There is a big huge world out there and my husband has worked out that we cannot do our annual summer vacation plus all the small trips we do within Australia and travel overseas every year. On top of that we have children. They are really only going to want to travel with us until they are what 18, maybe 21? For one of my children that is only 10 years of travel and using my husband’s algorithm of one overseas holiday every second year, we have but 5 memories to make with the eldest. That is of course just one way of looking at how to choose.
I have a Pinterest page that is solely dedicated to Instagram pics I love and articles I have read about interesting places. This helps remind me of places I think sound cool and look delightful. There is no end however as to how you choose. You may get every family member to put a location in the hat and pick that one. The travel agent the other day told me he had a client that literally throws a dart at a map and where the dart lands is the destination of his next holiday. You may be budget conscious and need to go to the travel agent and say – we are not spending over ‘x’ now where can we go and what will give us bang for our buck. You may be limited to sea travel. You may be limited to short hauls (which from Australia would mean you are in New Zealand or Fiji only) Whatever the way in which you make decisions it is a great idea to create a ‘holding pen’ of ideas for not just destinations but accommodation and food.
Let’s go back to basics.
What type of traveller are you?
I don’t think this defines you as ‘that’ traveller always. As you move through the cycle of life this changes but it may also change at different times of the year. It could be that you are ‘that’ traveller for only part of your trip.
What do you want to see?
Create a list of what you know already. Expand the list by doing some research. You can use guidebooks, Pinterest searches and blog posts for information sources.
Are you restricted by dates?
For me this would be school holidays but may also be a wedding date or some other event.
What is the budget?
When you are planning a budget for a holiday – especially overseas you need to ensure that you are ready for massive changes in exchange rates, double bookings, lost luggage and a whole range of things that can go wrong. There is a whole bunch of travel packing advice around pack and then take half out. Define your budget and then double it. A long trip starts with a cash advance. Yadda Yadda.
Click here for a handy site that may or may not help you
Now for some travel advice
World of Wanderlust typically chooses her destinations based on three main considerations.
- Somewhere that makes you feel like you’re in another lifetime or another world
- Somewhere that makes you instantly happy or fulfilled
- Somewhere I’ve seen a photo of and wanted to jump into said photo
Brooke Saward started her blog as a way to share her travels with friends. It has grown from that into a full-time job. I’m slightly sceptical to believe she actually chooses rather than go where she is invited – I mean if someone is paying your bill, surely you have little choice over where you can go? Hey, I’m just a beginner and who I am I to have these opinions. Regardless of my opinion of actually choosing her destination, there is a message in her three main considerations. Where can you go that will truly allow you to escape? When you are a solo traveller and you have no one else to consider I guess this is much easier. But she uses Instagram and Pinterest just like I do for inspiration. Pinterest if you are not on board is AMAZING. Brides use it for ideas and choice selection. Renovators use it for ideas and a benchmark for what they are looking for. My husband uses it a lot for presentations at work. My sister-in-law uses it for helping select wardrobe choices. It is a creative pot of wonder for just about any idea you could have.
Ask your network.
Ask on Facebook who has been to ‘x’ and do they have any suggestions. Seriously a friend wrote a whole itinerary for me for 6 days on Oahu inclusive of breakfast and lunch, a night out with hubby and a note to avoid the western coast due to gang issues. Perfect! I’m still waiting for the smuck at the Flight Centre in my building to send me anything let alone these pearls of wisdom. We often have friends who are like minded – sure we have friends who are different, but you can usually feel confident in someone’s recommendation if you know them personally. The smuck is not my choice for reliable travel advice.
Now ask in your office. At the sideline of weekend sport. You will be surprised the mixed bag of information you will get. Being a parent you will be used to funnelling through opinions and advice so I am sure you can get through this.
Blogs offer an intimate way of sussing out places. Find some writers who write in a style you like. I am a terrible writer (as you may have guessed) but I try to be entertaining and honest. I try to add facts with experience. I hope people like it.
My son has a map on his wall that he colours in when he has been to a country. It’s very cute. He maps out the flight path and adds that to the map. He makes travel choices based on what wildlife there is to see. He desperately wants to see an anaconda – yes, not going to happen.
I love the below quote to help me relax about what choices I make.
Do you have a bucketlist? Years ago my husband and I wrote a top 50 or a bucket-list of 50. We soon realised that we were opposite on the vacation destination polls. Never mind. We now dissect things a tad differently with children. We have limited opportunities to take them so it comes down to TOP 10 with them. My youngest is 2 so we may need to wait a few years before we can do a lot with him. Just because it is a TOP 10, does not mean you need to tick them off in order. For example my Number One holiday would be a safari but with a 2 year old, this would mean he would miss out on some of the excursions and I most certainly want him to be able to share the memory. Because he is two I am not going to take a long haul flight for a few years. Seriously. I know my limitations and 24-36 hours on a plane with this one… I would need a clinic at the other end. That’s fine.. it’s all choice.
We are taking advantage of the cheap fare to the US and planning a holiday. We are not going to do the west coast more than once unless of course we are invited to the Oscars (highly unlikely) so we want to make sure we see all we want to see but also allowing enough time to facture in DOWNTIME. Let’s face it, Disney does have an expiration date. Flight time and jetlag are my two travel tips. Always be aware that you need to allow some time. Given we are restricted by school holidays and leave allowances, we just can’t travel to Cuba yet. It’s just too far. After spending last year in Malaysia. I want a holiday that requires very little off-roading. I’m done with the ‘real’ holiday adventure for a while. I will do it. I absolutely appreciated it far more than sitting in some resort with all the mod cons and could honestly be anywhere. Yet, this year I want some time with all the family but services to allow my husband and I a few nights to ourselves.
Before you over engineer it or overthink the decision, does it really matter. we just spent a weekend in a house with mice and cockroaches. It didn’t ruin our trip. It actually made for a lot of laughs as we jumped onto tables screaking in alarm. Holidays as a family are not necessarily about seeing everything and doing everything but slowing down and enjoying the pace. Enjoy being with each other and in each others company. Building your relationships with each other and pocketing the memories is the most valuable souvenir.
How do I plan where to next? Where can I get some activity, some down time, some time to myself, some time with my husband and in an environment that is both breathtaking and full of interesting things to learn.