How To: Decide Where To Go Next

Step 1: Go somewhere you’ve never been.

This is not so much a step as just a fact. Unless you have a specific reason why you have to go somewhere you’ve already been again–in which case, you don’t really need this How To, do you?–go somewhere new. Because the world is unimaginably huge and you’ll likely never see all of it, but you should really try to see as much of it as you can.

Step 2: Decide why you’re going.

Escape the cold? Mexico is close and cheap. Get some culture? I’ve heard that Japan has a metric ton of culture. Make major life decisions? Anywhere you don’t speak the language where you can sit in cafes for hours and stare at the sea–Greece, possibly?

Step 3: Figure out what you can afford.

This is a big one. A lack of money doesn’t mean you can’t go! If you’re on a budget, take a quick weekend trip close to home, somewhere you can drive or take a bus or train. (I’ve even stayed at a hotel in the town I live in for a night and pretended to be a tourist.) Or check out what fare sales the airlines are having and go from there. Or pick someplace where you can stay with friends or family (but read How To: Be a Good Houseguest first!). However, if money is no object, go to India, because doesn’t India sound amazing?

Step 4: Ask friends. You know which friends.

You may have an insufferable friend like me who talks about travel and favorite destinations and trip plans and so on all the time. Or you may have a friend who has similar special interests to you (you’re both surfers, or beer snobs, or whatever). Or you may have a friend who’s in a similar financial boat as you who can tell you how she just went to Florida on the super-cheap. Any and all of these friends are good folks to consult when choosing a destination, even if you wind up rejecting all of their ideas, because that just narrows down the choices for you.

Step 5: If all else fails, fall back on this tried and true technique: spin the globe.

And yes, that does constitute a legally binding agreement, so you’re going to have to vacation somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic now. Sorry about that.