Almost everyone catches it at some point, whether you've spent a semester abroad and are itching to see more, or you feel like you've spent too many years in the same place and want to explore. I'm obviously talking about the travel bug. And once that baby starts biting, she just won't stop. This year, indulge your wanderlust with these New Year's resolutions for travel lovers that are sure to make 2015 feel like a non-stop adventure.
Because really, every year should be an adventure. You don't even have to go very far to start exploring the world around you. Whether you're going on a weekend road trip, kicking it at hostels, or reserving rooms in four star hotels, there are a whole lot of things to see out there, and a whole lot of ways to see them. Traveling is a lot more than just being able to say "I've been there." It's about allowing yourself to see the world from an entirely new perspective. True, it can be a little intimidating, costly, stressful, *insert one million other words here* to plan a vacation, but the payoff is worth it in tenfold.
With seven continents, roughly 6,500 languages, and over seven billion people on this earth, you've definitely got your work cut out for you. This planet is too damn beautiful for it not to be explored in one way or another every single day. So let's get started!
1. Start a Vacation Savings Account
Traveling is amazing. It is also expensive. There's no worse feeling than wanting to go on that no-drama, friends-only trip to Cabo and looking at your empty bank account when everyone else is picking out plane seats. Set aside a small amount from every paycheck that will specifically service your vacations. Even if it's only a few dollars, that's still better than nothing, and it will add up quickly.
2. Explore Your Hometown
Travel bugs always have their sights on bigger and better things, but the truth of the matter is, sometimes you might just be sitting on gold without even knowing it. Besides, how can you know the world if you don't even know the city you live in? Set aside time to research your town on the web, and make local trips to everything that can be explored.
3. Mark Your Calendar Early
The problem with humans is that we often spend so much time daydreaming about what we want to be doing, the year can sometimes slip right past us. To keep this from happening, highlight all the three-day weekends and vacation time you have at the beginning of the year, and start penciling plans. Seeing something written down can be a big time motivator.
4. Try Out a New Form of Travel
Planes may be the fastest way to get somewhere, but that doesn't necessarily make them the best way to get everywhere. Try out a new form of travel this year, be it a road trip, cruise ship, or cross-country train. There are many ways to see the world. Don't miss out on them.
5. Take a Trip by Yourself
When you travel by yourself, something magical will always happen. It may be intimidating to some, but it's always well worth the effort. Traveling solo means you can focus all your energy on what's ahead of you, not who's beside you.
6. Study a New Language
Learning a new language is not only beyond helpful when traveling to a foreign country, it's also a great way to get your brain to think in a new way. Pick up some language tapes and enroll in a weekly class after work. You'll be surprised how much fun it is to learn a language because you want to (instead of because you have to).
7. Visit Another Country
As long as you're learning a new language, visit a new country. The world is composed of more than 190 countries. That's a lot of world to explore. Don't limit your trips to just the tourist spots (though don't forget about them either!).
8. Disconnect the Social Media Accounts
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Goodreads, Yelp, Foursquare — the list goes on and on. If you're going on a trip, try disconnecting from all forms of social media. If you spend too much time picking out a filter, you might miss out on an epic sunset right in front of you that needs #nofilter. Besides, your vacation isn't for other people to enjoy, it's for you to enjoy. Go ahead, be selfish.
9. Set a Yearly Reading Goal
With traveling comes a lot of down time. Use it wisely. No matter how amazing Taylor Swift's new album is, consider taking it off repeat and picking up a book instead. Try picking out books (both fiction and nonfiction) about a certain area you're visiting. Set a yearly reading goal and stick to it. Like author Vera Nazarian said, "Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light."
10. Maintain a Blog
Start your own travel blog, but don't write in it until you've returned from your destination. Like social media, you don't want to waste time on the computer while you're discovering the world. However, writing and sharing your experiences after the fact can be a really cool way to remember your journeys and start up discussions that go beyond "liking" a photo on Instagram.