How to achieve your 2013 New Year’s travel resolutions
By Aimee Markwardt
It’s time. January is the time to set intentions and hopes for the fresh, new year. Instead of vowing to accumulate more things, lose other things (ahem, weight) or make changes in your day-to-day life, many people set their eyes on the skies and roads. A travel-based resolution can bring positive and long-lasting change to your life — through experience, education, memories and connections.
Here are a few travel New Year’s Resolutions, and some resources on how to help you achieve them. May 2013 be colorful, curious and memorable!
1. Travel somewhere new.
Not sure where? Check out the top U.S. travel destinations for 2013.
Kelsey Gotell, travel writer, says she simply wants to “go somewhere that I never thought I wanted to go and travel in whatever block of time I can manage.” Tracy Christoph wrote in the Huffington Post that she hopes to travel to Vieques, an island off San Juan, Puerto Rico. “At night, the water glows with movement, and you can take a boat out and see the waves light up all around you,” she writes. 2. Take more travel photos.
2. Capture the memories. Document better. Take more photos. Create a free travel journal, maybe online. Organize those photos better when you get home. Frame your faves.
Consider plotting a road trip or bike tour on the free Geospike app; you can take pics with your cell phone, and the app automatically plots them on a map. Share them with your friends and they can follow you in live time. The motto: Keep a travel journal without writing one.
Or if you want to write, start a personal travel website at Mytripjournal.com. The website walks you through every step, so you can maximize your time enjoying yourself and minimize technological hiccups. Forbes named the website one of the top 13 travel sites online and the best for a personal travel blo
3. Save money on travel.
Stay on top of travel coupons and deals, like this full page of travel coupons through Shopathome.com. Sign up for deal alerts for places that you want to visit. Consider redefining your definition of travel, especially if you are on a budget. Travel does not have to mean overseas or a big multi-week, all-inclusive production. You can often score incredible deals if you stay within the U.S. and Canada (like this list of continental travel specials from Travelzoo).
Or check your local Groupons and LivingSocial deals for day trips and adventures close to home. LivingSocial Escapes is a website specifically organized around affordable vacations. Trust us and subscribe to these. They sell out quickly because they’re so good. Check Shopathome.com to save even more on LivingSocial deals and save on Groupon deals, too. Yeah, that’s like a deal on a deal.
Also consider checking last-minute travel deals, like these last-minute vacations on Travelzoo.com, where you can find a hotel with breakfast and cocktails in Vegas for $79, down from $252. JetBlue Getaways also features travel activities and ideas, where you can find four-day, three-night packages in Aruba at the Tropical Aruba Resort starting at $685 per person (from New York).
4. Keep healthy while on the road.
Eat healthy while traveling and while you get there — and keep active — and you will feel better and have more energy to enjoy your trip. Increasingly more hotels offer active traveler tours. Backroads.com specializes on active vacations. “I simply can’t imagine a better way to immerse yourself in the life of a region, to explore hidden corners and appreciate nuances while enjoying the benefits and enormous satisfaction of traveling under your own power,” writes Tom Hale, the founder of the website.
5. Combine tourism and volunteering: Voluntourism.
The trend to combine your vacation with humanitarian or volunteer work is a growing trend. One place to start looking for ideas is Voluntourism.org.
Even Travelocity offers a specific voluntourism page, which includes links to grants to help fund your trip. One trip promoted through Travelocity is a trip to help with community initiatives in Brazil. Cross-Cultural Solutions pairs you, based on your skills, to help with local people who in education, healthcare, caregiving or community development.
Save more money by checking out Travelocity deals and coupons, such as save $525 when booking a flight and hotel package, plus 8 percent cash back (up from 4 percent) if you book it through Shopathome.com.