Guides worldwide will agree that trying new things and journeying to new places makes for a happy life. Here are just a few travel resolutions for 2015 to help you get inspired. Which ones will you do?
#1. Travel Alone
Travelling alone is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Not only will you be more open to new experiences and meeting new people, but also there’s a certain sense of pride that comes with going it alone. Especially for you ladies: one of the biggest myths is that solo female travel is dangerous. Most female travellers will tell you this is a big fat lie. What’s the point in waiting for someone to come along for the ride? The journey is yours!
If you’re worried about adjusting to a new city or destination, participating in a guided tour is a really great way of orientating yourself. Some people use a tour as a launch-point into further explorations. Plus, you might make a friend or two in the process.
#2. Take a REAL Vacation
Let’s face it: travelling is NEVER a piece of cake. Studies have shown that people are actually happiest when they’re PLANNING their travels – not making them happen. This is probably because travel can indeed be stressful at times (especially when it comes to winter travel, right?). There’s a lot of joy in learning how to navigate a new city’s transit system, or picking up on the local dialogue. But when you really, really need a break from the real world…well, a vacation probably works best.
Consider going somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit – maybe somewhere warm – and just setting up a base for a while. Take a week to hang out by the beach with a good book, try your hand at snorkeling or SCUBA diving. Find the clearest waters in the world. Not only will you be less stressed out, but also you’ll REALLY get to know a place.
#3. Travel Slower
Speaking of getting to know a place, travelling slower is a good opportunity to really delve into a local culture/experience. Trying to cram a whole bunch of destinations into one trip can be exhausting, and you just never know which destinations will resound with you the most. Maybe you’ll WANT to stay longer.
#4. Do Something Outside Your Comfort Zone
We all have comfort zones. Have you ever wanted to go bungee jumping, or skydiving, or paragliding, but are just too afraid to do it? Make 2015 your year to get those fears out of the way. Once you start conquering one, you’ll conquer them all.
Sometimes those comfort zones are smaller, though. Maybe you’ve always wanted to try couch-surfing, but have felt uncomfortable with the idea of shacking up with strangers. You’ll be missing out on meeting some incredible people! Or maybe you’ve wanted to do a long-haul hiking-trekking adventure, but are worried you’re just not in the right shape. Set those goals, and make ‘em happen. Even if it takes some work getting there.
#5. Get Unplugged
Getting unplugged is right up there with taking a real vacation. Chances are, if you put away your smartphone and computers for a week in favour of freeing up your mind and spirit, you’ll discover that you don’t really miss it at all!
It’s almost impossible to escape technology, it seems. ALMOST. One of the best ways to do it? Good ‘ol Mother Nature. Plan a camping trip, or a road trip, or anything that lets you connect with the great outdoors.
#6. Invest in Some High Quality Gear
For most people, sometimes the option of spending a ton of cash on good quality equipment just isn’t an option. But we can absolutely ASSURE you that investing in good travel gear – whether it’s a suitcase or some heavy-duty fitness clothing – is well worth the money. For the most part, this gear will make travelling even EASIER for you…and who doesn’t want that peace of mind?
Do your research. Ask your travel-savvy friends or a tour guide for advice. And trust us when we say the long-term benefits are well worth the moolah.
#7. Do Some Good For Mother Earth
Sometimes we take measures that harm the environment without even knowing it, especially when travelling. And sometimes we opt for experiences that aren’t always nature-friendly, without thinking twice about it. But the thing is, Mother Earth demands our respect, and there’s a lot that can be done to make us all more aware of how our actions impact our surroundings.
Guides around the world will tell you that research first is important to make sure that everybody is complicit with environmental rules and regulations. You can also be sure to give back to the communities you’re visiting, or you can volunteer your time to those in need. Even smaller adjustments to your travel style can go a long way, like walking or taking mass public transit to get around.
#8. Learn Something New
Here’s the thing about travel: you always have an abundance of opportunities for learning something new. For example, hiring a local guide to take you on an India heritage-history tour will ensure you gain new respect for the place, and it’ll serve as an incredible learning experience. It’s important to know the places you’re visiting to truly understand them. Keeping an open mind? Mandatory.
You can also dive in on a more hands-on approach. Feeling like taking a cooking tour in Italy? Or maybe a yoga lifestyle tour? Your participation will be valuable, and you’ll come away feeling like a million bucks.
#9. Let Go, Indulge, and Stop Worrying About Your Body
It’s so easy to stress out over calorie consumption when you’re on vacation, especially when you’re in those famous food destinations like Italy or France. But to truly understand a culture, you have to get to know its food. There’s absolutely no way around it! And why would you want to avoid it, anyway? A little muffin-top never killed anybody.
The key is moderation. It would be a shame to visit a new country without sampling the local cuisine (depending on what your diet restrictions are, of course). You can even opt for a different sort of learning experience, like an epic wine tour in France, or a food tour in California. And hey, if you do end up gaining a few extra pounds, it’ll totally be worth you. You can always work it off later.
#10. Do Less Planning, and a Little More Doing
When you build yourself a rigid travel schedule, you may unknowingly be limiting yourself to other possibilities that may pop up. Allowing a little room for being spontaneous is always a good idea. You just never know when you may encounter that friendly local who wants to invite you to her family’s house for tea, but you end up turning them down because you have a fancy dinner reservation at a five-star restaurant.
Depending on where you’re going, it’s definitely always a good idea to at least have your accommodations booked in advance (you’ll need it while going through airport immigration, anyway). But keep a few days open in your schedule for something that may pop up while you’re on the road.
#11. Travel a Little Closer to Home
It’s easy to overlook our own surroundings in favour of far-off, exotic destinations. But sometimes you don’t have much of a choice but to stay put, and sometimes you simply just don’t have enough time to travel abroad.
The more you start looking around for new experiences and travel destinations, the more you’ll learn to appreciate being in the moment. Just think about it: when was the last time you road tripped around your home province or state? Or when was the last time you got out of town, even for just a weekend of R&R? There’s a lot to be said for at-home exploration.
#12. Learn a Foreign Language
Or at least ATTEMPT to learn a foreign language! When you’re a native English speaker, it’s easy to take languages for granted. After all, you can get by just about anywhere in the world. But learning a new language is always a rewarding and fun experience, and you’ll be amazed by how many doors it’ll open for you as you’re travelling the world. Give it a shot.