In one short week, when confetti paper and "Auld Lang Syne" fill the air at the stroke of midnight, it will once again be time to welcome a new year and make more life resolutions. Together, let's vow to make 2013 your best travel year yet! Here are some my personal favorite memories and highlights from the last 12 months and my New Year's travel resolutions and tips.
Bon Voyage 2012
I am always nostalgic when I remember my trips to France, and a visit this past August with my daughter ranks as one of my best 2012 travel memories. France always brings a smile to my face and relaxation to my body; I get such a sense of calm when I visit European countries. We had the most wonderful time walking around Paris, enjoying the city lights, sipping coffee at the little cafes and shopping on the fantastic Champs-Élysées.
Though we visited Paris on this last trip, I love all that France has to offer from its cities to wine country and views of the Mediterranean. Then there's the history! Versailles is one of my all-time favorite places. France truly has anything you could ask for from a vacation, whether it's luxury, historic sites or simply lounging by the Seine. I love the relaxing French atmosphere and am happy to spend a day just sharing with fine company a bottle of wine with some cheese and a baguette along the Seine.
While Paris was my favorite 2012 destination, I loved so many of my travel destinations and activities, especially the new adventures I embarked on this year. I had the pleasure of horseback riding on the beach in Turks and Caicos, hiking New Hampshire's Mount Monadnock, renting a ski house with nine girlfriends at Massanutten Resort in Virginia and zip-lining for the first time, visiting The Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia where 22 presidents have stayed, and where I learned to skeet shoot and ballroom dance. My travel adventures have become memories that will remain with me for a lifetime. I would never have tried these amazing activities at home, and that's what I love about traveling. It pushes you out of your comfort zone and into new adventures.
New Year's Travel Resolutions
My number one New Year's travel resolution for 2013 is to just travel, travel, travel! I want to keep my travel bug ignited and continue to get out and try new things. Challenge yourself on your excursions and try a new hobby you would normally not do at home.
I also resolve to take more travel photos. When you undertake a new experience or adventure, you want to make sure to capture the memorable moment. Travel photos are a wonderful way to treasure memories and remind yourself of your brave, fun-loving side. They are a great pick-me-up if you ever feel blue or bored; a snapshot of a time when you pushed yourself, discovered or experienced wonder at something new.
To stick to my 2013 travel resolution, I will plan some of my year's travel ahead of time, but also remain open to new opportunities. It's important to keep some travel spontaneity in your life! As a family, we plan one vacation together each year, and although we may return to the same destination, I always look for a new site to visit or activity to try.
Groupon and LivingSocial offer great travel deals and ideas for new activities and places to visit and stay. JetBlue Getaways is another great tool for all-in deals, activities and ideas for some beautiful destinations. Personal recommendations from friends and family remain wonderful resources to find new places and travel ideas. Even with all the great travel technology we have today, firsthand experience still serves up the best advice.
- Healthy eating and living while on the road. I must admit I have been on somewhat of a health kick lately and now realize even more how important it is to eat and live healthfully. I have a clearer mind, a better mood and overall I feel better about myself, which leads to more confidence and a general sense of well-being. I resolve to take the stairs or visit the gym at the hotel, or take a walk or run at my destination. More and more hotels are starting to provide running, walking or hiking tours and guides for the active traveler. Making time for exercise while on the road pays off in many ways--I sleep better and have more energy on my travels.
- Lend a helping hand. With today's technology people are more efficient than ever before, but that shouldn't stop us from offering a helping hand in-person. I resolve to reach out on the plane or in the airport to someone who may need an extra hand. It's a great feeling to help others and know that you made their day a little easier.
- Volunteer where I travel. I love to volunteer and take along a family member, friend or colleague. It is a great way to make lifetime memories and help those in need. Research volunteer opportunities at your destination before you travel. Google, your company or local government agencies are wonderful resources for scouting volunteer opportunities.
My new destination for 2013? I hope to travel to Vieques, an island off San Juan, Puerto Rico. At night, the water glows with movement, and you can take a boat out and see the waves light up all around you.
So, why wait? Follow my travels on Twitter (@Wingwoman_Tracy) and share your own favorite travel memories from 2012 and your 2013 travel resolutions.