It’s that time of the year when we all resolve to lose 10 pounds, be more patient with the kids, exercise more. Blah Blah Blah. By Feb. 1, we’ll be back to our old selves, eating chips and waiting for spring to arrive. So this new year, let’s make some resolutions that are easier to keep: Travel Resolutions. Here are a few to get you started.

Photo credit: Pixabay

Photo credit: Pixabay

New Years Resolution Ideas

It’s been a number of years since I gave up making New Years Resolutions. While I believe in the process — taking stock and starting fresh with the dawning of a new year — I decided I wanted resolutions that would be easier to keep. Think of it as a sort of “dress for success” in the resolutions realm.

In that vein, here are 8 travel resolutions to consider making this year (and a list of resolutions other TravelingMoms are making for 2017!):

Even kids as young as 4 can push a 4-wheel roller suitcase.

Photo by Nasreen Stump / Road Warrior TravelingMom

Pack Right

No, you don’t need to take five pairs of black flats. Don’t laugh. I have a friend who did just that. Why? Because the pair with the little gold buckle goes with that pair of pants. The loafers go with those jeans. And so on. That was never me. If I return home with anything I did not wear or use, I consider that a packing fail.

So plan a travel wardrobe that lets you wear everything in more than one way — these shorts with those two tops, that top with these shorts and that skirt, etc. If that feels uncomfortable, just remember two things:

  1. Those people you meet likely will never see you again.
  2. Whatever you pack you have to carry.

Commit to the Carry On

If you’re packing right, this resolution will be really easy to keep. Why does it matter? There are lot of reasons why carry on is the only way to travel. Fear of a lost bag is just one of the reasons. Having a carry on means you can be flexible about flights, you always have the essentials with you and you have no choice but to pack right.

free in Spain

Crystal Palace in Retiro Park; just one of the many free cultural attractions in Madrid. Photo credit: Carissa Rogers

Take Time to Enjoy

This one can be a challenge for a travel writer. We tend to parachute into a destination, have a quick look around and parachute out. But this year, I had the chance to spend time in Madrid with my daughter. We spent time wandering the streets, meeting the locals, and generally getting lost. We indulged in the freedom that comes from having no schedule and no itinerary. Did we see as much of Madrid as we would have if I had planned the trip minute by minute? No. But we got something more: Time to connect with one another and time to relax and feel the beat of that vibrant city.

My husband and I will be heading to Florida to escape the worst of what is predicted to be a particularly rough Chicago winter. Our plan is to take at least a week to meander our way there. After 25 years of marriage, I have learned that sometimes his way is a better way. He loves taking what we call the “blue highways” — those are the backroads that show up as the little blue lines on a map. They wind through small towns, past barns that lean precariously and other features of the American countryside.

Here’s a look at a few of the places TravelingMoms visited in 2016:

Rack Up the Frequent Flier Miles

Travel can be expensive. But there are lots of ways to make it more affordable. This will be my year of figuring out all of the tips and travel hacks for making the most of travel reward credit cards, frequent flier promotions and other ways to rack up the points and spend them wisely.

Do More Free Stuff

This is the best way to save money on traveling. We’ve got a whole section on free things to do in the 50 states and around the world. This year, I resolve to ask locals for their recommendations on the best free things to do in their town. And while we’re chatting, I’ll also score a recommendation on the best local spot for great food!

 

Zion Mountain Ranch, at the east entrance of Zion National Park in Utah, delivers a superb blend of the Old Western Charm and modern conveniences.

Little House on the Prairie at Zion Mountain Ranch – photo by Yvonne Jasinski Credit Card TravelingMom

Go with the Flow

As a wise friend taught me, travel should be an adventure that starts the minute you walk out the door. It requires being open to all of the new sights, smells, sounds and experiences you will encounter along the way. She taught me to make the journey just as much a part of the trip as the destination itself. This year, I resolve to deepen my connection to the journey.

Make it a Real Vacation

A friend from Europe says that Americans vacation by checklist. We arrive in some fabulous corner of the world with a list of must-see sights. Then, rather than enjoying and immersing ourselves in the experience, we walk around checking items off the list. Sometimes a nap is what’s called for. Or abandoning the itinerary because the place you are current visiting is so engrossing that it simply deserves more time.

Road tripping in the 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander. photo credit: Andrea Guthmann

Photo credit: Andrea Guthmann

Travel More

There’s a saying that goes something like this: No one on his or her death bed ever said “I wish I had worked more.” So this is the year when I will travel more. Day trips. Weekend jaunts. Road trips. You name it. If there are a few hours or days to fill, I resolve to fill them in the best way possible: By exploring a new place. Even if it’s just for the day.

Do you make resolutions and then feel bad by February because you haven't reached your goals? Fear not! These resolutions are easy to keep.

What TravelingMoms Resolve in 2017

I asked my favorite travelers, my fellow TravelingMoms, to share their travel resolutions for the coming year. Here’s what they had to say:

Catherine Parker, National Parks TravelingMom, resolves to spend the year “exploring more deeply by spending an hour drawing an indescribable landscape in order to see the parts to describe the whole.”

Geek TravelingMom Jana Seitzer and Sarah Gilliland, Twins TravelingMom, both resolve to discover new places next year. Sarah says she resolves to “Visit somewhere I’ve never been! We go back to favorite places a lot. Need to go somewhere new to us next year!” Travel Hack TravelingMom Dia Adams wants to take that to the extreme. She vows to visit a new continent in 2017! And Renee Virata, Quick Weekender TravelingMom, says this will be the year she finally travels internationally.

Dana Zucker, one half of the Luxe TravelingMom team, Candid TravelingMom Patty Holliday and Margalit Francus, Autism TravelingMom, all vow to get more from their travels this year. Dana says she resolves to “Become a more responsible traveler to our planet, its people and animals. Making more changes in where I go, what I do and talking to others about it. I am planning to do these for all aspects of my travel and also donating my carbon footprint.” Patty vows to “do a better job combining travel and learning. Everywhere we go offers an opportunity to learn about its history.” And Margalit will be a better traveler in the coming year by “getting to know more of the local life than running around exploring landmarks.”

Cathy Kopf, Optimism TravelingMom, vows to take on a different kind of challenge. She wants to “Visit a city where French is the native language and speak only French for one entire day…no matter what!”

New Years resolution idea - go somewhere only French is spoken and resolve to speak the local language.

Optimism TravelingMom Cathy Kopf vows to go somewhere next year where French is spoken and to speak only French!

What is your travel-related new years resolution for this year?