Do you ever have the feeling that you’ve been clicking away on your keyboard for too long and if you sit through another meeting/send another email/answer another phone call you might actually implode? That’s your sign. You, my dear, need a break.
I’ve been there too. It can be tempting to quit it all when you hit this point (and I’m probably not the person to advise against this…) but sometimes the solution is far simpler than that. Maybe all you really need is a trip on the calendar to offer an end in sight. But with a whole world to choose from and just a little bit of time, you’ll inevitably start to wonder “where should I go, anyway?”.
You could head to Southeast Asia for spicy bowls of noodles on streetside plastic stools. Maybe you could dip down to South America to hike through palm forests and spend your nights asleep in a tent. You could pick a spot in Europe for glasses of wine in pretty little cafés that overlook buildings far older than we’ve got back at home. Or, you could even fly across the US and road trip your way back by campervan. The options are seriously endless.
Looking to get the hell out of here and anywhere will do? I partnered with Skyscanner to share a few of my favorite ideas for picking a travel destination when you have no idea where you should go and some photos from the rooftop in Sofia. Here goes.
Let the Cheapest Flights Guide You
Some of my best adventures have started with a flight search, either online or with the Skyscanner App. Who doesn’t like finding a cheap flight?
To decide where to go using the Skyscanner App, I recommend using the “Explore” function. You can plug in your departure city and sift through categories like “Top Deals”, “Popular Destinations”, or “Quick Getaways”. If you’re open with dates, you can also browse flights by month. Just today, I ran a search from Berlin and found everything from a $600 flight to Seoul to a $28 flight to Budapest.
Got a few destinations in mind? The Skyscanner App also has advanced flight search functions. Just plug in your departure city, your destination, and your dates. Using the “Chart” function, you can check out which days are less expensive for travel. My favorite part is that if the flight you really want is still outside of your budget, you can use a flight alert feature to get notifications straight to your phone when the price drops. Cool, huh?
Or Perhaps a Thrifty Destination is in Order
Price is often a deciding factor in choosing a destination. Even if you find a cheap flight to Reykjavík, you’re going to end up spending a small fortune on hotels and hotdogs when you get there. Assuming that accommodation is going to be the second most costly part of your trip, your next move should be looking at the average cost to spend the night in that city. My favorite places to get an idea of average prices are on Airbnb, Hostelworld, or the “Hotels” section of Skyscanner. After you’ve considered accommodation costs, you’ll also want to factor in the cost of transport, the cost of travel within the country, admission fees, and the price of food and drink. There are lots of ways to do this, but my favorite overview is the “Money & Costs” page that Lonely Planet has created for every destination.
Go See A Pal
Everyone has a friend whose lifestyle makes them jealous (here’s looking at you, girl from high school who studied yoga in Bali then moved to volunteer in Mexico with your dreamy French boyfriend). And if you can’t beat them, the next best thing is to join them. One of my favorite types of travel is visiting a friend (or a few of them!) somewhere new. You can either call up a pal that you know is living abroad or use Facebook to search “Friends in…” to see if there’s anyone you might know in cities that interest you. It can be quite fun to catch up with old friends in a whole new environment, AND you’ll have an immediate in with someone who lives there and (possibly) has a free couch for you to crash on.
Get Silly at a World Festival
There’s no better way to learn about an unfamiliar culture than to dive right in. Already have your time off approved? Take a look at all the weird celebrations, music festivals, or cultural parties going on around your travel dates. If dates aren’t an issue, travel by interest instead! There’s pretty much a festival for everything (and I mean everything) – you could end up at the annual orange fight in Italy, watch monkeys feast in Thailand, or join a camel auction in India. I can promise you that, at the very least, you won’t come home with boring stories.
Follow Your Interests or Pick a Theme
When no particular destination is calling your name, let your interests guide you. If you love trekking, check out flights near the Alps or the Andes. Into history? Dip to China to learn about the dynastic past or head to France to wander the beaches of Normandy. If traveling is all about food to you, explore a destination like Vietnam, Mexico, or another country known for its fantastic cuisine. Let yourself get weird. Maybe you’re a gamer or have read Harry Potter 13 times. Whatever it is that gets you excited at home will be even better when you’re hundreds of miles away. Find the things you love, and your answer to the “where should I go” question will be a lot easier for next time, too.