One of my friends asked me how do we choose where to go next. To be hones,t it is a mix of faith, time and mood.
As you probably all know I am a sun lover and Tom is a mountain lover. I would like to think that after 2 years being together we have now both of the 2 interests which makes the decision making a little easier. However, both of us have “the lists” where we want to go and these do not match 100%. In order to cover at least half of our lists we need to take time off and spend a year or more just on travelling. Therefore, we are saving longer distances for later. For now, we just need to find one location that pleases both lists and is rather close. I used to ask just sun from our holidays and nothing more but living in England has made me miss snow and proper cold as well. To be honest, I wouldn’t mind a week in Iceland right now.
As I am currently working AND studying, I do not have that much time and freedom to go travelling often. Yet, all the bank holidays and my annual leave we have spent discovering new places. The next “holiday” we will have is probably in March or during Easter. I am not sure exactly weather to go to Scotland or Wales but for sure we cannot go too far due the time limit. This is the number one factor in the process of choosing a destination- how much time do we need vs how much we have in reality. Limited flexibility in your vacation timing can also mean that you need to spend a little more on the tickets. If you are one of us and you have just a week or less off, choose a destination country in Europe. This way you save a lot of time on travelling to the location (if you are from somewhere else then preferably something closer to your location) and can spend it in the destination instead. Europe seems like a small part of the world but you can book anything from skiing holidays to hot beach vacations.
The second thing we always think about is the season. If you are anything like us and want to see lots of places and most likely go there just once, you need to choose wisely the season you are travelling. Going out of the season can be a brilliant idea to avoid tourist crowds (especially when city-travelling) but also the reason why the holiday may not meet your expectations. Always, and I mean ALWAYS, check the weather forecast and get to know the season in the location you are thinking of travelling to. It doesn’t mean you are not going to have bad weather 100% but at least you know roughly what to expect. As me and Tom are both from quite cold countries (let’s say) then we never go to the Southern holidays during summer seasons. It may feel like a good idea but if you are planning to have an active vacation you need to have conditions that you are able to handle. Many people seek for 35+ degree weather without realising that you cannot spend much time outside with this kind of heat. Therefore, your expensive holiday could be ruined simply because you have travelled at the wrong time of the year. The same applies to rainy seasons. Don’t just buy cheap tickets but do a little research beforehand.
Venice in October- out of season, but so worth it. It was cold but at least it wasn’t over crowded and smelly.
Now the third criteria is probably not in everyone’s list. As I mentioned Tom enjoys hiking. And I mean several days hiking not 3h walks. Therefore, all our trips are taking place in areas where are mountains. I love hiking but for sure not all the long ones he usually plans. I can manage a day or 2 but after that I want to come down, have a proper meal and drink and enjoy the sun. He still tries to convert me, though.
Now last but not least, tickets. So far we have managed to have all our trips in budget. Not just because we wait try to find cheap tickets but we sleep mostly in a tent. If you are not into that you need to keep an eye on sales and offers. I do it in holidaypirates.com and Tom has his own sites (azair.eu). If you have flexible job you can find amazing last minute deals. If not, you need to plan your vacations longer ahead and probably book them before the season. Getting better offers is another reason to go off the season. If you are on the budget but want to have a proper holiday, choose for the destination a country where staying (accomodation, food, drink, etc) is cheaper- if in Europe, then I would recommend Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland etc. It is also wise to stay out of touristic areas (near popular sightseeings or city centers) when choosing your accomodation. This way you can save money yet have a great vacation.
So as you can see, there is no real science behind our vacation planning. It is a combination of me chasing the sun and Tom chasing the mountains. So far we have managed to merge them.