Tuesday, January 05, 2010

New Year’s Travel Resolutions

The rightly famous and ubiquitous Rick Steves recently posted his 10 New Year’s Travel Resolutions for 2010. Rick’s list (condensed) is:

• Take my last glass of wine away from the restaurant and enjoy it under the stars.
• Stretch 10 minutes a day.
• Eat at the counter in market eateries to [experience] all the local action.
• Order more adventurously to delve more deeply into regional cuisine.
• Drink more – and work less – late at night.
• Take time to talk with more people.
• Refuse to let small-minded victims of 24/7 news shrink my worldview.
• Buy clothes on the road and wear them.
• Take more photos with my tripod.
• Make music a bigger part of my travels.
• Embrace technology more vigorously.

We really like Rick’s #8 and 9, so will start OUR list with our variations on those two resolutions of his:

  • Use a tripod a lot more frequently. Always take the tripod with us.
  • Buy local clothes (and shoes!); wear them; and if we don’t want to return home with those clothes (or even ones we brought), donate them to some local charity.
  • Plan ahead more (frequent-flyer trips, reward stays, timeshare trades), while at the same time being more spontaneous on the road.
  • If we can get there domestically by driving no more than a day, drive instead of fly. (For us, even a short flight represents 2 hours to the airport; arriving 2-3 hours before our flight for security; 2 hours for the flight itself; 1 hour for baggage claim; 1/2 hour plus to gather the rental car; and at least 1/2 hour from airport to town or our lodging. That’s 8-9 hours minimum without delays, traffic, etc. A complete day any way you look at it. And we can take a lot more crap on a driving trip; as well as most likely being more affordable.)
  • Buy some local artwork – no matter how small or inexpensive – on every trip.
  • Revise our leisure travel windows into two general timeframes: 5-6 days (domestic trips, mostly driving); 9-10 days (domestic flying; or international trips to destinations where we can actually experience the place in that amount of time). Our other future timeframe is the 2- to 3-month trip, when we have the time, ability, and inclination to truly “live” in a country/place to experience the fullness of it. Of course, those travels would be more for our “retirement” years, but it’s worth considering and on our radar screens.
  • Keep a food and wine diary of every meal, bottle, bite on every trip.
  • Write on the road. Travel journaling; writing projects we’re working on. Don’t stop doing the creative things that motivate and reward us at home, just because we’re traveling and feel we “don’t have the time.”