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Where should you go next? Photo by Marc Levin.

It may be a small world, but when it comes to putting your footprints all over it, the planet turns out to be a pretty big stomping ground. Deciding where to go on your next vacation can be tough when the possibilities are virtually endless. So how can you narrow it down? Here are a couple of factors to consider:

1. Are you a newbie? If you’ve never set foot past your state line and your travel bag still has the new suitcase smell, then pick an easy travel destination. What makes a place easier to visit? A country where the folk speak your language (e.g. England or New Zealand if you’re an American), or someplace that’s heavily-touristed and relatively close in culture, such as Western Europe.

2. Are you traveling alone? A lone female probably shouldn’t wander into Saudi Arabia – a country where women are typically escorted in public by male relatives. That said, don’t rule out a country until you’ve researched it (individual cities within a country may be more or less conservative than others) – you’ll then be in a much better position to pick a destination where you’ll feel confident traveling on your own.

3. Do you have kids? If you do, and they’re coming with you, you’ll need to factor in all sorts of things, such as: what kind of transportation is available? Is the local food suitable? Are there appropriate activities for kids there? Will it be safe? And so on. If you don’t have children, take advantage of that by going to the remote, gritty and perilous destinations while you still can.

4. Are you a broke student? If you’re young and poor, stretch your money further by visiting developing countries which will inevitably be cheaper. You can hit up more expensive locales like Japan and Russia later in life when you’ve got more cash to burn.

5. Are you young and adventurous? Then now is the time to bicycle cross-country, climb mountains in the Andes or hike the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal. Save destinations with great transportation and easy access to medical care for the years down the track when your body is not quite as youthful as your mind.

6. When are you going? Last but not least, it helps to consider what it will be like at your potential destination when you plan to be there. Hordes of tourists, the weather and even political turmoil can all determine how much fun – or trouble – you’ll have.

What do you think? What other factors do you consider when deciding where to go?

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