It’s the beginning of a new year and most people use this time to make any number of resolutions from losing weight to quitting smoking. This year, rather than make a promise that I probably won’t keep, I want to try to improve some of my travel habits.
Patience – I know it’s a virtue, but it’s not a quality I possess in large abundance. This can be especially problematic while traveling. It starts at the airport for me, I hate waiting in lines and the security queue is when my patience first starts to falter. I get annoyed at the people who have no idea what they are doing and hold up everyone behind them in the process. This continues on to boarding the plane with the same confused people strolling aimlessly through the cabin. You see where I am going with this.
I need to learn to take a deep breath and just relax. I will get to my destination and there is no reason to be upset. I want to improve this fault not only for myself, but for my partner as well. Stress, exhaustion and even confusion all take a tremendous emotional toll and it follows suit that we feel the need to lash out at someone. Unfortunately, that is usually your travel companion. Rather than let these moments take control, which they have for all of us I think at various times, it is really important to step back and put things in perspective. It’s true that I haven’t slept in 36 hours-no I don’t know what that sign in Czech says-yes we are lost- BUT it’ll be ok. No matter what happens, nothing THAT bad will result, so take a moment to breathe and assess.
Spontaneity – Not surprisingly, I love planning travel but sometimes I tend to go a bit overboard. I think the root of my over-planning stems from a need to maximize my all too limited vacation time. The result though is a definite lack of spontaneity when traveling. This year I am determined to change this; to avoid planning every minute of every trip and instead allow the experiences to define the trip. Looking back at some of our best vacations, the most treasured moments were ones I never considered, let alone planned.
Health – I’m not getting any younger and it’s time I started taking better care of myself, particularly while on the road. There are a few easy steps you can take to improve your healthy travel habits. Food and drink is probably the best way to improve your travel health immediately.
Start out the day well with a healthy, but not too large, breakfast. Many hotels include complimentary breakfasts but that doesn’t mean you should go overboard. Keep it healthy and light and you’ll have enough energy to start your travels without feeling bloated or sluggish. Also be sure to grab some yogurt in the morning. The probiotics in yogurt help regulate our digestive track, which is crucial when visiting foreign countries. I always have yogurt when traveling and (knock on wood) have never had any intestinal troubles.
Hydration is essential for all travelers and it starts onboard the plane. Flying is a dehydrating experience so make sure to stay away from alcohol and instead grab some water or juice from the beverage cart. If you’re on a long haul flight, make sure you have a glass of water every hour or so.
While sightseeing, also be sure to pack enough water or Gatorade in your daypack. Even if it’s not particularly hot outside, if you are on a busy travel schedule you’re going to become dehydrated faster and having water on hand will help keep you healthy and active.
Pushing my comfort zone – It’s easy to travel to the same places, do the same things and enjoy the same experiences. For me travel is about exploration and education; I learn so much from every trip I take. Earlier this year I traveled outside of my comfort zone by visiting the Middle East. Of course it was Israel and frankly was not that risky. I didn’t don a flak jacket à la Anderson Cooper and there was no bullet dodging. What the trip did accomplish though was to push me beyond my comfort zone, extending my personal travel envelope. While not for everyone, this experience of traveling beyond our own personal boundaries is what helps us grow the most.
Resolutions should be realistic and achievable, and I think I’ve struck the right chord with this list. Have you made an New Year’s travel resolutions? What are they?