Choosing where to go (when you have so many choices)

A friend wrote and asked our opinion for a trip she was planning, “Barcelona, Spain or Porto, Portugal?” With a dizzying array of places to go, it’s a dilemma for anyone who travels. How to decide between so many wonderful places?

May we suggest that answering five easy questions could point our friend — and you — in the right direction.

How much to spend?

Everyone’s got a budget. A number that, if you went over it, would leave you feeling that you’d spent “too much.” Figure out what a good number is for this particular trip. The same amount of money could have you living very well indeed in Hoi An and living like a pauper in Rome.

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Hoi An charmed us: beautiful buildings, near the sea, easy to get around. We lived very comfortably on $40/day each. We ate well and our hotel included breakfast, wifi, and bicycles.

What to do?

Follow your interests. Shopping? Go to Paris. Big city with beaches? Head for Sydney.   Public art? Try Porto, Portugal. If you love the great outdoors, the urban scene of New York may not be your thing. Read up on the cities you’re looking at and make sure they’re a fit for you.

If you love architecture, then consider Barcelona to see the inventive and stunning buildings of Antoni Gaudi.

If you love architecture, then consider Barcelona to see the inventive and stunning buildings of Antoni Gaudi.

How easily can you get around?

When we’re in a city, we like to walk or use public transport to get around. If you have an idea of places you’ll want to go and know where you want to stay, can you get to most or all of those places easily? Who wants to have a long commute on their vacation?

Everyone walks in Porto, Portugal. We strolled a few minutes from our AirBnb and then climbed to the top of the ancient city wall – the perfect place to photograph the bridge and river scene below.

Everyone walks in Porto, Portugal. We strolled a few minutes from our AirBnb and then climbed to the top of the ancient city wall – the perfect place to photograph the bridge and river scene below.

Where to stay?

Plan to stay in a great central location and not 10 km outside town at a chain hotel where you could get a good deal. It makes all the difference. It’s worth it to be there early in the morning as the town wakes up, to be able to pop back to your room for a nap in mid-afternoon, and to stay up late with a short walk home from a nearby bistro.

Sometimes a place off-the-radar presents itself as a destination worthy of consideration. Whangaparaoa, on the North Island of New Zealand, had so many beaches within walking distance that we hated to leave when our month’s stay ended.

Sometimes a place off-the-radar presents itself as a destination worthy of consideration. Whangaparaoa, on the North Island of New Zealand, had so many beaches within walking distance that we hated to leave when our month’s stay ended.

Does it have the magic?

Everyone wants a vacation with charm, charisma, history, and romance. How do you find that place that is right for you? Know thyself. Over time and each trip, the qualities that make a trip “magic’ for you become clearer. For us – it starts with a warm place, near the sea, very peaceful, beautiful setting.

The shopped-lined street in Chania, Crete leads directly to the sea, but, if you turn right just before you get to the water, you’d come to the little studio apartment where we stayed. Who wouldn’t find Chania a magical place?

The shop-lined street in Chania, Crete leads directly to the sea, but, if you turn right just before you get to the water, you’d come to the little studio apartment where we stayed. Who wouldn’t find Chania a magical place?

So, back to the question of whether to go to “Barcelona or Porto.” Stay tuned for the next post…..

 

January 2015

 

About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
This entry was posted in Around-the World - 2013-14, Trip Planning and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Choosing where to go (when you have so many choices)

  1. Great advice! We find our holidays work better with some forethought.

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