Sunday, September 23, 2012

How To Select The Perfect Vacation Places

By Robert Ranger

Coming up with the best vacation spots is something people have to do every year, not unlike Thanksgiving dinners and tax returns. But the process of deciding where to go on vacation does not have to be as difficult or nasty as stuffing the turkey. It just needs the right parameters and a system to create a shortlist of destinations, which can then be used to find a good deal online.

The main pivot around which the whole thing hinges is the travel date. Many travelers begin with little or no flexibility and just need to decide on good vacation spots for a particular day or occasion. For example, the Labor Day and Memorial Day weekends are both popular dates when a lot of people hit the road. For those who can afford some flexibility with the dates, there will be many more vacation places.

A prime example is Hawaii, undoubtedly among the world's best vacation destinations. But it is also distant and expensive. The cost can be tackled by opting for visits during odd times. It's normal to get off-season package discounts to the tune of 50-65 percent on summer rates. Individually, everything from hotel rates to airfare and car rentals are a whole lot less expensive when the whole place is almost empty.

The easy way to choose a place quickly is to start with a shortlist of the most popular destinations. Every place on the list is a winner because it provides a unique and interesting holiday experience. All that remains to be done is finalize one of them based on distance, budget and interests.

For example, it's hard to argue against Disney World. Central Florida is surely one of the top destinations on the planet, based on the fact that more than 50 million people visit Orlando and Orange County each year. The same argument can be made for New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and other places which figure among the top 10 most visited destinations.

Another way to do it is to prepare a shortlist that matches a specific holiday activity. Think skiing in the Rocky Mountains, a spring break party on the Gulf coast beaches, or a fall foliage getaway in New England. Once the activity has been decided, the rest of the process becomes quite simple. Grab a full list of all the good ski resorts and find out which one is most suitable.

If the budget is not an issue, head for the best slopes in the world in the French or Swiss Alps. If there are budget constraints, stick to the most popular ski resorts within the country such as Vail and Aspen in the Colorado Rockies. If both time and money are precious, cook up a list of the nearest ski areas and just drive over to the one which looks appealing.

On a closing note, it's important for the best vacation spots to implement sustainable tourism practices and offer visitors a green stay. For example, San Francisco is a popular destination for those who do not want their holiday to cause any harm to the environment. They have green hotels, organic restaurants, clean energy powered BART public transit, and LEED certified attractions such as the California Academy of Sciences.

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