Sao Miguel Island in the Azores
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2018 New Year’s Resolution: Travel More

Travel resolutions and goals are the best in my opinion. 2017 was an incredible year for travel. I knocked off not one, but two bucket list items (Australia and the Azores), had a lovely Christmas in Europe and experienced many, many weekend adventures. I am hoping 2018 is just as full and fun. My goal for life is to travel more. It is a running resolution and not something I give special consideration to at the beginning of each year. However, if you have made travel a resolution for 2018, we have got some tips for you. Below are 10 suggestions (all starting with S for some reason) to help you achieve your travel goals in 2018:

1. Set a reasonable resolution or goal

The keyword here is reasonable. If you have a hard time taking off work for more than one week at a time, it may not be reasonable to plan a two-week vacation somewhere without internet access. One week, or even ten days, may be a reasonable goal however. If you have never left the country before, it may not be reasonable to plan a backpacking trip through Southeast Asia. On the other hand, a guided tour through Vietnam may be a reasonable option. They key to sticking to your New Year’s resolutions is setting one that you actually have a chance of accomplishing. Be realistic with yourself.

2. Specify

It is all well and good to say you want to travel more this year. But what does that mean? I find it harder to meet lofty, big-picture goals than I do something specific. Perhaps your goal could be to use your passport at least once. Or perhaps take an out-of-state road trip. Big or small does not really matter, just try to get a little specific. That will help in planning and executing your travel goals.

St. Louis, Antiques Roadshow, New Year's resolution, friends
A small but fun adventure to St. Louis to participate in the Antiques Roadshow. This was a major item on R’s bucket list.

3. Start small

Take a road trip this weekend. Visit a friend two states over. When it comes to a travel resolution, no one said you had to go big or go home. If that two-week dream vacation to Italy is unrealistic, do something that is realistic. We wrote a post all about girls weekends. Those are a great way to start to travel more.

girls' weekend, spa, arizona, resolutions, friends
Hanging with my girls at a spa in Arizona…a perfect weekend way to spend a weekend.

Of course, we have big travel plans for 2018. But we also have some smaller adventures planned and those are just as enjoyable as the big ones, they just do not last as long.

4. Save the date

Time moves so quickly. Before you know it, summer will be here. The time to make travel plans for 2018 is NOW. Pick a date and tell your boss. Pick out a date and book something. Or pick a date and ask your friends to join you. Just pick a date.

5. Sign up for alerts

Not only are travel alerts good reminders, but they keep you excited and engaged in planning. I especially enjoy Scott’s Cheap Flights and Travelzoo’s Top 20, but there are plenty of options out there.

We often discuss the places we want to travel to in the future. That way we are both on the lookout for good deals. Not long ago, I got an alert for low fares to various cities in Eastern Europe. Since that was an area we had been discussing, we wasted no time in furthering our research on those low fares. Turns out, the timing and the price was right. So we booked. Would that have happened without the alert? Maybe. But getting that prompt is what prompted us to act and make our plans official. Now we are on our way to checking off a resolution for 2018.

Riding camels in Morocco, resolution
We chose Morocco after a great deal showed up in a travel alert.

6. Share your goals

Talk to your friends. Talk to your family. You never know who in your circle may be hoping to do some more travel this year as well. Or perhaps someone in your circle has advice on where to go next. I get most of my destination ideas from talking to my coworkers.  And I cannot count the number of times I have mentioned an upcoming trip to someone and they have said, “Have you talked to so-and-so? They were recently there.” Or “So-and-so is originally from there. You should talk to them.” Great things usually come about when you talk travel. But you will not know unless you open your mouth and talk about your resolution plans.

7. Save, save, save

You will never see those travel dreams come true if you do not start saving. I know I have harped on this in the past, but I cannot say enough about the benefits of setting up a separate account with an automatic deposit. It was a game changer for me in terms of saving for travel. If money is your biggest obstacle when it comes to travel, even a small amount each month gets you that much closer to your goals. (Click here to learn more about budgeting and saving for a trip.)

A year ago, I was in the final stages of saving for a month-long trip to Australia. It was the most expensive trip I had even taken. Not only was the country itself expensive, but I was going to be there a lot longer than I am usually gone. It took two years to save up for that trip. I was lucky enough that I did not have to stop all fun while I was saving, but I did have to make some adjustments. The smartest decision I made though, was setting up an automatic deposit. After I returned home from that epic adventure, I left that account and automatic deposit in place. It has become my official travel fund and I enjoy watching it grow over time knowing it will lead to more adventures.

Kangaroo crossing sign in Australia, travel resolution, saving money
Dreams came true in Australia…after a lot of planning and saving.

8. Simplify your life

If you are too busy to travel, and you want to travel, perhaps it is time to cut something from your life. I realize this is easier said than done. Do you watch a lot of television? Perhaps now is the time to get rid of that cable bill. You will spend your free time getting stuff done, freeing up time to go on vacation, and you will save money as well. Maybe you have too many hobbies. Or perhaps you work too much. There is no right answer for this one, but I believe simplifying your life will make you happier overall and make it easier to travel.

9. Seek out new places

Just because you cannot go far, does not mean you cannot see cool stuff. There are probably plenty of places near you that are worth a visit. When R suggested a weekend visit to North Cascades National Park, I told her that I had never heard of it. Good thing she had. What an amazing place! Sure, Yellowstone and Yosemite are also amazing. But they are full of people. Try something new and a little different. You may be surprised by what is out there.

North Cascades National Park, mountains, travel resolution, hiking
North Cascades National Park is stunning.

10. Seize unique opportunities

You never know when a chance for fun will manifest itself. The Azores had been on my bucket list for almost 10 years. Still, I had no plans to visit them in 2017. However, an opportunity came about that I could not pass up. I was supposed to attend training in Boston for work. When the training fell through, I was left with a plane ticket to Boston. My company would have refunded me the ticket. Instead, I kept the ticket and bought another plane ticket to São Miguel in the Azores. I was already planning on being out of the office that week, so why not make it a vacation instead? That was a most excellent decision and one I do not regret in the least.

Sao Miguel Island in the Azores, lake, blue skies, travel resolution
Our trip to the Azores was both unexpected and wonderful.

Bonus: Staycation it

I am not an expert at staycations. In fact, I have never taken one. However, I feel like they have a lot of benefits and are a good use of vacation time, especially if you live somewhere where other people like to travel to. My friend in Arizona will often book a hotel stay and spa treatment at one of the resorts in the Phoenix area. In the off-season, she can get great deals. It is a great way to feel pampered, take it easy and check out for a while—without the added stress of leaving home. I may just have to give this a try someday. Perhaps I will make it a resolution next year.

Conclusion

2018 is a brand new year full of possibilities and travel opportunities. If you made a New Year’s resolution to travel more, great! Get to it! A few simple steps can help you achieve your goals and bring a lot of joy to the upcoming year.

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