It's that time of year again, we're saying goodbye to the year that was and hello to a new year. A new year of hope, goals and opportunity. As you look back on last year, how many of your New Year's resolutions did you accomplish? If your answer is "not many" or "none", perhaps it's time to start planning for the New Year. And, if your resolutions for the new year involve more travel, you've come to the right place.
Here are 5 travel resolutions you can actually stick to.
Many foreign countries popular with tourists tend to be quite welcoming for English-speaking visitors, with signs and menus often expressed in English. Although you'll rarely have trouble with a language barrier, it's still a good idea to learn a few key words and phrases in the local language. Learning the basics like "hello" and "thank you" can go a long way in getting friendly with the locals.
Even if you can't memorise them, writing them down or carrying them with you in a memo on your phone can be a handy way to get help if you need it. Practicing your language skills can be a fun way to pass the time on long drives and you just never know when it might come in handy. Being able to ask where the toilet is in the local language could turn out to be one of the most important skills you pick up on your trip.
Last minute savings might be satisfying, but running out of options and ending up with the leftovers can be unpleasant and inconvenient. Worse still, you might miss out altogether. You're better off booking in advance to ensure you get what you want and that everything is locked in before your trip.
If you're super organised and still love a bargain, you can book extra early and benefit from early bird savings. Even if you're holding out for some lower rates a bit closer to your trip, setting yourself a 'book before' date can help reduce anxiety and ensure everything goes smoothly.
Whether you're an over packing tragic who struggles to get their suitcase closed or just the kind of person who tends to take a little more than you really need, you will not regret this one. Don't fill your suitcase just because you can. You may think taking full advantage of the airline's luggage allowance is getting the best value for money, but tell that to your poor aching back when you're running through a crowded station trying to make your train.
Try using a smaller case or divide the number of days of your trip by half and only pack that many outfits. Don't forget you need to leave room for souvenirs and any other bits and pieces you pick along the way. Seriously, unless you're packing to walk the runways of Milan you'd be surprised how little you really need.
This one is a little more personal and will vary depending on your budget, but everyone has something they're too stubborn to want to spend money on. For some people it's taxis or public transport, for others it might be staying somewhere a little more out of the way to save a buck or passing up the opportunity to try a special food because of the price tag. Of course we can't always afford to say yes to everything, but you need to weigh up the monetary value against the value it gives to you.
For example walking everywhere instead of paying for a cab might save you some money but it certainly won't save your legs and by the end of the day you could be too tired to enjoy a night out. You need to allow yourself a budget to splurge a little and by factoring the cost, you can make sure you're not spending above your means while still enjoying a special or unique travel experience. So get rid of the guilt and live a little! After all, you didn't save up all that money to travel only to pass up the amazing experiences of your destination.
This might be the best travel resolution of all time. How often do you arrive home after your holiday feeling like you need a holiday? It's all too common that we commit ourselves to way too much while we're travelling. It's exciting and of course we want to see and do as much as possible, but when you've only got a set number of days, you need to be realistic about what you can accomplish. Your holiday should be a chance to relax, not one big long list of things to do.
Pace yourself and try to make peace with the fact that it's not humanly possible to do all the things. Before you go, make a list of all the things you want to do and then prioritise them. Only lock in those priorities and leave everything else to a whim. If you've still got time to do some extra activities then that's a bonus but honestly, are you really going to want to do a cooking class after you've been on your feet all day on a walking tour? Better still, try to split your time up between organised activities and free time to relax. You'll feel more refreshed and enjoy the things you choose to do even more.
What are your travel resolutions for the new year? Let us know in the comments below!