Come the New Year, travel junkies rarely make those trite, everyday resolutions: lose weight, stop smoking, earn a promotion, etc. However, compulsive tourists still tend to make self-promises that are equally difficult to keep. Sure, a vacation devoted to searching out your family’s roots sounds challenging and engaging, but for most people, that level of in-depth travel is simply out of reach.
Travel resolutions are rewarding and fun — when you can fulfill them. To that end, here are six resolutions designed to be easy, satisfying, and filled with new experiences.
1. Use All Your Vacation Days
In France, employees who work more than 35 hours every week are entitled to at least five weeks but as many as 10 weeks of paid vacation time. In the U.S., there is no regulated minimum vacation time, but most workers receive about 10 days for the entire year. Still, a paltry 51 percent of workers admit to never dipping into their paid leave ― which is causing the stress epidemic in this country.
Research shows that the most common excuses for wasting paid vacation time ― including “I’ll have a mountain of work when I come back” and “my co-workers will mess everything up” ― are totally unfounded, which means there is no good reason for you to skip a full-length trip. You work for that PTO, and you should take advantage of it.
2. Buy Better Luggage
If you are a full-fledged adult and you still rely on duffel bags to get your stuff from point-A to point-B, you definitely need to commit to this resolution. Luggage is much more than a container that fits an airline’s dimension requirements; the right luggage for your travel style can make packing and moving dramatically easier. Plus, professional-looking luggage improves your travel image. Here are some excellent luggage brand suggestions:
- Briggs & Riley for extra space
- Delseyfor extra battery power
- Samsonite for extra protection
- Tumifor extra style
3. Travel With Someone New
Solo traveling can be exhilarating and empowering, but traveling with a buddy is usually much more fun. You and your regular travel partner might mesh perfectly, but this year, you should try someone new. When every day brings a new experience, it is nearly impossible to avoid hearing your co-traveler’s intimate thoughts and opinions. Thus, traveling with someone new grants you the opportunity to learn more about someone. Travel is an activity that makes or breaks friendships, but those people who stick around after the stress of a vacation are sure to be friends for life.
4. Speak a Language You Once Studied
You often tell people that you took four years of Spanish in high school ― but how much do you really remember? This year, it is time to put your foreign language skills to the test with a trip to the homeland. Even if you forget a few crucial vocabulary words, the locals should be able to grasp your meaning. However, if you are especially unconfident in your language ability, you might want to use Rosetta Stone or DuoLingo to brush up on the basics.
5. Find Your Favorite Foods
Most travelers explore the world to experience new cultures, and perhaps the most exciting feature of any culture is cuisine. Still, sometimes all you want on your vacation is to fill up on your favorite foods. This year, you should follow your stomach wherever it leads. If you can’t wait to try a new craft brew, you might try a Canadian ale trail; if grilled cheese brings you pleasure, you can compile your own warm, cheddary path. You can stop your search when you find your absolute favorite of your favorite taste.
6. Chase the Sun
Every day, the sun makes an amazing journey from the farthest reaches of the east (Kiribati, to be exact) to the farthest reaches of the west (American Samoa) ― but you can hardly use your vacation days to visit the next state over. This year, you show respect to the sun’s unceasing travels with an east-to-west trip of your own. Of course, you don’t have to go nearly as far or as fast as the sun in the sky, but as long as you use your time off to reflect upon the star’s entire daily voyage, you should start to appreciate what it truly means to travel ― and travel well.