15 New Year's resolutions for travellers

A new year brings new goals for the 12 months ahead. For travel lovers, the possibilities are endless. We've done the research for you, pinpointing 15 New Year's travel resolutions to consider. Which ones will you be taking?
Elephant and mahout of the Thailand Elephant Village. Photo: Shutterstock
Elephant and mahout of the Thailand Elephant Village. Photo: Shutterstock

1. Give something back on your travels: take a volunteer vacation

Who says you can't do a little good while travelling? Volunteer tourism has seen a massive boom in recent years, something we can all agree is pretty amazing. For Dan Bagby of Honeymoon Always, it's something that's topping his list of travel goals.

"My New Year's travel resolution is to take a volunteer vacation trip," he says. "It will be an opportunity to combine my love for travel with my hope to make a difference and help someone else."

Insight Guides offers a number of trips that allow travellers to make a positive impact while abroad. Visit the Maesa Elephant Camp in Chiang Mai on our Thailand's Highlands and Islands holiday, where you can interact with and care for these gentle giants first-hand.

2. Plan a family reunion in a different destination

Forget hometown gatherings for your next family reunion. Hitting the road (or sky) for an all-out family adventure is sure to create memories to last a lifetime.

"My husband and I each live thousands of miles away from our parents," says traveller Kristie Garduno. "As the years go by way too fast, every moment spent with them gets increasingly more precious. So before anyone's health becomes an issue, my husband and I are bringing all of our parents to the Caribbean with us for a week that we'll never forget."

From action-packed cities to luxurious tropical islands to off-the-grid natural wonder, Insight Guides can infuse your next family reunion with a bit of exotic fun. Don't have a particular destination in mind? Browse these knockout trip packages for a little inspiration.

3. Learn something new, somewhere new

Some people go on ordinary excursions while on vacation; others roll their sleeves up to learn a new skill. The latter is a little more exhilarating to the curious, out-of-town adventurer, if we do say so.

"My New Year´s Resolution is to learn surfing in Senegal," says travel blogger Andre Arriaza. "I love the country's laid-back atmosphere and top-class local cuisine, and I know that the waves are perfect for a beginner like me."

Want to learn how to river raft? The Peruvian Incan Empire is a fine place to cross it off your bucket list. Or fine tune your kayaking skills in the gorgeous waters off the Costa Rican coast. What we're getting at here is that travel and learning go hand-in-hand.

4. Recreate history

For history buffs, the world atlas stirs up a distinctive type of excitement. When others see maps, we see settings: the backdrops to some of the greatest stories ever told. This is precisely why historical tours are so moving (I'm a shameless history lover. My most powerful vacation moments include seeing the ruins of the Roman Empire and the remains of the Pearl Harbour attack in Hawaii).

The world is brimming with historical wonders to behold: The sacred Machu Picchu, the ancient gems of Jordan, the cultural landmarks of Laos. Insight Guides puts all of them at your fingertips.

5. Taste an entirely new cuisine

Devoted foodies live by one code of truth: The best way to really get to know a different culture is through the local cuisine. Make 2018 the year you take the culinary whirlwind tour of your dreams.

"We've recently made it our goal to try every country's (unofficial) national dish," says J.B. over at Will Fly for Food. "We'll be doing some extensive travelling in Asia and in Europe next year, so we're excited to try as many as we can. This should be a delicious year!"

If you've got a weakness for Vietnamese cuisine, Insight Guides' Vietnam Culinary Experience should scratch the itch. Check out these other unique foodie vacations to rev up your inspiration. From cooking with locals to hand-picking fresh ingredients at colourful markets, there's a little something for everyone.

Traditional Vietnamese banh bao steamed bun with pork filling at a street food market. Photo: ShutterstockTraditional banh bao (steamed bun with pork filling) from a street food market is a must-try while in Vietnam. Photo: Shutterstock

6. Compile a bucket-list and start completing it

If you look back at your life so far, what do you regret not doing? Chances are, not yet travelling to a dream destination comes to mind. Make 2018 the year you finally see all the magic the world has to offer.

"My travel bucket list is very ambitious," says traveller Angela Betancourt. "For the first time in my life, all the pages in my passport are almost full. However, my passport expires next November. That means by August, I probably won't be able to use it anymore since some countries require it be valid a certain number of months before travel. So my first resolution is to try and figure out a way to fill it by my birthday on 14th July."

Topping her list is Thailand for "the food, their floating markets, the floating cinema, and the beaches." Insight Guides has no shortage of Thai adventures to choose from, all put together by local experts. Alternatively, if you need a little help with what to do next, here are our Top 60 travel experiences to try.

7. Take a solo adventure

Solo travel is finally getting the attention it deserves these days. The benefits of taking a vacation alone are endless; it turns out the freedom and solitude can do wonders. If the idea attracts you, you're not alone. Traveller Bean Miller, who's heeding the advice to travel while you're young, plans to take at least one solo hiking trip over the coming year.

"I'm terrible at directions, so if I can navigate a trail and do it alone, that will be a huge success for me."

Whether it's trekking through the wilderness or exploring a big city, there's a special kind of magic that comes about when you do it on your own. Not sure where to go? Here's an Insight Guides insider look at where to travel alone.

8. Go on an eco-adventure

Just as foodies can take culinary holidays, nature lovers are all about eco-tourism. This unique travel style is all about conservation and the beauty of the natural world. There are plenty of eco-friendly destinations in the world, but few live up to the hype quite like Costa Rica. The incredible national parks, unmatched exotic wildlife, and raw natural beauty set the stage for an eco-adventure like no other. The Central American country also boasts some of the best eco-lodges around. If it's sustainable, environmentally-friendly travel you're after, look no further: Insight Guides' Costa Rica Eco Adventure ought to do the trick.

9. Visit a new-to-you exotic beach

Let's face it: for a good lot of us, the only way to vacation is on a dreamy, sun-drenched beach. When the Bahamas grow too crowded, think outside the box. There's definitely no shortage of luxurious, palm-fringed coastlines to visit. Sri Lanka tops our list of unreal beach destinations, touting some of the creamiest shores in Southeast Asia. Throw in the charming colonial towns and tea plantations, and you've got yourself the ultimate beach vacation. Its proximity to the Maldives is another big draw. For something even more exotic, consider the tranquil shores of Mozambique. An Insight Guides local expert can plan your holiday from start to finish.

10. Go on a safari

Who says you have to rough it while on safari? If you've always wanted to give this adventure a whirl but aren't exactly the outdoor-type, fear not. South Africa is known for its luxury safari adventures. In other words, you can catch sight of incredible wildlife, like elephants, giraffes, lions and more, while still feeling like you're at a five-star resort (experience it for yourself on our Cape Amazing holiday). 

Of course, Africa isn't the only place to carry out an unforgettable safari trip. India stands on its own as a world-class destination. Insight Guides' Indian Wildlife Safari brilliantly pairs heart-pumping wildlife sightings with local culture.

The Maldives Islands are paradise, and perfect for a different type of beach-break. Photo: Shutterstock

11. Travel child-free

For most parents, the Google search history is all about kid-friendly travel destinations. Don't get us wrong, we love a good family vacation, but travelling without kids in tow is equally important. Make 2018 the year you take that romantic vacation you've been dreaming of. Our experts give the beaches of Thailand top billing in this department, thanks to the heavenly waters and laid-back atmosphere. 

12. Take a truly off-the-beaten-track trip

Seasoned travellers are always looking for fresh and exciting travel destinations. If you're looking to break away from the expected locales and crowds of tourists, consider venturing off the beaten track a bit. We're talking far-flung, wonderfully remote locations that aren't on everybody else's radar. The floating villages of Myanmar make a fine stop, which you can hit up after a private hot air balloon ride over the sacred temples of Bagan. Let Insight Guides put it at the top of your 2018 travel itinerary.

13. Visit a famous landmark you've never been to

On the flip side of the coin, let's just say there's a reason that famous landmarks are, well, famous. Some destinations are so dazzling, so downright magical, that they're worth braving the distance and potential crowds. Sit down and ask yourself what cultural icons you've yet to experience. Whether it's the Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China, or Italian Renaissance architecture, Insight Guides can help you take it from dream to reality.

14. Hit the road with a next-level trekking adventure

Hiking enthusiasts can leverage their favourite hobby into a once-in-a-lifetime vacation in 2018. Not surprisingly, the world is packed with spectacular trekking trails for both novice beginners and seasoned hikers. Our round-up of the best ones the world has to offer is a good place to start. The notorious Otter Trail in South Africa, Cinque Terre in Italy, and the Annapurna range of the Himalayas are particularly breathtaking. Lace up your walking shoes, then reach out to an Insight Guides travel expert to get the ball rolling.

15. Close your eyes and pick a random travel destination

Consider yourself an adventurous traveller? Those with a spontaneous side can mix things up a bit by choosing a "blind holiday" for 2018. What's a blind holiday, you ask? It essentially translates to closing your eyes and dropping your finger anywhere on the map: where you land is where you go. Alternatively, you can select, say, 10 different Insight Guides trip packages that appeal to you, then settle on a random one of your choosing. A little scary? Sure, but it's also super-exciting. Happy travels!

Taj Mahal view from Agra roofs. Photo: ShutterstockTaj Mahal view from Agra roofs. Photo: Shutterstock

This article was originally published on 2nd December, 2016

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