On She Goes

Ring In the New Year With Travel Goals

It’s New Year’s resolution time, and it’s your big chance to get away from it all.

Amy Lam
Amy Lam
January 2, 2018
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The start of the new year can be a great time to reset, revisit, and renew your travel goals for the next 365 days and beyond. New year’s resolution, anyone? Don’t mean to sound too woo-woo, but there’s something so refreshing about opening up a brand-new planner to see all those blank pages of possibilities. It might be a city you’ve been wanting to visit that’s just across the border in another state, or you’ve been dreaming of eating your favorite dish from its country of origin—now’s the time to think about how to make those travel goals into actual itineraries and start planning. Whether near or far, it can feel daunting and stressful to sit down and book these trips, so take a deep breath, and allow my Virgo self to help you go after those travel goals.

Looking at the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan, Mexico.
photo by Albert Lam

Be a practical dreamer
Maybe it’s an oxymoron to dream practically, but it’s also a way to set realistic goals. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have larger-than-life travel dreams; it’ll just take some careful planning. If it’s unrealistic for you to travel across the globe at this time, you can find alternative trips that satisfy some of that wanderlust.

If you dream of hiking the Annapurna Circuit, maybe you can check out multiday hikes that are nearby to get your fix of the outdoors. You’ve finally figured out an itinerary for your perfect European backpacking trip but can’t get an entire month off from your job. So pick a couple of your must-visit cities for this first trip before revisiting them when you return for the longer tour. This isn’t a consolation prize; you’re just prepping for the real thing when it’s more feasible to make the trip of a lifetime.

After hours in Barrio Chino, or Chinatown, in Mexico City.
photo by Amy Lam

YOLO on a budget
We’re in a world of instant gratification, and sometimes that can be to the detriment of your bank account and credit score. Traveling within your budget forces you to prioritize what’s important to you, but it also frees you up to enjoy yourself more because you’re not worried about how you’ll pay for it. And it doesn’t have to be an either/or situation; you can plan a trip where you save by staying in hostels most of the time and then splurge on the last few nights as a treat to yourself—but all within your budget. As you’re thinking about the year ahead and your travel goals, let yourself think big and check your budget to see what’s possible. You might have to save and skimp in other parts of your life and hunt for flight and hotel deals, but it’ll be worth it when you know that you did it within your financial means.

The Jan Martense Schenck House in the Brooklyn Museum.
photo courtesy of Amy Lam

Don’t read the comments
This might be an odd tip to include in this piece, but when we’re talking about setting intentions and goals, we can’t forget the haters in our lives who go out of their way to remind us that we can’t. Even if it comes from a place of good intentions, like fear for our safety—especially as women of color—it can feel like we’re being undermined, as if we can’t take care of ourselves. There may be folks who will tell you that you simply can’t make it to your dream destination “just because,” and it’s important to ignore this negative energy. It’s one thing to be unable to take a trip—from lack of vacation days to not having the funds—but it’s something else to let someone’s bad vibes discourage you from living your best travel life.