How’s your New Year resolution coming along? By now, many people have given up and gone back to normal habits. If you’re still going strong, good for you! Don’t give up!
There are a lot of things that can make it hard for us to stick to our New Year resolutions, including travel. Travel is a major disruption to your day-to-day schedule. The break in routine can make it tough to sustain the positive changes you’ve made. However, it’s not impossible to stick to your resolutions. How do you stay strong while out of town? Here are a few ideas for each of the top New Year’s resolutions!
1 Get in Shape
Getting in shape is generally the top New Year’s resolution. No wonder! With the holidays behind us, all we can think about is all the pie and cookie dough we ate over the last two months. Whether you want to lose weight, exercise four days a week, or achieve a one-year daily running streak, it can be hard to keep resolutions when travel comes into the picture!
For one thing, you might not have the equipment you’re used to. You can’t exactly pack weights in your suitcase! Fortunately, you can find alternatives. You can get travel weights, which are water-inflatable. Or, you can download a few exercise videos that use your favorite body-weight exercises. You can do these anywhere, from your hotel room to a truck stop! Even better, find a hotel with a gym so you can do your usual routine.
If you enjoy working out by running, playing soccer, or shooting hoops, finding a place to do your thing can be tough. If you’re not familiar with the area, join a local Facebook group to see what indoor soccer teams or ultimate Frisbee clubs might be willing to host you for a week. If you’re a runner, get online and map out your run. Save it to your phone so you will be prepared for an awesome run before you even leave home!
Of course, you can plan an active vacation to be sure you have built-in workouts. Hiking, skiing, white water rafting and other outdoor activities are great fun as well as a chance to burn off calories and work those muscles. Even choosing to walk instead of taking a taxi or Uber everywhere can help keep you on track to meet your New Year’s health goals.
Be sure to plan time to work out. It can be easy to fill your time with tours or business meetings, leaving no time for a workout. Make the time! Plan to get up early or skip a cocktail hour, if you have to.
2 Save money
If you’re traveling, chances are your grand plans of saving money just flew away. Travel can be expensive, but there’s good news — if you do it right, you will be able to stay on top of expenses and stick with your budget.
There are a lot of ways to pare down your travel expenses. First, watch what you eat and drink. Skip the alcohol. Even sodas can add 10% or more to the bill. Buy food at the grocery store rather than eating out for every meal. Snacks, in particular, are a lot cheaper from the grocery store than out of a vending machine. If your hotel offers a free breakfast, take advantage of it before heading out for the day. It can save a ton of money, especially for families.
Also, opt for cheaper accommodations. Sure, that budget motel doesn’t have an infinity pool, but it also doesn’t have a huge bill. For families and groups, you may get a much better deal by renting a vacation home through Airbnb or Homeaway.com. A whole house will cost you less than a couple hotel rooms.
Finally, plan your spending ahead of time. How much can you allocate to your travels? Don’t plan tons of pricey adventures or go shopping in the ritzy district, if it’s going to destroy your budget. It’s always best to have your vacation budget actually in the bank, but, let’s be honest, we usually end up putting at least some of the expenses on credit. Check out the best credit cards for travel. Even if you are using credit cards, give yourself a hard limit. You don’t want to be paying for that long Las Vegas weekend for the next three years. Know your budget, and stick to it!
3 Spend more time with loved ones
Travel can actually help you achieve this New Year’s resolution! When you go on trips, bring your friends or family with you. Renting a cabin for your siblings and their kids at a mountain retreat or meeting your far-flung friends for a city adventure gives you time to reconnect without the stress of playing host. If you are sharing a vacation rental, splitting the costs helps you keep to Resolution #2.
You can also plan trips around visiting faraway friends and extended family. Remember that you don’t have to spend all of your time with family. If you plan a vacation within easy driving distance of family, you can take a day or two to catch up with them while still enjoying your own, separate time.
Sometimes, travel and family don’t go together well. If you often travel for work, it might seem like you’re always having to leave the people you love. If this is the case, maybe a routine change could help. Fly instead of driving to make the trip go faster. Plan daily Skype calls and be sure to send many text messages just to say you care. If you can, see if your company will allow you bring your family along to a few of your trips!
4 Learn a language or instrument
Many people start out the New Year with a brand-new guitar or a Spanish class registration. If you want to add to your skill set this year, good for you! Self-improvement and lifelong learning are important.
Unfortunately, they’re also easily interrupted by travel. Just between you and me, I had a 20-day Portuguese practice streak on Duolingo, until last weekend when I took a trip across the state. I get it! It’s hard to stick to a learning schedule when you’re on the go.
They key with learning anything is consistency. If you can, bring your tools with you. Maybe you can’t bring your piano on the airplane, but you can bring a piano theory workbook to hone your sight-reading skills. Your trip might make it hard for you to spend a full hour studying French, but a ten-minute study session is better than nothing! Just do what you can, and don’t get discouraged. Find alternative ways to improve, no matter where you go.
5 Live healthier
Whether you’re trying to quit smoking, drink less, or get more sleep, traveling certainly doesn’t help much. There’s too much stress to want to skip your cigarette, too many interesting bars to want to stay away, and too much to do for you to want to hit the sack early.
You know it will be worth it, but it’s tough! This takes a whole lot of determination — plus a little accountability. Decide in advance what you’ll be doing. How many cigarettes are you allowed this week? How many drinks? How many hours will you spend in bed? Plan it out, write it down, and commit to it. If you share your plans with a friend, you’ll be even more likely to succeed!
Did we cover your New Year’s resolution? If not, post it in the comments! Other readers may have some great ideas to help you keep your resolutions as you travel. Share your ideas with them, as well!