The world always seemed much bigger when I started travel writing, and the editors would always tell me that the places I wanted to write about were too exotic. There was a time when people considered Australia and South Africa just too far away. Now there are plenty of non-stop flights to just about anywhere you want to go.
Today’s American is far more willing to travel and be more adventurous, and that means more than just how far away they go. There has been a rise in what is called experiential travel, which is when one goes on vacation to do something and not just relax on the beach. There’s a lot more culinary travel, active travel, aromatherapy travel (lavender oil is especially awesome for this), and wildlife travel than ever. However, there are still only 365 days in a year and you still have to stick to a budget. So here are some New Year’s Resolutions every traveler should make.
Try a Safari
If you’ve never been on safari then you’re seriously missing out. There are far too many people who feel that a safari won’t be all that impressive until they really try it for themselves. I feel there’s no one who wouldn’t actually enjoy a safari. The perfect safari is so…well, perfect that it’s hard to even imagine it. You need to actually go for yourself. Even if you’ve already been on safari before, you need to go again but this time go somewhere else and see different animals. Go to India and see the tigers, or go to Manitoba and see the polar bears. There are gorillas to be found in Rwanda. Find yourself a great safari specialist and enjoy the trip of a lifetime.
Go on an Active Vacation
You’re also missing out if you’ve never been on a hiking, walking, or water sport trip while renting a houseboat. These vacations are perfect for exercising and burning calories while still enjoying the decadence of a regular vacation, including all of the great food. An active vacation just gives you a better way to take in your destination and see a side of it you might have missed otherwise. The concept of the guided bike trip was invented around 50 years ago by Butterfield and Robinson. Their advice was that you should slow down and see the world. These kinds of active vacations can be enjoyed all around the world and are only becoming more popular.
Try a Cooking Class
Many hotels around the world are offering cooking classes to their guests and these classes add something unique to your trip. You’ll literally taste the memories of your time in another country for years when you learn how to cook the food of your temporary host nation. The Ritz Paris recently reopened their doors and with it their incredible school and three demo kitchens. They offer a range of daily classes. There is also the Anantara hotel chain in Asia that offers Spice Spoons immersion cooking schools. Guests staying at the Peninsula can enjoy the Peninsula Academy. There are cooking programs all around the world. If your hotel doesn’t offer cooking classes, then why not find a nice, independent cooking class? They can be found in New York, Santa Fe, Florence, Paris, and just about everywhere in-between.
Use a Travel Agent
There’s nothing wrong with using a travel agent. There are far too many travelers who just refuse to use them. If you’re going your own way then you’ll be staying at a bad hotel in a terrible place. You’ll be paying far too much and miss out on everything. You’ll get screwed over by cancelled or delayed flights. There is a better way. If you want your vacations to be better, and possibly even cost a lot less, then you should start using a travel agent. They make just about everything to do with your holiday better.
Take Advantage of the Strong Dollar
The dollar has never been stronger and, if you’re someone who doesn’t usually travel outside of American soil, there’s never been a better time to do it. The exchange rate is in your favor. Mexico and Canada are pretty easy places to get to from the USA, and Mexico is actually coming out of their strongest year for US tourism ever. While these two countries are great, every country is great for an American, particularly the Euro Zone and the UK. Now is the day to take that international holiday you’ve been telling yourself you’ll have some day.
Just a word of warning though. While Americans are welcomed in most places, we’d have to recommend not going to Cuba just yet. Most people are telling you that now is the time to go because it’s never been easier. This isn’t really a good enough reason to go as the infrastructure just isn’t ready for tourists yet. There’s a great amount to see and do in Cuba, but most of what’s on offer can be found in other Caribbean destinations. There will come a time for Cuba, but it’s not just yet. Head on safari first and have a travel agent put together a great Cuba trip.