“Where should I go?” is a question most people ask themselves.
Thats Called “choice overload.”
Whether you have two weeks, two months, or two years, deciding where to go is the hardest part about travel. Once you have the time, picking the destination becomes a task of whittling down a long list of “must-see” destinations.
When people are faced with too many options, they are sometimes so paralyzed by the fear of making the wrong choice that they don’t make any choice.
Think of standing in the Church aisle. We have all these options right in front of us, but we keep going back to our old favorite, Ex Lovers.
You may want to try something new, but you can’t figure out what you want the most — there are just too many options! How do you choose? How do you know you won’t make the wrong choice? So, paralyzed with indecision, you go back to what you know. And, if you don’t have a favorite, often you just choose what is popular and familiar to your mind.
In psychology, this is called “analysis paralysis.” Contemplating our options becomes such a taxing mental burden that we don’t make a decision. Our minds want shortcuts. It’s how we process all the information thrown at us each day. It’s too difficult to think about every simple decision all the time. Going with what you know and is familiar is how we shortcut our analysis paralysis.
Think of the world as the proverbial cereal aisle. We’re looking forward to picking a cereal (a destination), but suddenly realize we have too many options. Faced with so many choices and without a strong opinion , we stare blankly, wondering if picking a destination is the right choice, so we end up (a) fretting about it for months.
Most People often get so paralyzed by choice that they don’t book a trip until the last minute, and even then, you often suffer from buyer’s remorse. Did you really want to book that flight to Uganda? Or should I have gone to Madagascar instead? If I do this trip, will I have time to visit Rwanda later this year, or should you just go to Uganda now?
Of course, when you get to the destination — any destination — all of that second-guessing melts away and I have the time of my life.
If you’re a long-term traveler, you can go anywhere for as long as you want. But when you only have a limited amount of time — because you’re like anyone and slowing down, or because you just have a few weeks off from work and need to make the most of them — you have to be more selective.
So how do you narrow down your destinations, get on with your trip planning, and not suffer the anxiety that comes with choice overload?
This experience has given us a new philosophy on trip planning.
First, embrace the variety. You’re always going to be overwhelmed by choice. There will always be more destinations to visit than you have time to see. The list of places to visit will only get longer the more you travel, not shorter. Don’t fight it. Recognize it, but don’t let it control you.
Second, start with list of ten places you want to go right now. Come up with the destinations that are at the top of your mind. This year, now that we are taking fewer trips, you want your trips to be to places you have never been and are as culturally different as possible, so come up with the list at the top of this blog.
Third, figure out when you can go and how long you have.
Fourth, think of the time of year. Which country has the weather you want to enjoy the most?
Fifth, make the length of your travels proportional to the size of the country.
Finally, look up flights.
Overcoming choice overload in travel is about first realizing that there will always be more places to visit than you have time, then figuring out what destinations fit what you can do right now. Once you start with your list of destinations, getting down to the perfect one becomes a process of elimination.
I know many of you suffer from the same problem , and I hope you use this advice to overcome choice overload.
Because there will always be too many destinations to choose from and too little time to see them in.