Whether your typical New Year’s resolution is to get healthy, get organized or get a new hobby, most people use the new year as a moment to reflect on what they value most and what habits they want to change to reach their goals.
Building travel into your annual plans can check a number of resolutions off the list – from getting fit for that upcoming ski trip to realigning the savings budget to afford that dream beach vacation or orchestrating a cultural experience to share with the whole family.
Unfortunately, a large portion of the working population has a tough time prioritizing travel. A study from the U.S. Travel Association (USTA) shows that American workers construct a number of barriers to using their time off, including:
- Concerns about returning to a mountain of work (40 percent)
- Feeling that nobody else can do their work (35 percent)
- Not being able to afford to use their paid leave (33 percent)
“Seeing how often we choose work over travel experiences is a reminder that when it comes to travel, don’t delay,” says Beth Godlin, president, Aon Affinity Travel Practice. “Building smart and safe travel resolutions into your annual plans now, and not putting it off for yet another year, will help you reach your personal goals to maximize a year full of travel adventures, big or small.”
Godlin and the travel team at Aon Affinity, the consumer, association and group program business of Aon plc (NYSE: AON), suggest these five travel resolutions for 2017:
1. Put all your vacation time to good use
A 2015 Harris Interactive poll showed that U.S. workers admit to only using 51 percent of their available vacation days, and 61 percent say they still work when they are away. Find out what’s holding you back from making travel plans, big or small, and resolve to remove those barriers. If budget is keeping you away, check out Lonely Planet’s list of best travel values for 2017.
2. Resolve to say “yes” more often than “maybe someday”
Every trip means an opportunity to reconnect with loved ones, reconnect with yourself or connect with people you’ve never met before. Investing in travel is an investment in your personal education, opening new doors to discover culture, language, cuisine, history in the global classroom. Or, travel closer to home to see your local environs in a whole new way.
3. Spend more time enjoying your trip than planning for it
Americans spend months (even years) and tens of hours visiting websites, reading guidebooks and checking reviews to plan the perfect vacation. The daunting task of planning the experience can tarnish the experience itself. If this sounds like you, connect with a travel agent to help streamline your planning process, or tap into tools such as tripadvisor.com or vayable.com to discover and vet potential travel experiences. Also, resolve to allowing for some unplanned moments and roaming on your adventures.
4. But still prepare for “what if”
A sudden storm or illness can force you to cancel a pre-paid vacation, while a baggage loss or delay can knock your itinerary off course, popping your plans and budget like a balloon. According to the SITA Baggage Report 2016, there were 23.1 million mishandled bags in 2015. Adding travel insurance to your travel plans can help limit your risk of unexpected trip expenses.
5. Be as healthy (or even healthier) on your vacation as you are at home
Planning an active journey can put the wheels in motion for a health and fitness routine that will help you savor your trip to its fullest. Plan to walk more and ride less on your journey, and balance relaxation with exhilaration. Find grocery stores (their delis can be savvy alternatives to fast food), farmers markets or food trucks for a variety of local fare.
“With the right attitude and preparation, travel can become a healthy habit as much as eating a nutritious diet, exercising or keeping organized,” Godlin adds. “Leveraging all the incredible tools, resources and technology now available to travelers makes planning and experiencing those journeys more convenient than ever.”