And just like that it’s 2020! Can you believe an entire year has gone by already? As I was scrolling through the photos on my phone the other day reliving my adventures in 2019 I thought to myself, if I can have my personal New Year’s resolutions, why can’t I have my own travel related resolutions too?
Here are my travel resolutions for 2020. What are yours?
1. Take that solo flight
In all my years of traveling, I’ve never actually gone solo. Although it’s something I’ve frequently thought about, I haven’t done it yet. My goal this year is to take the jump and try it out. There’s something liberating about traveling on your own. While I won’t be able to rely on anyone else, I’ll also be on my own time and schedule the entire trip.
2. Save the moolah
I’ve heard it time and again from family and friends: “Save your money.” They think that because I go on trips a lot, I spend a lot. While I don’t spend that much (I think!), the accumulation of continuous spending does have an affect on my bank account. So… my solution is to be smarter.
When I’m in another country, I tend to overindulge in food and drinks, and I may not be the wisest when it comes to public transport. This 2020, that’s going to change. I’ll listen to my brain more (instead of my overactive stomach!), and get in on the travel hacks bandwagon too. Maybe even use those credit card points or miles!
3. Take one for Mother Nature
Over the past years, I’ve been more conscious about the environment and how daily activities and actions can be changed or switched to help reduce our carbon footprint. What I haven’t gone about doing yet is making those changes when I travel. I’ll admit, I like a certain amount of comfort when I get around.
But when I went to Macau last month, I realized little things like bringing around your own water bottle, carrying your own metal straws and utensils, and bringing around a small bag for your trash are small steps that – if we all do it – can make a big difference. It’s not like these things take up much baggage space!
4. Don’t be a pack rat
One of the symptoms of an overpacker are thoughts that go like this: “But what if I need this…” or “I’ll bring this just in case, you never know…” But, more likely than not, I don’t even use it anyway! Do I really need xx amount of shoes? Do I really want to lug around my heavy laptop? So what if I forget one pair of shorts? It’s not the end of the world.
5. Go with the flow
In other words, be spontaneous. To me, that’s a big deal. I’m an organized traveler with full control of my itinerary. I like knowing exactly what’s going to be happening on Day 1 all the way until the end of the my trip. But because of my obsessive need to plan everything, I tend to skip out on other experiences.
This year I’m going to have at least one full day where I won’t plan a thing. Yup, you heard it here folks – nothing. Maybe I’ll explore on foot, get lost, and try something new along the way. Looks like there’s some merit to ‘winging it’ after all. 😉
6. Attend a cultural festival
I’ve been to a lot of Southeast Asian countries in the past year, and one thing I realized is that I’ve been missing out on the festivals (and the fun!) of the world. Wouldn’t it be so cool to attend a cultural celebration where you learn about the country and people’s religion and beliefs, watch dances and chants, or even take part of the festivities?
7. Start a travel journal
You’d think a travel writer would actually have a travel journal of her own adventures, right? Well… not so much. But hey, it’s the new year, and I’m turning over a new leaf. Or should I say page? Even if it’s jotting down a few thoughts about my experiences – it doesn’t have to be fancy or scholarly because the sole purpose of this resolution is to remember the moments, tidbits, and lessons I learned.
8. Use some basic local lingo
Initially I thought a New Year’s resolution could be to learn a new language, but let’s be realistic. I’m not exactly the best at languages, and what if the language I learn can only be used in one country? So I came up with a new resolution: to learn at least some basic phrases that I can use in every new country I go to.
9. Make a stop to appreciate nature
Besides the tourist attractions, shopping malls, and restaurants, I want to make it a point this year to stop and appreciate nature. Whether it’s some view I spot while on the road, a local park, the sunrise or sunset, or a forest, beach or mountain, I’m going to take a minute to just breathe in the beauty of Mother Nature.
10. Get off the phone
A lot of moments can be missed if you’re on the phone. And I must admit, my phone is everything (hello, Camera, Google Maps, Google Translate, and Google Chrome!). But this year, I reckon it’s about high time for a digital detox. And hey, maybe it’s time I prove to myself that I can survive without my apps too!
11. Utilize the weekends
Who else uses the weekends like a couch potato to binge watch Netflix series? Be honest! This year, I want to make the most out of my weekends, get rid of my couch potato tendencies and plan (a spontaneous!) trip.
Nope, it doesn’t have to be out of the country – it can be a road trip to the seaside, a picnic with friends at a park or even a little local food or bike tour to get to explore my own country.
12. Make new friends
Or at least one new friend wherever I go. (And no, drinks aren’t counted as friends!) Maybe it’ll be my tour guide, the tuk-tuk driver, like-minded travelers at the hostel – all I have to do is keep an open mind and jump in on the conversation. And if I get a friend for life out of it? All the better!
Have you got any travel resolutions of your own? Let me know in the comments!