A new year brings new resolutions, exciting plans, and, hopefully, travel opportunities aplenty. You may not be venturing forth on a far-flung adventure just yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t explore your city and your country. What’s more, traveling in your local area might help you tick off some of those New Year’s resolutions. Here are some travel-related resolutions to get you feeling inspired.
1. Get in touch with nature
Spending time in nature, whether it’s in your local park, tramping along one of your state’s hiking trails, or embarking on an ambitious trek further afield, is good for you. Getting outside and getting active doesn’t just increase your physical fitness. It boosts your mental health and, quite literally, broadens your horizons.
Our favorites: The USA boasts some of the world’s most spectacular nature experiences. Go on a camping adventure in the Yosemite Valley, hike to see waterfalls in Seattle’s Wallace Falls Park, or have fun on an ATV adventure in Bryce Canyon National Park. Or, head to Arizona. Here you’ll find Antelope Canyon which, thanks to its incredible colors, should be on every nature-lover’s bucket list.
Europe is also home to wonderful scenery: enjoy a day hike in the Pyrenees in Spain or explore the scenic five villages of Cinque Terre on the north-west Italian coastline. Or how about boasting that you’ve climbed an active volcano? Hike to Mount Etna in Sicily for bragging rights. If you prefer a gentler, more scenic experience, England’s Lake District has inspired writers and poets over the centuries with its rolling green countryside.
2. Dig in to local cuisine
How can you be transported overseas without ever leaving home? By sampling the cuisine of a different country. And if you are lucky enough to travel somewhere new, there’s no better way to get to know your destination than learning about, and tasting, the local food. Try a food-themed walking tour, a cooking class, or simply explore a produce market with a local guide.
Our favorites: The home of great food, Paris is the place for serious foodies. Taste local delicacies on a walking food tour, or learn how to make dainty macarons for your next tea party. If you’re in the south of France, join a truffle hunting tour to find out more about this valuable, and delicious, ingredient. Italian food is one of the most popular cuisines in the world, and rightly so, thanks to its fresh and robust flavors. Learn the secrets of homemade pasta from home with a virtual class, in the capital of Rome, or in the hills of Tuscany. More of a pizza-fan than a pasta-lover? Well, where better to learn the art of pizza making than in pizza’s birthplace, Naples? And don’t overlook Spain. Taste the delights of tapas in Barcelona, or learn how to make traditional paella in Madrid.
If you’re a cheese lover, the Netherlands is a yummy destination. Taste cheese in Amsterdam or tour the traditional cheese market in Alkmaar — it’s what cheese dreams are made of. A secret British food tour in London will awaken your taste buds with even more delicious cheeses, traditional fish and chips, and, of course, a pint of beer. Speaking of beer, the craft brewing scene in Portland, Oregon is legendary. Beer-aficionados will love sipping their way through this hip city. Or, discover the delights of Brooklyn’s food scene, from old-school neighborhood eateries to new kids on the block.
3. Learn a new skill
Whether you’re interested in art, crafts, dancing, or cooking, learning something new allows you to express your creativity and connect with like-minded people. As an added bonus, it can be a great way to connect with cultures around the world. Why not immerse yourself in a new culture and a new creative skill next year?
Our favorites: Venice is famous for its winter Carnival at the end of January, where locals dress up in magical outfits and masks. Paint your own mask or make one yourself as a souvenir. This city on the sea is also home to legendary glass-blowers. Learn their craft and make your own Venetian glass beads.
Be inspired by Picasso during a drawing class in Antibes on the French Riviera, or feel the fiery power of flamenco in a dance class in Seville. Not a dancer or a painter? Try your hand at creating your own perfume and learning to blend essential oils in Provence, uncover the secret to the best gelato ice cream in Florence, or blend wine to perfection with an expert in Paris?
4. Move your body more
Sure, getting fit is pretty much everyone’s New Year’s resolution. But this classic resolution doesn’t have to be a chore. How about getting in shape while exploring a new part of the world, or pushing your body in a new form of exercise? See some of the globe’s most dramatic scenery as your muscles work and your adrenaline levels soar.
Our favorites: Start out slow, with a gentle activity, like renting a stand-up paddle to explore Miami’s waterways, or jump in at the deep end with a tandem paraglide in Alicante, Spain. Want something less extreme that will still get your heart racing? Try learning to surf in scenic Devon or kayaking and snorkeling around the idyllic island of Maui.
Scale new heights as you learn the basics of rock climbing in Mallorca or the Canary Islands. Or, try something with a guaranteed adrenaline rush: canyoneering combines abseiling, jumping down waterfalls and traversing canyons. Top spots for this are the Colorado River, Moab in Utah, and the rugged countryside Tuscany.
5. Talk to the animals
Not only can spending time with animals improve your physical health, it can also decrease your levels of anxiety and stress. Hanging out with our four-legged friends does wonders for body and soul, so enjoying ethical animal experiences should be a top choice for any New Year’s resolution list.
Our favorites: If you love the ocean, seeing manta rays up close while snorkeling in Hawaii is the experience of a lifetime. Or marvel at whales on a Monterey Bay cruise in California. For a thrilling wildlife experience, few things beat the Florida Everglades, where you can spot alligators, dolphins, and birds.
More ways to get in touch with your wild side? See the wild horses and flocks of flamingos on a private safari of the Camargue in Provence. You won’t get closer to deer than on a bike tour through London’s Royal Deer Park, while a horse-ride through the forests near Cordoba in Spain is a thrilling adventure.
You may decide to have new travel experiences in 2021, or save them for your bucket list. Whatever the case, travel safely, and relish the chance for new experiences.