Whether you’re after a round-the-world adventure or short trips closer to home, this is the time to start planning. The new year marks the opportunity for a fresh start, and a chance to think about how and where you want to travel over the coming months. We’ve put together 10 travel resolutions to inspire you in 2017.
1. “I will make an effort to travel more sustainably”
The UN has declared 2017 the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, encouraging “better appreciation of the inherent values of different cultures, thereby contributing to the strengthening of peace in the world”. Join their mission by thinking about how you can travel more responsibly this year. Start small by gaining a better understanding of how travel affects the environment, or reconsider how you approach potentially harmful activities like elephant tourism.
2. “I will see more than the big sights”
Did you know that UNESCO preserve more than just famous monuments? Rather than ticking off a bucket-list of big sights this year, search out the highlights of the Intangible Cultural Heritage List, explore one of the world’s least-visited cities, or leave the tourist trail behind in these gloriously remote places.
3. “I will be confident in traveling my own way”
You’ll hear a lot of opinions about “right” and “wrong” ways to travel – and most of them should be ignored. The most important advice is to travel in a way that works for you. Solo travel can still be great if you’re an introvert; it’s OK to have fears about going somewhere new; and having young kids can actually be one of the best times to travel.
4. “I will go on an unforgettable journey”
Overland travel is one of the most rewarding experiences out there, whether that’s a hike that starts in your backyard, a weekend road-trip or a multi-country odyssey by bike, boat or train. Looking for ideas? These are a few of our favourite journeys across Southeast Asia, Africa and South America.
5. “I will visit at least one new city”
Cities are generally some of the easiest – and most fun – places to visit on a last-minute trip. This year, eschew the world’s most-visited cities for one of these 8 alternative UK city breaks or a trip to one of the coolest cities in the US. You’ll also find fascinating yet overlooked cities everywhere from South America to Japan, while places such as Perth are set to undergo major reinvention in 2017.
6. “I will stay somewhere incredible”
It’s all too easy to book accommodation at the last minute, plumping for convenience and price over quality. Start planning ahead with our area-by-area guides to cities such as Venice, Berlin, Paris, Tokyo and San Francisco, or splash out on a totally unforgettable night in a treehouse or icehotel. If you’re looking for a more enriching experience, consider a homestay where your money will go straight into the local community.
7. “I will take time to appreciate nature”
Back-to-basics trips far from civilisation aren’t for everyone – and that’s OK. There are plenty of ways to appreciate the great outdoors. National parks make the easiest introduction, usually offering at least a few well-marked trails or easily accessible sights; kick off with the highlights of America’s 59 national parks, the least-visited national parks in Africa and our readers’ favourite parks around the world.
8. “I will improve my photography skills”
With the news that taking photos on holiday might actually improve your memory, there’s never been a better time to get behind the lens. Our photographer Diana Jarvis has shared her top tips for shooting at sunrise and sunset; for more inspiration check out the shortlist of our 2016 photography competition.
9. “I will learn about the history of the places I visit”
When we first pick up a guidebook, many of us are guilty of skipping straight to the big sights and best restaurants. This year, take time to gain a more nuanced understanding of the destinations you visit. Whether you go back in time in one of America’s spookiest ghost towns or learn about the surprising history of sex in Central Europe, you’ll find the past is never dull.
10. “I will have fun”
Being able to explore the world is an incredible privilege, and it’s important to travel with care and consideration. Just don’t forget to enjoy yourself. Discover your silly side with a ride on one of the world’s best slides, find new ways to go in search of adventure or simply relax with a book on one of the world’s best beaches.