Once the holidays are over and a long, cold winter lies ahead, minds naturally tend to wander. Before you know it you’re searching for flights to warm or far-off destinations. To make your 2014 travel adventures all they should be, we’ve picked five handy tips for you to keep in mind.
1. Forget your itinerary.
Yes, you probably want a general idea of where you’re going and you might schedule some tours and activities ahead of time. But keep in mind that travel should also be about the unexpected! Leave a day or two open and be spontaneous. Take a scenic drive. Explore a local neighborhood. Grab a drink at a hole-in-the-wall. Chances are, years from now, those will be the moments you remember most. So try to be more carefree and less strict about a schedule.
This is often the most difficult part of getting away. But it is a vacation and part of that means getting away from everything, including your phone, tablet and laptop. Vow to upload photos to Facebook when you get home. Make everyone put away their phones at meals and engage in real conversations. Work will be there when you get home, as will Pinterest, Twitter and Candy Crush.
3. Be open minded.
Travel is about new experiences. Whether it’s strange foods, new cultures or foreign languages, embrace the unknown! Brush up on a new language before your trip and make a promise that you will try to speak to locals only in their native tongue. Try a local dish, especially if it’s something you would never eat at home. Attend a festival to soak in local culture. Find out where residents like to go and visit those places to get off the beaten path.
4. Have a budget.
If you haven’t started saving for your next trip, what are you waiting for? Set aside a bit each month so that you have spending money for your vacation. And while on your trip, stick to that budget! If you stay on budget for your next trip, it will be easier to start planning again once you get home. And planning vacations is part of the fun!
5. Be patient.
Travel can be maddening, tiring and trying. It can be a hassle to pack, get through security, hop on the plane, wait for your luggage, rent a car, etc. Depending on where you’re headed, you might have to deal with inclement or unpleasant weather, crowds and cranky service workers. Be patient and don’t let the little things get to you. Mistakes happen, so be kind to others, and the problem will most likely be quickly resolved. Remember, you’re on vacation to relax, and remaining calm will improve your overall temperament and the mood of those with whom you’re traveling.
So go ahead and plan that next trip…you deserve it, and what better way to kick off the new year?