12 Travel Resolutions That You Can Actually Achieve In 2018
As we count down to the beginning of a brand new year of travel possibilities, it’s time to step up your explorer game with some New Year’s travel resolutions.
Now, we’re not going to suggest that you spend every weekend in Bali, Budapest and Bangkok — we know you have limited funds and vacation days. (That’s right, New York Times, we’re throwing a side-eye at you and your 52 places to go in 2018.) But come on, friends. You can’t just waltz into 365 bright, shiny and new days without challenging yourself to travel better, bolder and maybe just a little bit more.
So here’s our list of travel goals for next year when we’re venturing far off the beaten path and staying close to home. Feel free to borrow a few (or all) of them.
1. Learn a couple words in the local language of every place you visit.
You’d be shocked by how much a simple “thank you” in someone’s native tongue can open doors while traveling. Many tourists are intimidated by the idea of fluency in foreign countries, but you actually don’t have to be completely proficient to earn some brownie points. Just make an effort.
2. Taste a food you’ve never tried.
Those who shy away from the idea of raw fish, we dare you to order some sashimi or poke this year. Don’t usually go for the stinky cheese? Maybe sample some Camembert. Even vegetarians and those with dietary restrictions can get in on the fun with a little bit of research. (And we won’t judge if you cross this one off via Seamless. Staycations qualify as travel.)
3. Buy local souvenirs.
Support the people who actually live in the destinations you love. You don’t need to buy the $1,000 Turkish rug, but consider purchasing the handmade bowl for $20 instead of the mass produced one for $10. Yeah, it’s more expensive, but it’s a better story if you buy a souvenir from the artisan who made it.
4. Research an unfamiliar culture.
It’s much more fun to know the stories behind the sights you see. While Wikipedia is always a great starting point, our favorite method is buying an on-topic book for your plane, train or car ride. You gotta do something on the journey, so why not expand those horizons?
5. Share a trip with someone special.
Everyone needs an excuse to break out of a routine — and use those vacation days. Bring your partner, best friend or mom and make some memories. The length of your trip is between you and your travel buddy. (Hey, it’s just fact that you can love some people a lot and still not want to spend a three-week trek with them.)
6. Travel solo.
There is no feeling like being in-transit to a new destination with no one in that place aware that you’re coming and no one going with you. It’s the epitome of independence and self-reliance. You can learn more about yourself walking alone for 10 minutes in an unknown locale than you can in 10 days at home.
7. Meet some brand-new friends while exploring.
Trips may end, but travel friends are forever. No one bonds more quickly than a group of folks experiencing the same destination. Whether you meet your new besties in a tour group, hostel, Facebook group or random cafe, they’ll become favorite features of your Instagram feed, resources for future adventures and potential local tour guides in their hometowns around the globe.
8. Get the perfect shot.
This is your year. You’re going to find the most flattering angles, capture the inimitable moments and nail that iconic panorama. Your Instagram is going to be full of gems and your apartment will be completely decked out in photographic evidence of your travels (in a totally chic and tasteful way, of course).
9. Then put down the phone and unplug.
Every single one of your followers will survive an afternoon without your updates. Every. Single. One. Catch them up later and turn your phone to airplane mode — no WiFi, no calls, no texts, no nothing. You’ll notice your attention span changing when you’re not able to receive any notifications for a while. Be fully present in the moment because you traveled a long way for it.
10. Try an outdoorsy adventure that terrifies you.
The unpredictability of nature is exactly what makes it so beautiful. Pitch a tent in the middle of nowhere, take that hike up a mountain and dive into the ocean. The more it scares you, the better. (Within reason, friends. Please take proper safety precautions.)
11. Take the bus.
We don’t care if you take the local city bus to the grocery store or if you hop on a rickety machine across Azerbaijan. Just take a damn bus. Honestly, we’re a little appalled by how many urbanites we know have never taken the bus. It’s an easy way to switch up the way you visualize the map of a destination.
12. Go somewhere new.
If your budget is tight, explore that neighborhood across town where you never hang out. If 2018 is the year you head abroad for the first time, know that the magic glow of Paris never dims. And if you’ve got a little extra in your wallet and a bunch of stamps filling your passport, we’d recommend checking out Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia and Chile. Hope to see you in Sarajevo, Svaneti or Santiago!