Friday, June 19, 2009

Deciding where

My travel planning methodology is usually pretty straightforward. I brainstorm a list of cities that I've never been to before and research flight costs to those cities. Cheaper flights get top priority because I'd rather spend my money during vacation than getting there. Once the destination is determined I research and book accommodations. And, finally, it's time to flesh out the specifics - what do I want to do and see while I'm there?

The longest trip I've ever planned before was two weeks long, so it's quite another story planning this kind of extended trip. Deciding the destination isn't a problem in and of itself. After all, there aren't very many places I wouldn't go. From there, though, it gets complicated and a bit overwhelming. It's not as easy as picking a place and getting there and back. Rather, it's taking a string of places, figuring out how to travel between them, deciding how long to stay at each place. But then you also have to figure in other things like cost and what the weather will be like in different parts of the world at different times of the year.

So for this trip, my methodology is going to essentially be the same, but with a little extra detail and involvement. I've already resigned myself to the fact that there are going to be some places that I just won't be able to go to for this trip. They'll have to wait until next time. I've decided against these places for various reasons, but the two biggest reasons are cost and safety. For example, the Scandinavian countries and the U.K. are very expensive; the Middle East and Greece aren't the best places for a woman to travel by herself. The places I am considering, however, are being added to my probable list for one or more of the following reasons: 1) cost, 2) ease of getting around as an English speaker, 3) sightseeing opportunities, 4) strictly relaxing opportunities (beaches, etc.), 5) distance from home (meaning: the farther from home, the higher the priority because I may not have the same chance to visit such distant places in the future), and 6) well, I guess that about covers it.

I'd like to have a ramp up period and a wind down period. The ramp up period will ease me into the travel life and will ideally be in an English speaking, first world country. The wind down period will also probably be in an English speaking country and the main goal for that time will be more like a "real" vacation (no sightseeing, no whirlwind excitement - just laying on a beach somewhere and relaxing). Everything in the middle, though, is up for grabs. I just want to make sure I have a good mix of everything: cheap vs. expensive, first world vs. third world, adventurous vs. relaxing, "easy" vs. "difficult."

All I know for sure right now is that I plan to spend a lot of time in Southeast Asia - Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam are near definites - and probably Australia and New Zealand, too. I'll share more of the itinerary as I decide on things.


  1. check out this website...

    And make sure you send lots of pics!!!

  2. Thanks, Linda, I'll check out the site this weekend. And I'll definitely be sharing a lot of pics! :-)