There are probably hundred of factors to consider when trying to decide where to travel. We will explore five factors to help you decide where to go.
- Follow your dreams;
- Follow your passion;
- Count the cost;
- Consider the tensions in the area where you are traveling;
- Have courage and step out boldly.
Follow your dreams, they can lead you to great places! We all have places we have dreamed of traveling. Think about those moments when you imagine being somewhere else. You lift yourself out of the world that surrounds you and deposit yourself somewhere else. Where is that place? Is it France? Is it England? Is it China? You are the only one who knows.
I think when you travel you should follow your passions. I was always interested in Germany, from the earliest memories of foreign countries Germany was there. So, naturally when I began to travel that is where I went. I have never regretted being in Germany. Following your passions will mean that you are always somewhere you are excited to be. That opens a whole new world for travel. It helps you get the motivation to get out of the hotel everyday and explore the city where you find yourself.
I have expertise in European travel and in travel to Israel. I have led two tours to Israel and right now have three more scheduled. I am leading my first tour to Greece and Germany soon. These are all places I love. So, every time I go there I am excited. Even though I have seen many of the sights dozens of times, they always come alive when I am there again. That is what I mean by following your passion when you are choosing where you are going to travel.
It is important to count the cost for your trip. In addition to following your dreams and your passions you should also consider what your budget is. International travel can be expensive because the airline tickets are much more expensive than domestic airline tickets. There are many ways to save money when traveling, but the airlines are typically not one of them. You can stay in lower rated hotels that are safe and comfortable without being extravagant, make sure you eat with restraint (Have one expensive meal to experience the cuisine of Paris and eat more frugally the rest of the time. This does not mean you do not eat well. It is easy to eat well in France without spending a lot of money, you just have to be more discerning.), use public transportation, walk when you can, or check to see when free museum days are and build your itinerary around that perk (it is easy enough to rotate days to take advantage of free admissions in some cities). There are many ways to take advantage of cities that make a lot of their revenue from tourism. You just have to be prepared.
Do your research and consider the tensions you might run into. You should never just travel blindly without considering the tension that exist in a country or city where you are planning to travel. There are several ways to check on hot spots, including the State Department’s web site. This site tends to be very cautious, so do not stop with that one check. You should do an Internet search of the area where you are going. See if there have been any terrorist attacks. See if violent crime is a problem there. Use some common sense. Remember, even in American cities where you might feel very safe because it is home there are parts of the city where you would not go at night. There are other places where you would not go during the day. The same is true in every city in the world.
There are ways to determine if you are in a safe environment. For example, if you see women walking alone that is a good sign that the neighborhood you are in is fairly safe. If you see women with children walking alone, without a male escort, that is a positive sign. Regardless of how safe you feel, it is important to always be vigilant. Often, if I am leaving a hotel to walk about I check with someone at the hotel to get their take on the area where I will be heading. They almost always speak English and they are always willing to help.
I will talk in depth about safety and tensions in another blog dedicated to the subject. While it is a matter that deserves our attention, it should never keep us from traveling.
Have courage and step out boldly. Plan your trip with courage. There is no reason to let fear keep you from traveling to those locations to which you have always dreamed of traveling. Europe is less violent than the United States. Remember, their cities are the opposite of ours, the safest places in most European cities are the inner cities areas. The troubles typically happen in the suburban areas.
Also, television, especially the news, give us the impression that when there is a riot going on in a country it is dangerous to be there. I have been in Athens, Greece during riots that made it look like the city was being burned down. We barely saw any signs of riots, and we were careful to stay out of harm’s way. I was in Jerusalem the day we announced that we were moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. The next day was the begin of three days of rage by the Palestinians. On the first day of rage we went into Bethlehem, there was no sign of rage or danger. The next day Bethlehem was closed for security reasons. My point is that there are people locally who are making sure that tourists stay safe. Keep an eye out but never let fear keep from traveling.
The most important thing is that you travel. Travel changes how you view the world. It changes how much you appreciate home. It changes who you are, so I always encourage people to explore other cities and other countries.
Be safe, be smart, but travel.