Pretty much every year I declare that I am done with New Years’ Resolutions. Should this year be any different? In general, I don’t like them because a resolution should be something that is well thought out – unlike the typical last minute promises made under the pressure of a glittery descending ball and likely influenced by much alcohol and inebriated friends. Being so well thought out, resolutions also should not wait until the start of a new year; that’s just an excuse for procrastinating on something you know you should be doing already.
That said, maybe we should take the opportunity to stop procrastinating and make these five travel resolutions for the New Year. Some will be easy, some may require a few reminders before becoming habit, but all will make you a better traveler and could improve the experience, for you and others. A word of warning: I’m going to start out preachy. If everyone kept Resolution Number One, boarding an aircraft would be faster and easier for everyone. Thanks in advance for your efforts there, and good luck keeping whatever New Year’s resolutions you have made.
1. Abide by the Luggage Rules
Admittedly, this one is a personal pet peeve. If you travel by air frequently, you might have heard that your carry-on luggage goes in the overhead bin, and your personal items go beneath the seat in front of you. (Hopefully, this is not the first time you’ve gotten this information.) Nowhere does it say your puffy jacket and handsome fedora go in the overhead bin. When you fill up the bin with all manner of personal items, the next person along is going to take that much longer looking for someplace to put their roll-aboard luggage. Congratulations, you’ve helped boarding take longer than it has to. Help yourself out by packing appropriately for the cabin, and help others out by putting only your one carry-on bag up there.
While we’re on the topic, you should also resolve to be sure your carry-on fits in one of those airport contraptions meant to catch oversize bags. More airlines are cracking down more often, meaning more bags are being checked at the gate.
2. Visit one of America’s National Parks
You might think this is just for our American readers, but anyone on U.S. soil this year should consider a visit to our national natural treasures. 2016 is the 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service, so there’s never been a better time to stand awestruck, gazing at the beauty of a U.S. National Park. Whether you visit America’s first (Yellowstone), latest (California’s Pinnacles), or any of the 57 others in between, you’ll have one of the best views in the entire country. For a special memory that will last a lifetime, get a Limited Edition National Parks Centennial Passport and collect the stamps on your visits.
3. Travel Differently This Year
Nothing extreme, but try something different. If you’ve never gone by train, try it out. We did, and loved it! Never been on a cruise? It’s a great vacation option, whether you’re hoping for a romantic getaway or a multi-generational family funfest. We booked a short Bahamas cruise for our family’s first experience, and everyone got hooked. (Even the teenagers!) The moral of the story is: Try something different this year, and you’re likely to expand your holiday options for years to come. (And if it’s not for you, at least now you can cross it off the list for good.)
4. Enjoy the Go
Yes, we are taking advice from the Charmin bears, though we are not advocating more time spent in the loo. We live in an unprecedented age of travel, but all too often we get lost in the mundane and aggravating elements of travel. Nobody particularly likes TSA security lines, customs paperwork, or weather delays. Hotel mix-ups, missed trains, lost luggage – they are all annoying, but try not to let any of these keep you from enjoying your trip. Fix what you can, stay positive, and look forward.
Take time – or make time, if necessary – to look around and enjoy where you are and who you’re with. Step away from the camera phone. Put down the guidebook. Don’t let the tools you used to get you there and bring home souvenirs keep you from actually making memories.
5. Go someplace you haven’t been before.
There is some debate whether the Dalai Lama ever actually gave the advice he is credited with: “Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.” Wherever it came from, it’s a good idea. With a whole world to choose from, most of which we assume you haven’t seen either, it should be a simple matter to find a new destination. Maybe it’s a National Park. Maybe it’s your great-grandparents ancestral home. Maybe it’s that town you always drive through but never stop to see. Discovery waits at every turn, every day.
Whatever your plans and resolutions for the coming year include, we hope that new horizons and familiar faces are among them. Happy New Year from everyone at TravelLatte.net!
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