The champagne is gone, the resolutions are made, and you’re ready to start the year with a whole new attitude. Before you jump into that foolproof plan to eat nothing but raw kale and quinoa for the next 365 days, allow us to suggest a slightly less painful idea: a few travel-related resolutions that don’t require any of those strange smoothies that look an awful lot like crabgrass. We promise that these plans will stick around long after you’ve traded the kale for a pepperoni pizza. Mmm, pizza.
Use Your Vacation Days
You heard us correctly. Put down the spreadsheets, worker bee, and get thee out of the office. Though it may feel like the entire place will explode if you dare to step away for 35 seconds, it’s more likely that everything will chug along just fine while you’re sipping piña coladas in Punta Cana. Plus, those vacation days are just as good for your health as any crabgrass smoothie. Seriously, take a break already.
Explore Your Own Backyard
Who’s ready to pitch a tent out back and listen to the neighbor’s dog howl all night? Actually, don’t make that part of your travel resolutions. What we’re talking about is the concept of seeing your own city from a tourist’s perspective: checking out the museums, trying a new restaurant, or hiking through an unfamiliar area. This is especially great if your other resolution is to save some cash for a bigger vacation later on; all you need is a free weekend and your imagination.
Take a Trip by Yourself
Traveling solo is a foreign concept to loads of people, but it’s one of the best ways to broaden your horizons. Not only will you benefit from wading into the unknown with nothing but a guidebook and some calculated hunches, but you’ll also avoid having to cater to anyone’s weird hang-ups about street food or desperate need to take a selfie break every five minutes. Win, meet win.
Go Somewhere You Never Thought You Would
Maybe you’ve always figured that Singapore was way too expensive. Perhaps you’ve never even considered kicking back at a honky-tonk in Austin. This year, think about doing something that falls completely outside of your comfort zone, even if it means that you’re just making a pilgrimage to check out those sparkly vampires in Forks, Washington. The completely random – or totally kitschy – experiences are often the most memorable.
Stay Anywhere but a Hotel
We’re not suggesting that you say nighty-night on a park bench, but there are plenty of places to rest your head that don’t involve rooftop bars and weird noisy neighbors. Rather than fall back on the familiar, spend the night in a slightly off-the-beaten-path option: camping in a national park, getting cozy at an Airbnb rental, or channeling your college days in a hostel. You might sacrifice a few comforts, but the stories you’ll tell later will be more than worth it.
Happy 2015, intrepid wanderers! What will one of your travel resolutions be?