Adventure Travel

How to Pick Your
Exotic Destination

Adventure Travel

7 Questions to Help You Plan Your Adventure

How to pick your next exotic travel destination

Ready to take that exotic vacation, but not sure how to plan where to go? Not to worry. Here’s a checklist of seven questions that can help you pick the exotic destination of your dreams.

1. What’s My Budget?

whats you travel budget?

Let’s get the big one out of the way first: How much money do you have to spend?

Exotic travel doesn’t have to break the bank. Prepare a vacation budget and do your research about which destinations and packages will fit that budget. Are you planning a luxury getaway, or are you looking for a cost-efficient vacation? How much do you want to pay for flights and lodging? Will you have to buy specific travel gear or clothes for your trip?

Having a realistic budget also might help you plan an economical vacation even if you have your heart set on somewhere a little pricy. Even expensive destinations usually have cost-effective options like hostels, public transportation and street food, so knowing how much you can afford can be valuable if you’re being creative about your itinerary. You also should consider the exchange rates and find a vacation spot where your dollar can go a little further.

And remember: Pleasant surprises and unexpected expenses pop up during vacations, so plan on having a little extra cash on hand just in case.

2. How Much Time Do I Have?

How much vacation time do you have?

Squeezing too much into your agenda can lead to an exhausting, ungratifying vacation. Depending on time you have, some destinations will make more sense than others. Will you be going for a weekend jaunt, a weeklong break, or a month of leisure?

If your trip is short, you might prioritize a one-destination trip over a journey with multiple stops, and you may want to consider a more touristy hot spot where you can book a lot of activities in advance. Travel time matters, too: Choose a destination that will give you more time to see the sights than sit on a plane or a tour bus. If you only have a few days to leave the Northwest, for example, perhaps an eight-hour flight to Latin America might be preferable to 14 hours to Prague or 18 hours to Bangkok.

3. Who will travel with me?

are you traveling with kids?

Choosing a destination that suits everyone on a trip will save plenty of headaches later. Plan for your fellow travelers’ mobility limitations, age restrictions, and travel tastes. If you’re traveling with children, look for educational experiences and strike that balance between grown-up activities and kid stuff so no one gets bored. If you’re traveling as a couple, aim for destinations that offer things you can enjoy together.

4. When Do I Want to Travel?

When do you want to travel?

Remember this when you travel: Weather. Affects. Everything.
When you’re picking destination options, always consider the climate for your vacation window. Choose a destination that offers what you want when you want it. Just because you want to catch some rays on a tropical getaway, it doesn’t mean it won’t be the rainy season.

On the other hand, if you can travel in the offseason, you can save big on flights and accommodations. And don’t forget to check the itineraries for Club Adventures packages — our authentic experiences come with movable deposits, so you’ve got flexibility if your travel plans need to change.

5. What Travel Experience Am I Looking for?

camera safari experience in africa

Are you seeking downtime or adventure? Do you want to meet new people or keep to yourself? Is your itch for sightseeing, culture, cuisine, shopping or adrenaline? Prepping for planned activities, or raring to go off the beaten path? Stretching your legs, or getting a tan? Aching for a place to populate your Instagram feed with #nofilter shots?
Knowing what kind of experience you want is vital to enjoying it once you get there. If it’s historical architecture you want to see, think Istanbul over, say, the Cook Islands. If you’re more of a beach person, pick Bora Bora over Machu Picchu. The internet and social media can be helpful here. If photos help you plan, Pinterest’s visual search engine tool has helped plan a vacation or too as well. Travel Instagrammers have blazed many a trail so you can preview your trip through their eyes before even buying a ticket.

For expert advice, however, reach out to AAA Travel agents, who are happy to help you match your sought-after experience with the right destination.

6. how are my language skills?

foreign language dictionaries

Fancy yourself a polyglot? That might come in handy during an exotic excursion. If you want to exercise your language skills (or pick up some new ones), consider a destination that dishes in the dialect daily. Not only will it be easier to get around and ingratiate yourself to tour guides, porters, servers and other staffers, but you’ll sharpen your own proficiencies in the process.

7. can i get help from aaa?

AAA adventura travel specialist

Yes. AAA's Club Adventures exclusively caters to those who want to explore the world through a local lens, so our team of experts is perfectly qualified to help you with your vacation planning questions. Just navigate to our Club Adventures planning page and connect with our adventure specialists, and they’ll be helping you plan an unforgettable trip in no time, even if you are not a AAA member.

—Written by Arnie Aurellano


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