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Article  •  7 November 2022


5 things to think about when planning a trip

It’s never too early to start planning future travels and researching destinations.

1. Choose the right time of year

We’ve all had a travel experience that was disappointing. We were promised pristine and secluded beaches, but instead found the coastline overrun with sun-soakers. Or our visions of sparkling, powdery snow were washed away by driving rain. Choosing the right time of year is key but – here’s the good news – we’ve done the hard work for you. In Where To Go When we’ve singled out the most unforgettable trips and destinations for every month of the year, so you know exactly when to set off on that trip of a lifetime. 

Always dreamed of witnessing orangutans swinging across the tree canopy in the rainforests of Borneo? We recommend searching for September flights. Hoping to chase the Northern Lights in Norway’s Arctic north? Get your thermals ready for January. Or perhaps you’ve earmarked October for an adventure – which means you could be making pasta in Tuscany’s mellow heat, or driving along California’s gorgeous coastline. 

2. Consider the unconsidered

It can be worth broadening your horizons by visiting somewhere less frequented. You’ll feel more intrepid, and you can claim bragging rights with your friends. Hankering after a buzzing city? New York City might be the city that never sleeps, but there are countless other achingly cool, urban options – from Seattle and Copenhagen to Tokyo and Seoul. Marrakech is famous for its mysticism and gorgeous architecture, but Uzebekistan’s Samarkand is equally enchanting and impressive. And while the Lake District is wonderful for hiking, why not instead take your walking boots to stunning Slovenia, or Germany’s dreamy Black Forest?

3. Look up festivals and events

Visiting a destination during a festival or event is an incredibly enriching experience, and adds a whole new perspective to that destination. This is a wonderful opportunity to meet the locals and learn about a new culture. 

Take the magical cherry blossom festival in Kyoto, when the traditional Japanese custom of hanami  – or blossom-viewing – brings a more leisurely pace of life, with locals picnicking under the raining blossom. Or – in contrast – India’s raucous festival of Holi, when spring is instead celebrated by revellers joyfully throwing coloured powders. There are countless other festivals and events to consider – from Pride in Berlin and Oktoberfest in Munich, to Holy Week in Antigua and Day of the Dead in Oaxaca. Which would you choose?

4. Think carefully about the time you have

It might sound obvious, but compiling an itinerary ahead of booking flights will give you a better sense of how long to spend in a destination and what you can achieve. If you have ample time, for example, you could travel further afield – perhaps hiking around a few of the national parks in America’s Colorado Plateau, or experience both the Chilean and Argentinian faces of Patagonia. But there’s also no harm in slowing down, staying put, and really immersing yourself in an experience or culture, whether that’s saluting the sun at a yoga retreat in Bali or drifting aimlessly along the backwaters of Kerala. 

5. Be a conscious traveller

There’s no denying that our planet and its inhabitants have had a difficult time of it, especially in recent years and months. So, when planning your travels, think about how you can offer a little something back. Perhaps begin by looking at green alternatives.

If you’ve always wanted to see majestic Machu Picchu, for example, consider reaching it by the Salkantay Trail rather than the Inca Trail; it’s less congested and therefore more environmentally friendly, plus you’ll feel like you have the landscape to yourself. Or, if you’re planning on city-hopping around Europe, why not travel by train rather than plane? Interrailing also means you can sit back and properly soak up the changing scenery. 

And, while you’re budgeting for your trip, plan to shop and dine locally at independent delis and family-run restaurants. You’ll feel like a local and your hard-earned pennies will support small businesses in turn.

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Where To Go When
A practically beautiful gift for the traveller who wants to explore the world in person - or from their armchair
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