Every January, the gym fills up with people looking to sweat out the five pounds they gained after sustaining themselves on a diet of cookies and spiked hot chocolate–and I’m speaking from personal experience. As February comes around, the treadmills lunge to a halt.
Why do New Year’s resolutions fail? Apparently New Year’s resolutions teeter out by the end of the year’s first quarter because they’re too general, too ambitious, and too negative.
This year, consider setting travel-themed New Year’s resolutions that you’ll actually be excited to keep.
Go on one microadventure a week
Many of us live in or nearby a destination that others go on vacation to. Instead of setting a goal of seeing 12 countries in 12 months, make the most of where you live by embarking on a mini-adventure, aka a microadventure. Sleep outside under the stars, go on a night hike, harvest local fruits, go for a walk down roads you’ve never been before–all in the name of adventure. You don’t need to leave to have a great time.
Get involved with the Couchsurfing community
Couchsurfing is a cultural exchange where you truly live like a local in a foreign destination by staying at their home for free. You can also host travelers in search of a friendly face and warm bed (or couch). If sleeping in a stranger’s home–or having a stranger sleep in yours–isn’t your type of thing, head to a Couchsurfing meetup. Couchsurfing gives the host an opportunity to do their favorite things for a day or two, so its typically a helpful way to learn more about a place all while making friends.
Thanks to Couchsurfing, I’ve slept on a yacht in Croatia, roamed through deserted ruins in Spain, learned how to make Swiss fondue, and even met my partner of seven years through the community.
Take at least one solo trip
This year, stop waiting for friends and family to be interested, be available, and have the money to join you on your dream trip. The solo traveler demographic is growing steadily each year, and the benefits of seeing the world on your own far outweigh the cons. Venturing out on your own will reward you with newfound confidence, local friendships, and the freedom to do exactly what you want, whenever you want.
Disconnect from your devices
One recent study showed that the average American only took a little over half of their allotted vacation time in 2018. Of those who did take time off, 29% stated that they were contacted about a work-related issue while they were away. This year, vow to max out all of your available vacation days–even if it means staying local. A miniature getaway where you leave your work behind will do wonders for your mental and physical health, especially if you click the “Do Not Disturb” on your phone within minutes after clocking out.
Vow to go slower
Travel New Year’s resolutions often involve country counts and fast travel. Though some travelers are happy with checking into a new hotel room every night, you might actually experience much more if you spend at least three days in a destination–rather than just one. Consider how much time you lose in transit and the high pressure of ticking the “top things to do” from a list. Add in adverse weather, and a once exciting trip might seem like a burden of stress. This year, keep a loose travel schedule that gives you some extra room to enjoy a new favorite restaurant one more time and affords from some sleeping in.