Typically, vacation planning starts with the destination. This, however, can be a daunting task if you have too many choices, or not a single idea of where to go. A suggestion would be to put aside all your options, or lack thereof, and start thinking of what you love and then find the place that fits.
The Start: What You Love
Think of what you truly love. You only have a limited time in this world with a limited amount of money. If you are going to spend that time and money on something, make sure you will enjoy it. For example, if you love to relax and see architecture, a trip touring the different parts of Europe might not fit the relaxing part. Instead, find a small condo or right next to the Arc de Triomphe. You can now spend your time leisurely walking around admiring the beautiful, historical architecture.
If you love beaches, but you hate being in the heat or around people, head to the Oregon or Washington Coast. There are beautiful beaches that are nice and cool with little human traffic. If you love the nightlife, but you don’t want to be around a lot of smut, head to Busan, South Korea. A bustling nightlife with plenty of fun activities without illicit images or cards being forced in your face.
To put it simply, sit down and make a list of what you enjoy and love.
The Decision: Pick the Destination(s)
With your list in hand and access to the world wide web, start researching. Use the words you have generated to create ideas of where you would like to go. If you like the beaches and want simple transportation then you will probably be led to Oahu and a scooter rental company. If you love plays and musical productions, you might be led to New York City or even Southern Utah for their large Shakespearean festival. Use what you love to point you into making a decision.
Using what you love to make a choice for your destination will make your vacation much more enjoyable. All vacations have difficult aspects, some of these might be: language barriers, transportation issues, cleanliness, temperature, and/or the cultural norms. If you do what you love these aspects will be worth the work.
The Plan: Work Now to Play Later
Do your research now! If you spend your time now understanding the transportation, making the needed calls and reservations, contacting those who have been there before, and studying out what to do, your time will be much better spent. Even if you are planning on sitting on the beach everyday drinking mojitos, figure out which spot has the best relaxing beaches or which bar offers the best mojitos.
If you are going to vacation that uses a different language than yours, get familiar with the language where you are going. Think of what survival phrases you will need to know like: Where is the ATM? Where is the bathroom? How much? etc. Also, figure out a few different symbols. If you head to Japan or China, it is good to know which symbols mean temple or shrine and which ones mean bar. You wouldn’t want to enter either with the exception of the other.
The Vacation: Go and enjoy yourself. Make it what you want. Go heli skiing in Alaska, head to China to hike the Great Wall, have fun surfing in Miyazaki, Japan, see Les Miserable in London, England, or go gator-hunting in Louisiana, USA. Remember, what you love will lead you to where you will want to go.