A Different Kind of New Years Resolution

From the minds who brought you "New Years Resolutions", now we give you "Travel Resolutions"!

A Different Kind of New Years Resolution
Photo by Dino Reichmuth / Unsplash

John Lennon once sang in the horrible Christmas song “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)”, this one memorable set of lyrics at the start of the song:

So this is Christmas
And what have you done?
Another year over
And a new one just begun

And now you have that song in your head. You’re welcome.

Mr. Lennon was correct on one aspect. This time of year is truly special as it allows us to pause and reflect on our lives, careers, and how much progress we have made. It's a time for deep contemplation and self-reflection. As we approach the New Year, it presents a perfect opportunity to start afresh and wipe the slate clean. We've all heard of the famous "New Year's Resolution" where we make commitments to join the gym, shed some pounds, give up alcohol, or break free from bad habits. However, despite our best intentions, we often find ourselves slipping back into old patterns by the second week of January. Perhaps, the reason behind this is that our goals are not specific enough. This year, why not try something different? How about making a Travel Resolution? The editors at Conde Nast Traveler published their Travel Resolutions for 2024, and it encompassed many aspects of the travel experience, from finally going on that solo trip, or that friends trip, or even revisiting a place to explore neighborhoods. With a little planning and saving, these resolutions could be acheiveable - for once!

Stay Local

If your ultimate aim is to visit a specific place and explore it independently, there are various ways to prepare yourself mentally and physically. Apart from considering a "workation," one effective method is to embark on day trips near your home. These excursions are enjoyable and usually don't require staying in a hotel, resulting in lower costs. This can help you save money for your desired trip while also allowing you to conduct thorough research. Moreover, venturing out to nearby locations can push you out of your comfort zone since you are likely more familiar with your local region than anyone else. By visiting state parks, museums, and local shops, you can deepen your knowledge and appreciation for your surroundings. If you're feeling more adventurous, you could even plan an overnight trip or a long weekend to a destination within driving distance. Such an experience might ignite your curiosity for solo travel and open up new possibilities. Conde Nast Traveler Associate Entertainment Director Eugene Shevertalov made a great point about using your home city as a base:

Living in New York City affords me access to so many places just a car or train ride away. I want to explore the Berkshires, somewhere I’ve never been before. Marvel at the Maine coastline from the cliffsides of Ogunquit, a small art community just north of Boston. Head up to Vermont to enjoy the fall foliage. Maybe even a road trip into Canada.
Eugene Shevertalov, associate entertainment director

Start with your city or town, and build out from there. This approach will help you prepare for your desired destinations. It doesn't matter if you reside in New York City, Atlanta, Seattle, or Los Angeles. You might be similar to me, living in a small town in New England, but even the tiniest towns have fascinating tales to tell. Conduct thorough research, and utilize TripAdvisor as a valuable tool to discover activities within a day trip or even for an overnight or extended weekend getaway. Opting for local adventures is an excellent way to ease yourself into the world of solo travel.

person touching body of water
Photo by Aaron Lee on Unsplash

Go on that Friends Trip

Traveling with friends is a great way to explore a particular destination and secure that change of scenery, and it’s a wonderful event to look forward and back on. For almost 10 years, myself and a few of our friends would travel to Citi Field to watch the Mets games, and sometimes other ballparks as well. One of my closest friends and I have been traveling to Jersey City and Lower Manhattan of New York City for the past few years, and we often discuss our recent trips with fondness and look forward to the next one. And finally, over the past few years (sans the pandemic), it’s been a yearly NASCAR trip. In September of 2023, along with a few close friends, we spent an awesome long weekend in Knoxville, TN and attended the NASCAR Cup Series race in Bristol, TN. In October of 2019, we spent a memorable long weekend in Atlanta, GA and crossed over into Alabama to attend the Talledega NASCAR Cup Series race. In those trips, we all had our own hotel rooms, but flew down together. And just recently, we started discussing possible NASCAR races for 2024 that we could attend. It’s a trip I look forward to each year, and it’s our “boys weekend”.

I have other friends that do motorcycle trips as well, and they look forward to it every year. For the men, it’s generally a weekend to bond and relax. Many of my female friends do similar “girls weekends” as well. It doesn’t have to be specific either, just a trip you enjoy with the people you love the most outside of your own family. Megan Spurnell, senior editor, sums up the feeling perfectly as she talks about a trip she took to Kenya:

I spent so many months looking forward to it, which offered a satisfaction you just can’t get from spontaneous bookings. Going with friends, likewise, felt like a luxury during a time in our lives when work travel, weddings, birthdays, visits home, and couples’ trips can fill up the year before it has even started. Maybe that’s also deepening my desire to make sure I keep close ones, well, close—even if that means going somewhere far away together.
—Megan Spurrell, senior editor

It’s a Wonderful Day in the Neighborhood

What if you exhaust all the cities and destinations to discover, or desire to revisit a place? Exploring through neighborhoods is an ideal solution. Just like any other journey, thorough research and saving up are crucial, and this becomes achievable as you concentrate on exploring a series of neighborhoods instead of venturing far and spending money on transportation like gas or Uber/Lyft to reach different places. Cities with diverse neighborhoods that are spread out are excellent choices for this kind of adventure. You can embark on this solo, with friends, or even as a day trip to prepare yourself for that upcoming solo expedition. Some good advice from the article:

Pick a neighborhood to base yourself in and explore it thoroughly. It’s a great way to get a deeper sense of the culture of the place, and leaves you with more time to explore hidden nooks and crannies—instead of trying to cram a whole city in, and failing. It’s been a game-changer.
-—Arati Menon, Conde Nast Traveler global digital director

This is a travel resolution that is flexible enough to be broad or specific, but the result is achieved through planning, research and saving up funds.

Its a wonderful drive-by in the neighborhood..... | Mr, Rogers, you did not; adequately prepare me for MY neighborhood! | image tagged in memes,mr rogers neighborhood,unprepared,funny | made w/ Imgflip meme maker

Closing Thoughts

As we approach the end of another year, it's a time for introspection. We reflect on what we may have missed and how we can make improvements. It's a chance to start anew, a fresh beginning that we all seek. New Year's Resolutions are often made with good intentions, but we sometimes lose sight of them because they may feel like obligations rather than desires. Regardless of what resolution you choose, commit to it and put in the effort. There may be setbacks along the way, but don't let them discourage you. Keep pushing forward and never give up. If you have a travel resolution, start saving money, do thorough research, and create a plan. This time, your New Year's Resolution might just be the one that truly works!