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8 Top Travel Resolutions for 2018

Expert-endorsed ideas, tips and inspiration for reaching your globetrotting goals this year.

U.S. News & World Report

8 Top Travel Resolutions for 2018

Tourist hiking in Torres del Paine National Park, Magallanes Region, Chile, South America.

Experts weigh in on popular travel goals and dreams for the new year – and offer smart hacks for achieving them in 2018.(Getty Images)

Self-improvement is often cited as the main reason Americans make resolutions at the start of the each calendar year. For travelers seeking new experiences, resolutions often include pursuing more meaningful and immersive activities while crisscrossing the globe. Visiting remote villages, castle-hopping throughout Europe or tasting innovative cuisine at a local food festival are just a few outside-the-box ideas to get you started. If you're looking to embark on exciting adventures, broaden your perspective and travel smarter in 2018, bookmark these eight expert-approved resolutions for more enriching vacation experiences.

Get Off the Beaten Path

Carve out some time on your next city break to see some of the surrounding countryside or an off-the-beaten-track neighborhood. Henrik Muehle, general manager of the Flemings Mayfair hotel in London, suggests playing a round of golf in the country or enjoying dinner in a non-touristy local area, highlighting Ziani, an Italian restaurant, as a hidden gem in London. Another perk of exploring beyond major cities and escaping to the countryside is the chance to check out interesting attractions and dodge long wait times (and heavy tourist crowds).

Take a Leisurely Pace

There's a natural tendency to want to see everything when you travel to a new place. Neil Weidberg, president of travel outfitter Heritage Tours, advises people to move more slowly while touring. For example, take the time to listen to a private storyteller in Marrakech, Morocco, and learn about his life in a rural mountain community, rather than simply spending all your time getting lost in the colorful Medina. Visit a semi-isolated tribal community in Madagascar and see the lemurs. Travel to Israel and go bird-watching and hiking in the lush Hula Valley. Taking time to slow down and relax can help you easily adjust your internal body clock, and ultimately affords you the opportunity to do and see more, and take advantage of greater cultural immersion and connectivity.

Embrace Sustainable Travel

Betsy O'Rourke, chief marketing officer for Xanterra Parks & Resorts, recommends striving to incorporate sustainable business practices into your travels. Always pack refillable water bottles and fill them after going through airport security to stay healthy and help keep plastic out of landfills. Also consider bringing protein powder as a backup for a quick meal. Just add water and it's very light to carry in a Ziploc bag and takes up little space. If you want to plan a sustainable getaway, check out some of the eco-friendly lodges and eco-tours that are becoming more readily available in top destinations around the world.

Unplug From Digital Devices and Social Media

Cellphones and iPads have become essential components of travel. However, Andy Levine, founder of international cycling and adventure travel company DuVine, thinks travelers should resolve to unplug more often from social media platforms to engage in conversation on trains and in cafes. And Chris Cameron, the guest relations manager at The Colony Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida, believes that electronic devices can disengage us from all human contact. His suggested resolution for travelers is collecting all personal electronics, iPhones, iPads, iPods and laptops and locking them in a hotel room safe for a complete 24 hours. He also challenges hotel concierges to come up with one-on-one activities to encourage gadget-free time for the guests they serve.

Discover New Places Near and Far

The joys associated with traveling to new locations are very important to Ian Kynor, director of sales at student-focused travel company STA Travel. Kynor's advice is to experience at least two unfamiliar places in 2018, such as a national park or a new city or country. Tiffany Harrison, the U.S. marketing manager at STA Travel, also advises embracing the unexpected and making the most of a new journey. While there's something to be said for stepping outside of your comfort zone and traveling abroad to far-off locations, Michael Holtz, CEO and founder of the travel agency SmartFlyer, proposes spending more time visiting North American locales. Charleston tops his list because there has been so much buzz and new development in the city.

Get Back to Nature

Nature-centered vacations can take you to some of the most pristine places in the world, from Torres Del Paine National Park in Chile to the Waitomo Glowworm Caves in New Zealand. The U.S. also has its fair share of magnificent sites. Paul Ridguard, general Manager of Executive Hotel Le Soleil New York, recommends traveling to the Adirondacks in upstate New York to see some of the country's most striking mountains. Zip line in the mountains and embark on a whitewater rafting trip in order to experience a few shots of adrenaline. And if you're planning an urban break, make sure to carve out some time in nature, removed from the city hustle. In New York City, for example, take a respite in the Botanical Gardens in the Bronx, a stunning 250-acre National Historic Landmark, or enjoy a peaceful stroll in Central Park.

Visit More Historical Sites

From Stone Age cave paintings to Olympic villages, traveling to historic places can offer awe-inspiring experiences. Marie Voyer, the concierge at the Auberge Saint-Antoine in Quebec City, suggests traveling to Normandy, France, to taste the finest ciders, explore thousand-year-old abbeys and walk along the beaches that bore witness to courage, resilience and renewal. Want someone to do all the planning for you? Smithsonian Journeys, the Smithsonian Institution's worldwide travel program, offers cultural and enrichment experiences on all seven continents.

Exercise More Compassion and Kindness

Travel can bring out the best – and worst – in people. Rushing through airports, pushing through crowded streets or competing for a cab can take a toll on even the most patient traveler. As a result, tempers can flare at a moment's notice. So, no matter where you're headed, make sure to be a courteous and conscientious traveler. Smile at strangers, tip your doorman, tell your waiter how much you appreciated the service and resolve to not let the unexpected ruin your day.

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About En Route

Practical advice on the art of traveling smarter with tips, tricks and intel from En Route's panel of experts.

Contributors have experience in areas ranging from family travel, adventure travel, experiential travel and budget travel to hotels, cruises and travel rewards and include Amy Whitley, Claire Volkman, Holly Johnson, Marsha Dubrow, Lyn Mettler, Sery Kim, Kyle McCarthy, Erica Lamberg, Jess Moss, Sheryl Nance-Nash, Sherry Laskin, Katie Jackson, Erin Gifford, Roger Sands, Steve Larese, Gwen Pratesi, Erin Block, Dave Parfitt, Kacey Mya, Kimberly Wilson, Susan Portnoy, Donna Tabbert Long and Kitty Bean Yancey.

Edited by Liz Weiss.

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