To make your resolution-making easy, here’s a list to get you started. Pick one (or two or three) and make your 2018 vacation one the whole family will remember for all the right reasons.
Resolution No. 1: In 2018, I’ll try something new.
A vacation is a great time to try something new. On past vacations, I discovered I enjoy kayaking through marshland and hiking in state parks. I took a class to learn how to wakeboard (it’s hard, but I did it), stand-up paddleboard (it’s not nearly as hard as it looks) and ride a Segway (that’s only hard if you overthink it). Create memories as you discover things you never knew you could do.
Something new doesn’t have to be physically demanding. Maybe you’ve never held a kangaroo or tried your hand at geocaching.
See what’s available where you’re going and step outside your comfort zone — at least a little.
Resolution No. 2: In 2018, I’ll eat local.
One of the best ways to learn about a culture is to eat its food. Even here in the United States, regional differences affect the cuisine. When you eat local, you get to experience the food of the region — like shrimp and grits in the South.
Food inspired by the destination gives you a better sense of the culture. A great way to experience the food of a destination is to explore a food trail. A food trail is a list of restaurants (sometimes grocery stores or farmers markets) centered around a particular cuisine. Who wouldn’t love the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Key Lime Pie Trail?
Finally, when you eat local, you support the community where you eat. All around, eating local is a great resolution — at home and on vacation.
Resolution No. 3: In 2018, I’ll engage face to face.
A friend of mine posted a photo on Facebook recently of Bryant Park in New York City. There were a few people skating at the outdoor ice rink. The rest were staring at their cell phone screens. I’m not knocking New Yorkers — you’ll see it everywhere. But especially during vacation, make the choice to turn the cell phones off (or at least only use them as cameras) and engage with your family. What better time is there to reconnect with those you love most?
One easy way to do this is to designate cell phone free time each day. Everyone — that includes Mom and Dad — turns off their phones and puts them away during that time. See what happens when there’s no phone to turn to!
Resolution No. 4: In 2018, I’ll actually take a vacation.
If it’s been a while since your last vacation, maybe resolve simply to take one this year. To improve the chances that you’ll actually go, take these steps now:
- Look at the family calendar and find a spot (at least four days, but more if you can) that has nothing scheduled. Then write VACATION in that space. In pen if you have to!
- Request the time off at work. Those who request early are more likely to get the days they want.
- Decide how much to spend on vacation. If you’ve never planned for vacation before, use this planning tool.
- Check for deals and savings! Many destinations, like Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, offer vacation deals. Sometimes you’ll find rental specials. Other times you’ll find vacation packages that include activities or dining. Check out the deals to find savings wherever you go.
- Finally, start saving! Even if it’s just a few dollars each paycheck, save up for vacation. It’s a lot more fun when you have the money to pay for it before you go. Some banks offer special savings accounts for vacation funds. Or open an online savings account that earns interest and start saving that way.
As you look ahead to the new year, make a resolution you’ll actually enjoy keeping. Resolve to take a vacation. Resolve to make it different. Resolve to make it memorable. And then . . . have fun! After all, that’s what vacation is all about.