Trips + Planning

Figuring Out Where To Travel Next

September 12, 2016

You have made a great decision by wanting to travel more. The travel bug has definitely got you, it can be nasty since one bite is powerful enough to change the life and mind of the victim forever. It’s made you realize that travel experiences are much more important than your pricey possessions. That’s right, “Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer”.

But, How do you select your next travel destination with so many countries to choose from? Then, once you have decided on a destination, what about the experiences you want to have? And finally, how do you manage to fit these experiences within a specific period of your trip? While many of you want to travel everywhere, there are also a lot of people who want to but, not sure how to. Whichever situation you are in, here are a few tips from me and some factors I consider when choosing my next travel destination:

  • Wish list destinations. For example, if you have always dreamt of going to Borneo, don’t take forever to make it happen. You must keep in mind that wish list destinations can get you disappointed sometimes, it could level up with unexpected destinations that never topped your wish list and ultimately become your favorites. Here are some destinations and experiences I have on my wish list right now:
Great Blue Hole, a massive submarine sinkhole located 100 kilometers off the coast of Belize.

I want to dive the Great Blue Hole, a massive submarine sinkhole located 100 kilometers off the coast of Belize.

Aït Benhaddou

I want to explore Ait Ben Haddou, a UNESCO-protected kasbah in Morocco, still resembling its days in the 11th century as an Almoravid caravanserai. It has appeared in many Hollywood movies including “the Gladiator”, “the Mummy” and “Game of Thrones”.


I want to conquer a sunrise from a rooftop view at Bagan, Myanmar


I want to walk through the holy city of Jerusalem, a city with a thousands of years of history in Israel.


I want to experience a scenic train journey from Kandy to Ella, Sri Lanka.

Those are just a few, and if I ever get the opportunity to take any of these trips, I will probably jump at it without a second though! They also fade in and out. Sometimes I would grab my phone during the early morning hours while in bed and start researching on a trip idea, and sometime later that idea fades, they could resurface again while reading an inspiring blog post or see a picture on Instagram or Facebook.

  • New travel destination. I always prefer going to a new country and If I have to go back to the same country, I make sure I visit cities that I have not been to yet. Often people incline to visit places they have admired and been to in the past, but going into the unknown always brings more thrills and excitement.
  • Connecting to the next destination. When was the last time you had a good look at a live air-traffic map of the world? The first destination is very important to decide the status of the next ones when traveling for longer periods. It’s similar to the skills you apply in a game of chess, you plan your moves ahead! You have to apply the same analysis and skills when moving from one neighboring country to the other through air travel. There maybe not be a lot of flights operating in and out of your home airport, but search for a hub airport within a radius of 500 miles to fly to connect with hundreds of flights that fly in and out of the hub airport daily with convenient connections and lower airfares to hundreds of destinations. Also, keep in mind that the further your trip is, the more expensive the airfare will be. Is it really worth going to the other side of the world for less than two weeks?
  • Language. Have you ever been to Thailand?, if you have, do you know to say “Hello” in Thai? Choosing a destination where you speak the local language will considerably influence your pleasure during your stay. Also, if you have always wanted to learn a foreign language, it would be more convenient to travel and stay within a country that speaks the same language.
  • Follow the calendar for events. If you look at India, there will some sort of a festival happening somewhere in the country every day of the year. There are holiday celebrations, events and conferences that can interest you at the destination you intend to travel to. Refer to the Tourism Promotion Board website for events at the destination you’re planning to travel to, or get the Eventbrite App on your smart phone to take advantage of planning the events that interests you.
  • Geopolitics. You don’t want to get caught in the middle of a violent rebellion headed by armed rebels executing foreigners while you’re traveling right? Check current situation at places you plan to travel to.
  • Visa. Certain countries enforce more bureaucracy than the others, and some lets you even extend your stay longer than others. You will have to think smart and choose it wisely. I refer to the Wikipedia’s Visa requirements for Maldivian citizens page.
  • Making Friends. You don’t have to search for ways to build your social life from the scratch, there might be people you have previously met while traveling, currently based at the destination you are planning to travel to. Run a quick scan on your social media channels to see who is where, and don’t be afraid to start on your own. You can easily make friends while traveling at Couchsurfing meetups or even during your stay at hostels.


    Making new friends at a Couchsurfing meetup in Kuala Lumpur

  • Weather conditions. I am booked to travel to Cebu in Philippines next month, I have been reading a lot on its wet climate these days and I am hoping it would be a lot better in a month’s time – try avoiding humid and wet months, follow spring.
  • Tourist season. Travelling during high and low (tourist) season can influence your trip. It’s wise to choose months with good weather during the low season, the prices in high season rises, and the availability goes low.
  • Diversity. If you have been in one place for a long period of time, you might start wanting something else that you have had enjoyed in another country. For example, if you have been in Manali, India for a few weeks, a couple of days later, you will want to experience a tropical beach.
  • Goals. All of us have goals, whether it’s to hold a tarsier in Bohol, Philippines or take crazy GoPro selfies at Kawasan Canyoneering in Cebu. My goals include visiting every country in South-east Asia and visiting every of UNESCO World Heritage Site whenever I can.

Do you have any tips to help figuring out where to travel next? (feel free to add them in the comments)

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