Scrolling through social media, reading magazines and seeing images online of far-off destinations just feeds the need for travel. Some of us have a healthy dose of wanderlust already, but the added visual reminders can really set plans in motion — or at least plans for a plan.
Walk into 2019 with positive travel thoughts and motivation by putting a plan in action. Whether you already have a long list of destinations in mind or you need a little inspiration, put your vacation priorities in line and get ready to travel like you mean it. Consider adding a few more ideas to your list that can enrich a vacation you already have planned, or set one in motion.
Need a New Experience? Go International
Getting out of the country for the first time ever or first time this year can seem like a whole to-do, but it really doesn’t have to be. For first-timers, find a tour in your country of interest that best fits you. An expert guide who speaks the language can ease the entire trip, making you feel more comfortable in a new place. You’ll get the lay of the land with the comfort of having an experienced traveler along for the ride.
If a tour isn’t really your speed, or you’re an avid traveler seeking new ideas, we have a few:
With all the cobblestone charms, medieval architecture and fairytale scenery you can handle, Eastern Europe is a treasure trove of travel inspiration. Choose from the scenic lakes and lush greenery of Slovenia; the incredible history of Romania, Poland and Czech Republic; endless beauty of Estonia, Croatia and Montenegro; and everything in between.
While Paris is already on most traveler’s lists, France offers so much more than the City of Love. Through the real-life fairytale castles, charming French culture and almost unbelievable cuisine, the Dordogne region in France is a must for 2019 — especially considering it’s the 100th anniversary of the Félibrée, an annual celebration of Occitan, a language of romance. Indulge in festivities surrounding art, music, food and all things fun in Dordogne. With all the active outdoorsy fun you’d expect in the South of France and all the culture you’d find in Paris, Dordogne’s 15 UNESCO World Heritage sites and luxury attractions are nothing to scoff at. For all the tour-goers out there, NatGeo tours has one through Spain and France, uncovering human origin landmarks.
Mexico City, Mexico
Foodies should look no further than Mexico City for their 2019 travel aspirations. For all things corn, tortillas, tamales and any traditional Mexican cuisine you can get your hands on, Mexico City is in a golden era of restaurateurs. Eater named 38 essential Mexico City Restaurants to try, all conveniently located in and around the center of the city.
While the ice seems to be melting all around us, Greenland is a must for 2019 travelers seeking spectacular views, incredible natural beauty, wildlife, natural wonders and Inuit culture. Meet the friendly locals and dine on oddities you wouldn’t normally find in the States. Wait for the warmer months to roll around and get the best views of the Northern Lights, or get the full wintery experience, darkness and all, and visit during the colder months. Either way, you’ll see sled dogs working hard for the money, pops of color along fisherman’s homes and small-town charm you didn’t know existed.
Need a Quick Trip? Go Close to Home
Consider a slow start to your year of travel with somewhere in your own backyard. If you live within a few hour’s drive, bus ride or train away from a small town you’ve never visited or city you’ve always taken for granted, now’s your chance. It’s a great way to whet your appetite for travel without going too hard too soon.
It’s nearly spring already, so no need to run off to an all-inclusive resort or grand getaway if you really just need a quick break from the monotony. Check Amtrak schedules near you and see which destination grabs your attention. Check the trip-planning map and keep it as simple or elaborate as you want and have time for.
Need a Good Excuse? Go Somewhere New
If the train part catches your eye, upgrade to a full-scale vacation with Vacations By Rail. Passengers can ride coast to coast, like a road trip without the driving and navigating.
With the whole road trip aspect in mind, there is so much to see in our own country. One way to get started with stateside vacations, make a list of all the states you’ve visited — layovers not included. There are bound to be a few big ones you’re missing. Pinpoint a few states you’ve been meaning to visit, either for a specific reason like a museum, city nightlife, music scene, art festival or national landmark. While you never really need a reason in mind for a vacation, it can help narrow down your options. Here’s a little inspiration if you’re into videogames, BBQ, books, movie culture or even the undead.
The babymoon trend is adding to the number of women traveling while pregnant. Expecting moms often need special items to take on the road. If you plan to travel while pregnant, you may want to consider adding these products to your suitcase.
Bleisure — it’s a term we’re all familiar with these days. After all, millennials drive the rising trend, combining business and leisure trips regularly. Take a few days to decompress in a new destination after a hectic schedule of meetings and business.
Online shopping continues to soar in popularity with more people choosing to browse an entire catalogue of options instead of making a trip to the store. It makes sense because people are busy and sometimes don’t have time to spend hours browsing a store only to buy a few outfits. When shopping online, people can buy items sporadically or fill up carts and purchase them later. Online shopping is now more than just searching on the web, it’s also swiping through an app. Apps make it easier than ever to keep up with sales, new items and trends.
We can see it now and remember when it happened to us: Watching as the black car icon loops around and around, seemingly endlessly, and our wait time on the rideshare app continually changes. Long wait times and confused drivers are just a few bothersome issues that can nag at rideshare users. Need a solution? Ditch rideshares altogether in favor of renting a car on your next trip.