With the new year rolling in, new year’s resolutions are the topic on everyone’s mind. Whether you are an avid traveler or even just a travel admirer, there is always a way to improve your trips.
Take a scroll through our nine different travel resolutions to help spark your love of adventure in a new light.
1. Stop Procrastinating
With the new year approaching, many of us are dreaming up future trips we would love to take in 2019. The thought of just being able to let everything go and travel excites and consumes your attention. You research your favorite destinations and lust over the beauty.
Hough as a few days passes, your travel dreams become nothing more than wishful thinking. For there are too many variables, too many fears, too little money, and too many things that could go wrong. Not to mention, your dog’s birthday is coming up… You wouldn’t want to miss that…
So you push away all thoughts of travel and sink back into your mundane routine to get on with your life.
But why does it have to be this way? There is never going to be a perfect time for anything. There will always be a reason for you to stay home because let’s face it, staying at home is easier! Staying home is your comfort zone. Although if traveling is something you love, you have to identify & work through the barriers that are holding you back.
The only thing regarding the future that we know to be true is that we don’t have an unlimited amount of time on this planet. So this year, if you want to travel, do it! You’re the biggest obstacle in your way.
2. Organize Your Time
Hopefully, at this point, you’ve booked your trip. Congratulations on sticking through with your travel goals! Now begins the fun part, planning. Typically, preparation appears stressful. It is a big reason why people put off booking a trip in the first place.
Although, outlining your trip doesn’t have to be as daunting as it seems. Try utilizing organizational tools like checklists and itineraries.
Write a list of everything you need to do.
Example: Decide on your method of transportation, book accommodation & travel insurance, apply for a visa (if needed), create your itinerary, find someone to watch your pet, etc.
In your itinerary, be sure to include phone numbers of travel agents, rental car companies, airlines, hotels, addresses of hotels and any place you plan to visit & the address and phone number of your country’s embassy.
Getting all of the boring stuff out of the way will make room for excitement as your trip approaches.
If you’d prefer to treat yourself by skipping out on the planning, try booking an all-inclusive tour in one of your favorite countries. You will get the most out of your time with the least amount of work. It’s a win-win situation for you!
3. Learn a New Language/Basic Local Lingo
How often have you wished you had taken the time to learn some basic lingo before you arrived at your destination? Although English is a common language, learning how to communicate with locals, through even simple phrases, will enrich your experience. The more you learn about the language ahead of time, the more at ease you will feel when you’re immersed in it.
Culturally, learning a language not only eases culture shock but also helps you show respect for the locals in the country you’re visiting.
Of course, it’s always best to have a tutor, but free apps like “DuoLingo” are a great tool for frugal beginners.
In this digital age, it is easier than ever to start picking up some basic lingo of a language.
4. Unplug From Digital Devices and Social Media
Although the internet is great for some things, like learning a new language (refer to resolution number three), spending too much time on it may actually be prohibiting us from being fully present within our daily lives.
Social media is becoming notorious for having a paradoxical effect when it comes to fostering & maintaining relationships. On the surface, it seems like a beneficial tool for bringing humans together. Yet, underneath, it subtly rewires our brain. Every like, retweet, invitation, or notification triggers the production of dopamine.
Dopamine is known as the reward chemical. It makes us feel good, which is why we keep coming back. I’m sure most of us have experienced the scenario when we are visiting friends or family and suddenly everyone is lost in their own world on their device. It happens more often than not nowadays.
A 2017 study found that Generation X spends, on average, 32 hours a week consuming media online. That’s more than one full day per week!
On your next trip, consider your devices behind. You may be surprised about how fulfilled your trip feels.
5. Avoid Animal Exploitation
Being able to have a unique experience with a wild animal may seem thrilling on the outside. Although, too often we forget that these animals are sentient beings capable of feeling fear, exhaustion, and pain.
If an animal looks unhappy, underfed, abused, in pain, restricted, or fearful, it most likely has a poor quality of life. Typically, any tourist attraction that uses animals as a selling point isn’t going to be treating the animals fairly.
This year, lead a positive example by avoiding animal exploitation.
Avoid horse-drawn carriage rides, fish pedicures, swimming with dolphins, horse/donkey/camel rides, bullfighting, elephant rides, etc.
By avoiding attractions that exploit animals, you are creating less demand for these services. You become a part of the positive change.
Every action counts.
6. Embrace Sustainable Travel
Sustainability is a topic on everyone’s mind this year. Unfortunately, the average trip creates roughly three tons of carbon dioxide per passenger. Aviation accounts for about 3% of global emissions.
Luckily there are many small ways to make a difference on your next trip.
Taking the train instead of a plane can reduce your impact by nearly half.
Other things like reducing your food & plastic waste, booking eco-conscious accommodations, opting for sustainable activities, etc.
It wouldn’t be right to not mention the impact of animal agriculture on the environment. Animal agriculture is believed to make up 18% of all global greenhouse gas emissions. That number is larger than the entire transportation sector. Traveling or not, replacing animal products (ex. milk, eggs & meat) with more sustainable alternatives like fruits, vegetables, beans, and legumes is one of the easiest ways you help our planet thrive.
7. Pack Efficiently
How many times have you traveled with a stuffed suitcase only to use about a quarter of what you packed? I’m betting that most of us have been guilty of overpacking at least once. Yet, how many of us have actually learned our lesson, leaving what we don’t need at home?
Smart packing doesn’t involve wearing the same t-shirt seven days in a row. Instead, it means being aware of your itinerary and only packing what you’ll actually need. It means to be strategic with your choices.
Research the climate beforehand and plan your outfits in advance.
For example, if you don’t plan on going deep into the woods, leave your hefty hiking boots at home.
If you suffer from chronic overpacking, challenge yourself to use only your carry-on bag for your next trip. Your back and your wallet will thank you.
Have you ever visited somewhere and wished you had taken the time to learn about its past beforehand?
Learning about history not only makes you appear more knowledgeable, but it also helps you appreciate the landmarks you tour with deeper awareness.
Research your destination thoroughly before arriving. Learn about the history, culture, language, and landmarks. Learn how its civilization came to be. Learn about why it’s unique. Fall in love with it.
It’s exciting to learn about the country you’re visiting. The anticipation for your trip will grow as the countdown gets shorter. Studies show that the feeling of anticipation can actually be a powerful, positive emotion. It helps us to delay gratification, which essentially trains our brain to control our unconscious impulses.
9. Experience a Different Method of Travel
Getting out of your comfort zone is good. It helps you become stronger in the face of fear and other negative emotions.
If you’re already a constant traveler and are looking for something to pull you out of your typical travel routine, try a new method of travel.
If you typically go to resorts, try booking a sailing trip instead.
If you have never deeply explored your country, book a camper.
If you’ve always spent weeks planning every last detail of your trip, book one of our all-inclusive vegan food tours!
Going on a vegan food tour will not only be a memorable experience, but it will also help you achieve the other eight resolutions above! You’ll be immersed in a wonderful group of friendly faces, eating new cuisines, all while exploring and learning about a new country.
Treat yourself to be pampered this year.
About the Author
Ariana is a Vancouver-based creator with a passion for connection and a soft spot for compassion. She enjoys long walks in the supermarket and learning about the world.