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Our world is full of beautiful places, distinct cultures, fascinating people and exotic flavors. But having so many options can make it hard to figure out where to go for your next adventure, especially if you're on a budget and have limited vacation time.
Ask yourself these four quick questions to help you narrow down your choices before the travel hangover from your last trip hits.
1. How far do you want to travel?
Transportation time is one of the factors that matter most when figuring out how far you want to travel. If your next vacation is over a three-day weekend, you probably don’t want to spend 12 hours traveling each way, so you might limit yourself to spots that are within four or five hours of your home.
And as much as we’d all like to forget how long airport security can take, add that into your travel time, which may help you decide whether to fly or drive.
2. How much do you want to spend?
You might have a vacation fund (go you!), but even if you don’t, you probably have at least some idea of how much you want to shell out for your next trip, including how much of the trip you can pay for with travel rewards. Your budget can also influence what you do once you get to your destination. For example, if you want to keep costs low, you might plan to stick to just one major city or visit only a couple sites.
3. What type of environment do you want?
One really quick way to cut down your destination choices is to decide what kind of weather you want to enjoy. While some places have both relaxing rays and snowy slopes, most locations have either warmer or cooler weather at a time.
You can also narrow down your options by picking between urban or rural locales, luxury or simple accommodations, or even humid or dry climate.
4. What’s on your must-do list?
Maybe you love trying local cuisine, so visiting places with distinct dishes or tons of well-known restaurants is important to you. (No judgment, I’ve traveled somewhere just to eat before.) Or you might be craving a trip that immerses you in the great outdoors, or a deep selection of engaging museums and historical sites. Besides helping you finalize where to travel next, answering this question also helps you start planning what you’ll do on your trip.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card