A new year, a new me! I bet that many of you have, just like me, spent the last week of December merrily sitting by the fire, scribbling down goals, dreams, and resolutions for the new year. This is the year you will finally become a fitter, richer, and happier person!
‘Travel more’ is one of the most common new year’s resolutions. From frosty Finland to sweltering Sydney, people love to dream up adventurous travel plans, create endless travel bucket lists and set their desktop wallpaper to a tropical island/snowy mountain top/insert generic travel dream here.
However, come December next year, most of us won’t have ventured further than their local camping spot for a summer vacation, maybe a long city break for a Bachelorette party, or a trip to visit family back home.
So, while most of us dream of traveling bigger, better and more, once the confetti has been cleared up and harsh January reality has set in, most of those travel dreams get lost along the way.
But why do we fail to keep our travel resolutions?
Excuses range from “I don’t have enough money” to “I left it too late” or “I can’t find anyone to come with me”. But in the end, I think it comes down to plans being too unspecific and vague. “Travel more” is too broad and too wishy-washy a goal to stick to. To help you make travel a priority this year, we have compiled some sure-fire tips for creating 2017 travel resolutions that you can actually keep. Here we go.
Start a travel fund NOW
A lack of money is the main reason people break their travel resolutions. It’s too easy to find yourself a few weeks out from that scheduled vacation time, only to realize your meager funds won’t stretch as far as Milwaukee, never mind Maui. That’s why your first travel resolution should be to start a separate travel savings account today.
Set aside a certain amount that you won’t touch until it’s time to book those flights or reserve your spot on that safari. If you struggle to put money away each month then set up an automatic transfer the day after payday. This way, you won’t have to think about it and won’t be tempted to blow your holiday funds on frivolous nights out or sparkly new shoes.
Book time off far in advance
We’ve all been there. Summer is just around the corner, you’re starting to daydream of lazy days by the beach or breezy country walks. You find a great last minute deal for a Finca in Spain or a yacht in the Caribbean, but tough luck, all your colleagues booked their annual leave months ago and you can’t take time off because there’s no one to cover for you.
Be smart like your colleagues and book the time off work months before you think you need to. Make sure to get the green light from your boss and mark it in your coworkers’ calendars. It’s easy to leave this too late and get stuck at work because everyone else is on vacation too. It doesn’t even matter when this time off is, you can figure out where to go afterward, just block it off now.
Find great deals
Last-minute deals can be great. But they make it really hard to plan ahead and prioritise travel. Instead, find great deals that let you plan in advance. Awesome travel services like Secret Flying scour the web for the best flight deals and share them daily on their Facebook feed and newsletters. Many of their fares can be booked months in advance. A quick look now showed that they found deals for $309 round trip from Chicago to many Scandinavian cities, or for $421 round trip from Dallas to London. Sign up for services like this to inspire you and to find the best deals. Saving $1000 on airfare means that you can splurge on the hotel with the infinity pool or the helicopter flight over the Grand Canyon. And you might even be inspired to take a trip that you wouldn’t have thought of otherwise, like a $391 roundtrip flight to the Canary Islands from New York.
Plan a trip with friends
Whether a short weekend getaway with your mates or a week-long road trip, trips with friends are always fun and are a great way to make new memories that you can cherish for years to come. What’s great about making travel plans with friends is that you need to commit to a date and location far in advance to make sure everybody’s schedules can be accommodated. Create a doodle form, find a time that works for everyone and block it off in your calendars. Go ahead and book that time off right now, you don’t want to be the one person out of the whole group to miss out because you didn’t plan ahead, right?
Go on a solo trip
As much fun as trips with friends are, sometimes there is a place that you are magically drawn to, like Yemen, Sri Lanka or Texas, that your friends, partner or family have no interest whatsoever in visiting. You can either badger them to come with you, probably resulting in a compromise location, or have yourself a solo adventure. If you really want to visit those places that fascinate you alone, then make solo travel your resolution this year.
Traveling alone is probably nothing like you’d expect. Most importantly, chances are that you won’t be alone for long. On my first solo trip to Israel I met a bunch of people the minute I stepped foot into the hostel rooftop bar and made friends on local buses and a free walking tour. The best thing about solo travel is, you don’t have to adjust your schedule to fit anyone else’s routine, allowing you to really focus on your own interests.
Do you love walking around museums for 5 hours but have mates that get bored at the first piece of prehistoric ceramic they see? Great! You can go alone and enjoy every single piece of earthenware the museum has to offer, in your own time.
Or maybe you love to be active on your travels but have friends that prefer to party until the early morning hours? Perfect, go solo and you can be up at 5 am mountain biking or bird watching without having to take breaks to nurse hangovers.
And there you have it, if you follow these simple steps, you will be able to make travel a priority this year. Now start a travel piggy bank, grab a few friends and plan a great trip. There’s no reason why 2017 shouldn’t be the year you finally realize some of your travel dreams.
Have you got any travel resolutions? Please share them in the comments below!