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Most New Year’s resolutions become an epic fail nearly as soon as you make them. This year, switch up tired resolutions with those you can’t wait to keep. Promise yourself to travel more and better. Commit to creating memories that last a lifetime, not just a season. Leave the holidays and Elf on the shelf behind as you turn the New Year into an amazing adventure.
Be specific. Even the best resolutions often fail because they are not definitive. Begin by deciding what time of year is most convenient or available to you. Setting travel dates early allows you to get super excited about your upcoming trip, and keeps you focused on making it happen. Planning ahead can also save some serious cash from early bird sales on flights, tours and accommodations.
Start saving. Travel can be expensive. From hotels, flights, food and tours, expenses can be overwhelming if you don’t plan ahead. If you’re serious about travel, start saving now. Use miles or points for flights and hotels. Download an app to keep track of expenses or set up a bank travel fund with automatic withdrawals of a fixed amount each month. Plus, be sure to check with AARP travel providers who offer discounts on hotels, cruises, car rentals, rail and tours.
Travel off the beaten track. Eiffel Tower? Check. Big Ben? Check. Make 2019 the year you get away from the tourist bubble and explore like a local. Hop a bus to a lesser known city. Buy a rail pass through quaint villages not on the tourist map. Choose a lesser known destination or just keep your itinerary flexible for more new experiences, cultures and diverse peoples. Get out of your comfort zone and take new travel risks. Explore hidden gems. Step out of the norm to reboot everything you thought travel could be.
Take it slow. Not everything in an itinerary is a ‘must see’; those that are should be savored. It’s better to see the Taj Mahal in slow motion than a quick drive through. Don’t try to cram everything on your bucket list into one trip. Choose hassle-free flight options. Create slimmer, smarter itineraries. Visit two countries instead of four. Get to know your destination from the inside out. You deserve it.
Pack Light. Next time you find yourself stuffing an industrial size shampoo or enough clothes for a cruise around the world into your suitcase, you might want to reconsider. Pack a wardrobe that can be recycled, think mini toiletries and stick to your packing list. Seasoned travelers swear they can pack an entire week in a carry-on, skipping sore shoulders as well as checked-bag fees. Just remember, what you pack — you carry.
Learn a new language. Though English is spoken in most countries, speaking the language of the land enhances communication. Learning just a handful of words and phrases, like “please”, “thank you”, “how much?” and “where is” makes communication so much easier. Locals also appreciate your attempt to assimilate and, no matter the country, it’s the people you remember most.
Unplug and unwind. The impulse to share every moment of your trip on social media can be impossible to resist. This year, however, why not turn our craving for connection into engaging with locals? Minimize cell phone distractions and rediscover the simple retro joy of writing postcards. Keep a travel journal. If you long to expand your mind, plug in more #Instagram memories than you can imagine and make incredible memories, grab this year by the resolutions and just go.
These articles present general information and are for informational purposes only. They are not a substitute for legal, financial, medical, or other professional advice.