Sensible Travel Resolutions for the New Year
Every year we hear people making the same old resolutions that they’ll struggle to keep. Forget ‘stop smoking’ and ‘visit the gym’ – we’re talking about travel resolutions that revolve around unrealistic bucket lists of things to do and places to see. Once in a lifetime travel experiences are meant to be savoured throughout a lifetime, not crammed in one twelve-month period so that you can show off on social media.
With this in mind, here are some suggestions for more realistic New Year travel resolutions this year, concentrating on more sensible ideas that are much more achievable and accessible.
1. Visit a new place every month
I tried this myself last year and I did manage to visit an array of exciting new destinations both abroad and closer to home, including Iceland, Santorini, Amsterdam and the Pembrokeshire coast. For me, this was a great resolution to make as it forced me to consider new places rather than always returning to my favourite cities. The beauty of this resolution is that you don’t have to book a flight for every month to keep discovering new things. Take the opportunity to visit cities, national parks and the coastline of your own country for a change.
2. Embrace more sustainable travel
Make a real effort to make your travels have less of an impact on the planet by travelling by train rather than taking short-haul flights to reduce your carbon footprint. By swopping flights for longer journeys across land, you can actually expand your holiday to visit more destinations and see more along the way. A couple of years ago, I took a trip to Barcelona for a festival, taking in London, Paris and the south of France on the way as I travelled by train, subsequently turning a weekend getaway into a longer adventure.
3. Step outside your comfort zone
If you love city breaks or beach getaways, you’re only seeing a small proportion of what the world has to offer. Fair enough if you can’t go without a week in the sun, but try to introduce a little variety into your travels and book one trip this year that takes you outside your comfort zone and introduces you to a whole new side of travelling. For me, this was my Iceland adventure last summer. I’d always wanted to add more adventure into my travel experiences, but the costs involved had stopped me from planning the trips I dreamed of. After I’d spent two weeks traversing the Ring Road, I knew that more adventurous holidays were for me.
4. Keep a travel journal
In 2016 I started to keep a journal of my travels, writing down my experiences at the end of each day. Not only did this make it easier to pull together blog posts and articles when I returned home, but it has ensured that I will never forget my memories from my travels and will always be able to pull out my journals and read about my adventures. Even if you’re not a writer, try jotting down what you did each day, what you ate, where you visited, any wildlife you encountered and any strong emotions that you felt.
5. Travel lighter
Rather than lugging a gigantic suitcase across the globe, make a resolution to keep your packing to a minimum. Unless you’re planning on travelling for a prolonged period of time or heading somewhere that requires you to pack specialist gear or thick warm clothes, try to restrict yourself to a hand-luggage sized suitcase. Consider what you actually need to take with you, rather than what you want to pack, and travel with a capsule wardrobe. Not only will you save money on check-in baggage, but you’ll have more time to enjoy your travels if you’re not fretting about what to wear.
6. Try travelling solo
I haven’t travelled on my own since I was 21, but I loved the sense of being able to do whatever I wanted without having to consult my travel companion. Travelling with a friend or partner is a great way to share experiences and create memories, but try taking a trip on your own (even if just an overnight stay) to relish in the possibilities of being able to make your own choices about what to see, where to go and what to eat. You’ll also find that you are more likely to meet new people and try something that’s normally outside your comfort zone when you are travelling solo.
7. Use your holiday allowance to its full limit
I’m baffled by people who just take a two-week trip every summer and use the remainder of their holiday allowance from work to simply sit at home. I base all of my time off work around pre-planned trips, squeezing as many adventures as possible into each year. Alongside your ‘main’ holiday, manage your remaining days off to plan shorter adventures that can be worked around weekends to maximise your time away. Even if you have a tight budget, you’ll be surprised as how much of the world you can see with just twenty days off a year.
Emma Lavelle is a UK based writer and photographer and has her own blog Field and Nest.