1 Just go
The Dalai Lama once said (or at least according to Pinterest he did), “Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.” In 2017, don’t fret about your busy schedule, your commitments at home or that need to pay off you car. Just go! Whether it’s somewhere you’ve been before or not, plan a trip. Don’t tag a couple of days onto a business trip. Taking your kid to look at colleges doesn’t count either. Plan a just-for-fun, no-reason-at-all trip.
2. Fill that cookie jar
Cost is the biggest factor that keeps many people from traveling. If you save ahead, you can avoid those post-trip credit card blues. Two essentials you’ll need to inspire your savings campaign: a photo of your dream destination and a secure dream trip jar to stash your cash (and by secure, I mean one you can’t open in a moment of desperation because you need a manicure). Download a photo of your dream destination onto your phone. When you’re about to make that impulse purchase – whether it’s a book, a tchotchke, or jewelry – take out your phone, lust after that photo and pocket that amount of money for your dream trip jar. While you’re standing in line waiting for that venti-soy-no-whip-double-shot-latte, pocket that $5 and add it to your jar when you get home. Give up one self-indulgent service for one month. Chances are, you won’t even miss it. Do you have a housecleaning service? Skip one visit every other month and pocket that savings? Go au naturale with your hair and nails for a month.
3. Travel alone
Hanging out on a cruise ship with your friends taking advantage of the all-you-can-drink perk might be your idea of the best vacation, but in the new year, commit to travel somewhere alone. Some people who travel solo for the first time describe it as an awakening, somewhat of a religious experience. Your senses are heightened when you’re all alone so the sights, smells, tastes and sounds will be amplified since you won’t be distracted by a traveling companion. You may be hesitant to travel alone due to safety concerns, but a little research and common sense will put your mind at ease. If you’d like to test the waters first, look into group trips made up of solo travelers.
4. Document your experience
Are you really enjoying all of those photos from your last trip on your smart phone? Probably not. In 2017, think “Parts Unknown” and really document your trip. Invest in a GoPro or take video on your iPhone and create your own documentary style travel diary. Investigate some of the websites that will compile your photos from your trip into a professional-looking coffee table book. (Hint: these make great gift ideas.)
Here’s a great way to justify that trip to an exotic locale. There’s no question that voluntourism is on the rise. It’s sort of a grown-up mini Peace Corps experience. Whether you’re building a school in sub-Africa, teaching English to Asian businessmen or caring for children in third world orphanages, it’s a great way to punch your passport while doing good. There are plenty of reputable companies that coordinate these trips so check them out.