worthy travel goals: couple in sightseeing car of train with trees outside
One worthy travel goal for the coming year: resolve to try a new mode of transportation

A new year means new opportunities for us to change our lives for the better. To that aim, many people are drawing up lists of resolutions for the coming year. One common resolution on those lists: to travel more. So this is a perfect time to set some worthy travel goals for the next 12 months.

Think broadly as you draw up your list. Travel isn’t just about the destination. It’s also about how you decide where to go, how you travel there, and what you choose to see and do once you’ve arrived.

Here are 10 worthy travel goals to keep in mind as you’re exploring new ways to stretch your travel muscles for the coming year.

Go somewhere you never thought you wanted to go

Perhaps you’ve been limiting yourself to a handful of countries or just one continent. You literally don’t know what you’re missing. For the coming year, keep an open mind. Ask family and friends for ideas, read up on various locales and brainstorm with your travel advisor. You’ll realize the benefits once you venture off your beaten track and discover how much you enjoy a new destination.

Travel via a method you’ve never tried before

Cars and planes are likely old hat to you. Instead, go retro and enjoy an iconic train trip, such as the Rocky Mountaineer in Western Canada or the Blue Train in South Africa. Try a traditional ocean cruise if you’ve never taken one. If you have, think about a river or expedition cruise. If bigger ships aren’t for you, what about a yacht instead?

worthy travel goals: woman poses with three local men and a local woman in front of a market fruit display
Help enrich local communities as part of a sustainable trip

Think green with your travels

The United Nations has declared 2017 the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, so it’s a particularly timely year to do so. Consider adventures in destinations where you’ll get up close with their natural and cultural heritage. Book hotels and tours that are both environmentally and socially responsible. Look for voluntourism experiences to help the land and people you’re visiting.

Use up all your vacation time

Americans are especially reluctant to take their days off, but now’s the time to stop procrastinating. A survey showed 42 percent finish the year with unused vacation days. Remember the multiple benefits of travel as you plan your personal trips. And resolve next year to take the time off you’ve earned through your hard work.

Learn an element of another culture

People travel for many reasons, and two of the most popular (according to the Virtuoso Luxe Report) are authentic experiences and personal enrichment. What better way to combine the two – and get to know locals – than immersing yourself in an aspect of their culture? Pick something that reflects a personal passion of yours, such as lessons in the native tongue or cooking their cuisine. Or if you’re an arts fan, learn a local craft, dance or musical instrument.

Allow time for spontaneity

Don’t schedule every last minute during your travels. In fact, you can even choose to “get lost.” Seasoned travelers love the feeling of freedom and discovery that comes from wandering a lesser-known area. You’ll likely emerge with surprising discoveries and encounters with locals you wouldn’t have otherwise had.

worthy travel goals: woman's head covered with scarf in profile beside profile of giza sphinx
Add landmarks – both ancient and modern – to your bucket list for next year

Visit at least one of the world’s great landmarks

You’ve admired photos of them for years, so make this the year you actually see them in person. Perhaps you’ll set your sights on one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Or a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Or one of the world’s most iconic buildings.

Hone your suitcase packing skills

Between carry-on size restrictions and checked baggage fees, smaller is better. Learn how to pack lighter and more efficiently. That way you’ll fit everything into a more compact bag, and it will arrive as fresh as possible. As well, it’ll be easier to transport once you’re at your destination. And an added bonus: you won’t forget anything at home if you compile a packing list.

Buy souvenirs you can’t get anywhere else

Look for a unique memento that reminds you of a treasured experience you had while there. Perhaps you met the artisan themselves at a local market. Or you tried (and loved) a local liqueur on a culinary tour. Buy products that are native to the area, handmade or used by locals. You’ll bring home something novel and support the local economy.

Partner with a travel advisor on setting worthy travel goals

Your advisor can help you figure out how to shape goals for the coming year, then cross off items on that bucket list. Discover the advantages of working with your own advisor here. If you don’t have one yet, find one by browsing advisor profiles at virtuoso.com.

If you’re looking for other ideas for worthy travel goals for next year, browse these lists for additional inspiration:

10 Ideas for Your New Year’s Travel Resolution List

10 Creative Ideas for New Year’s Travel Resolutions

11 Ideas for Your Travel Resolutions List

12 Ideas to Create Your Travel Bucket List for 2013

What travel resolutions are on your list for next year?