The sun came out on first day of 2018 – at least, around here. And hopefully, that foretells a year full of more great travel, for me and for you. So it seems appropriate to set some travel goals for the next 12 months, and since it’s New Year’s, why not make them New Year resolutions for 2018?
I’m not one for personal resolutions, so I thought I’d make a few that would work for any baby boomer who loves to travel. I know a lot of thought and planning goes into taking a trip. So if you come up with a few goals to guide your planning, it can help in making the tough decisions.
So here are my eight New Year resolutions for 2018; I hope they give you an idea or two that takes you somewhere wonderful, and helps you enjoy it to the utmost.
Cross something off the bucket list
Many over-50s have a bucket list – a list of things they want to do before they “kick the bucket”. If yours includes some places you’ve always dreamed of going, this might be the year to make it happen. None of us is going to live forever. And as I noted in this recent post, some high-profile attractions are going to get harder to see as tourism keeps growing — the best time to see them is now. So get out the bucket list — and if you don’t have one, get out your laptop or pen and get to work.
Stray off the beaten path
If you’re like most people, you tend to go to the same place every year for your holidays. It’s familiar, you like it, and it’s affordable. But you don’t really see much of the world that way. If you’re stuck in a travel rut, get out the atlas and start looking for places you haven’t been – and maybe places that not everybody goes, places like Panama, or Hungary, or Peru. And if you’re a bit afraid, relax. These days, tourism has made most destinations safe even for the nervous traveller. And remember, you can always take a guided tour.
Do your homework
To my mind, one of the biggest mistakes you can make when travelling is not finding out about your destination before you get there. Yes, you can take a city tour. But if you haven’t read up a bit before you arrive, you won’t know which tour shows you the things that will make your trip truly special. Plus, researching your destination can really add to your trip; reading about the things you’ll see can take the chill off a cold winter night. And these days, all the information is at your fingertips; in fact, there’s a wealth of it in the website you’re visiting right now.
Cruise the seven seas
Even though cruising is growing in popularity, there are still a lot of people who have never tried it. They’re unsure about what it’ll be like, or they fear being stuck in some kind of regimented schedule. But cruising has changed a lot in the past few years. On many of today’s ships, it’s pretty much free-form; you do what you want, when you want to. And there’s a cornucopia of things to do, from shows to water parks to lectures to fine dining and wine tastings. Good deals are available – the bargain-filled “wave season” is about to start. And if you’re already a fan of ocean cruising, why not try a European river cruise? My Viking cruises have been great experiences.
See how the other half lives
If you’re a budget traveller like me, you look for value when you plan your trips. But why not splurge now and then and try something you thought you couldn’t afford, just to see what it’s like? Stay a night or two in a first-class hotel, or have dinner in a famous restaurant. It won’t cost the earth (though the bill may make you hyperventilate a little). But you’ll remember it for the rest of your life; my lunch at Sardi’s in New York last year is a memory I won’t forget for a long time. Somehow, stepping up a class or two just makes you feel better about yourself.
Do something extraordinary
As the saying goes, you only live once, so why not make the most of it? Break out of your package-tour routine and do something so amazing that you can dine out on it for years. Like what? How about going around the world, travelling across Europe by bicycle, sleeping in a Bedouin camp in the Sahara Desert? Friends of mine who are both over 60 are going to walk the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu this year. Remember, you’re never too old for a little adventure – or a big one.
Conquer your fear
Everybody has a few fears: fear of flying, fear of heights, fear of the water … And these can keep you from having the experiences you’ve always wanted. Maybe this is the year you get rid of one of those fears, and have those experiences. It may require some professional help, but it’s very doable. Maybe you just need to give yourself a push. I did my first zip-line when I was over 60. Once I stepped off the edge, it was easy — and fun. So think: is this the year to conquer your fear?
Go a little deeper
It’s easy to visit a place and see the sights without getting a real understanding of how it works and the people who live there. That’s especially true if you’re travelling first-class. So this year, make a point of getting to know the local people wherever you go. You can visit a friend who lives there, or arrange for a local greeter through an organization like the Global Greeter Network. Or you can just spend a few hours in the local bar, chatting with the regulars — buy a round or two and make some new friends. Any way you do it, getting involved with your destinations will make you feel like you really know the place, rather than just visited it.
Those are my eight New Year resolutions for 2018. I hope they gave you a new perspective on your travels this year, or sparked an idea that will turn into a memorable trip. In either case, happy travels, and all the best in the year to come.