How To Research Your Next Destination

So you’re starting to think about your next location.

This very exciting, but it’s only the first (important) step. It’s so easy to get carried away with photos of beautiful locations and exotic lifestyles — which is fantastic, don’t stop. Just be aware that it’s also important to consider whether your next location will be fulfilling to you. Will it make sense for the lifestyle you want and have created thus far?

Luckily, there are ways to figure this out.

The more research you do, the better off you’ll be when you arrive in the country.

This is not like doing research for a boring term paper in college; the info you’ll be digging into is wicked interesting! Often, you’ll start with researching one city, and then learn about five others that are just as tasty — and they may be a better fit for right now (or great to keep “in your back pocket” for another time).

Planning for our next location starts months to a year before we plan to arrive.

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We spend time looking at pictures, reading blogs, and researching prices.

The criteria we are looking for are:

  • a paradise setting (beach, snow, city, etc — whatever that means to you!)
  • the cost of living: we prefer places where this cost is comparably lower than what we’re used to in the USA. (The lower your expenses are, the less money you need to make, and the easier it is to make a profit.) To get an idea of cost of living we check out Numbeo.

The exact city may not pop out at you right away. This iss ok, and to be expected. More times than I’d like to admit, we’ve had moments of “where the f**k are we going next?!?” When this happens, we love using Nomad List. The site is a great resource to quickly see a bunch of locations and a few important stats (weather, cost of living, wifi speed). You’re also able to sort locations by various criteria.

Although I wouldn’t stop there — even if you find what seems like the most perfect location for you — check out visa restrictions, cost of flights and what a few travel bloggers have to say.

'Fear not the spreadsheet, for it is good.' — CurtissClick To Tweet

We use a spreadsheet!

Curtiss loves spreadsheets, and they’re a great way to keep track of your findings and make observations.

Here’s our spreadsheet template!

Feel free to make a copy of it, and then use that copy as your own. As you can see, the cost of delicious delights (wine, cheese and a meal for two) are important to us, and that info helps us determine if a location is a good fit for us… we know ourselves, and these are things we enjoy.

We’ve slowly come to realize that we’re drawn to retiree locations.

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We are nowhere near typical retiring age — but we’ve got similar interests since retirees are usually looking for locations that are easy on the eyes, with a slower pace of life where they can get a bigger bang for their buck.

Figure out your timeline.

Timeline is actually rather important, and should be factored into your research. I highly suggest arriving before the upswing of high tourist season in your paradise location. (This is sometimes known as the “shoulder season”.) If you arrive before the bustling hordes, you will have first pick of the rental properties. You have a better chance of negotiating a lower rent, as most landlords like to know they have a guaranteed renter for a specific time period.

You may be pleasantly surprised to find that low season in some locations is not horribly uncomfortable; far from it actually, in some cases. We enjoyed our Mexican lakeside village immensely during the “rainy season”. The temperature was very comfortable, and everything was green; the rain that we did receive was in the evening or early morning. This example might be a contrast with some other locations, where the rainy season can be unpleasant/dangerous due to flooding.

Consider events and festivals to attend.

TBEX BBK

We also take into consideration any events or holidays we want to attend. You’re not going to be able to hit every festival in one year, and that’s ok! Leave some fun events to look forward to next year… and the year after! After spending some time in Mexico this year, we were eager to get back for Day of the Dead (November 1 and 2). Unfortunately, with our schedule it didn’t work out this year — the holiday happens every year and will definitely make it when the time is right!

Enjoy this post and want to save it for later? We feel ya.

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Ashley is exuberant about location independence! She relishes new experiences and working with boutique hotels and resorts. She’s always thinking about design and food… and where they’ll travel next!

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