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The New Year is here, and you know what that means: resolutions. “Travel more” tends to land a spot on many New Year’s resolutions lists, but visiting more destinations doesn’t necessarily make you a better traveler. In 2019, you can become a more purposeful traveler by sticking to resolutions you want to keep long after the new year ends. Maybe that’s exploring your home city more, volunteering abroad or donating your miles to a charity organization. If becoming a more thoughtful, careful or deliberate traveler sounds like something you want to achieve in 2019, here are five easy resolutions to help you get there.
Be More Eco-Friendly
Modes of transportation and the tourism industry can have significant impacts on the environment, but you as a traveler can make little changes to your routine that go a long way to help reduce your carbon footprint. In 2018, we saw several airlines and hotel companies step up and make moves to eliminate single-use plastics from their carriers and properties. And halfway through the year, more than 130,000 flights had operated using sustainable aviation fuel (SAS).
In 2019, we expect even more companies to make it easier for you to be a sustainable traveler, but you, too, can make meaningful changes along the way by simply using a reusable water bottle and straw, buying local products and supporting sustainable brands that are ramping up their sustainability efforts.
Take a Solo Trip
So you want to travel, but your friends and family can’t take the time off to join you? Don’t let that stop you. Commit to travel dates and take a solo trip. TPG‘s Points and Miles Backpacker, Brian Biros, says that’s his preferred style of travel. Plus, it can be extremely rewarding. Solo travel may pose concerns for people, but making smart decisions, researching your destination and packing carefully can help you have a safe and memorable trip. You can also reach out to bloggers on social media for advice or recommendations. And for solo women travelers, consider downloading these 11 must-have apps that make it easier to meet other people, stay safe and find a ride.
Learn a Language
(Read: try to learn a language.) At least attempting to understand and speak the language of the country you’re visiting tells locals you care about their culture and can make your trip more meaningful. This can mean learning to say common courtesies such as excuse me, please and thank you, or nailing down phrases so you can order off a restaurant menu without speaking English. Apps such as Duolingo and Memrise can help with the basics, but spending significant time in a country is where you’ll learn the most and pick up on slang. Stick to this resolution by designating a block of time in your day to learn the language of the next country you plan to visit.
Sign-Up for a Travel Rewards Credit Card
Earning and using points and miles are the number one way to travel at a fraction of the cost. By signing up for hotel and airline loyalty programs and using a travel rewards credit card, you can rack up points and miles and fly or stay at your dream hotel for free. (Don’t want to be loyal to a specific hotel brand? Using a card like the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card can earn you 10x miles on stays at independent properties when you book through Hotels.com/Venture through January 2020.) Either way, you’ll become a better, savvier traveler because you’ll start spending strategically, learn how to watch out for awesome deals and redemptions, fly in style and knock more destinations off your bucket list without completely burning through your savings.
Unplug on Vacation
Making a conscious effort to turn off your work notifications — and keep them off — while traveling can be a challenge for many people. Not only does unplugging on vacation improve your overall mental and physical health, but it can also improve your work performance. Caitlin Demsky, a professor of management at Oakland University, said it’s important to remind yourself why you took the vacation in the first place. “If you’re burnt out, if you’re exhausted, you’re probably not being as productive as you think you actually are,” Demsky said. “So that time away from work is going to help you be even better and more energized once you return.” You should be relaxed on vacation, and whether that means reconnecting with nature, getting active or appreciating some downtime, your body and mind will thank you. And, in 2019, it’s time to take advantage of your hard-earned PTO.
Featured image via Shutterstock.
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