9 Ways to Pick Your Next Trip

AFAR editors share their tried-and-true methods for deciding where to go next.

9 Ways to Pick Your Next Trip

Choosing where to go next can be a daunting task. After all, there are endless possibilities for travel—and, being an AFAR reader, we’re sure you want to see it all. We understand the struggle, so we asked nine of our staffers to share how they pick their next trip—hopefully it will inspire a new way to choose yours, too.

1. Find the best reason possible

“There are so many new places I want to go and so many I want to return to. I lean towards the former, and look for ‘openings’ that make one of those new places rise to the top: These ‘openings’ could be a business trip somewhere in the vicinity, a friend who is going to a place on my list, an event taking place, a special deal, or I just read something in AFAR that takes my desire to a new level that I have to go—and have to go now.” —Greg Sullivan, CEO and Co-Founder

2. Get curious about a place’s arts

“My wife and I took our first major international trip, to Bali and Java, based on our curiosity about their arts—textiles, masks, woodcarvings, dance, music. Ever since, the chance to learn about a new culture, including its crafts, customs, music, dance, and, increasingly, food, has been a top priority, guiding us to Japan, Vietnam, Spain, Mexico, Ireland, and, I’m sure, many future destinations.” —Derk Richardson, Senior Editor

3. Make a travel wishlist (but not a bucket list!)

“My wife Cheri and I have a shared notebook where we write things for each other, make lists, and so on. And, of course, we have a travel wishlist. Two, actually: one for domestic, and one for international—and they are both out of control. When we can choose our travels for ourselves (not for family and friends), we pick from these lists according to whim, and then try to find a way to make it happen with the timeframe available.” —Nick Rowlands, Guides Editor

4. Pick a place from your favorite book

“I tend to pick destinations I’ve been educated about in one way or another—Japan after reading Memoirs of a Geisha (twice), Martinique after taking French language and culture lessons in school. I guess investing myself so much in these places, I can’t get them out of my head and I’m inspired to live out what I’ve learned. It also allows me to travel with some prior knowledge under my belt, which only makes immersing that much easier.” —Juliette San Fillipo, Associate Marketing Manager

5. Find a great travel deal

When I’m feeling spontaneous but tied to specific dates, I love using Skyscanner’s “everywhere” tool. Enter your travel dates, number of passengers (tip: this works best when you’re entering “1” in this field), departure city, and select “everywhere” as the destination. It searches hundreds of airlines and provides a list of countries for you to choose from in flight price order.” —Maggie Gould Markey, Executive Director, Marketing

6. Let your tastebuds decide

“Usually, it’s all about food. I fell in love with a Puerto Rican restaurant a few years ago and started planning a trip to San Juan. After developing a craving for Thai curry, I mapped out 6 months in Southeast Asia. For years I’ve been enamored of the Moorish influences in North African architecture but only recently have I found myself inadvertently looking up recipes for Moroccan tagines. Next thing you know, I’ll be pricing tickets to Marrakesh. That said, my next big trip will actually be to New Zealand for a friend’s wedding—a perfect and easy excuse to brave the 14-hour flight and spend a few weeks in a beautiful place.” —Maggie Fuller, Digital Intern

7. Tirelessly research

I pick trips based on my research of the unexpected things to do in a city, or the best hikes and trails in more adventurous destinations. I do searches on Instagram, and read through highlights on AFAR.com to plan my travels. I like to be unearthed when I go on trips, and seeing massive mountain peaks or huge expanses of open land or vast ocean always makes my heart beat a little faster. My favorite travel sidekick is my camera, and I always take it with me to photograph the journey!” —Michaela Trimble, Brand Manager

8. Get inspired by social media

“Admittedly, I often get stuck on places after seeing glimpses of them posted by friends on social media. I want to know everything! I can spiral quickly; before I know it I have 11 tabs open on my browser for different hotels, modes of transportation, and flights. I can book just based on that glimpse, too.” —Lily Soysal, Marketing and Special Projects Director

9. Make a map of your friends

“I’ve made friends around the world, and I want to visit them all! That’s typically how I choose my next destination (at least for now). I’ve found this method to be great, because I end up having a built-in local guide everywhere I go.” —Samantha Juda, Audience Marketing Specialist

From Our Partners
Sign up for our newsletter
Join more than a million of the world’s best travelers. Subscribe to the Daily Wander newsletter.
More from AFAR