Maureen Jenkins—a veteran travel, food, and lifestyles writer now based in Paris—recently offered suggestions for 2013 New Year’s resolutions. In this case, the resolutions were very specific: they were all travel related. She had a total of eight. Of these, we found five particularly intriguing.
Here are her resolutions…and our thoughts on them:
“Take off on your own—even if you’re traveling with a group.”
Like a few of Maureen’s other resolutions, this is about taking risks and receiving rewards that might be new and different. Especially when traveling in groups, people tend to become a bit cloistered and inward looking. But, freeing yourself from the pack for a morning or an afternoon to go shopping, museum hopping, or just out for a walk can be very liberating. The impulse then is to be more outward looking, more open to people and experiences you’d probably miss if you stayed with your group.
“Don’t let the lack of a foreign language keep you at home.”
This is another bit of sage advice. When you visit countries in which English is not the predominant language, bring along a bi-lingual dictionary or smart phone translation app and muddle through as best you can. Yes, it’s sometimes frustrating. But, in many ways, it’s also a good experience. First, even though you may only speak in single words or short phrases and not pronounce many words very well, you’ll tend to feel more confidant about yourself as a traveler. Second, the people you interact with are almost always very patient and nice about it. Usually, they seem to appreciate the effort you are making.
“Vow not to leave vacation days on the table.”
Vacation days are precious. We can all agree on this one. But sometimes work pressures (or sometimes fears of not appearing totally committed to a job) prevent us from taking the vacation days we’ve earned and deserve. Americans especially fall into this trap. According to one recent Expedia study, for example, the average American—who already has much less vacation time than the average European—actually foregoes two vacation days each year. That, as they say, is a shame. And the challenge is to make it happen. Even if personal or family budgets are tight, traveling frugally and/or close to home is definitely worth it.
“Start a travel-specific savings account.”
This is another great idea. In a way, it puts planning for travel on a par with planning for your children’s college education or your own retirement. It makes travel more of a priority in your life, and—because you are saving regularly for travel—it helps to make more, and more exciting, trips possible.
“Do at least ONE thing that scares you while you’re on the road.”
Be reasonable about this, of course. You don’t have to drive on the right side of the road in the UK or plan a trip to a war zone. It’s simply about getting out of your own comfort zone for a bit. Maybe it’s going to a restaurant that looks interesting but that you know nothing about. Maybe it’s taking a walk into an unknown wood. If the experience doesn’t turn out to be that good, then there’s usually no harm done. You’ve been there and done that.
For more on these and Maureen Jenkins’ other New Year’s travel resolutions for 2013, here’s the link to her article.
Do you have any travel resolutions for 2013 you’d like to share? If so, send us a comment. We’d love to hear from you.