Where I really let myself down on New Year's resolutions is what I'm eating and how much I weigh. Ugh. By the end of August I had lost 10 pounds and right now I've put it all back on again. So I guess the good news is I don't have to worry about gaining more weight if I make a resolution to lose that 10 pounds I recently found.
With travel, though, it "should" be easier. We travel with a purpose, even if the purpose is to have fun or simply get a tan.
I saw an article entitled 21 Travel Resolutions for 2014 in the Huffington Post. I could only find 19 resolutions in the article and I went over it twice. So I'm listing them out for you here and inviting you to get us to 21 (or more)!
These 19 are great, and worthy of anyone's attention. But the one that resonated with me the most was to stop using Yelp. If travelers only knew "behind the scenes" of reviews. These are the bane of my existence. Travel reviews cheapen the experience because some of the things you like, I'm not going to like. And there are simpletons out there who will only follow the crowds and shun an establishment (any establishment) that doesn't have a great rating on Yelp or a very positive review online. If you are a travel pro, get a travel show on CNN. Otherwise? Keep your opinions to yourself, please.
- Work less, play harder. Written by the guy who's writing this at 3:30 a.m.
- DON'T over pack. I actually am having a contest with myself to pack less and less on each trip. I wrote a Blog post about some new packing apps last week.
- Overcome a fear. Any fear. The photo that comes with this resolution in the original article is of someone bungee-jumping. I won't do that, but I will overcome my fear of not drinking enough wine in France.
- Take at least one de-stressing break, even if it's only for a day.
- Combine your talents, i.e. painting with a local charity that helps construct homes in a place you want to go. GeoVisions has 75 of those available, by the way.
- Get lost. I did this in Manchester, England of all places.
- Vow to learn a little.
- Take better pictures and create better keepsakes of the moments. To this I would add, limit yourself to upload only one photo a day to Facebook and Instagram, stop checking in every place you walk in to, delete 95% of your travel photos after a trip and stop taking photos of the food on your plate at every meal and posting them online.
- Start a conversation with a local. I did and was invited to an artist's apartment in Venice. A lasting memory.
- Read something on the history of your destination before you get there.
- Stop being all Type A and let someone else handle the planning details (at least a few of them). My 15 year old daughter is going to live in France this summer. We're letting her lead the way in airports and train stations to get her better prepared.
- Be spontaneous and open to straying from your itinerary. The best meals, the best photo opportunities, the best memories take place when you least expect it, and when it isn't on the itinerary.
- Stop obsessing over Yelp reviews and going to the "best" place. To this I would also add never, ever write a review or read one again. Ever. Ever again. Ever. Not ever. Nada.
- Be nice and helpful to tourists...which, yes, contradicts everything we ever say about tourists. I was in Istanbul and I had to share a taxi with 2 other Americans. Incredibly they only had American dollars for the taxi. Doesn't everyone on planet Earth want US Dollars? I ended up paying ... in Turkish Lire of course ... and remarkably, I was nice about it.
- Travel within your own hometown.
- Use all your vacation days and use them wisely. Take a buffer day to recuperate. I have actually started departing on Friday and returning on a Friday to have the weekend to learn how to feed the dog all over again.
- Create a travel piggy bank and make a habit to add to it.
- Pick out one specific location you've always wanted to go and research how to get there, save up and GO.
- Don't put off to tomorrow what you can book (and enjoy) today.