One of the primary reasons that people travel is to pick up culture. You may be familiar with your state, your community, your neighborhood, and your subculture, but what about how other people live? If you want to expand your horizons, that’s where going to new locations on vacations can really make a difference.

If you look at a compass, you see your options right away. You can go south, north, west, and east. In the continental United States, that takes you through an extremely variable range of cultures, which is why it’s always so exciting to use that as a template for picking your next destination.

Down South

When you travel down south, along you end up going to Georgia, Texas, Alabama, or any of those areas that are known for being southern states. Depending on where you are from, you can hit culture shock pretty quickly. People down south are known for being very hospitable but also very traditional in some of their belief systems. So although the costs of living can be fairly moderate (as detailed in this blog post –, and the Alabama state offers many a scenic location with the joy of being in the heart of nature, people planning to visit or move there should first seek to understand the customs and ways of life. Plus, there is a temperature change along with the culture change. Down there it can get really hot and really sunny really fast.

Up North

Going up north can mean a few different things. Perhaps you’re visiting the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Sometimes people consider up north if they are going to the upper states over on the coast like Maine or Rhode Island for example. Up north can mean cold temperatures, snow, or even a wilderness feel depending on where you go. There are plenty of rural areas up north if you want to reattach yourself to the idea of isolation. As far as tourist attractions, going up north is more geared toward the cabin enthusiast as opposed to someone looking for beaches, so be aware of that transition.

Out West

Most vacationers will initially think of heading out west. You want to see the beaches of California. You want to visit movie sets in Hollywood. You want to look at what Los Angeles is like, or San Francisco, or San Diego. Especially for young adults, heading out west to see the excitement can be one of the more compelling vacations that they take during their lifetime.

To the East

A final destination if you’re going by directionality is when you’re heading east. So the big vacation when it comes to rightward movement is when you head to New York. You could spend weeks, months, and even years in New York and never finished doing all the things that are there. Everything is packed in so tight, and there’s so much culture, that you can find something of everything, but it’s all stitched together by the fact that everyone lives in such close quarters. Brave people are the ones who head to the middle of the city to figure out what life is all about there.