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Planning A Trip: Deciding Where To Go, How To Travel There, Where To Stay

What To Think About When Choosing A Destination

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When choosing a destination, keep in mind:

  • Your physical capabilities:  Match your destination to your own capabilities. For example, if you tire easily, you might do better in a city with good transportation than on a hike in the mountains.

  • Availability of medical care:  If there's an emergency, will there be a doctor who speaks English with the expertise and a hospital with the facilities you might need?

  • Infection risk:  Is there a high risk of infection in the area you're considering visiting? Check for recent infection outbreaks in your intended area of travel. You can obtain information about health risks outside the U.S. at the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: offsite link

  • Climate:  Consider the local climate and its affect on your health.  For example:
    • Cardiovascular and digestive diseases can flare up in hot climates.
    • Upper respiratory tract infections and rheumatic pain may be helped by a hot dry climate.
    • Skin conditions could be more difficult to bear in hot or humid conditions.
    • If you're thinking of a sunny climate, will it affect your reaction to your medications? Do your drugs make you more sensitive to sunlight?
  • Exercise is good for your health: If your trip isn't going to involve a lot of exercise, look for a hotel with an exercise facility, or at least an exercise facility nearby. Many hotels that don't have gyms have arrangements with nearby facilities. At the least, plan a series of exercises you can do in your hotel room -- perhaps with a video or DVD you take with you, or can obtain from the hotel. Collapsible hand weights and stretch rubber bands are easy to carry. If you're stuck for ideas, look at the book: Travel Fitness by Rebecca Johnson and Bill Tulin.

Consider a vacation that includes volunteering. Volunteer-vacations can be rewarding and inexpensive. When considering such a vacation, in addition to the above factors, consider:

  • Whether your values and goals match the values and goals of the sponsoring organization.
  • What the tasks will be.
  • Whether the tasks will fit your physical limiations.
  • What the living conditions will be.
  • Whether the emphasis is on volunteering or sightseeing.
  • Whether the work is worthwhile.
  • The amount of time involved.

Among the worthy volunteer-vacations, a few to consider are (in alphabetical order):

To learn more, see: Volunteer Vacations: Short-Term Adventures That Will Benefit You And Others offsite link, Bill McMillon, Doug Cutchins, Anne Geissinger (Chicago Review Press, 2006)

Check out insider travel tips: Travel web logs offer detailed insider information, including opinions about hotels, restaurants and attractions. A good starter site is

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