preparations for this country. As the article’s title suggests, this is a long-awaited How To. Yes, I’m back! It’s about how I choose where I travel next time. I will tell you about my process. Well, a small disclaimer: it’s my process. It may be that you do this differently, or that my search is completely different than yours. But anyway, if you really do not know how to start this search, I’ll be happy to enlighten you!
Step 1: What’s the budget?
The first step is without a doubt the budget. How much can I budget for this trip? How much can I spend in the destination? Do I have to work for a long time to achieve this budget? Will I spend more for a further destination or spend less money on a place close to Belgium? This can be from a rough sketch to a very detailed budget planning. Although I prefer the detailed version where I release a budget for accommodations, activities, flights, etc.
Step 2: How long will I go traveling?
Before I look for the best destination for me now, I choose the period when I want to go and for how long. I am very flexible about traveling, which is very important if you are a traveler. For example, I may want to go to Auckland, New Zealand, but these prices are currently unprofitable. If this happens, I’ll follow the step-by-step plan described here.
Step 3: Search for the best flight deals
As a person, I love the cultural places. Just think of countries in Asia, or even in Europe. If something is historic or it’s a natural environment, you know how to steal my heart. But if you ask me as a travel blogger, I would simply say: where there are good deals for flights. Flights are one of the biggest costs of a trip, and therefore this is my first step. I mostly search on Skyscanner and then click on the destination ‘Everywhere’. This way you will see which of the best deals are at the moment.
I select up to 10 places, where the cheapest flights go and write them on a sheet of paper or pages with no order. That way I keep it straightforward and clean. Then I proceed to step 4.
Step 4: Search for inspiration!
Now that I have a list of places where it’s cheap to fly, I’ll search a little bit further into these places. My first inspiration go to is without any doubt Instagram and I first look for photos that my fellow bloggers post about these countries / places. If I’m not really convinced, I simply ask in a private message what they really think of this place. My next places I find inspiration are Pinterest, reading blogs and watching Youtube videos.
In this step, I still don’t order my list. Even though I have put a number on ten according to the people who have traveled to this destination.
Step 5: What destination do I really want?
In this step I make the passive, active. I will actively look for the activities that this destination can offer me (cycling, walking, sight-seeing, etc.) and what environment it is (beach, city, nature, etc.). By doing this, I start organizing my list: number 1 is the destination that is theoretically my go-to place. Step 5 is also the step where I decide if it’s a vacation or a real trip that is exhausting but totally worth it.
But in any way, at this moment in the process, I know more or less wherever my next trip is going.
Do you follow this process? Or do you have another search?