I am an opportunistic traveler. I can often be found at the airport searching flights for my next getaway while I wait for my flight home. I need something to look forward to. The search begins three to five months out starting with destinations that I have friends living or staying. I usually have a top 5 list of destinations that I am interested in and begin rotating through my search looking for reasonably priced flights.

Working remotely brings a whole new layer of complexity to choosing a destination. Will I have a solid wifi connection, what is the time difference from home, is there enough to do during non working hours or are all the highlights going to conflict with my work schedule? Climbing Machu Picchu without utilizing any vacation time can be a little tricky as the standard Inca trail can take 4-5 days.

Are you going to move around during your stay or be a bit more stationary? This can greatly impact your packing plans. Flexibility is always key for a remote worker but you also don’t want to leave behind any tools that help you be more productive. Staying a bit more stationary can also help you learn more about the city you choose and really get to know its intricacies. It is difficult to truly learn and understand a new city well in less than 3 months. That is one of the most extraordinary differences between living abroad and vacationing. Meet locals, find a favourite coffee shop and make the city feel like your own.

The downfall of staying stationary… less cities or countries checked off your list. You really have to appreciate quality over quantity when you take the stationary route. As more people aim to collect passport stamps and pins on a map, it is easy to get caught up in the rush of jumping city to city or country to country. Slow down and recognize that even though this world is vast it can also be quite small.

I recently did one of those facebook travel mapping apps and realized I have barely made a dent in the 195 countries available across the globe. I felt slightly defeated. 19 countries and counting and it felt like child’s play. I took an honest look at my list to date and made a new list beside it. I decided to no longer just track the next top 5 of interest, but to list every single country I wanted to go to. I only got to 40….interesting. In reality I am half way there!! I would much rather go back to Costa Rica to visit areas I have not seen and go to new cities in Germany that I have not been to than focus on checking off more pins on this vast globe. And in reality, the more travelers, nomads and interesting people I cross paths with in this beautiful world can only aid in expanding that list. Maybe 40 will become 50, 70 or 100.

I still love the rush of a new stamp in my passport, but I am now more focused on experiences than countries traveled. Travel is always an experience in itself but looking for unique experiences within the countries or cities I am traveling helps me hone down the list.

Behavioral science research shows why spending money on new experiences yields more happiness than spending it on new products.

via Want To Buy Happiness? Purchase An Experience. – Forbes.

Now when determining a travel destination I seek out experiences. Here are a few of my approaches to searching for new travel destinations.

Hobbies – I recently took up Scuba Diving. It has opened my eyes to a whole new set of destinations that I was not looking at strongly. Now when I join online dive groups, linkedin groups or local dive shops I have a tonne of inspiration for new destinations to check out!

World Wonders List – there’s the classic list, new lists, ancient world list, and even the wonders of the industrial world. Lay them all out and see if anything inspires you.

Bucket List items – Cliche I know, but are there any bucket list items that you can seek out in another country? Or maybe do something you have already done, really enjoyed and can recapture the thrill with new surroundings! I have jumped out of a plane, ziplined across gorgeous canyons, rappelled down waterfalls and learned how to surf (well not well, but I still took the classes) but I have yet to go hang gliding. Light bulb.. google search best hang gliding and voila, Switzerland, Rio and the French Alps are all recommended.

Play spin the globe – Close your eyes, spin and point! But in all seriousness, be a little spontaneous. Just pick a spot. You don’t have to book the flight just yet but start doing some research, read some travel books and blogs and ask around to some fellow travelers. You may have picked a winner. This world is stunning and each crevice has something unique to present you.

Now time to share your inspiration. Where are you going next? Or best hidden gem you have found so far? Share below.