As another year comes to an end, we all start thinking about the 12 months ahead and how we can try make them a little better than the ones before. And if your resolutions for the coming year include more travel, we’ve got some suggestions you can take on the road. So, never mind about eating less gluten or calling your parents more (although, on second thought, maybe you should call your parents more). Instead, let’s usher in the new year with set of resolutions you can stick to. We hope they enrich your experiences and open you up to new adventures and new friends!
10 Travel Resolutions for the New Year
1. Add stamps to your passport
This is probably every traveler’s mantra and depends on the amount of funds and time you have, but it’s a good place to start if you’ve never left your home country before or you need to shake things up a little bit. Our suggestion? Point a finger at a spinning globe and make the place it stops your next destination.
2. Pack lighter
Be honest: You probably won’t need that just-in-case outfit or the lucky hat/shirt/blanket that you’ve had since you were seven, and it will make your life a million times easier dashing through airports with less luggage. Packing light not only means that your back will thank you when you’re older, but it also leaves a little extra room for souvenirs. If you’re looking for tips, here are a few suggestions for packing light for a visit to HI Marin Headlands and HI Point Reyes.
3. Pick a place you know very little about and go
Says HI Sacramento’s General Manager Marc: “I’m going to Fiji in February and I know nothing about Fiji. Learn by doing, not by travel books and Google searches.” Thanks to the internet and smart phones, we can burn out on information about a destination before we get there, but where’s the adventure in that? Ditch the maps and Trip Advisor reviews and discover with your own eyes.
4. Talk to Strangers
Whether you’re traveling solo or with a buddy, it might seem scary talking to strangers. But if you put some trust in the folks you run into at a hostel, you may uncover something that you could have completely missed. Why not let go of the plans you’ve made for the day and have faith that someone else’s plans might lead to an awesome adventure?
5. Do as the Locals Do
You already know how wonderful the staff at hostels are – they’re super helpful and friendly and seem to have all the answers to your questions. If you’re at a loss for what to do, it’s worth asking what they like to do in their own spare time. You’ll end up with a list of authentic haunts and an insider’s guide to the best parts of a city.
6. Mix it up
Look at alternative transport options, like taking a train instead of a plane, or even try changing up how you hostel: maybe splurge on a private room if you usually dorm it up, or vice versa. “There can be lots of different aspects to spice up the way you travel, even with types of food or music, and making a commitment to do it differently in 2016 sounds fun!” says Molly at HI Marin Headlands.
7. Say yes!
This one kind of goes without saying, but in case you need reminding, just say yes! Say yes to heading to the next destination with a new friend; say yes to taking part in a hostel activity; say yes to getting lost and then finding your way back home. Say yes, and at best you’ll get an amazing experience, and at worst, you’ll have a great story.
8. Spend the year learning a new language, then visit the country where that language is spoken
If you’re unable to leave home in the coming year, why not pick a language to learn and then save up to visit the country where it’s spoken? You’ll get a sense of the culture and customs through language, and you’ll impress the locals when you visit and have an all-round richer experience.
9. Eat something that you would never try back home
Food is such an important part of culture and it’s an easy way to get a glimpse of local life. While you’re out sampling the cuisine of your host country, you’re likely to encounter something that is on your never-going-to-try list. We say, throw that caution to the wind and eat at least one thing that kind of scares you. You could discover a new favorite dish!
10. Get involved with travelers in your home town
If you can’t go out and explore the world, you can still get to know the world in your own neck of the woods. HI USA hostels across the country are always looking for keen volunteers who want to share their local knowledge with travelers. Volunteer and you’ll get to interact with people from all over and help them connect with each other.