“Travel More.” This is a common resolution that tops many Americans lists of at the start of each New Year. However, for some, setting off on a trip may seem like a perfect opportunity (or excuse) to take a hiatus from other commitments they have made to themselves for the year. (“Well…I am on vacation after all…”)
While it’s clear that the Travel Smart Blog is a go-to resource for spot-on travel advice, now that 2012 is here, we want to offer some tips to help our readers tackle other popular New Year resolutions while traveling or through the use of travel. You may be surprised how much easier it is to stay on track than you think!
* Check the hyperlinks below for more specific recommendations
In 2012, if you want to:
1) “Lose Weight” – It’s easy to feel like giving up on your diet and exercise regimens when you’re away from home and the comfort of your daily routine, but apps like GoodFoodNearYou help you locate nutritious meal options based on your GPS location. As for exercise, there are plenty of great ways to burn calories on a trip without hitting up the hotel gym. Instead of cabbing it to all the local landmarks, why not take a walking tour or utilize a municipal bike sharing system if available?
2) “Save Money” – Cutting back on spending doesn’t mean you have to forgo the fun of taking a trip altogether. There are plenty of ways to travel on the cheap such as taking advantage of loyalty programs, like welcomerewards™, that help you rack up free nights and early access to special deals. Other options are to take advantage of properties that offer perks with your booking such as free breakfast, passes to a local amusement, or credits to spend at area shops and restaurants. Staycations are always another fun, wallet-friendly option, too!
3) “Spend More Time with Family” – Between jam-packed schedules, to-do lists, and errands it’s always hard to put aside regular time for family game night or Sunday brunch each week. Taking a vacation is an ideal way to catch up on lost time and really reconnect with loved ones in a memorable way. Who says a family reunion has to take place in Aunt Sally’s backyard? Why not get the whole gang together in an off-the-beaten path destination and explore together? The bonding can start before you even leave for the airport when you let everyone in the family take part in the planning process.
4) “Give Back/Do Charity Work” – The holidays can be a time of overindulgence in everything from food to drinks to presents, so for the New Year you may feel like it’s time to start giving back. What better way to tour the world and help those in need than to volunteer? Otherwise known as voluntourism, many excellent opportunities exist to help you dedicate your time to do-good work like teaching English in India, participating in conservation work in South Africa or building houses in New Orleans. The world needs your help!
5) “Learn a New Language” – No habla Español? No problem! There are plenty of ways to learn a new language before or even during a big trip. Look for a language exchange Meetup group near you to not only practice your new language, but also immerse yourself in the culture of wherever you’ll be visiting! No time to prepare? That’s okay too! Experts say immersion is the #1 way to learn a new language. And don’t forget practice makes perfect!
6) “Be More Eco-Friendly” – Let’s face it, when traveling there’s no getting around taking a plane or driving to your destination. But once you get there, there are plenty of ways to reduce your carbon footprint and go green in 2012 like staying in an eco-friendly hotel or bringing your own toiletries.
7) “Find Love” – It’s difficult to determine exactly when and where you will fall in love, so instead, simply try to involve yourself in more activities that will increase the number of people you interact with. Don’t be afraid to try new things with your friends or even travel solo. And who knows, finding true love may actually be much closer than you think.
8) “Stress Less” – Resolve to indulge more in 2012…not in sweets, but rather, why not “treat” yourself to a zen-cation? Take a load off by indulging in a health-and-wellness vacation filled with pampering massages, aroma baths, and facials. You know you deserve it! And if action-packed adventure trip is more your speed than a week at the spa, breathe easy knowing you can shed the anxiety and frustration of trip planning by utilizing top-notch tools and resources from hotels.com like their mobile booking app, and risk-free booking.
9) “Run a Race/Marathon” – Traveling to another city to compete in a race is great motivation to ensure you actually make it to the starting line; the overwhelming flood of pride and accomplishment is what will ensure you make it to the finish line. There are plenty of great resources to help you find the ideal race location to fit your skill level – try the RaceWhere app, for example.
10) “Learn How to Cook” – Sure you could learn to cook in the U.S., but wouldn’t it be more fun to learn how to cook pasta in Italy, Thai food in Thailand, or make sushi in Japan? Learn from those who have been cooking and eating these foods their whole lives and then come back home to impress your friends and family!