It’s hard to believe that 2019 is almost here. Time sure does fly by when you’re eating your way around the world. Most of us tend to set ambiguous goals like lose weight, save money and travel more. We usually don’t follow through on our resolutions because they’re so vague. I’m on a mission to help you actually achieve your travel goals for 2019. Here are some specific New Year’s resolutions for travelers.
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Learn the Local Language of Every Country You Visit
You have two options when it comes to visiting a non-English speaking country. You can either learn some key phrases in the local language or you can play charades and look like an ignorant fool. Charades is really fun, but I prefer the first. Not only will learning the local language make your life easier, but you’ll also meet locals and further enrich your experiences in that country. I use the app, Babbel. It’s easy to use and you’ll be speaking a new language in no time.
Be Better at Saving Money
It’s almost impossible to travel the world if you’re not good at saving money. We’re all probably going to be hit with unexpected expenses this upcoming year so it’s crucial that you save as much as you can. Go grab an empty jar, pen and sticky note. Write “travel fund” on the sticky note and stick it to the jar. At the end of every week, put $20 in the jar. I know it doesn’t sound like much. However, the fund will get bigger and bigger as you add to it and you’ll get closer and closer to your next adventure. Check out my post on how to save money for travel for more tips and tricks.
Make More Friends While Traveling
The friends that you make while traveling are some of the greatest friends you’ll ever have. These friends will encourage you to jump out of an airplane when you’re scared and comfort you when you’re missing home. They’ll push you to be your best and will always be by your side no matter the distance. I actually used to be an introvert before I started traveling. It made me sad when I realized that my husband was my only friend on the road. I started walking up to other travelers and introducing myself. Because of this, I’ve made some dear friends and kicked my shyness to the curb.
Master the Art of Packing Light
I always chuckle when I see someone hauling around a suitcase or backpack the size of their house. You’re not going to wear everything that you bring. Believe it or not, you don’t need to bring five pairs of shoes with you. It’s bothersome to haul around things you aren’t using. Grab a minimalistic yet spacious bag and pair it with some packing cubes to stay organized and stress-free.
Try a New Dish in Each Country You Visit
I love food. It’s the way to my heart and it makes me happy. Obviously, trying new foods expands your palate. I also believe that food brings people together. When we were in Vietnam, we were seated with locals at restaurants. We were able to connect with strangers over a bowl of pho. Moreover, it’s interesting to try the foods you eat at home in the actual country that they originate from. For example, Feta cheese in Greece was creamier and more flavorful than the Feta I pick up at the grocery store in the States. I don’t think I need to give you any more reasons to try local dishes. It’s food. Food is good for you.
Go on Weekend Trips
I know that some of you may not be able to take time away from work and other obligations to go abroad. Weekend trips are so underrated. They’re an easy way to get away if you only have a few days off work or if you’re buckling down on your finances. I’m a huge proponent of weekend trips. When I used my vacation time up at my previous job, I went away on the weekends to cure my travel bug. We were able to book last minute flights and hotels for a reasonable price using Expedia and Hotels.com. Discover new restaurants, make new friends and experience new things. Weekend trips are a great way to escape and feel rejuvenated.
Wake up Earlier on Your Trips
I know this probably doesn’t sound like very much fun to you, but waking up early has its advantages. First of all, waking up early means that there will be fewer crowds and shorter queues. You’ll have a few extra hours to squeeze in more sightseeing and exploring. You’ll probably have extra time in the afternoon to hang out at a coffee shop or a nap. We woke up before the birds were even chirping in Siem Reap when we were going to visit Angkor Wat. Because of that, we were able to watch a gorgeous sunrise over the temples and we were able to explore the temples without being overwhelmed by the crowds. We were able to visit more tourist attractions later that afternoon that we wouldn’t have been able to visit had we gone to Angkor Wat later.
Visit a Country/City Outside of Your Comfort Zone
It’s quite pleasant to lay on the beach and get your tan on. However, it’s far more rewarding to travel somewhere that’s outside of your comfort zone. I remember feeling knots in my stomach after landing in Cairo because I was afraid of the socio-political climate. That trip was really rewarding now that I look back. I got to see the Pyramids for the first time and that was pretty much the coolest thing ever. Not literally because it was a million degrees outside that day. Me stepping outside of my comfort zone in this instance propelled me to keep visiting countries that I wasn’t too crazy about visiting. After Egypt, I visited South Africa and had the absolute time of my life. The most beautiful countries I have visited have resulted from me stepping outside of my comfort zone.
Get Lost When Exploring
Ditch the map and start roaming around. Some of the most beautiful parts of a city aren’t listed on a map. We rented ATVs in Mykonos and decided not to use maps. We drove around the island aimlessly and ended up at several gorgeous and desolate beaches. None of these beaches were listed on the maps given to us by the ATV company. You can also ask a couple of locals what their favorite thing is about the city. More often than not, those things will be the ones that you remember the most. Check out what happens when you allow yourself to get lost.
Say Yes More Often
This was my number one New Year’s resolution for travel this past year. Saying yes can be a scary thing. But, do you want to know what’s scarier? Saying no and missing out on an amazing opportunity. Saying yes allows you to boost your confidence and self-worth. You’ll also make new friends. Moreover, you’ll learn something new and explore new opportunities.
Try Something New Each Time You Travel
This is another phrase that gets referred to a lot. Traveling is all about experiencing new things. This doesn’t have to be as intimidating as it sounds. If you typically don’t pay for city tours, consider taking one next time. If you normally stay at hotels, stay in a hostel on your next trip. Change things up a little and discover new possibilities.
Travel to Places That Are off the Beaten Path
Some destinations are popular and highly raved about for a reason. But, don’t you want to take a detour and explore a place that’s lesser-known? Visiting off the beaten path places is less stressful. You’re able to get away from the hustle and bustle of popular locations. You’ll also find better deals for accommodation. The attractions will probably be discounted too. You’ll probably end up discovering a hidden gem and you’ll have access to it before it becomes flooded with tourists. My favorite off the beaten path city I’ve visited is Tirana, Albania. Tirana is pretty much like a deserted Disney World. There aren’t very many tourists so we felt like we had the entire city to ourselves. It’s extremely safe and the locals are friendly. I could have happily spent a few months there.
Read More Travel Books
Travel books are a fun and inexpensive way to discover a new place when you’re unable to travel. I remember downloading a few travel books on my phone and reading them during breaks at work. I felt refreshed and relaxed afterwards. Travel books allow you to better comprehend a place thus allowing you to feel a deeper connection to it. My favorite travel books are written by Lonely Planet. They offer wonderful in-depth destination guides and general travel tips.
Practice Better Self Care When Traveling
I don’t think this is the first thing that comes to mind for many travelers, including myself. While it’s exhilarating to constantly see new places, travel can become tiresome. Taking care of yourself should be a priority when traveling. Stay hydrated. Get plenty of sleep. Walk and take the stairs when you can. Keep your important documents organized. Just these things can massively improve your travels.
Stop Listening to Other People’s Opinions About a City/Country
If I had a dollar for each time someone told me not to visit this city or that country, I would have enough money to buy a flight. Most of the people who tell me not to visit a particular place haven’t been there themselves. They form their opinion on what they hear from the news or social media. Don’t say no to a place just because your Aunt Becky read on Facebook that it’s not safe to go. We went to Dahab, Egypt despite everything we saw on the news and people telling us not to visit because of safety reasons. We tend to gravitate towards places that people tell us not to visit. Dahab was no different. We actually felt safer in Dahab than we do in the States. My husband did some of the best scuba diving he has ever done and I made several friends there. Go and form your own opinion.
What are some of your travel New Year’s resolutions? Let me know in the comments below.
I hope that I was able to give you some good examples for your 2019 New Year’s resolutions list for traveling. Don’t forget to pin this post so you can remind yourself of the things you promise to accomplish in 2019.