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Five Traveling New Year Resolutions

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

New Year Travel Resolution - Be sure your carry-on bags fit to fly - via @TravelLatte

One good resolution is to be sure your carry-on bag fits to fly. Otherwise, you may be “gate checked.”

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

National Park Service Icons Poster - Five Traveling New Year Resolutions - TravelLatte

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. For more than 100 years, visitors from around the world have been awestruck by the beauty of a U.S. National Park. Whether you visit America’s first (Yellowstone), latest (West Virginia’s New River Gorge), or any of the 61 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 Classic Edition National Parks Passport and collect the stamps on your visits. No, you don’t need a passport to visit the national parks, but buying a passport supports the National Park Service, and the book is loaded with details on more than 400 National Park Service units!

3. Travel Differently This Year

We are not suggesting anything extreme, but try something different. If you’ve never traveled 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

New Year Travel Resolution - Enjoy the Go - via @TravelLatte

Not even the Charmin Bears enjoy TSA security checks, but take their advice and Enjoy the Go…er…travel! (Photo: Charmin/Procter & Gamble)

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 the process. 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.

New Year Travel Resolution - Go someplace you've never been - via @TravelLatte

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 have not seen either, it should be a simple matter to find a new destination. 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. As Jack Kerouac said, “There was nowhere to go but everywhere!”

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!

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37 comments on “Five Traveling New Year Resolutions

  1. Pingback: Five (More) New Year’s Resolutions for Travelers - TravelLatte

  2. Pingback: Monday Escapes #26 - My Travel Monkey

    • Thanks, Allane! I tend to think of resolutions as a chore, so I wanted to find a way to make them more of an enjoyable challenge. Except for the luggage resolution – that’s an outright call for everyone to help make flying just a little better for all involved. I should have added a thank you for everyone who already does this, though. 🙂 Thanks for your comment!

  3. I think we’re going to manage all but one of these – that’s visiting a national park. Unfortunately the US isn;t on our travel list this year, but I’m hoping we’ll be back soon. Visiting a US national park is an ambition. I’ve only been to cities on my previous visits and it would be great to see the countryside #MondayEscapes

    • Hi Claire – Thanks for visiting the blog, and for your comment. I do hope you get another chance to visit, and can make it to one or more of our National Parks. There is some incredible beauty in the parks, but also lots of history. Plus, most have campgrounds so, if you bring the Tin Box with you, you’re all set! 🙂

  4. I laughed out loud on the first one, I’ve had a few experiences with a bulky jacket in the overhead bin. I’ve never really thought much about it because I was under the impression that it’s only me who gets annoyed by it. Now I know I’m normal. :p

    • Happy New Year, Tanja! It’s funny – I was the one in our group that didn’t want to go on a cruise, but I love being on a boat. (Who says boys have to make sense, anyway?) I’m glad we tried it. And trains! LOVE trains…just wish we were better at them in the USA. Thanks for your comment!

  5. Your resolutions are spot-on, Rob. I actually noticed a theme. They are all intended to get us to try something new, think beyond what we have done in the past and challenge us. I’m all for that!

    • Hi Linda – thanks for your comment and kind words! I do think trying something new is important, especially with so much world to see! Plus, that’s how you find new things (or places) that you might really like, and that’s always fun. Thanks again, and Happy New Year!

  6. Great resoutions – definitely hoping to get somewhere new, and fingers crossed to a US National park as well. Although with a 3yo, I doubt I can cut back too much on hand luggage for now sadly! #mondayescapes

    • Thanks for your comment! I don’t think the idea is cutting down on the luggage so much as being mindful about the limited room. So far, our plans for 2016 include two National Parks, but we’re working out how to see more. Maybe one year we’ll resolve to see them all! Happy New Year, Mummy Travels!

  7. That Limited Edition National Parks Centennial Passport for stamp collection makes me want to visit US! Stamp collection is like my favourite travel hobby. But oh well, I don’t think I can survive the flight from Singapore to US with the kids.

    • Ha! They kind of got me with the Limited Edition thing, too! Ooooh…must have! While I’m sure you and the kids would absolutely love visiting some of our National Parks, it is just a sort of loooooong flight. Maybe one day? Thanks for visiting the blog, and Happy New Year!

  8. Love this post! I think I have already mastered the luggage thing since I always travel with a carry on only. I really have plans to visit several National Parks (as a matte of fact, I visited Saguaro before the end of the year). And of course, I will go to a totally new place and try to do it in a different way.

    • Hi Ruth, and Happy New Year! I’m hoping we’ll have the time to visit several National Parks this year, too. We have a couple planned, but would love to see more. We’ll have to keep visiting Tanama Tales and see where your someplace new is! Can’t wait! 🙂 Thanks for your kind words, Ruth!

  9. Love these resolutions that seem to balance pretty perfectly between practical and adventurous. Everyone needs a little of both!

    • Thanks Rachel! Being adventurous can be practical, right? What I really hope is that someone is encouraged to travel in any fashion. That would be a win! Happy New Year, and thanks for visiting the blog!

  10. Great ideas- I’ve been thinking to “diversify” my experiences too- just a little bit. I have recently heard that if you push yourself ALL the time in the directions that is against your natural “grain” you are depleting those perseverance “resources”. there is something to it- i dont think that we should constantly push ourselves (that’s just me)- but a little diversity and expansion of travel horizons will not hurt (this is how I visited Yosemite; i did not become the hiker, or less afraid of wild life encounters:) but enjoyed the experience)

    • Hi Victoria – Thanks for your comment. I agree, there is such a thing as pushing too much or too far. On the other hand, it’s the unknown areas where you learn about yourself and the world. For us, we like pushing ourselves in these directions, but we don’t always make it a priority. I think that’s a big part of making a resolution: Enabling yourself to make something a priority. Thanks again for visiting the blog, and Happy New Year!

  11. Pingback: ICYMI - This week in Travel News (1 January 2016) - TravelLatte

    • Stephanie, I am so glad to hear you say that. Sometimes, I think it’s just me! 😉 Happy New Year, and thanks for your comment – much appreciated!

  12. Thank you for sharing – I’m a big fan of ‘Go someplace you haven’t been before’ – and try to do so with every trip I take. There’s so much in the world that I aim to never visit the same place twice. I’ve always wanted to take a cruise too – but my partner’s not too keen – maybe my resolution should be to convince him to ‘travel differently’ – and cruise with me!
    Thanks for the inspiration & Happy Travels 🙂

    • Hi Vicki – Thanks for your comments! I was the one in our family who was not keen on the cruise idea, but I thoroughly enjoyed it! I try balance between new and return visits; there are some places that I absolutely love! And some of them, like New Orleans, seem different every time I visit. I’ve discovered that there is always something to discover, even in places you know pretty well. Thanks again for visiting, and Happy New Year!

    • Hi Brooke – Thanks for the comment, and Happy New Year! I find I always have a better time when I’m considerate of others. Maybe it’s an Instant Karma sort of thing? Hope you have a great year!

  13. I love these resolutions. It’s great that they’re pretty open as well, like you don’t have to do a specific thing by a specific date. I hope you find some fun new ways to travel 🙂 #WeekendWanderlust

    • Hi Amber! Happy New Year and thanks for the comment! Since resolutions are supposed to make a better you, I figure they’re always a work in progress, right? I supposed the trick is to be in progress, as opposed to starting “tomorrow” though. 😉

  14. Great New Year resolutions! I can’t abide by the luggage rule though. I need more stuff when I travel and I hate to have to fit into a carryon.

    • Hi Anda! Thanks for the comment and kind words. The Luggage Rule doesn’t mean you have to have a carry-on, or only a carry-on, just being mindful of the space you’re taking. It’s a big world, but those darn overhead bins…not so much. Thanks again, and Happy New Year!

    • Happy New Year, Lyndall! Great to hear from you again. Thanks for your kind words – I was hoping for resolutions that were more far reaching than just “Go see the Grand Canyon” and yet were within reach. And hopefully would last for more than just the year. All the best to you for great travels, too!

  15. Thanks for sharing! Totally agree with “traveling differently this year.” For me, I have never been on a cruise so that will be something new to explore into. Though, I am someone who needs a lot of space for myself so that will be a new challenge!

    • Hi Cat, and thank for your comment! You know, I like a lot of space too, and was not so sure about taking a cruise. I’ll admit, the cabin was…”cozy”…but we really didn’t spend much time in there. Things turned out great, and we really enjoyed it! I’m glad we tried it, and that’s what it’s all about: Trying something. Thanks again, and Happy New Year!

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