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New Year's Travel Resolutions
Every year around January first, my mom would sit the family down to write our New Year’s Resolutions. We would discuss the feasibility of each resolution (floss teeth every day: doable, becoming a rock star: a little trickier), the benefits and drawbacks, and then would number our piece of paper and write up our list. Although there were some items that seemed to follow me from year to year (stop biting my nails), others were proudly achieved (learn how to bake bread).
One resolution I share with many other people is to “travel more”. As we look ahead at all the amazing adventures to be had in 2011, here are a few resolutions to adopt and start the travel-year off right.
1. Support the Local Community While Traveling
There are infinite ways to do this, and it doesn’t have to be a chore. One great way is choosing to use the money you would spend anyway in a way that directly affects the local community. Try to purchase souvenirs from local artists instead of tourist shops and buy locally-grown at farmer’s markets instead of chain grocery stores.
If you’re seeking something more hands-on, look for one of the many amazing volunteer opportunities available around the world. Whether it’s for a couple of hours or the focus of your whole trip, plan a time to give back to the community you are visiting. Check out Habitat for Humanity for one-day volunteer projects that make a huge impact.
2. Carry-On Whenever Possible
Flight delayed and you want to fly into another airport? Don’t feel like the paying the excessive luggage-checking fee? Finally make it to your dream vacation and realize your bag somehow got left in who-knows-where? It seems basic, but the freedom generated when using a carry-on bag is incredible. If you’re looking to invest in a last-you-forever carry-on, you can’t go wrong with a Hartmann suitcase.
3. Look to Cook Something Local
Other than a few pictures and jetlag, it’s great to return from a trip with something useful. Cooking classes give travelers a chance to learn how to make regional specialties while interacting with locals. Depending on your interest level, look for a free resort class… or plan your entire vacation around a culinary experience.
4. Be a Better Tourist
Do your research and get your questions answered by locals. A site like NileGuide provides insider recommendations for thousands of global destinations, along with expertly crafted, pre-made itineraries which are free to download, share, or print. They also offer the ability for travelers to ask Locals their travel-related questions directly in the “Ask Locals” section of all the destinations on their site. Check out their great lists like Top 10 San Francisco Restaurants Off the Beaten Path for travel inspiration.