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How Do You Select Your Vacation Destination?

How do you pick your holiday destination?  With the world your oyster and information at your fingertips, what makes you choose a trip to the souks of Marrakech or sunning yourself on a beach in the Caribbean?  Here are the 5 things that guide me:

Timing

Now my 4-year-old is in proper school it’s slightly annoying as I have to stick to the term dates.  I try to look at the calendar a year ahead and factor in school and all the public holidays in Hong Kong then make a plan of attack.

To be factored in with timing is also the weather. Perhaps you wanted to go to Sri Lanka in October but realized it was rainy season? I have learnt over the years that when travelling with kids, there’s no point chancing it.  If it’s rainy season, I’m not going. There’s a lot of good information out there to help you on your way e.g. Lightfoot Travel’s destination guide and the Holiday Weather Guide has a great search tool where you pick a month and it lists where to go.

My kids 

Bearing in mind that Daniel & I are selfish holidaymakers (we want to read our books in the sunshine undisturbed), going on a beach holiday for two weeks with a 4 and 2 year old is not that fun… We’d rather go on a road trip where we’re all on the go and in bed by 9pm each night.  I’ll save the luxury beach breaks for when my daughters are old enough to leave me in peace with a book and can fetch me a Pina Colada from the bar.

Daisy will probably have me fetching her a pina colada in years to come!

Daisy will probably have me fetching her a pina colada in years to come!

Referrals from friends & acquaintances

One of the reasons I started Jetlag & Mayhem is that I would quiz my friend incessantly about where they went on holiday.  I wanted to share their real life reviews and tips.  Did you know one of the most popular posts on my site is an Insider’s Guide To Luxury Hotels In Tenerife, written by my man on the ground Lisa Roberts.  Friends are a great source of travel inspiration AND they’ve done all the hard work for you in vetting the place.  If you are a reader and you want to share a trip report, please drop me a line, I always love to hear from you.

Cost

My husband thinks I’m out of control with all the holidays and trips I plan in advance.  What he doesn’t realize is that I’m actually saving us all money.  By booking in advance I find I can secure cheaper rates, use airmiles and there’s always availability for where I want to stay. If I’m on the fence about where to go, I might reserve a cancellable booking at a hotel and put our names down (but not pay) for flights.

Cost also defines which destinations we visit and what hotels we stay in.  My friend was recently looking into a trip to Barbados and found out Sandy Lane (yes that’s where Simon Cowell stays) was going to be a whopping 30,000 pounds for two weeks!  Which is insane.  Fortunately review websites like Tripadvisor mean you can check out all the hotels in the area and perhaps find a hidden gem at a fraction of the price.

Sandy Lane - looks nice but not THAT nice!

Sandy Lane – looks nice but not THAT nice!

Or maybe you want to think about doing an all inclusive resort or cruise, here are some tips from Royal Caribbean.

Food

I’ve got to throw this one in as this is genuinely how we select our US road trip destination.  There’s been a huge growth in food tourism, from food tours in major cities to people travelling overseas to eat at a certain restaurant.  We watch episodes of Man Vs. Food, you know the one where the guy goes around America eating big, bad food.  We salivate and then say to each other, ‘right – we’re off to Texas to eat BBQ’.

Daniel at The Salt Lick (BBQ Heaven)

Daniel at The Salt Lick (BBQ Heaven)

Now it’s your turn.  How do you choose where to go on holiday?

4 comments

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  1. Nerida

    We have a 2.5 year old and are going on our first family holiday, taking set of grandparents with us, to California for 1 month. We chose California for many of the reasons you list in your blog and i am loving researching toddler friendly things to do. Your website has been a wealth of knowledge thank you so much!!

    1. Nicola

      Hi Nerida – I am so jealous, a month in California! You will have a fantastic time, especially if you are taking the grandparents along for the ride!

  2. Wendy

    Why not choose a property with built in kids club or some one to look after little ones during the day for a few hours – win win for everybody. We have a few on our site… Wendy

    1. Nicola

      Thanks for the tips Wendy & your site looks great!

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