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Where To Next

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A new year means a lot of different things to everyone but for me, it most definitely means new places to travel to. I usually start thinking about possible destinations for the upcoming year by November (because I'm a planner like that) and personally whenever I tell friends or family where I'm headed, it's usually followed by the question: "Why did you decide to go there?"

It got me thinking about how I make my travel plans and I'm hoping that by sharing my little tips, I might help someone else choose what their next trip could be.

1. No idea where to go but I do know my budget
I'm not going to lie––more often than not, I fall into this category. When it comes to destinations, I firmly believe that you could drop me anywhere and I'll find some way to entertain myself and discover something new. That said, I do often look to Europe for abroad destinations (something I need to fix because I desperately want to visit Asia and parts of South America as well). I generally know my budget and timing (I prefer to travel any time except between Thanksgiving and New Year), so I'm basically open to any and all ideas. Which is why I love using Skyscanner and Google Flights.


Skyscanner has the best search for flights. In the "To" field, you can select "Can't decide where? Click here to search Everywhere" and if you don't have any specific dates you can search an entire month or even cheapest month. It's how I decided to go to Dublin three years ago. A friend I were talking about our next trip and asked me if I had any ideas. I literally did a quick search on Skyscanner right after she texted, responded with three options 5 minutes later, which included Dublin and we picked that.

Google Flights is similar in that it'll let you explore destinations for flexible dates or you can search for good weekend trips or week-long ones. It doesn't let you search dates by what's cheapest though but the results will point out better than usual deals.


2. Bucket lists
If you love travel and want to make sure you set aside time each year to go somewhere, make a bucket list of destinations. I used to have a list where I just randomly added things all the time for no rhyme or reason. But a few months ago I wrote down a very specific lists of places I'd like to see and a couple years ago I even made a BFF travel bucket list with Alexa which we actually used to help us decide our next trip.


3. Think about safety
Whether you're traveling with another person, a group of friends and most especially alone, I always consider safety. It's not the funnest part of the travel planning but it's practical and shouldn't be ignored. When I decided to take my first solo trip, I looked at so many lists about the safest places for female solo travelers and even after I decided on London, I still searched for the safest areas to stay in. I also check the Travel Advisories on the US Government website and I make sure to be aware of the news. I actually ended up changing another trip I had hoped to go on last year because it didn't seem like the best time for it. So definitely take safety into consideration when choosing a destination.


4. What's popular on social media and blogs
World of Wanderlust, one of my most trusted references for travel!
It should come as no surprise that Instagram and the various travel blogs I follow are great sources of inspiration to me. There's the Bucket List Family, World of Wanderlust, Dame Traveler, Paris in Four Months, Polka Dot Passport and the Travelettes are some of my favorites to follow. I often to turn to them for recommendations after I've booked a trip as well. Honestly, all you need to do is search travel hashtags in Instagram and you will be flooded with beautiful photos that will undoubtedly give you some ideas (and some major wanderlust!).


5. Word of mouth and don't forget to ask friends
I don't know if I ever would've thought about traveling to Iceland if it hadn't been for my cousin and his wife sharing stories (and photos) with me about what an amazing experience it was. I'm also lucky to have people in my life who love traveling as much as I do, so they're yet another source of inspiration for travel and even better, it's coming from someone whose opinion I trust. Likewise, my trips have lead others to ask me for recommendations. If you know someone who enjoys traveling, ask them about it!

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So those are all my tips! And to prove that I do indeed use them myself, my next trip is to Paris with Alexa and how we decided on this was a mix of #1 and #2 on my list. It was November of last year and I mentioned to her that we should start thinking about where to go in 2019. At first we were just throwing around ideas and using Skyscanner to determine timing and what was cheapest. Then I remembered the bucket list we put together so we looked at that. Alexa pointed out Paris and I immediately checked Skyscanner, Hopper (for tracking flights) and AirBnb to get an idea of pricing which was incredibly cheap at the time and literally two hours later, we had it all booked! I cannot wait to return to that beautiful city.

Tell me, where are you thinking of traveling to next?

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