Which Country Should I Travel To?

February 8, 2014

Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.

Click here for 2021 shadowing opportunities

Our world is becoming progressively smaller as digital communications bring all parts of the globe together in the electronic ether.  However, there are some experiences that cannot be found on-line, and traveling is one of those activities you must physically do to acquire its maximum benefits.  If you’re looking to gain a global perspective, planning and taking an experiential excursion is an excellent opportunity to broaden your horizons and build your resume.  Here are some tips on how to pick the right destination for your big trip:

Visiting a Masaai VillageWhat’s your budget?  For your first trip, you might want to plan as big a budget as you can manage.  The more money you’ve set aside for your trip, the less likely you are to find yourself in a tight spot while traveling.  Budget traveling is perfectly fine, but you’ll be quite upset with yourself if you end up spending your last dollar only a few days into your trip. Give yourself permission to spend your money on cultural experiences and cuisine. As you become a more seasoned traveler on future trips, you’ll be able to travel off the beaten path where money becomes less relevant.

How long can you get away? Decide whether you want to travel for a short or long period of time.  As a new traveler, a month-long excursion might be extreme for your first getaway, or it might be just what you need. Remember that a short trip can still be expensive and an extended getaway can be done on the cheap.  Determine if your current obligations allow for you to leave the country for an extended period of time, or whether a short getaway will give you the experiences you seek in foreign travel.

Hot or cold? Climate plays a major part in deciding where you’ll want to touch down.  Be honest about the temps that make you feel most comfortable.  Too hot and you’ll feel slimy and cranky for days on end; too cold and you’ll be trapped indoors and miss the sights.  During your trip, you’ll want to spend time outdoors, since seeing a country by foot is the quickest way to immerse yourself in the culture and people. Choose a climate in which you’ll be comfortable, and if you must venture into an extreme one, be prepared with the right clothing and supplies.

What’s your purpose? Everyone wants to wander sometimes, get lost, and make new discoveries. Decide whether your trip is purpose-driven or meant to fulfill your wanderlust. If you are interested in seeing particular sights and sampling specific cuisines, a purpose-driven itinerary is ideal. If you prefer to let fate decide your route, you should still make some specific plans but know that you’ll let destiny take you where it wants when you arrive at your destination.  Some countries are better seen with a detailed itinerary; others are more flexible and carefree. Once you determine your purposes for traveling, you’ll be able to narrow down your location choices.

These are but a few simple factors to consider as you begin your travel planning. But you might want to just go old school in choosing your destination. Find a globe, spin it, and randomly place your finger on this rotating ball.  There’s your destination! — Post by Madelaine Kingsbury.