A Gathering of Experts Suggests Travel as a New Year’s Resolution

When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, some people use them as the proverbial stick instead of the carrot. For many, January starts with things like unrealistic weight loss goals, learning a second language by the end of the month or “never eating candy again.” We think there’s a much better way to self-improve in the new year, and that plan comes wrapped in glossy brochure. Why not make traveling the “carrot” to achieve some of your goals?

Being exposed to sights, cultures and new experiences is a fantastic way to shape awareness of the world – and oneself. It’s also a fun way to learn a second language and to work off some holiday calories.

When traveling, it’s a good idea to have at least the basics of the language. Even if it’s only a few phrases, being able to communicate with the local community is a huge advantage when traveling. People tend to be more hospitable to tourists who are respectful enough to try to speak the language, instead of gesturing wildly.

Traveling to a foreign country is also a great way to self-motivate when it comes to working out. Hitting the pool at the gym is much more fun when it’s an incentive to become a stronger swimmer for learning how to surf or go snorkeling.

And traveling is also an incentive to hit the books. Going to Italy? Now’s a great time to read up on wine or to bone up on art history. Traveling to Mexico? Why not learn about the Aztecs before getting there. Traveling is much more rewarding when a visitor knows some of the history of a country or region.

Many airlines offer winter discounts, so traveling outside of the U.S. doesn’t have to be cost prohibitive. There are even websites that send out alerts for last minute travel deals. So, start that passport application and plan to do a little traveling in 2013.

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