Words by Emma Lavelle
Focus this year’s resolutions around how, where and when you travel to get the most out of your holidays
The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to evaluate the way you explore the world and to set intentions for how you will travel in the year ahead – whether that means booking all of your trips in advance or simply considering changes that you would like to make to the way that you travel. You don’t have to make (or stick to) strict rules (and you can change the way you travel at any time of year, of course), but January is always a great month for looking ahead.
When considering your resolutions, think about what aspects of your current travels you would like to change. Perhaps you’d like to fit more holidays into your year, or you’d like to go away less frequently but on longer trips. Maybe you return home from holidays feeling exhausted and want to slow down the way that you travel. Or you might want to expand the destinations that you visit, to try new experiences and get off the beaten track. Below, we have outlined eight possible resolutions that could enrich the way you travel the world in 2024.
1. Plan a bucket list trip
Whether you have had a certain hotel on your radar for a while or have always wanted to visit a particular location, make a commitment to yourself that you will book at least one bucket list trip this year. Everyone’s travel wish list looks different, but think once-in-a-lifetime, spectacular travel experiences that you’ll remember forever: Watching the Northern Lights in Swedish Lapland, sunbathing on a private island, basing yourself in a luxury safari lodge surrounded by wildlife, or staying within an arm’s reach of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your bucket list adventure doesn’t need to involve travelling halfway across the world, however. It could mean finally booking the idyllic countryside retreat close to home that you’ve been dreaming of for years.
2. Slow down your travels
Adopting a slower pace of travel means letting go of the idea that you have to see and do everything, and lingering over the smaller moments instead. The thought behind slow travel is that you will get to know your destination on a deeper level, and return from your trip feeling rested and relaxed. To embrace slowness, the key is to focus on quality over quantity. Try not to plan too many activities and don’t rush around, instead taking the time to soak up your scenery and live in the moment. Immerse yourself in nature, dine as the locals do, and invest your time in the parts of travelling that you truly love, rather than ticking off tourist hot spots because it feels expected of you.
3. Travel by a different form of transport
It’s hard to book a trip abroad without feeling a stab of guilt regarding your carbon footprint. You don’t have to give up flying all together, but could you occasionally turn your journey into part of your trip? A long scenic train ride, adventurous road trip or overnight voyage by boat prolongs your holiday, and feels much more romantic and comfortable than travelling by plane. Not every destination is easily accessible without flying, but as an example, zipping below the channel on the Eurostar is actually faster than working your way through an airport.
4. Try solo travel
Have you ever travelled on your own? Whether you’re embarking on an epic international trip or a weekend away close to home, try challenging yourself and travelling solo. Not only will you be reaching out of your comfort zone and gaining independence, but you’ll be able to do exactly what you want to do without having to compromise with a travel companion. If you want to lounge by the pool all day or spend all your time gallery hopping, there’s no one to stop you.
5. Get off the beaten track
Over-tourism is becoming a bigger problem in many popular destinations that simply can’t cope with the huge influx of visitors – so why not step off the beaten track and visit alternative spots that are still under the radar? Not only will you be contributing to growing travel economies and helping to relieve numbers in busy locations, but you can also enjoy that smug feeling that you were there first. Think second-cities, rural retreats and countries that are steadily growing their tourism offerings. For example, if you’re travelling to Greece, there are still so many quiet, secluded islands to discover, such as Paros, Syros and Patmos.
6. Make the most of your weekends
Change the way you consider when you travel this year. A holiday doesn’t always have to be a two week jaunt abroad, it can be a short trip that doesn’t involve a long journey. Make the most of your time by enjoying long weekend staycations closer to home – whether that means escaping to a rural location for a couple of nights or travelling to a neighbouring country that is just a short train or car ride away.
7. Step out of your comfort zone
This is the year to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. If you’re used to busy city breaks and relaxing coastal getaways, try a more adventurous holiday such as skiing in the Alps, jungle trekking in Thailand or sailing around the Greek islands. Book a lakefront hotel that offers activities such as kayaking or wild swimming. Go on an African safari, with wildlife literally on your doorstep. Or if adventure isn’t for you, try something new that you like the sound of, such as wine tasting, a golfing holiday or a spa retreat.
8. Upgrade your luggage
Have you been travelling with the same tatty baggage for years? A practical resolution for regular travellers could be to finally get around to upgrading your suitcases and hand luggage, investing in quality bags that will stand the test of time. For stylish suitcases that won’t break the bank, Antler, Away and July are excellent options. If you want something more luxurious, look into Bric’s (an Italian heritage brand that puts a contemporary spin on vintage travel trunks), Tumi (aluminium cases utilising recycled materials that offer global repairs) and Paravel (the world’s first carbon neutral suitcase).
Weekender Set Plus and Aviator100 Carry On Plus in Glacial Blue (recycled vegan leather) by Paravel | Lucy Williams in Mallorca with an Antler set | Clifton Medium in Coral by Antler | Luxury Holdall by Bric’s | The Bigger Carry On, Aluminium Edition in Silver by Away | Daybreak Weekender in Moss by July
Emma Lavelle is a travel, nature and portrait photographer, slow travel and lifestyle writer, and content creator living in the English countryside. Follow Emma on Instagram @fieldandnest for more slow living inspiration.