SUSTAINABILITY

20 Travel Resolutions to Try to Travel More & Make a Difference

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Looking to make some new travel resolutions? Here are 20 travel resolutions to get you traveling more and make a difference while doing so!

It’s a new year and a new decade and the roaring 20s are back! I just recently published my 2019 year in review and have been reflecting and planning for the future. Just like it’s the first year I wrote a yearly recap, I’m trying something else new by writing this post on travel resolutions that anyone and everyone can make.

20 Travel Resolutions to Try RIGHT NOW to Travel More & Make a Difference

1. Spend More Time in Nature

The places I feel most alive and most free end up being in nature whether in the woods, on a mountain, or in the ocean. As with most people, the things I love ended up being the things that get neglected a lot for fear of missing out any time to get work done.

I’m personally going to focus on spending more time in nature this year – more hiking, more camping, more kayaking, more diving, more backpacking, and whatever else comes up.

While you’re there, please respect nature. Use common sense. Follow the park’s rules. Don’t litter. Pick up trash even if it’s not yours.

belfast to giants causeway

2. Actually Use Your Vacation Days

Do you have vacation days that you don’t actually use or you tend to use them just to take random days off work [cough cough – looking at my boyfriend right now]?

Make sure to take full advantage of your vacation days and take a trip – you’re worth it!

Also, start planning trips around holidays to expand a trip’s length while using fewer vacation days. I know Americans don’t get nearly as many vacation days like many other countries, but we have to do the best with what we’ve got! Additionally, I know more and more companies that are doing the “unlimited” vacation time. I’m sure there would actually be a limit if someone was abusing this, but don’t be afraid to actually use vacation days if your company does this.

3. Learn A New Language

I wish I had taken this more seriously in school. Now, I desperately want to learn new languages but it seems to always get put on the back burner. Learning a new language opens up so many possibilities. You can travel to a new country and have more in-depth experiences due to being able to communicate with the locals and more. If you become fluent, this could also possibly open up new job opportunities.

I personally am trying to learn Russian. For whatever reason, I’m a tad obsessed with everything Russian and am looking forward to one day traveling there in-depth and being able to speak the language will definitely help with that.

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4. Travel Solo

One of the best travel resolutions you can make is the decision to travel solo. Whether it’s close to home or all the way across the world, traveling solo can truly change your life. If you’re still apprehensive, check out these travel solo quotes to give you some more inspiration.

5. Explore Locally More

It might seem kind of silly to see someone say not to travel on a post about travel resolutions. However, I think we all get a little caught up in thinking everywhere else is so exciting and wherever we’re from is absolutely boring. I’ve definitely been there. I never really got the appeal of Nashville until I moved away and now I love it and talk about it all the time.

travel resolutions

6. Seek out Epic Ethical Animal Experiences

Almost everyone will say how much they love animals. This usually means you really, really want to see animals when you travel, right? I get it. I’m the same way. This means I used to visit zoos and my bucket list was full of items such as hold a koala bear, ride an elephant, swim with dolphins and more. I had no idea the atrocities that went on behind the scenes for most animal attractions.

There are many ways to experience animals while not hurting or exploiting them including visiting ethical animal sanctuaries, volunteering for a reputable organization, visiting places where the animals live in the wild. Plus, when you see animals where they’re intended to be – it’s so much more magical.

travel resolutions

7. Try Something Truly Terrifying

What scares you? Whatever it is, make it one of your travel resolutions to try it. Mine was scuba diving and 2019 was the year I tried it, overcame it, and fell passionately in love with something new. Maybe yours is skydiving, traveling solo, or a multi-day backpacking trip.

8. Travel Lightly

I’ve been traveling a carry on only for quite a while now and I love it. There a lot of reasons why this is beneficial including not having to keep up with a lot of bags, you can move around a new place easier, it saves you money, it’s more environmentally friendly since it decreases the amount of weight on a plane, and more. Here’s everything I pack in my carry on bag.

carry on only packing list

9. Pack a Zero Waste Hygiene Kit

You may not be completely zero waste, but packing a zero-waste hygiene kit is fairly easy, it usually eliminates most liquids which means you don’t have to worry about carry on limits or liquids spilling all over your bags and it’s plastic-free.

It also usually saves you money eliminating disposable razors, feminine hygiene products and things like that.

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zero waste travel

10. Give More Popular Destinations a Break

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying to never travel to the more popular tourist destinations. They’re popular for a reason and it’s not right to tell people they can’t travel somewhere. Everyone deserves to see things. However, it is much more sustainable – environmentally and socially – to spread out our travels.

Some great ways to do this include visiting underrated travel destinations, visiting tourist destinations in the shoulder [or off] season, and making more sustainable and ethical choices when you do visit the more popular destinations.

11. Change Your Flying Habits

Another thing that I’m not saying to give up completely, but possibly change somewhat. I’m still not exactly where I sit with this in general. I don’t think stopping flying altogether is the answer as it cuts off countries that heavily rely on tourism money.

Frequent fliers can try to minimize their footprint by choosing direct flights, choosing routes that fly newer aircraft, fly economy, choosing other travel methods if possible, and offset carbon emissions.

travel resolutions

12. Ditch Single-Use Plastic

Single-use plastic isn’t as difficult and overwhelming as it may seem to give up. Single-use plastic is absolutely terrible for the environment and, sadly, not nearly as much of it is recycled like we have been led to believe.

Traveling [or just using at home] with just a few items makes a huge difference:

  • Reusable water bottle
  • Reusable coffee cup
  • Bamboo silverware

See this post about 10 ways to ditch single-use plastic whether at home or on the road.

13. Say No to Cruel Traditions

Tradition does not equate ethical. I respect cultures and traditions but not at the expense of animals or humans [or the environment for that matter].

One of the best examples of this [and one that’s a little near and dear to my heasrt] is the Kentucky Derby in Lousiville. It’s a tradition – a city that revolves around it – but the Kentucky Derby is a cruel and barbaric tradition that needs to be ended.

Many cultures’ traditions [and the US is responsible too] harm animals, humans, and the world. I’ll never support that.

14. Take a Sustainable Tour

If you really enjoy taking tours when you visit new places then one of the easiest travel resolutions is to make sure they’re socially sustainable meaning they’re run by locals, support local and ethical businesses, and so on. A few great examples of global sustainable tour companies include Intrepid Travel and Uncruise Adventures.

vegan in nepal

15. Read Destination-Focused Books Before Traveling

If you’re looking for more immersive [and thus, sustainable] travel, then learning a bit about your destination and the culture before traveling there is a great way to do so. I love reading destination-focused books – fiction and nonfiction.

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16. Adopt a Vegan [Plant-Based] Diet

I’ve been vegan for almost four years now and it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done. My only regret, as you’ll many vegans say, is that I didn’t do it sooner. There are a million reasons why you should adopt a vegan diet. Being vegan is the best thing an individual can do to make an environmental difference.

If we want to continue to enjoy the world and keep traveling, we all really have to take better care of it and it’s creatures. Animal agriculture tops the board for contributions towards ocean dead zones, habitat destruction, species extinction, wildfires, rainforest destruction and more.

Traveling while vegan is very possible anywhere you go and most places it is downright easy. You can see all my vegan destination guides to help you plan an upcoming trip.

travel resolutions

17. Use Public Transportation

Public transportation is good for a variety of reasons including:

  • More environmentally friendly
  • Less expensive
  • Feel more like a local

When I’m traveling to a new city, my first preference is always walking. When that’s not possible, public transportation for sure – such as train, bus, subway, and so on. In cities where neither is really possible, I opt for Uber or Lyft, or my own car.

travel resolutions

18. Get Your Passport

Despite growth over recent years, less than 50% of Americans have their passports. While I’m a firm advocate for traveling within your own country, there is a huge, wide world to explore. Traveling and experiencing new cultures opens a person’s mind, is important for bridging gaps between people and expands your horizons.

19. Get a Great Travel Rewards Credit Card

One way to travel more is to break into travel hacking by using credit cards. You don’t want to just use any credit cards though and you don’t want to use them recklessly. There are some seriously get travel rewards credit cards though that will have you on your way to traveling for free.

20. Take Part in a Clean-Up Activity While Traveling

I know you work hard for your time off so why on earth would you spend it cleaning up someone else’s trash? It’s actually highly rewarding though, is a great way to meet new people, and you still get to see something new as these clean-ups are usually hikes, paddles [kayaks] and such. I did a clean-up hike with Keep Nature Wild when I was in Mesa, Arizona and it was fantastic!

things to do in mesa arizona

PLANNING A TRIP?

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Ashley Hubbard is a blogger and freelance writer based in Nashville, Tennessee focusing on sustainability, travel, veganism, mental health, and more. Passionate about animal rights, sustainable travel, and social impact, she seeks out ethical experiences whether at home or on the road. She shares these experiences on her website, wild-hearted.com.

5 Comments

  1. Sarah

    January 20, 2020 at 2:48 PM

    I love these and (over the years) have been trying to adopt most of them myself. Last year was really the year I reconnected with nature (thanks EBC lol), and I’m going to try to continue that in my travel plans this year. I always end up visiting cities even though nature is where I feel most renewed, so that’s something I’m going to remind myself of every time I plan a trip.

  2. Bell

    January 20, 2020 at 5:44 PM

    These are some super practical and easy to implement tips! We always carry reusable water bottles and I’m honestly surprised at how few people know you can take these through security when flying and fill up on the other side! If we all did even a few things what a HUGE difference it would make!

  3. Juliann

    January 24, 2020 at 6:31 AM

    These are great tips, Ashley! I spent a lot more time in nature on my recent trips to the Baltic states and US parks and absolutely loved it. I always try to support local businesses when I travel, and go to less popular destinations. All of your tips really inspired me to think about the types of things I’ll do on my upcoming trips.

  4. Jenn and Ed Coleman

    January 24, 2020 at 10:17 PM

    I love the suggestion to travel locally. There are so many people who don’t even visit the cool stuff in their city. When Jenn and I move someplace new, we devour everything there is to do there. Pretty soon, we’re telling locals cool stuff about their city they have never even heard of.

  5. Eileen Cotter

    January 27, 2020 at 10:31 AM

    Amazing list! I just switched over to a shampoo bar and other more sustainable toiletries – it’s tough to not collect all those cute little shampoo bottles but it’s so, so much better. Also love the travel local idea and using your vaycay days to take a REAL trip! All awesome tips.

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