Most New Year’s resolutions are unpleasant, painful, and hard to accomplish. For 2022, why not set some travel resolutions that you can embrace? Considering the state of travel the last two years, you deserve it!
Travel has changed dramatically since the COVID pandemic began. First, it shut down almost completely, and then it came back in fits and spurts. And now, thanks to Omicron, 2022 looks uncertain.
If we’ve learned anything as travelers, it’s that your next trip is never guaranteed. I don’t know when we will be traveling again, but consider these 12 New Year’s resolutions when it returns.
1. Go somewhere you’ve never gone before
Remember what made you love to travel in the first place? New experiences, unique people, exotic cultures, and delicious food.
Then you fell in love with a place and you find yourself there every year – becoming comfortable with the sameness. Get out of your comfort zone and go somewhere you’ve never been.
2. Return to an old favorite
I know I just told you to try something new, but there’s also merit in returning to the scene of the crime. Do you love cruises but have been shut out since 2019? Maybe it’s a country you have missed terribly filled with loved ones and amazing memories. Think about how to do something you’ve done before, differently. You’ll be seeing it with new eyes.
3. Knock off a bucket-list item
Are there some big-ticket, pie-in-the-sky vacations you’ve dreamed about since you’ve been a little kid? Remember that “next trip is guaranteed to no one” thing I mentioned previously. Knowing what we now know about pandemics, health, life, etc. there is no better time to mark off one of your bucket-list items such as an African safari, a train journey across Canada, or a trip to Paris.
4. Do something you might not be able to do in five years
Our health is fragile. There are no guarantees that five years from now, you’ll be in the same physical shape you are in now. A permanent disability, or simply aging, can slow down the best of us. Have you always dreamed of hiking the Grand Canyon? Skiing the Canadian Rockies? Dominating the Indian Festival of Colors – Holi? Don’t wait.
5. Volunteer in a place you visit
Are you feeling a greater closeness with humanity? We’ve all been going through this pandemic together. What better time to show a little love to others? Spend part of your vacation supporting families that are less fortunate.
6. Do something exhilarating
If you’re like me, part of your pandemic life has been watching inspirational documentaries on Netflix about mountain climbing, sailing around the world, and swimming with octopi. Besides receiving COVID test results, exhilaration has been in short supply for many people during the pandemic as couch-sitting time has increased. Consider doing something exhilarating in 2022. Go bungy jumping off the Rio Grande Bridge, run with the bulls in Pamplona, or ride a roller coaster closer to home.
7. Have the best meal of your life
You don’t have to be a “foodie” to love food, and the best meal of your life doesn’t have to break the bank. Michelin-starred meals can be had for under $40. Some of the best food of my life was from street-side vendors in Asia.
Consider having a meal with a local family. There are many organizations that will set this up depending on where you’re traveling. Enjoy a spread of family favorites made with love, that you’d never be able to find in a restaurant.
8. Stop and enjoy the moment
So much to see and so little time. I know, vacations can become a whirlwind of movement as you rush from site to site. If this describes you, consider slowing down and enjoying the moment.
Read a novel set in San Francisco as you sit on a park bench and take in the city. Grab a drink at an outdoor table and watch the world go by. You don’t have to see everything a destination has to offer just to check it off a list. Travel like you’re going to return one day.
9. Plan for travel in retirement
Being a financial advisor, I had to slip this in. Depending on the study you read, 70-80% of people say they want to travel in retirement, but only about a third save for it. Make sure you budget for travel and save diligently. The alternative will be less than fulfilling.
10. Travel slow
Do you have a lot of vacation time built up? Consider traveling at a slower speed than normal. Spend a few extra days wherever you decide to go. Take the added time to embrace a city, instead of rushing to your next destination. Live more like a local where every moment isn’t scripted. If you have the ability to work remotely, your slow travel can reach another level entirely.
Take a cooking class, talk to locals, study a new language. Your vacation will gain more meaning and significance if you take the time to learn about your destination. Start before you go by reading a novel or watching a documentary to gain a greater understanding, and continue learning throughout your trip.
12. Invite loved ones
Traveling and spending time with loved ones were both casualties of COVID. So why not take out two birds with one stone? Traveling can be made even better when you have someone to share it with. Make 2022 the year of multi-generational cruises, road trips with old friends, and international getaways with your significant other.
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David Tuzzolino, CFA, CFP®, is the Founder and CEO of PathBridge Financial, a firm that specializes in providing comprehensive financial planning and investment management services for clients that are nearing retirement and love to travel.