People often ask me “How do you choose your next destination?” Believe it or not it really stumped me. Planning was never something I sat down and thought about. (I am a serious fly by the seat of your pants kind of girl.) After thinking about it I realized the “How do you choose your next destination?” question is not an easy one to answer. After all we each find inspiration in different places or in different ways. As a seasoned traveler perhaps I can shed some light on how to choose a destination that speaks to you.
In 2016 we began our lives as digital nomads. The first five months we spent in Utila because I had a volunteering opportunity to teach English on a small island. As we looked forward to the next year it was a Youtube video that inspired that started our inspiration. We chose our first destination based on a bucket list item for J.-to play with baby elephants. That took us to Thailand. From there it was a combination of these things that have guided us:
My first answer to “How do you choose your next destination?” would be to look at your bucket list, or dream list. What do you have a burning desire to do or see? Where can you experience that? Aside from baby elephants I wanted to see Orangutans in the wild. We also dreamed of diving with giant manta rays. So Indonesia was a must when we were in Asia. Morocco had always been one of my top three places to visit so that was added to the list. We knew we wanted to experience things that would feel special to us and these were at the top of our lists.
Be flexible when you are planning. If swimming with whale sharks is on your bucket list but you can’t afford a trip to Asia why not look at Utila? It is closer to the U.S., and so it is much easier to get away for a week as well as being less expensive.
Bloggers are definitely my biggest source of inspiration when we are looking for places to see or for new experiences. There is so much in the world I never knew existed. With a little perusing of travel blogs you can find inspiration to last a lifetime.
If J. or I think of a country or region I search for that and add in “blogs” or “bloggers” to the search in order get those as results. You can also use Pinterest and Instagram to find travel bloggers as I mention below.
In the last two years I have learned that many of the search results that appear if you don’t specifically look for bloggers are generic sites just rewriting what someone else has written. It becomes painfully obvious people who have never been to the location write many of these sites. So, I look for digital nomads, expats, families living off the grid-people who are really experiencing or visiting the locations.
If you follow our travels on this blog I promise to inspire you!
There are some great travelers posting inspiring locations, or adventures so it is possible to find inspiration using travel related hashtags. When an image inspires me I often comment on the image and ask questions or I look them up online to see if it is a place we truly want to go. You can also look in the bio and find the link to their website or blog.
Get inspired on my Instagram page where I have tons of photos from our trips around the world.
Pinterest is a great place to find travel bloggers for inspiration. There are also beautiful images there which prompt me to research places or experiences I didn’t know were possible. I worked out an itinerary for a friend based almost solely on her Pinterest finds.
Follow my Travel Boards for inspiration.
J. and I spend hours watching destination videos on Youtube. Sometimes one of us will think of a location that sounds like it might be fun and then check out some of the vloggers to see if it really is for us. Good vlogs will give you so much information. They often talk about wifi coverage, driving recommendations, and really show you the essence of a place. Try searching Youtube by location is an easy way to get started.
Check out our video of playing with baby elephants.
This is probably my favorite way to find other places to travel. We talk to people as we travel and ask them where their most memorable trip was. We ask them where they would recommend people travel if they only had one trip etc. The answers are varied (with the exception that 75% of people say Japan!) exposing us to so many places we never thought about as great destinations. It is also a great way to make friends.
Each year J. and I make sure we are back in the U.S. by Thanksgiving so I route our trips starting the farthest away and then working our way back to the States. For me it was an easy way to narrow down our route.
When planning we treat each year as though it is our last year and prioritize what we want to see in case we can never travel again. It may sound silly but it is all about experiencing what moves us the most.
So I wasn’t lying when I said, “How do you choose your next destination?” is a complicated question for me was I? Try these suggestions, you will find the one or two that work best for you, or maybe a combination of all of them and then let your inspiration guide you. Traveling is an incredible gift, one that most people in the world don’t have, so choose what excites you, what speaks to your soul-you won’t be disappointed.