The New Year brings a certain energy and excitement for new beginnings. It may be a time to start something new, or simply reframe and prioritize the activities in your life again. For our family, travel will be a perpetual goal or New Year’s resolution. Going to new places will always be a part of our lives, however in an effort to deepen my travel experiences (and possibly your travel experiences!) I’ve made a list of the 10 New Year’s Resolutions for Travelers below.
I will use all my vacation days at work this year
Repeat after me: “Vacation days are part of my compensation.” I’m a believer in spending every vacation day I receive from my employer because 1.) It is part of my compensation and 2.) It makes me a happier employee and 3.) You don’t owe your employer slave labor, nor will they remember how dedicated you were to not take vacation during a promotion cycle. Starting in 2021, I sent my partner an email the first week of January all the dates of every vacation day I plan to take that year. A bit overkill, but not only did it force me to plan and prioritize my travel for the year, it served the purpose of getting corporate America’s stamp of approval on the days I plan to take off. That “approved” email back is all I need to send to my various managers throughout the year. If it is planned and approved in advance, it can’t be denied later down the line.
I will do the activities that I enjoy that aren’t necessarily “instagrammable”
A cave in Turkey that I have to squat walk through will never make me Instagram famous. There is so much focus and emphasis on what will look good on the ‘gram that I feel like I do myself a disservice when experiencing new places. I want to pose less and soak in more this year. Sure, pictures will be taken, but rather than selecting certain activities based on the Instagram-ability, I’ll seek out adventures that fill my cup.
I will travel within my financial means and use more creativity for budget friendly travel
I’m the world’s biggest advocate of living within your means and budgeting for travel. We are entering 2022 with one less salary while Patrick searches for his next opportunity, and it is a healthy reminder that travel is 100% discretionary spending and a privilege to be able to do. A positive outcome of 2020 was the creativity that came with travel planning. We took more road trips than I thought possible, and even tried our hand at glamping in airstream trailers. Low-cost travel may mean more visits to my parents or in-laws in Austin and taking advantage of a free room in a fun city.
I will book my travel in advance so that it doesn’t get postponed or forgotten
It is hard to forget or cancel a trip once it is booked. It forces your hand in prioritizing travel. If you’re one to procrastinate, start with booking the flight to your destination. Once flights are arranged, everything else on the itinerary can easily fall into place around it.
I will check out a [restaurant / museum / venue / experience] in my own city that I have never experienced
Have you ever had the experience of friends coming in from out of town to experience your city as a tourist? Then at dinner that night they tell you all about the fun day they had and all the attractions they saw that you’ve never bothered to try, even though you have lived there for years? Yep, happens all too often for me here in Dallas, Texas. Being a tourist in your own city also enriches your love and investment in the community in which you reside. Maybe it is a picnic lunch at a park you’ve never been to, or finally going to that natural science museum even though you’re 20 years older than the target demographic. Trying out what your city has to offer can be a great way to fall back in love with your city.
I will ask people about their domestic and international travel experiences, learning from others and keeping an open mind about destinations or experiences I haven’t considered
I will admit, I am a little judgy when people tell me about their trips to the beach in Mexico. Coming from Texas, it is the go-to for so many people to book a flight to Mexico and plop down on a beach at an all-inclusive resort. Is it my cup of tea? No, absolutely not. Is there merit to other people’s experiences? Yes, absolutely. This year I’m resolving to keep an open mind and ask others of the places they have fallen in love with across the country and internationally. Not only is it enriching for me but could spark a new location I haven’t thought about before.
I will slow down and spend more meaningful time in a particular destination rather than jumping place to place
I’m turning 29 this year so I’m still young, wild and free (ha) but this decade has been a big one for personal growth. When I was 22 it was about how many museums, restaurants, attractions, cities within a country I could possibly hit while travelling, and it is exhausting. The whole “I need a vacation from my vacation” sentiment rang true. My spouse and I have noticed how much more enjoyable it is to settle into a town/city for a while before moving onto the next. There is so much depth to experience by slowing down the travel pace. I get that you’re racing against the clock and the limited vacation days that our workaholic world is these days, but rather than speeding through vacation, I challenge you to intentionally slow down and enjoy wherever you choose to go.
I’ll travel with a companion that has similar priorities and interests
This is an easy one for me since my partner is the travel champion of our family, however it rings true for the experiences we want to have. Patrick knows I’ll never go on a ski trip with him again and that his brother is a much better suited black diamond ski run companion than I am. We have come to appreciate that our priorities line up 90% of the time, but when they don’t, we can figure out a way to support one another anyways.
This year Patrick has made more solo trips to Austin to stay with his parents, and I have been happy to keep Reus out of boarding and remain focused on my work during the week. The great thing about having a few close friends in your life is that you will likely have a restaurant friend, a museum friend, an active friend and a boujie friend for all the different travel goals. One friend could be the perfect beach bum companion while another may be interested in hitting every spot in DC. Stay true to your own priorities and find the companion (or not) that meets most of them.
I will learn basic greetings in the language of the country I’m travelling
Trying to speak another language is mortifying but appreciated by locals. There is very little downside to trying in a foreign country rather than the touristy attitude of expecting locals to talk to you in your native language. Simple things like good morning, good evening, thank you, hello take about 5min to memorize and is a sign of respect for the destination that you’re visiting.
I’ll ask (and listen) to locals
Truly one of the best parts of international travel is chatting with locals. We are clearly tourists, walking around in jeans and sneakers, and it is common for folks to engage us knowing this. While I avoid any salespeople trying to engage me, folks at a bar, on a subway, hanging out in restaurants, or those that may be taking a staycation and doing similar activities are a great way to learn about the political and cultural environment. Some of the most fascinating stories I’ve learned about a place have been casually from people at a train station.
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The Ultimate 3 Weeks in Turkey Itinerary