It always seems like everyone makes the same New Year’s resolutions: lose weight, save money and live a more fulfilling life. In regard to the latter, one way to do this is to stress less and travel more. For those who aren’t sure where to start with bettering themselves and making 2017 the best year yet, here are six creative New Year’s resolutions to inspire you.
1. Start Everyday By Centering Yourself
What does this have to do with creative New Year’s resolutions relating to travel? By starting the day with an activity that allows for a clear and focused mind, you become more productive and can therefore use your time more wisely. You no longer feel like you’re scrambling to get things done, meaning you should have plenty of time to curl up with a hot beverage (or some wine, if you need the extra courage) and book a flight.
Personally, I go through phases where I feel like I’m in this endless cycle of feeling stressed out, knowing that if I do morning yoga I’ll be more productive, but at the same time not having enough time to do it. The ironic thing is when I do my morning yoga, I get so much more done because my brain isn’t in 100 different places. I am more relaxed, yet efficient.
Maybe for you it’s a cup of tea and some writing, a walk with your dog in the park or meditating in a quiet place. Whatever it is, get in the habit of doing it first thing every morning.
Pro Tip: I’m a big fan of YogaDownload (click here for a 50% off the service). As someone who wakes up with stress running through her veins, I appreciate an enjoyable workout that doesn’t require me to waste time getting ready, leave the house, check in at a desk then head home. Instead, I have 1,000+ yoga classes right on my laptop. I also use this to stay fit on the road, along with my Manduka Travel Yoga Mat.
2. Schedule Your Trip Right Now
At the start of the year you’re likely fresh and ready for change. Maybe you even have a few days off. While you’re in this calm mindset, book your flight and get it on the books. Bonus: because you’re booking early you’ll probably get a great deal, too!
Pro Tip: When booking your flight, try a few search engines. I really love Google Flights, as they offer fare calendars, let you know when altering your dates slightly can save you big bucks, and show you a map of the cheapest airports to fly into/out of. They also let you click through to book direct, meaning you can earn points with your airline. While a bit controversial, I’m also a fan of Skiplagged, which operates based on the idea that ticket prices are driven more by the market than distance traveled. You essentially book further than your chosen destination, but disembark the plane early to save money.
For my full list of tips, check out these 35 money-saving, point-earning travel booking hacks.
3. Pack Some Stress-Reducing Essentials In Your Carry-On
Maybe the idea of taking off work stresses you out, or perhaps your trip itinerary is a bit complicated. Heck, maybe you’re like me and are just naturally anxious. There’s no denying that, while travel is a rewarding and eye-opening experience, it also comes with a few uncertainties — which is why I always pack some stress-reducing essentials. Besides the above-mentioned YogaDownload and watching ASMR videos before bed using soft pillowy SleepPhones, I also love Aromaflage Botanical Sleep Spray, Mad Hippie Antioxidant Oil (it’s like a mini facial) and my Daily Artist Creative Journal.
Simply bringing calming items that remind you of home, like family photos, soothing iPod soundtracks or your favorite blanket, can also be very helpful. I’m also a fan of the Headspace app, sort of like a “meditation for dummies” program. While there are paid subscriptions, you can try the free 10-day program to see if it’s for you.
Are you an anxious #traveler? Here's how to #travel more and worry less in #2017. Click To Tweet
Pro Tip: It’s totally normal to feel anxious at the beginning of your trip as you’re getting used to your new surroundings. Don’t panic! Instead, book yourself a comfortable hotel room to retreat to when needed. Start with organized tours, pampering experiences and tourist restaurants before slowly going more local.
4. Go Somewhere Solo
My regular readers know I’m a big solo travel advocate, and for good reason. Solo travel has made me who I am today. It may sound cliche, but it’s helped me transition from an awkward, unsure girl into an assertive, confident woman. I mean, before I went to Southeast Asia solo as the age of 22, I used to worry about every possible negative scenario; now at 29 I realize my own ability to navigate unfortunate situations and reach a resolution. I can have conversations with locals who don’t speak English (charades and pen/paper are excellent tools!), feel confident walking up to strangers, and have gotten myself out of scary situations, ranging from sexual assaults by tour guides to angry dog chases. Luckily, these situations aren’t the norm.
Pro Tip: Your first trip solo doesn’t need to be across oceans, either. Drive two hours from home, hole up in a cabin with your journal and get to know yourself better. Fly to the opposite coast and seek out a city’s most creative restaurants. Take a solo Midwest road trip and make a random city your home base for the month. Whatever your idea of a fulfilling solo journey is, get it on the books so you can’t put it off.
5. Invest In Tools That Make The Flying Experience Less Of A Hassle
Airports are often the least pleasant part of traveling, though there are ways to make flying more enjoyable. Joining government “known traveler” programs like TSA PreCheck and Global Entry (which includes TSA PreCheck) helps you breeze through airport lines — you won’t even have to take off your shoes! Moreover, joining Priority Pass (10% off with this link) has been a game changer for me. For just $27, I can access airport lounges all over the world and enjoy free booze, good food, strong Wi-Fi, showers, comfortable seating and sometimes even spa treatments!
Make #2017 a year to remember with these creative New Year's #resolutions. Click To Tweet
Pro Tip: If you end up on a delayed or cancelled flight — the ultimate stressful situation — you may be able to get compensated. Check out these platforms that help you claim compensation (and only take a portion of it if you win the case).
6. Plan An Adventure That Scares You
Abraham Maslow said “In any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or to step back into safety.” What a quote to live by!
Now this adventure doesn’t have to be bungee jumping or skydiving (though it can!). It can be as simple as striking up a conversation with a local on the bus or trying a local cultural workshop. Trying something unfamiliar may be stressful beforehand, but once you get it done you’ll see how rewarding it can be to successfully expand your limits. Then next time it won’t be so intimidating!
Pro Tip: Having trouble thinking of an adventure? Try Serenflipity, a deck of 30 cards with daily adventures, ranging from buying a person in the cafe line a cup of coffee to asking a stranger for a new mantra (that you’ll actually live by). I’m also a fan of CouchSurfing.org, Meetup.com and Gociety for interacting with locals and finding adventure/active-themed outings. If your style of adventure is more about cultural immersion, check out BonAppetour for the chance to dine in local homes around the world.
What creative New Year’s resolutions for travelers would you add to this list? Please share in the comments below!
Don’t Forget Your Travel Insurance [Travel Essentials]
The Wander Year: One Couple’s Journey Around the World [Great Reads]
Travel Essentials For Female Vagabonds [Blog Inspiration]