Lonely Planet Writer

US New Year's travel resolutions

Looking for some good New Year’s resolutions, but having a hard time coming up with your own? Why not borrow one of ours and see how it fits? Take your pick from the following list of 11 travel resolutions stolen from the private lists of Lonely Planet's US staff:

I resolve to...

1. Unplug. To put my cell phone down, leave the iPod, iPad, and iWhatever at home, and take a hike. In nature. Maybe with some friends. Because it's fun, not because it'll make a killer blog post.

2. Send a post card, write a letter. Texts, emails, and tweets are fine, but I'm going to buy a postcard or use that hotel stationery that nobody seems to use anymore, get a stamp, write with actual ink, and send one off to Uncle Cliff. I've never seen Uncle Cliff stick a tweet to his fridge door, but he's going to love this postcard.


3. Get out of the hotel. I'll take advantage of my next business trip and see what the city has to offer. It's easy to get a bad impression of a place if all you see is a tacky duvet and a continental breakfast at the airport inn. Many of the US's top underrated cities are conference and business travel destinations, so if the conference is dragging, I'm taking off the tie and hitting the town

4. Stop thinking of Canada as the USA's 51st state – you know, the one with moose, maple syrup and mounties where everyone talks like the guys from Strange Brew. Canada has National Parks that go toe-to-toe with the parks of the US, train journeys, polar bears, French-speaking cities, rugged coastlines, glaciers, big cities with bustling art and food movements, and it's time I checked it all out.

5. Build up vacation days at work, and actually use them to go somewhere. No, really. No "staycations": I'm hitting the road and I'm coming back with stories.

6. Visit the Gulf Coast. I may not be able to help cleanup an oil spill like Kevin Costner, but I can help the locals by staying in their hotels and eating in their restaurants. Plus the white sand beaches of the Florida panhandle are some of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the US.

7. Expand my road trip culinary horizons. The terrain of American regional cuisine is diverse, so why eat burgers everywhere you go? Instead, I'll grab a Cuban sandwich, a hot bowl of cioppino, a Korean taco, and wash it all down with a date shake.

8. Rethink reenactments. Sure the notion of bearded guys in wool outfits running through a field is, well, sort of funny. But with the 150th anniversary of the Civil War coming, and four full years of up-the-ante reenactments looming, I'll see one for myself. Bull Run (aka Manassas) is featuring Civil War-era baseball this year, while Gettysburg's Little Round Top is a somber spot at dusk any day.

9. Travel solo. Traveling with friends is wonderful (except when it's not), but solo travel really makes me step up, meet new people, and experience the world unfiltered. Plus I can wake up when I want to, eat where I want, and I don't have to go to that scary doll museum just because Buster wants to.

10. Find a quest. Hike the Appalachian trail. See all of the California missions. Visit every country that starts with M because that's what your name starts with; Mexico – that's a quick one. Travel great distances to find petroglyphs. Track a snow leopard through the Himalayas. Write a bucket list and work your way through it from "art camp" to "zip-lining."

11. Go somewhere new. Going back to treasured destinations is fun, but do I really need to go to Vegas with my buddies 13 years in a row? I'll start with a local museum or state park I've never been to and expand out from there. Maybe I'll even check out the 51st state Canada.

Do you have your own travel resolution for the new year?

[Photo by Edward Wang]