New year decade, new you! Not only is it an opportune time to look back at the past few years, but also to look forward. Perhaps some of your resolutions for 2020 involve you living a more environmentally-sustainable lifestyle. Or maybe your resolutions focus on your own health and wellness, or forming new habits that will ultimately help you grow as an individual.
So what makes travel any different? Let’s look at the ways you can incorporate your resolutions into your travel!
1. Travel sustainably
One thing on a lot of people’s minds is climate change. It’s hard to address the issue without recognizing the crucial relationship the travel industry has with the idea of sustainability. Sustainable travel practices are slowly getting traction among travellers, but there’s still a long way to go.
As a responsible traveller, you can do your part by choosing the most green option to get to your destination, whenever possible. If you’re travelling around Europe, there are plenty of trains you can take to get around, with far less of a carbon footprint than aircrafts leave. If you’re more of a cruise person, there are a few options to travel in a more ocean-friendly way. It’s up to you to get creative!
2. Take only what you need
Think of this as a fun exercise in minimalism: packing only the essentials in your luggage (or, for the pros, just your carry-on) ensures a smoother trip that focuses less on material things and more on the actual experience. Having second thoughts about bringing along your extra gadgets? Leave them at home—you’d be surprised what you can do without!
Not only will packing light help you at the airport or while navigating a new place, it’ll also help the environment in the long run. When you leave nothing behind at your destination, you minimize your impact to it. Leave inessential items back home, swap some things in your luggage out for a few eco-friendly products, and you’re good to go!
3. Travel off the beaten path (or during the offseason)
Visiting less-frequented places can offer you a more unique experience and many great surprises along the way. It’s easy to get inundated with the same travel shots on social media over and over again, but if you venture off the beaten path, even just a little, you’ll get to see things from a different perspective.
On the other hand, travelling to destinations that rely heavily on tourism during the offseason helps support those local economies. But what do you get out of it? Well, there are often more favourable rates for accommodation and airfare, less crowds and more space, different views thanks to changes in seasons, and often, a different experience altogether.
4. Do your research
Doing your homework when trip planning can pay off. The more time you invest in looking for the best options, the less time you have to worry about things going wrong during your trip. One way to tie this resolution in with ‘travelling sustainably’ is to look into the companies you’ll be booking with—hotels, resorts, cruises, excursion tours, restaurants, shops and services—and see if there are any initiatives that you can get behind (or conversely, business practices you don’t agree with).
5. Take a wellness trip
Being on vacation doesn’t excuse you from forgetting (whether accidentally or purposely) about your healthy routine! Stay fit while you travel, eat healthy foods, or consider going on a yoga retreat. Travel should be as much of a good thing for the mind as it is for the body, so be sure to put your wellness first.
Of course, one way to keep some peace of mind in your out-of-country (or out-of-province) quest for wellness is to get travel insurance.
6. Travel out of comfort zone
We always hear about stepping out of our comfort zones in order to grow, so why not apply it to travel, too? Go somewhere you haven’t been to before, somewhere you’ve never heard of or know nothing about, or somewhere you’ve been dreaming of but have been putting off for years!
To add to the task, talk to strangers (locals and other travellers), eat seemingly strange but delicious food, take a stroll through streets and side streets away from main thoroughfares, and do other things that might be out of your norm—you’ll find that when you do unexpected things, you’ll often be rewarded with unexpected results.
7. Take time to unplug
What better way to move forward with the decade ahead than by taking a few deliberate steps back? For all the good that technology brings, people are increasingly unplugging from the internet for hours, days and even weeks at a time, in order to restore proper balance in their lives.
By unplugging from the influence of things like social media, we all get to take the power back and influence our own travels; it leaves us with the time, energy and presence to chat, take a walk, meditate, or simply live in the moment while we see the world. Even if temporarily, we get to ask ourselves, “What was it that made us all fall in love with travel in the first place, back then?”
Happy travels and best of luck with your resolutions,