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9 Resolutions Every Traveler Should Make in 2018

Jan. 08, 2018
8 min read
9 Resolutions Every Traveler Should Make in 2018
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You’re not going to start flossing. It’s best to just admit that to yourself now. But instead of committing to the same boring resolutions you try (and ultimately fail at) every year, why not embrace this optimistic month and overhaul your travel plans? Here are nine resolutions that every frequent flier should steal for the New Year.

1. Plan Travel Like It’s Your Job

If you regretted spending more time in 2017 on your couch than in Croatia — or whatever country you wanted to tick off your list — your issue might be a lack of planning. At work, if something’s not planned, it usually doesn’t get done, and the same rule holds true for travel. January’s a sleepy month, but life and obligations will soon pile up. Think about where you want to go each season and dedicate time each week to looking up destinations, hotels, flights and rates. Put these research hours in your calendar to make them stick.

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2. Stay Open to Serendipity

This directly contradicts resolution #1, but they’re both possible. Planning sets an agenda and gets trips booked. But leaving breathing room for serendipity will keep you on your toes. Cold snap coming and you’d rather be in the Caribbean? Book now. Amazing deal for a flight that leaves tomorrow? As long as you won’t get fired or your spouse won’t leave you, what do you have to lose? And when you’re actually at your destination, be open to changing plans. Just because your coworker recommended 12 restaurants in Tokyo doesn’t mean you have to hit them all. Leave room for adjustments. In other words: Chill.

3. Upgrade Your Inefficient Gear

Still clinging to that college backpack or ancient carry-on with a broken zipper? You don’t need to go crazy (save your money for a great meal instead), but investing in high-quality travel gear, whether a new dopp kit or cozy travel blanket, can reinforce your travel commitments.

As Steph Korey, co-founder and CEO of the luggage start-up Away, says: “Everything you bring on your trip should make your overall experience more seamless. For so many people, the gear they use is an afterthought — even their suitcase, something they bring on every trip! But when you don’t have to worry about your bag breaking or your phone dying, you have so much more time to actually enjoy the journey and the destination.”

4. Jump Off the Bandwagon

“Well, this Instagram influencer is loving Antarctica, so even though I hate the cold, let me do a quick search on Google Flights ... Gathering inspiration from fellow travelers is wonderful, but the I-want-what-they-have game is not.

“Research shows that when you gauge yourself in comparison to others, your self-confidence and your self-esteem are very unstable. If you look at people who are worse off than you, you feel better, but then when you look at people who are better off than you, you feel worse and you don’t have an internal compass to evaluate your own status and situation,” says Dr. Pauline Wallin, a clinical psychologist in Camp Hill, PA.

Photos people selectively post on social media don’t tell the whole story and, as Dr. Wallin notes, “Whether they are having a good time or not has very little to do with whether you’re satisfied with your own life.” So think about places you want to go — bonus points if they’re not “cool” or trendy. Everyone’s heading to Iceland but you’d be pleased as punch to wander around Montana? Perfect. The most fulfilling trips are the ones you dream up yourself.

Maybe the hippest place to visit is not the spot for you. Photo by Twenty20.
Maybe the hippest place to visit is not the spot for you. Photo by Twenty20.

5. Exploit Your Every Travel Advantage

You probably already know a little something about maximizing your points — you’re reading TPG, after all. But the beginning of the year is a great time for a refresh. Are there better card options out there? Are you missing out on any benefits?

“Take inventory of all the cards in your wallet, and evaluate whether or not you're getting enough value out of the ones that have high annual fees,” says Sarah Silbert, TPG’s Points and Miles Editor. “And if you have a card like the Amex Platinum that offers an annual travel credit tied to a specific airline, make sure you select the carrier that makes the most sense based on your plans.” Set up deal alerts for places you want to go. Squash excuses you make for why you can’t do something and plan so that you can.

6. Hatch a Trip with a Friend

Next time your college pal emails you a travel story saying, “OMG have you been? Looks amazing!” Follow up. Actually, go. Old friendships can be resuscitated with one great weekend trip and new friendships can be cemented (or, let’s be honest, demolished) by traveling together. Your buddies have travel dreams of their own, so chat about where you want to go and why. Joining forces gives you accountability — and a hard date on the calendar — to make those trips happen.

Don't just say it, actually plan a trip with a buddy. Photo by @zacktaylor92 via Twenty20
Don't just say it, actually plan a trip with a buddy. Photo by @zacktaylor92 via Twenty20

7. Get More Comfortable with Languages

“I have to become fluent in Mandarin by next month!” Somehow, between planning travel logistics, wrapping up day job tasks and, you know, life stuff, all your optimistic plans to learn a language can get waylaid. Take a cue from Jen Rubio, co-founder and Chief Brand Officer of Away, who’s upgrading her translation routine for 2018.

“I’m frequently in off-the-beaten-path places, and while miming and a smile can get you far where you don’t speak the local language, a few key phrases can go a long way into giving you a better experience or even getting you out of a bind,” she says. “I tend to rely on Google Translate, but this year, I’m testing out tools like the Ili Wearable Translator, which is a little handheld device you can speak to for near-instant translation."

8. Visit Somewhere Personal to You

For years, I’ve been saying I want to find all the other crazy Cutruzzulas in southern Italy, or nail down which island my mother's family hails from in Portugal. Instead, other obligations or trips distracted me — none of which I regret — but I know that those two trips would be meaningful ones. Is there a person you want to visit? An ancient bit of family history you want to dig into? A destination you can visit with your parents, siblings or relatives? Finding those deeper reasons for travel can make that new stamp in your passport even more satisfying.

9. Settle on a Big Goal for 2019

I know what you’re thinking — slow your roll, this year’s still a newborn — but here’s the truth: 2019 will arrive very soon. There are probably some trips you’re dying take that aren’t realistic this year. Instead of moping, take time to plot your biggest and best travel year yet. Research and see what you need to make it happen, whether that’s saving money, gathering points, or hoarding your vacation days — and by this time next yearm you could be driving around the Maasai Mara or flying first class to Hong Kong.

With a little bit of foresight and smart planning, nothing’s out of reach.

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  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
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  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
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Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best Marriott card for Business Owners
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

6X6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
4X4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
2X2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Intro Offer
    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.

    Earn 100,000 points
    75,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $125
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

Pros

  • 6x points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. shipping
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases
  • Earn a free-night award each card renewal month (up to 35,000 points)
  • Receive 15 elite night credits to jump-start status
  • Transfer Marriott points to 40+ airlines

Cons

  • Airline points transfer ratios are poor
  • Must spend $60,000 in a year for second free-night award
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees