Witnessing travelers fly halfway across the world only to eat out at restaurants they have at home is one of my major travel pet peeves among many. I’m about to share with you, the top 10 New Year's Resolutions for Travelers in this article. By adopting these resolutions, together we can contribute to a conscious travel movement. Why should you care? Well, these days, tourists get a bad wrap especially in larger European cities like Barcelona and Paris. Locals complain of the fact that many tourists only come to see the sights, failing to fully embrace the culture of the place they’re visiting or making any attempt to learn the local language.
Also, it doesn’t help that tourists accommodations are sprouting up everywhere. Many people comment this is one of the reasons as to the rising cost of rent. As a result, locals are finding it difficult to secure affordable accommodation. You can imagine how this alone, is impacting the cost of living for locals.
The more individuals who continue to travel in an unconscious way, the less and less tolerant locals are becoming of travelers. Travel is a beautiful thing, and it’s a shame when disrespectful and unaware visitors ruin it for the rest of us. With that said, I won’t pass the buck off to everyone else. Whether we like to believe it or not, we all have been guilty of being ‘the typical traveler’ at one point or another, even I have. Our collective ignorance, failure to respect the local environment, culture, and way of life is not something exclusive to a rare few. The only way to make a change is first to acknowledge that a problem exists. Secondly, taking responsibility for these problems is the next step of action to make a noticeable difference.
My aim with this New Year’s Resolutions for Travelers list is to help you re-evaluate the way you travel. With this, I hope we all can each take positive steps towards traveling in a more conscious manner.
Travel Resolutions for 2019 - Before Your Trip
When setting your intentions this year, try fitting in these ten new year’s resolutions for travelers. There’s plenty of things you can do before your trip to support mindful travel, take a look to find out what they are.
Leave Your Expectations at Home
I won’t point fingers, but we all know that typically travelers from certain countries, are guilty of not being the most conscious. I’m sure you know from which countries these travelers I’m speaking about come from, and it’s not only the Americans who are at fault. Are you guilty of any of the following?
- Booking a 5-star hotel in another country, then arriving in a furry over the fact the 5-star hotel isn’t how you imagined. Wake up call folks; you cannot expect the same level of comfort, service, or quality as in your own country.
- Ordering something in a restaurant and complaining over the flavor. Just because you aren’t familiar with the taste or aroma, doesn’t make the dish poorly made.
Having a set of expectations like those mentioned can throw a seriously lousy attitude wrench into your trip. My advice is to free yourself from expectations before you even start planning a vacation.
When traveling, we often take way too many things. How many of the garments you bring do you wear in the end? Did you know that when you pack less, you are traveling more consciously? Let me explain briefly. For example, instead of needing to take a taxi to your accommodation, because of heavy bags, you can easily opt for public transport, which can be debated as a more environmentally friendly option. Packing light also means you won’t need to pay for check-in luggage on flights. Additionally, carrying less luggage makes you more mobile, allowing you to travel to ‘off the beaten path’ destinations easily.
Choose Your Destination Wisely
In the day of Instagram, Facebook, and other social media channels, we seem enthralled in a superficial world of selfies. It’s not uncommon that travelers visit a specific place, like the top of the Florence Duomo
or Tower of Pisa, simply for that new profile pic or only to check it off their bucket list.
Refrain from Overplanning
A reasonable amount of planning is necessary, don’t go overboard though. If you typically plan out virtually every detail of your trip, do yourself a favor and stop!
Book your flights (find hacks for cheap flights!
), accommodation, and that’s it. Plan only the minimum needed to travel comfortably. Leave the rest for a little spontaneity.
Most Westerners are known for wanting to take control over and plan out every detail of their trip. If you’re spending a pretty penny and only have a week away, it’s natural that you want to make the most of the time. Then again, overplanning leaves little room for adventure. Overplanning may only lead you to be labeled as no more than a frantic, over controlling ‘typical tourist’ wanting to create their storybook vacation.
Book a Flight to Anywhere
This one may be a bit difficult, but I challenge you to give it a shot. Decide on your budget and dates, head over to Skyscanner
, type in your departure city and hit ‘to everywhere.’ That’s right, first, find the flights within your budget. I normally choose the cheapest routes, which has led me to quite a few unconventional destinations. I enjoy traveling to places I know nothing about. For me, this is one of the best ways to explore the world. Also, if you’re Mr. or Mrs. 'Full of Expectation'
, as I spoke about at the beginning, traveling to a place you know nothing about is perfect for you! If you don’t know anything about a particular destination, It’s pretty difficult to form any expectations of that place.
Once you choose your destination, implement the previous New Year’s Resolution, and stop overplanning. Refrain from looking up anything about the city. Sort your accommodations and transport and nothing else.
Conscious Travel - While On The Road
Conscious travel extends past the planning stage; playing an even more significant part once on the road. For the last 5 out of the 10 travel resolutions for 2019, continue following along.
Avoid the Title of ‘Typical Tourist’ & Remove Your Baggage Tag!
Here is a major pet peeve for me. Why does it irritate me everytime I see someone heading back to the airport after their trip, still with the baggage tag from when they arrived? I’m not saying, pretend you’re not a traveler, all I’m saying is do yourself a favor a remove your bag tag. Keep in mind that your personal information is hanging liberally off your bag. Now do see where the problem lies? If anyone is looking for an easy target, you may be the first they come after.
Support Local Businesses
While on the road, a part of responsible and aware travel is by making the decision to support the local economy. More importantly though, choosing to buy from small shops, and eat out at locally run restaurants directly impacts those living there, in a positive way. When you buy from chain establishments, the large corporations continue to power over the small business owners, crushing them little by little. This New Year’s resolution doesn’t only apply to travel. It’s one you can incorporate into your life even while in your home country.
Detox from Technology
The best way to fully immerse yourself in your travel experience is to do just that and be present in the experience as a conscious being. Detoxing from technology while traveling is the best way to clear space within yourself. A technology detox clears out noise and distraction, thus allowing you to become fully open to the richness of what you are about to experience.
Ask yourself, for who is it that you are traveling? Is it for yourself or your followers? The best advice I have is to minimize your screen time and fully dive into the present moment.
Respect Local Customs & Religious Practices
When branching out of one’s comfort zones to visit a new country, it’s best to look into whether there are specific local customs or religious observances that must be followed. Some countries are very stringent, and when visiting these places, you must show respect towards their way of life. What’s the best way to do this? Learn a bit about what these local customs are, and do your best to adapt yourself to them in a way that shows respect and understanding.
Explore Past Your Guide Book
One of the best travel resolutions for 2019 is to incorporate getting lost into your travel plans. When you explore past your guidebook, you have a better shot of gaining a deeper understanding of the culture and individuals of the places you visit. Best of all, when sightseeing, you can often find hidden gems tucked in the side streets around central squares and monuments. Many travelers fail to get a real felt sense of the world around them when they continually allow themselves to be blinded by the tourist hot spots. Avoid being a sheep; head off the beaten path and pave your route.
Whether you are traveling solo, with friends, or loved ones for a weekend getaway, international trip, or side trip this upcoming year, remember to set some travel new year’s resolutions for 2019. I can guarantee if you do so, your trip will be that much more vibrant, and the locals will be likely to welcome you back.