Overcoming the Paradox of Choice - Why Do We Choose the Same Places Over and Over Again
- Özgür Töre
Feel like you want to visit the place you have already been to? But what is the reason for such a decision?
Indeed, you may sincerely love the chosen destination but sometimes the triggers that drive our travelling decisions are a little deeper. The paradox of choice is one of them. Let’s find out what it is, how it affects the way we choose and how to overcome it.
The Paradox of Choice in a Nutshell
The essence of the choice paradox sounds as follows. The more choice options you have, the less likely you are to make the final one. While our brain is always looking for the best, safest and affordable opportunity, we still have a decision-making and option-comparison limit. So, the more choice options are available to us, the less sure we become about the final one.
Marketers are well-aware of this feature of human nature, so they don’t hesitate to use the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) combined with limited offers - such a combination makes the customer decide faster and make emotion-driven decisions.
What’s more, the paradox of choice is always here, and it affects our daily life regardless of the environment we have to decide in and the choice options we have. For example, when it comes to travelling, those people who have no budget limits, well-defined preferences and strict time frames may choose endlessly .
And vice versa - those with less choice opportunities, are more likely to quickly make spontaneous decisions. But what drives us when we choose the same places again and again? How is such a decision connected with the paradox of choice? Let’s find it out.
Why Do We Choose the Same Places Again and Again
Having so many destinations to visit, what makes us choose the same places? Below are three core reasons.
Those already familiar always feel safer and more enjoyable. The same is true for travelling. Changing the scenery is always a kind of stress, even though it is perceived as a pleasant one. But our brain subconsciously considers those places we have already been to safer compared to those we haven’t visited yet. In fact, this is one more trick your subconscious likes to play since indeed most travel destinations are equally safe when you behave safely. And vice versa. But this tricky feeling of safety forces us to choose the same place again.
Being sure of the positive experience we will get
Visiting the same place again, you are already well aware of the possible pitfalls, worth and not-worth sights to see, your favorite activities in this place, the mentality of locals, and so on. Long story short, you already have expectations that are more likely to match with reality, compared to visiting a completely new place. This is one more reason to choose the already familiar destination.
Being in love with this place
Sometimes the reason for choosing the same place again and again is much simpler than the one above - you may just love the destination and the way you feel in it. But this reason is more relevant to experienced travelers who have already seen most of the countries and just found the one to find inner peace and happiness in.
Being frustrated with the choice
Feeling frustrated with the choice opportunities while being unable to make the final one is when the paradox of choice forces us to choose the same place again. As a rule, this reason is combined with any of the above, so let’s find out how to overcome it.
How to Overcome the Paradox of Choice When Travelling
The only way to overcome the paradox of choice when traveling is to cut the choice options. Indeed, it is easier said than done, so let’s move step by step.
Accept the diversity
The first step to make is to accept the abundance of choice. There are 195 countries in the world, and having such diversity is great. Still, it is unlikely to visit them all during the lifetime so it is better to focus on the ones that better suit your travel goals.
Set your priorities
That’s why setting your priorities is the next step to overcome the choice paradox but still get the best traveling experience possible. Get started by highlighting general goals - for example, having a beach rest, trying diving, mastering the snowboard, or learning the culture of a specific ethnos.
Make a destinations list
Highlighting your priorities will help you come up with a not-too-long destination list. And this is just the case when the fewer options - the better since the likelihood of making the final choice increases with the choice option number decreasing. Let’s suggest, for now, you have only ten countries on your list, so let’s move further.
Consider the seasonality
To cut the travel options and leave the most suitable ones, let’s consider seasonality. In some cases, visiting the country during a low season can be a better idea, in addition to the classical approach. For example, if you have chosen a hot country, for example, Thailand, but you want to find out more about its culture and religion, visiting it during the low season makes sense. What's more, visiting a country in a high season always costs 25-50% more - keep it in mind on the next step.
Take your budget into account
Also, consider your budget to narrow the choice options. What's the reason for paying twice for approximately the same experience? You may also search for the cheapest flights and choose the destination which is the most affordable if you have strict budget limits.
Stay updated on travel restrictions
And one more tip. The recent pandemic already helped us overcome the choice paradox making some of the countries just closed for foreign citizens. While some countries are already open for vaccinated travelers, stay updated on covid-related restrictions since there are a lot of tricks and specifics from country to country that can help you make the final choice. Some countries also have strict rules for traveling with pets.
Making the final choice is sometimes challenging, especially when it comes to the place to visit. The paradox of choice makes this process even more complicated. In this article, we have reviewed its reasons and shared the tips to overcome them so that you can get as diverse traveling experience as possible!
Isabelle Jordan is a business and marketing journalist at EKTA TRAVELING insurance company. She writes for different news portals and thematic blogs that helps her stay at the heart of the travel and insurance news. Isabelle knows everything and more about travel insurance.