It’s that time of the year again -- when the stale, clichéd New Year’s resolutions start pouring in (lose weight, eat healthier, spend wisely, you know the drill). And as important as all of those ambitions are (and as earnest as you may be when you make them), they're usually a distant memory by the time the new season hits. So this year, why not make a resolution that's a little -- shall we say -- off the beaten path? Of course, since travel is on the brain 24/7 here at the Oyster HQ, our suggestions revolve around hitting the road. With a new year upon us, here are our top travel resolutions for 2017.
To Make the Most of Business Travel
"I am resolved to make the most of my business travel. This last year, I went all the way to the Canary Islands for work (I know!), and I was cursing myself that I didn’t take a few days for myself at the end to lay out on the beach and just watch the waves roll. This year I’m heading to Thailand for work, and I’m determined to tack on a few vacation days to gorge myself on Thai food, explore the temples, and sit on the beach with a good bestseller.” -- Maria Teresa Hart, Editor
To Take My First Solo Trip
"I have a laundry list of travel hopes and dreams for 2017 -- plan more trips that involve the outdoors (inspired by a recent trip I took to the stunning Patagonia), actually unplug while on vacation, and visit Cuba before it gets overrun by tourists. But at the top of that list is the resolution to take my first solo trip. Don't get me wrong -- I love a good travel buddy, but hitting the road solo offers a different kind of meaningful experience -- or so I've heard. It allows you to step out of your comfort zone, indulge in some self-reflection, and strike up conversations and connect with others in a way you might not do so otherwise. Count me in. This is all a roundabout way of saying: I apologize in advance to my boyfriend, friends, and family for the FOMO they'll feel while I'm on this epic journey." -- Alisha Prakash, Editor
To Actually Unplug on Vacation
"My resolution is to actually unplug when I go on vacation. So often when I’m on a trip, I still check my emails and social media accounts, which certainly takes me out of fully experiencing and benefiting from a getaway. Whenever I’m traveling in 2017, I’m going to (try to) limit my Wi-Fi usage to letting my mom know all is well -- that’s nonnegotiable." -- Lara Grant, Associate Editor
To Learn the Local Language When Traveling
"My goal for this year is to always learn at least some of the language everywhere I go. People in the U.S. often don’t have as much opportunity to practice another language as people in Europe, and because we are out of the habit I think a lot of us are embarrassed to even try. I went on a trip to Nicaragua a few years ago where no one I interacted with for an entire week spoke English, and I had to brush up on my Spanish real fast. It was incredibly rewarding -- I grew more confident in my conversational Spanish in that week than I ever did in school. Now I’m not as afraid to whip out some phrases when I’m traveling to Spanish-speaking countries. It really doesn’t take that long to learn basic phrases and sentences in any language, and I’d like to make more of an effort, even in countries where I know none of the language at all beforehand." -- Kelsey Blodget, Senior Executive Editor
To Become More Informed About the Impact of Tourism on Lower-Income Nations
"I resolve to be better informed about the effects of tourism on lower-income nations, and how what’s often billed as development in fact stems from governmental land grabs and even armed displacement. As information is more readily available, it’s less and less excusable to be an uniformed traveler. It’s my hope that the movement toward responsible tourism dovetails with the boom in eco-tourism, and that discussions about it become as engrained in travel culture as sunsets are on travelers’ Instagram accounts." -- Kyle Valenta, Editor
To Pick Up Matchbooks While on the Road
"My big travel resolution for 2017 is super-simple and totally free: I'm going to diligently grab two matchbooks whenever I see them on the road -- one set to use around my apartment, and the other to save and leave untouched. Restaurant and bar matchbooks can be amazing glimpses into a certain time and place. Matchbook design is often surprisingly impactful, considering the small size it has to work with.
Plus, matchbooks are a great way to remember where you’ve been -- places where you ate, drank, heard music, refilled the gas tank (or got the car repaired), camped, or maybe even stayed (although hotels rarely have their own matchbooks anymore). One of my favorites is a wide pink matchbook from a wine bar in Montreal called Pullman. It serves as a better reminder of my time there than the many charcuterie plate shots I snapped with my iPhone." -- Anne Olivia Bauso, Associate Editor