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Tropical destinations have to be one of the most popular categories, which means there are always deals popping up, so it's hard not to be driven by these deals.

If I'm merely looking at the destination, and not the deals to be had, how do I find out which tropical destination has the attributes that are most desirable to me?

I need help even knowing what questions to ask, but a few which come to mind are:

  • What is the hiking like nearby?
  • What is the average wind speed like?
  • What type of beaches are available (surfing, sunbathing, secluded, scenic)
  • What is the water like? (Clear and calm, strong swell, covered with seaweed, etc.)
  • Is the water good for swimming? (Counter-example: we took a trip to Broome, Western Australia and found out that basically one shouldn't swim at all during the time of year we were there due to jellyfish/stinger threats)

And once I know what questions to ask about the destination, what is the best method of finding a good match?

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Are you asking what are important things to consider when choosing a destination? If so I suggest a rewrite; currently it sounds like you're asking us to determine what things you like :P –  Matthew Read Jun 21 '11 at 20:57
    
@Matthew - Yes, I'm asking what are the right questions to ask. I'm also asking - once I know what question to ask, how do I find destinations that match what I like? Help rewriting welcome :) –  NickC Jun 21 '11 at 21:01
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Two things: 1. Is the snorkelling/scuba diving good? 2. What diseases are prevalent? There are many tropical destinations where Malaria is rife. Also common are Hepatitis A, tetanus, etc. You may also want to bring some antibiotics if you're going to be near coral (coral cuts generally get infected), and a decent first aid kit as there may not be any hospitals nearby. –  jozzas Jun 21 '11 at 22:52
    
What's the political stability of the country at the time? –  Rory Aug 19 '11 at 13:28
    
Tropical destinations custom to be in strange places, strange countrys. You should ask about currency and economic situation, things google can't give you a real opinion. –  H_7 Sep 27 '11 at 0:18

5 Answers 5

up vote 8 down vote accepted

When I don't know where to go, I decide based on what kind of holiday I am looking for, listing requirements and then marking them against the country. What questions are relevant to you will depend on the type of holiday you are looking for, but probably the basic things to consider are: weather, season, relaxation, structures/accomodations, activities to do, beaches, sea/coral barrier, food, language.

For example, when looking for an exotic place to go on honeymoon, if you are going in the summer then most exotic places have a rainy season, so you may want to consider a place where you will be able to do other things even if there is rain. For examples the Maldives is one of the most gorgeous places to go, but there is nothing apart from sand, sea and relaxation; therefore if it's raining you'll ruin the holiday. In that case a place like Mauritius would be a good compromise, as it has good-looking beaches but also plenty of activities.

I agree that Google is always a good source of information to shortlist, then forums can help you decide at the end.

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A pretty important one (based on your edit): What kind of vaccinations do I need, is it a malaria area?

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Tropical destinations do not split the year in 4 seasons, they usually have only 2: rain and dry seasons. Day and night are almost the same size all the year. Look for pictures on the web first and them try to find some local deals even with big sites like Expedia (e.g: look for vacation packages and see what they offer). If you are going to a very different place, try to act as a local there. This is really a better option than acting as a tourist. Eat, travel and live as a local. This is the best advice I can give to you.

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Do your research about the weather in the place you want to go to. If you're hunting for a bargain, you might be delighted to find cheap flights and hotel prices, and just think "Ooh, I'm going to Bali / [insert any other tourist destination]!" only to find that you have a tropical downpour every single day for the time you stay. No need to be suspicious of every cheap deal, but do your due diligence. –  Ankur Banerjee Aug 19 '11 at 9:39
    
upvoted for the dry/wet season. Figure out if the deal falls in the wet season or not. Not that is a bad think per se (in some places it means an hour of rain per day), but better be informed about it. –  ADB Aug 22 '11 at 2:18

Before you book a sunny destination, you should check:

  • Is the tropical destination in the winter or summer season? Prices are a lot cheaper during the tropical winter for southern hemisphere destinations. Sunny places which are in the northern hemisphere tend to have higher prices and are busier during North American winter.
  • Although the tropical summer is the best time to go, you should expect very hot weather with the risk of a tropical storm. During a tropical storm, you might be stuck indoor anywhere from 1 day to a few days.
  • A lagoon surrounded by natural coral reefs is the best for swimming because the sea is a lot calmer and warmer.
  • Will you be staying at a resort? Depending on when you go, you might get some rainy days. What kind of activities could you be doing indoors?
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Google's your friend. I would definitely search for things like 'Best tropical beaches', 'Best tropical hiking spots' and then go through all the different information.

It's always fun learning about new places and figuring out where to travel. Looking at different travel forums will also help this as well as looking at reviews of different locations.

You can narrow down your searches by including the time of the year you're planning on going.

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