For every seasoned traveller, the New Year brings with it a blank page upon which fresh and exciting travel adventures will be made. While we know that you will all have your own personal destinations in mind for your 2014 travel plans (I’m personally looking forward to cruising round Havana in a classic car!), but there are a few 2014 travel resolutions that we think you should consider. Here are our 14 travel resolutions for the year ahead, designed to make your 2014 the best travel year yet.
1. Revisit a city, but explore it differently
We all like to tick off new destinations, but if you only spend a few days in one spot you may only see a fraction of what’s on offer. Head back to a place you’ve already been to before, but avoid every single part of it that you saw the first time round. Perfect for a city like New York, where even the locals find new things to do every day.
2. Let learning a new language be your travel planning tool
Instead of picking a destination and grabbing a phrasebook a few days before you leave, choose a new language to learn at home in 2014, and base your travel plans on where you can practice it. Polish up your Spanish for a few months and head to Latin America just in time for summer in September, or give German a whirl and go on an adventure through the countries in Europe that use it (our Digital Marketing Manager Lindsay starts her German lessons in January in prep for two trips to Deutschland in 2014!).
3. Take less photos
We don’t want to discourage you from taking any travel photos at all, of course, but give your phone or camera a break every once in a while. Don’t simply take a few photos and walk away – snap a couple of shots and then spend more time appreciating what’s in front of you with your own eyes.
4. Quit your moaning
No one likes a grump, especially when you’re on holiday. Delayed flights, airport queues, plane food, transportation issues, booking mishaps. If you travel often enough, you’re bound to run into these annoyances at least once. The mark of a seasoned traveller is to never be that person creating a bad atmosphere by huffing and puffing in anger – have the wisdom and patience to know that everything works out in the end!
5. Make the weekend your travel time
Okay, so most of us don’t get as much time off as we’d like, but the majority of us do get two days off a week. See your weekend in a different light and consider those two days as the perfect opportunity to explore a place close to home that you’ve never been before. Grab a short, cheap flight to somewhere new in Europe, or drive to a neighbouring state to see what the locals over there get up to.
6. Pack as heavy as you want
Pet peeve alert – baggage snobs. Contrary to popular belief, packing ultralight is not the only way to travel. As long as you can carry your baggage unaided and don’t whine about it being too heavy while you’re on your trip, fill your boots (or your bag, in this case) and pack whatever want. Time to crush the opinion that the coolest travellers and pro-packers only take one change of clothes, because as long as you’re realistic, it just doesn’t matter.
7. Let your stomach be your guide
A popular (or at least it should be) alternative to Jiminy Cricket’s ‘Let your Conscience Be Your Guide’, we vote that you let your tastebuds take you on a tour. Limit your travel planning research solely to the food your wish to try during your trip, and consider that your only way of determining where you’ll travel in 2014.
8. Less selfies, more photos with locals
Don’t get us wrong, we love a gratuitous selfie as much as the next person, but we vote you get chatting to a new local each day and take a selfie with them instead. You’ll make new friends, you’ll get to know local culture, and you’ll have a range of completely unmatched travel photos that don’t all include that same ‘Heyyyy, look where I am!’ face.
9. Steal more
…within reason. We’re not suggesting you genuinely commit theft on your travels, we’re merely saying that instead of buying gifts, use your thrifty resources to hunt down some more unique travel souvenirs. Swipe cool restaurant menus, take free postcards, and pocket all your transit tickets to make a colourful travel collage on your return, or nab anything from the hotel that is considered complimentary. Because trust us, no one actually wears those giant sombreros outside of (or maybe even inside) Mexico, unless you intend to wear the same Halloween costume year on year.
10. Don’t measure a moment by its potential on Instagram
Yes, we love sharing photos with family and friend too, but don’t let that be your first thought when you see something snappable on your travels. Before Instagram, there was genuine appreciation for the those hidden gems and cool spots, and these were not measured in how many ‘Likes’ they got. (I know, who knew?)
11. Travel slow
You might only have a limited number of vacation days in which to pack your travel time, but don’t let that number pressure you into feeling it necessary to see literally everything a city has to offer. Because in truth, you won’t, no matter how hard you try. Pick a limited number of things to do or places to go, and make sure you give them the time that they deserve.
12. Don’t be that annoying traveller
Hopefully it won’t come as news to you that each and every country in this world has its own way of living. It’s your duty as a traveller to respect the culture and customs of the country or city you are visiting. Inform and educate yourself about such customs before you arrive, so as to avoid being that traveller that all other travellers roll their eyes at, and locals have no interest in hanging out with.
13. Be less organised
You should definitely make sure that you have all the important information you need (flight times!) before heading out on a trip, but don’t plan every minute of your vacation before you’ve even landed. Let the sights, sounds, smells, and – my favourite – local recommendations in a destination be the only guidebook that you use.
14. Be a traveller in your own city
Last but not least, why even go away at all? I’m sure that you’ll want to leave at least once at some point in the year, but consider making 2014 the year that you really get to know your hometown. Make an effort to explore those uncharted territories, tourists spots that you just haven’t gotten round to seeing yet, and that cafe that you walk past every day. Speak to the people you ride the subway with each morning. Discover your city from every corner, nook, avenue, and alleyway. Follow the traveller’s golden rule – never stop exploring!