How do you decided where to go away for a weekend or on a vacation?

Whenever I go on a vacation, or talk to someone who has been on vacation, I get wanderlust. I want to go everywhere and see everything- the world around me is so exciting!

Presently, we are trying to plan next years vacation. When I think of going away, my thought process begins as follows:

  1. I think about cost- how much do I want to spend on a vacation. As we need to rent a car for a driving trip, this is not often as affordable as one may think. Sometimes flying and renting a car somewhere else is cheaper.
  2. I like to go someplace I’ve never been before. If I an spending a lot of money, I want to see something new
  3. I prefer a place where we can mix up activities. I like history, I like maybe a minor hike or something in nature, and I like something cultural. In Barcelona we walked a ton, had a beach day, saw many historical things as well as art, went to the opera, and ate great food. It was a solid trip.
  4. Do we have enough time to do the things we want to do?

I then come up with a list of places that seem interesting/cool.

Our list for next year is:

  1. Machu Pichu
  2. Alaska via cruise with trip to Denali
  3. Switzerland, including the really cool train line
  4. Egypt
  5. Bali (this is a late addition as I just saw Ticket to Paradise and it looks amazing)- OK- I have just been informed that the movie was filmed in Queensland Australia. My apologies to Australia, but I think I would still like to go to Bali. And Australia…but I know that is not in the cards for next year.

As of now we are leaning towards Machu. To be frank, if we go I want to go as an organized tour, and some of the tour companies have an age limit of 60. Right? I know…

For the next two months I will research these places and start to form educated opinions on what works for us at this point. This is broad based: which location will offer us what we feel we “need” this year.

By January, the goal will be to have chosen a spot, and then the real research begins: when, how long, what do we want to do, how do we do it.

And then I will whine about buying airline tickets, but that’s a story for another day…

So…how do you plan a getaway? What’s your secret? What’s your timeline?

Discuss:

54 thoughts on “Where to Go, What to Do

  1. Most of our recent trips have been chosen for me. The graduation trips for the kids to a destiantion of their choice. Conference locations for my wife. My family telling me we were going to Cancun when I didn’t know they were even discussing it.
    When we did have to choose we would try to find a place that had good hking and nature stuff fir my wife and son and a nearby city for me and my daughter.
    I’m hoping my next trip will be going to Egypt for my wife’s conference.

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  2. I simply dream a lot at this point. The money just isn’t there for something major- like an international trip. My plans for driving trips around the states just don’t seem feasible with gas prices. I’m not ready to start dipping into my retirement funds either, not with so much uncertainty politically. I’d go with #1, 3 or 5 and agree, Bali is beautiful!

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    1. I try to have a mix of better do stuff today because tomorrow is not guaranteed, and put a little aside for the future. Sometimes works out better than others, but responsible people keep getting screwed, so there you have it

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      1. I get it, and wrestle all the time with the concept of now or never. The practical is just too ingrained in my head though so I simply choose to remember I have no one but myself to count on financially and that part of the future is pretty set at this point source wise. I plan on another 30 years or so (fingers crossed). I think I like the idea of eating and having a home more than travel! It will just be that much more special if/when it happens 🙂

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  3. We have never really gone “away.” We went to Las Vegas and to Reno but that and trips to Oregon to visit the relatives is the extent of our travels. Hubby’s mom gave him a little bit of money and so now we are looking into a cruise to Hawaii, two things he’s been wanting to do. I have also looked at taking a train ride up/down the West coast or from SF to Chicago. We had thought when we retired that we would get an RV and travel to all the major league ballparks but after hubby got hurt, he can’t sit for long periods anymore. Taking the train would allow him to get up and move around. We saw Ticket to Paradise this week too and yes, just amazing.

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  4. They all sound amazing! Just make sure you don’t climb the pyramid of Gaza and get kicked out of Egypt. 🙂
    I would probably pick Bali!
    How we decide mostly has to do with money and time length of the vacation. We have both been feeling the urge to travel more now as we get older. The days just keep flying and we want to still be able to walk around and explore without our knees hurting, etc.

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  5. My wife loves nature, we both love museums. We try to hit the best of both worlds. She just got a new job that finally offers paid time off, so our trips might be longer. One of these days we will do an international trip, but if not it won’t be loss. We are more than content with how we travel.

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  6. Weirdly, cost doesn’t ever factor into our plans. But then again, our list doesn’t include Machu Picchu, Bali, or Switzerland…it’s more like Dubuque, Iowa. Why Dubuque? It’s within spitting distance of the Field of Dreams movie set.

    Clearly, we set our sights lower, ha. But honestly, we prefer road trips to flying, and there’s so much nearby to see and do, we’re content sticking around the upper Midwest/Great Lakes.

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  7. I had no idea tour companies had age limits. Why is that?

    As you know, for our trips, we’ve started doing longer stays. Typically, we decide on an area where we can afford to live for 4 weeks and that is near other places that may be more expensive. For example, we knew we could take the train to Belgium from the Netherlands, but we lived in Rotterdam (because it was cheaper than Amsterdam) and did weekend train rides to nearby cities that would’ve been too expensive to actually live in. Also, my husband and I have two different travel styles, so we take that into consideration (e.g., he likes to go, go, go, and I need some down time in between).

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    1. I’m guessing that in the case of Peru it’s hiking and altitude. It’s probably not a risk many want to take because you are out there so to speak. I love the idea of what you’re doing, because you get the best of both worlds, living practically, but also a tourist. My husbands cousin has thought about living in a different American city each month (she just sold her company and her new position can be handled virtually) and I think if you can do that go for it

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  8. You have an awesome list! I get a lot of my ideas from other peoples photos on Instagram and then I research. I go through the list like you have, money, time, etc. Then I present my top ideas to the hubby and once we agree on a place I plan it out. I come up with some variables and then we decide together what sounds good. Happy planning and again, your list is awesome!!

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  9. I’m a day late but we did an Alaskian tour/cruise a couple years ago. It started in Fairbanks adn work to the coast. We spent several days at Denali NP and SP. It was amazing. we enjoyed it so much doing just an Alaskan cruise next year – seeing different things. For a tour/cruise look at Princess as they have a resort at the entrance to Denali NP (only resort at Denali NP) and in Denali SP.

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      1. My one mistake during that trip was when in Fairbanks I should have book a bush plane to fly us to the Arctic circle. It’s only 200 miles (260 by car) away and they have a visitor center in Coldfoot. There are no paved rods north of Fairbanks.

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  10. When it comes to planning vacations we’re spontaneous. Pick somewhere that sounds interesting, research it and how we’d get there, then if it all lines up buy the airline tickets, book the hotel, and go. This is one area in life I try to never overthink.

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  11. The younger us–visits to family. We wanted to see them and by the time we had done that, money and vacation time were gone. Middle aged us–blessed with trips abroad for my husband’s work. Older us–stifled by lockdowns and pet responsibilities. We probably won’t go anywhere that we can’t get to in a car or on a motorcycle. But we have two homes and too many vehicles, so no pity party here!

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  12. More weekends in Paris, and I’ve love to do Berlin again – in the company of Himself and his knowledge of Cold War history. I’ve always fancied St Petersburg – although I suspect this is most unlikely now. Dublin for the weekend with a rugby match thrown in would be heaven. The Scottish islands appeal but, being an insect magnet, the proliferation of midges means that won’t ever happen.

    If we could afford to fly business/first class:

    1. New Zealand, where I’d also love to watch some top class rugby (although Himself would probably opt out of that part)
    2. Canada, where I’d like to do the cross-country train, then spend time on Vancouver Island.

    PS: Switzerland is gorgeous (and definitely do that train).

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