With seven continents, nearly two-hundred countries, and countless experiences to choose from, even the seasoned traveler can feel overwhelmed when trying to decide where in the world to explore next. Read on for GEEO’s advice about choosing your next destination, whether you are a new or experienced traveler.
Consider where you’ve already gone
With so many different cultures and peoples around the world, it is worth considering your previous travel experiences when planning your future ones. For example, if you have already visited the fjords of Norway and are trying to decide between exploring Iceland or Egypt next, keep in mind the similarities of the Scandinavian countries. While Iceland is sure to impress you (especially if you really enjoyed your trip to Norway), a visit to Egypt would bring wholly new and unique experiences, perhaps with even more opportunities for growth and cultural learning.
Prioritize the factors that are important to you
Some travelers are excited about hiking 10 miles per day, while others dream of perusing bazaars. Keep in mind what each destination’s primary focus and activities will entail, whether it’s wildlife observation, cross-cultural interactions, historically significant sites, or some other highlight. Then decide whether to prioritize what already interests you or stretch yourself with new experiences.
You should also take into consideration your physical capability; if you are not very active and are considering a trip that involves a lot of long hikes, understand that it could be an exhausting journey for you.
Finally, consider the weather at your destination at the time of year you would be visiting. GEEO runs the majority of our programs over school breaks, and the weather is sometimes warmer, cooler, or rainier than a destination’s peak tourist season. Take the time to research the weather conditions (we have a “Weather” section under “Details” on the webpages for all of our GEEO programs), and be realistic about potential weather conditions that you would find unpleasant. For example, if you will be traveling over the winter break and want to escape the cold, consider a destination in the tropics or the Southern Hemisphere.
Use the GEEO Trip Search tool
GEEO’s website offers a handy tool for travelers looking for specific types of experiences. If you are interested in seeing wildlife, for example, the search tool will filter our catalog to show you programs that feature opportunities to observe local wildlife, from safaris to national parks.
Consider the subject you teach
Teachers from all academic disciplines can benefit from virtually any educational journey with GEEO, but some destinations are ideal for specific fields of study. For example, the Galapagos Islands are home to the Darwin Research Center, which can be an outstanding experience for an educator who teaches evolutionary biology. History teachers may particularly benefit from visiting Egypt or Central Europe. “Bringing the world to your classroom” will be even easier when your destination includes learning opportunities that are relevant to your teaching area.
Consider your comfort level with different environments
For those who have not yet ventured far from home, it is important to keep in mind that some destinations can prompt greater culture shock than others. You may be wise to initially take small steps in order to maximize your enjoyment and personal growth. For those looking to get their foot in the door with non-Western cultures, we recommend Morocco, Vietnam & Cambodia, Turkey, and Costa Rica as potential starting points. Each destination is safe, inexpensive, and ideal for newer travelers who haven’t ventured far beyond their home country.
Be mindful of your budget
Travel doesn’t have to be extravagant to be memorable and transformative. GEEO offers several budget-friendly programs (like Jordan, Morocco, and Bali, to name a few) that are financially attainable for those that do not have a surplus of expendable income. Conversely, GEEO also offers programs that are longer or more expensive (like Bhutan, Southern Africa, and Central Asia) for travelers who are fortunate enough to have a higher travel budget.
Consider travel time
If you have a one-week break in which you can travel, don’t forget to account for the amount of time it will take you to travel to and from your destination. For example, a flight between the United States and New Zealand is no quick trip. The time it will take to travel to and from your destination may take up to three full days of your week. For destinations that are that far away, you are better off waiting until you can dedicate more time (ideally two whole weeks) to take full advantage of your time there. For shorter travel periods such as winter or spring breaks, GEEO selects destinations that can fit within a 5- to 8-day travel period, prioritizing closer locations for American teachers so that they don’t miss out on experiences because of their more limited timeframe.