4 Questions To Ask Yourself When Planning An International Vacation

I was recently asked to write a series of articles about international travel, and how you go about making that dream trip actually happen. Especially if you don’t want to go on a cruise or a package tour. (I cringe at the thought of each of these – so not my type of travel!)
I thought it might be fun to share with you on my blog.

So how do you get started planning an international trip? Where on earth do you begin? Especially if you don’t have a specific destination in mind, or if you just have a big concept such as the name of the country you want to go to – like I want to go to France or I want to go to Australia.
I always am planning the next 5 (or 500) trips that I want to go on. If you are already a follower of this blog (—> sign up on the sidebar to have Corinna B’s World delivered to your inbox each day) you will know that I am obsessed with Italy, and try to go there each year. So I am perpetually figuring out the next Italian sojourn, but within Italy there is so much to see and do, which means I am always having to refine my travel plans.
I came up with these 4 questions that I ask myself at the beginning of each year when I am in the first stages of thinking up a trip:

4 Questions To Ask Yourself When Planning An International Vacation

1. What type of vacation are you thinking about? Are you dying to get to a white sand beach, soak up the sun and drink in the exotic air?

Navaggio Beach, Zakynthos Greece

Or maybe you want a hiking trip. Or a trip to Europe to take in some history. Or maybe you’ve always wanted to go on a safari.
The first thing to do is start identifying the type of trip you want to take.

2. When do you want to travel? Sometimes you are able to cut out and go whenever you want to, but plenty of people have to use their vacation time within certain months, such as they can only leave in February, or have to go during school holidays.
If you want a beach holiday, but have to go in February, then you should think about the southern hemisphere or the equator. If you want a ski trip but your vacation is in August, then you should look at my homeland, beautiful New Zealand.

heli skiing in Queenstown New Zealand

A word to the wise: avoid Europe in August! All of Europe take their vacation in August, so its the most crowded, the most expensive, and the absolute worst time to go.

3. Does language matter to you? If you really are uncomfortable going to a non-english speaking country, then your options get narrowed for you. I’m super comfortable with all the European languages, but would find traveling in some parts of Asia and the middle east quite daunting, which narrows the scope for how far off the beaten track I would venture. I am dying to experience Marakkesh, Shanghai and Dubai, but probably wouldn’t stray too far from the city when there as I can’t even figure out the alphabet. Other friends of mine are super comfortable with that and don’t think twice about it.

I haven’t made it there yet, but Dubai is on my wish list every year

4. What is your budget? Don’t let money put you off exploring the world. Just have an idea of the amount of money you can put towards your trip, so that you have a place to start from. Once you have an idea of what you can spend you can start maneuvering a trip into your price range.
I do all my travels on a super tight budget. I’m a single parent and just cannot throw big money on my travels, but I am not going to let that keep me from exploring the world. My banker once got really mad at me for going to Italy for 3 weeks, thinking that I would have blown too much money. It turned out that he spent vastly more taking his wife to Vegas for a five day getaway! Another time I wanted to take my son on a beach vacation and looked at two weeks in the San Diego area, renting a beachfront apartment, but it turned out to be cheaper to go to the east coast of Sicily and rent an apartment with a giant balcony overlooking the Ionian sea. 
The key is knowing how much you can spend, and then figuring out how to travel on that amount.