As an avid traveler, what are your New Year’s resolutions for 2018? Many of us set goals for the new year, including travel goals. We think of places we’d like to visit, and new experiences we want to have. But have you thought about how to have richer travel experiences, to make your trip planning easier, or to streamline your packing? Here are some ideas to help you set your travel resolutions for the new year.
Prevent Over Packing
Packing is one of the big stressors with travel. You want to travel light, but this is easier said than done. There are essentials that you can’t leave behind, and the need for bulky winter clothes if you are going to a cold climate. Or maybe you are going to a developing country, and need to pack extra items that may be unavailable.
It’s important to research your destination to find out what the weather is like at this time of year and to see if there are any essentials you need to bring. Armed with this knowledge, you can begin to prepare a packing checklist.
The good thing is that there are more options than ever for travel clothing and accessories, which can help you lighten your load. Many companies sell lightweight, wrinkle-free and stylish clothing to make packing easier. It’s also a good idea to stick to a handful of basic items that you can mix and match as needed to save precious suitcase space. Make sure to roll up your clothing instead of folding, and to limit yourself to a couple pairs of comfortable shoes.
When it comes to toiletries, buy travel size or use small TSA compliant bottles to save space. And if at all possible, leave the laptop at home or invest in an iPad or netbook for a lightweight option.
This year, why not commit to a packing strategy that works for you?
Put Safety First
You know that you need to put safety first, but is there more you could be doing to protect yourself?
You already keep a fully charged phone and your prescription medications on hand, and you know what parts of town to avoid. But this year, go the extra mile to ensure your safety while traveling.
Pack back up chargers, a paper map in case you lose Internet access, and keep some extra cash on hand in case of emergencies.
Also make sure you know where to get medical treatment and whether your insurance will be accepted. If you are traveling overseas, you might want to consider buying travel insurance as an extra precaution.
In addition to researching and avoiding shady parts of town, take some extra steps to protect yourself while traveling. Checking in with family members at designated times, carrying a safety whistle, and taking a self-defense course are just a few ideas.
Get to Know the Locals
On your travels this year, make an effort to get to know some locals instead of sticking with other tourists or expats.
Be a respectful and informed visitor, and research the culture and customs in advance. It’s also a good idea to learn some basic greetings and phrases, as well as hand gestures which can be helpful when there is a language barrier.
On your travels, strike up conversations with residents when possible. You might find a venue where locals hang out, or talk to hotel employees, tour guides or restaurant workers. Ask them how long they’ve lived here, or their recommendations for where to find the best local cuisine.
If you would like to be more immersed in the community and have the time, a great option is to do volunteer work in the area. Often volunteering gives you the chance to get to know and form a genuine connection with local residents.
Search for Hidden Gems
No matter where you go, there are sure to be hidden gems that are off the usual tourist trail but are well worth a visit. They may not be easy to find on travel guides or Trip Advisor, and often the best way to find them is by striking up a conversation with a local or tour guide.
Other ways you can search for these little known treasures are contacting a travel company that specializes in unique experiences, or using a travel app like BreadcrumbsHQ to find recommendations from locals.
If you are fortunate enough to visit a unique place that is unknown to tourists, do your best to live in the moment and enjoy your experience to the fullest.
It’s a new year, which makes it the perfect time to set some new travel resolutions to make the most of your adventures. The great thing about these resolutions is that they can be tailored to your unique personality and travel preferences.
What are your travel resolutions for 2018? Leave a note in the comments section or on our Facebook page and let us know!